February 13, 2011


The Grammys are on tonight. We don't have cable so I'm not watching (which I must admit I'm a little bummed about that, as would have loved to see the Cee Lo/Gwenyth duet, and I am not even being sarcastic) but I was looking at the red carpet photos online, and let me just say, damn, there are some whack ass people in Hollywood. The hair! The stoned-out eyes! The mummy dresses with all the skin peeking out! This show in particular brought together a very strange mix of young people I have never heard of and all these raggedy-looking 80's dudes, like Ricky Skaggs and the guys from Megadeth and Neil Young (who Yahoo mistakenly labeled as Paul Young, oops, who I had to look up to remember he was a one-hit wonder from the 80's - remember 'Every Time You Go Away'? - you take a piece of meeeee with yooooou). And an anorexic-looking Barry Manilow. Shoulder pads and waist-deep necklines seem to be making a comeback along with the old-timers. Jennifer Lopez appeared to have ditched her pants. And all I can say about Lady Gaga showing up in an egg is that upon seeing it all I could think about was one of my favorite childhood books:  How Fletcher Was Hatched. Which was a sweet and heartwarming story (much as I expect Gaga's will be).

I love fashion and enjoy voyeuristic looks into world of celebrity just as much as all the other subscribers of US Magazine, but I also like living far from that world. I went for a run today, and instead of duck lips and bustiers, this was my view:

not a boob in sight

Last night Ellen and her husband force fed me three of their award-winning, lethal margaritas (served with olives, like a martini. I KNOW. You have to try it.), and then she tried to strong arm me into agreeing to skin up the mountain at 6:30 a.m. But I decided that no one is going to make ME go on a beautiful, soul-stirring sunrise hike, dammit, so I declined, choosing instead to sleep in and have Sunday morning pancakes with my family. Which ended up being a pretty good decision, after all, and then later, when I felt like it, I went for a run. It was a good run. Five miles. I felt strong. Not fast, but I'm never fast, and I didn't struggle or have to tell myself just keep going, it'll be over soon. I felt relaxed and at ease and I enjoyed listening to my music and the slap slap of my trail shoes as I tried not to slip and fall on my ass on the snow-packed road.

I didn't work out last week, because my husband was out of town and single parenthood required that I miss my usual 6am stints at the gym. And I missed them. I really missed them. It's taken me until now, in my 40's, to get there, that point where exercise is not something I make myself do to stay slim or keep up with the cool kids (and yes, if I'm being honest that's pretty much what it was for me until a few years ago). It's not even so much about keeping my body healthy (although yes, of course that's important, mom). What it's become is my most effective escape from stresses and pressures that keep me from sleep and threaten my sunny disposition. And what's even more surprising to me is that I actually ... enjoy it. It makes me feel good, happy.

I realize that this is not a revolutionary concept in theory, but it feels revolutionary to me, personally. I once participated in a workshop where we were asked to shout out tasks we found necessary but distasteful (chopping onions! picking up dog poop!). I said, "exercise," and the workshop leader literally waved me off, saying no, that doesn't count, because exercise feels good. And I remember thinking, really? Because I think it kind of sucks, all that huffing and puffing and sore muscle shit.

I get it now, though. When I'm working my body, my brain quiets, shifting gently away from manic-panic multitasking and the sleep-stealing spiral down the rabbit hole of worry. I find myself daydreaming and composing new recipes and thinking of fun things to write - the kinds of things that feel too frivolous to focus on most of the time, and and things I probably should do a lot more. My body feels strong - I love telling the guys at work, no, I don't need help, I can lift this 40-pound water bottle on the cooler ALL BY MYSELF, and catching sight of the curve of my bicep when I'm changing my shirt at home. I love that I can do more than a single pushup on my toes now, only dropping to my knees at the end of the set.

No wonder I've started craving it. I hope I always do. If I stay fit maybe I can wear one of those mummy dresses too.

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