I Cannot Sing

Found a notice in the Resident Associate catalogue for the Encore Chorale for Older Adults. Ordinarily I would have immediately passed over this simply because I am not “older.”  But what caught my eye was the billing “for people who cannot sing”. At that point, I inwardly raised my hand, because it was acknowledging my place in the singing world. I CANNOT SING. I don’t even sing in the shower because I don’t want to hear my own voice.

 But, since this is the year I continue to challenge myself… I figured WTF, and immediately paid up. The first session was fun. The warmup exercises were fun and it’s a very interesting and excited group of “older folks”, who describe themselves as young, older folks. They certainly have a zest for life and appear to be really, really enjoying retirement with singing just one of their many activities. So, I walked away from the first session with joy in my heart. As I sat next to people who could “really sing”, I received immediate feedback when my voice did not match theirs… at all, but I was not daunted.

Not only can I not sing, I also cannot read music. Now, that was not a prerequisite, but it would help and many of the others can play by ear, read music, have taken music lessons, and/or can sing. I, on the other hand, have none of these qualities.

But since I’m challenging myself, I went to the second session. By the end of that session, I had tears in my heart. I so desperately want to sing, and I think I had hoped to discover that I had a secret talent for singing, but the reality is that this will be a long, hard struggle for me.

I took the recorded music home to practice, and the more I listened and sang, the clearer it became that this may be more challenge than I’m prepared for, especially at this time when I’ve taken on other challenges such as training for a “possible” mini-triathlon. (That’s entirely different story to be told later.)

So, I’m battling with hanging in there to see if I can gain some improvement or giving up now before I totally destroy my self esteem. I try to think about what I would advise one of our children or grandchildren when faced with a similar situation. In fact, I had already looked forward to having them attend my recital. So they could see their mother/grandmother was still taking on challenges, which might encourage them in their life pursuits.

I’ve never been a quitter, but sometimes we have to face realities, and this mountain might be too steep.

Stay tuned

Who are these people?

I see them running on the mall in 35 degree weather and biking at dawn and golfing between the piles of snow. Who are these people? They’re like aliens. Not like the rest of us. What drives them to do what they do?

I recently re-started spinning classes (that’s stationery biking, not knitting), and I am now surrounded by these aliens. Not only do they participate in these extreme sports, but they do it at 6am in the morning! They’re morning people! How can they be so bright-eyed and bushy tailed so early in the morning! I, on the other hand, am dragging my butt out of bed and having major pep talks with myself just to get there. Then I play this game with myself, where I say I’ll only stay for 30 minutes. Then at the 30 minute mark, I figure if I’ve stayed that long then I can stay another 10 minutes, and eventually I’ve talked myself through the whole hour.

This is a backdoor way to say that I’m considering doing a Century (100-mile bike ride) this summer. My friends are doing a mini-triathlon, which I’d love to do but my brain can’t talk my ski-injured knee into it.  Pam, the youngest among us, said “you can do the aqua-velo”, which is the swim bike portion without the running. Oh great I say out loud, while in my head I’m trying to come up with another excuse.

I actually went to the briefing session for newbie’s who are considering their first mini-tri, and was inspired by the stories of those who did their first Tri last year or two years ago. They too were not swimmers and some didn’t even have a bike when they started. So, if they can do it, why not I.

Let me count the reasons why not… I am old enough to be the grandmother of most of the people at the newbie briefing. I am overweight. I got out of breath just climbing the stairs to get to the meeting, and did I mention that I am old enough to be their grandmother? I did gain inspiration from watching seniors (55 – 74) do an ironman on TV, but I’m still seriously wavering. I want to be smart and ease into this. I know I can handle the biking part, so I can’t really call that a stretch goal except that I’ve never done a Century. I really want to become a swimmer, which would truly be a stretch goal.

The good news is that I can only torture myself with this decision for two more days when, as my Dad would say, I have to p—- or get off the pot.

Stay tuned.

He’s A Quiet Guy

  As my voice started coming and going, I finally figured out the best remedy might be to stop talking for awhile. Then, after thirty years of knowing him, I discovered that he’s a quiet guy. Wow! What a revelation! If I don’t talk, there is silence in the house!

Sitting at the breakfast table is a different experience when no one is talking. But, he seems to be okay with silence. Suddenly, I feel like I’m in one of those cartoons where the man sits behind his newspaper ignoring his wife until she pours hot coffee in his lap to get his attention.

 I always prided us on our great conversations. I even remember the time we were traveling to Ocean City and took the wrong road for ten miles because we were so engaged in conversation. Maybe I thought we had great conversations, because I was doing all the talking. In my defense, I’m not totally clueless. Sometimes I become aware that he’s tuned me out. I can tell by the look in his eye. That’s when I jokingly confront him and ask the usual wifely question “Did you hear anything I said?”

When asked how he feels about my talking, he said “he enjoys hearing the sound of my voice”. (Which is a wise response learned from 21 years of marriage.) As I reflect on this, I’m not sure what to do with this new information. It feels like I should do or learn something from this cold induced laryngitis experience. Maybe I should just stop talking to him for awhile and see what happens. Maybe I should ask more leading questions so he will talk more. Or, maybe I’ll just continue entertaining him with the sound of my voice.

 Stay tuned

A Resolution I Can Keep: I Will Never Diet Again

At 20 years of age, I began my first diet. I weighed 115 pounds. I watched the scale relentlessly and as soon as I gained a pound, I immediately stopped eating. This went on for years. Once I was going through the family album during a Thanksgiving gathering, and could not believe how thin I was at 115 pounds!! My dieting continued for the rest of my life but the need ebbed and flowed through racketball, tennis and growing a business.  Naturally, age began to make it harder to stop the gain, and eventually the weight crept up on me. I was mortified at 140 pounds when I married!

Like most fat Americans (and now I really am), I’ve done Atkins, South Beach, Optifast, and everything in between. I’ve been up and down, and down and up, and then praise myself because “I’m able to keep it off for almost a year”. Boy… was that a stupid thing to say!

This is the year I swear off dieting. I will never diet again. Saying that is so freeing! I know how to lose weight and I’ve proven I  know how to gain weight. I understand the physics of calorie expenditures versus storage. I know this incredible machine is the most efficient mechanism on earth, and so much smarter than I. So when I eat more than I need, my body gets busy and stores it away until it is needed for a nuclear blast that kills all animals and vegetables except for me.

The commandments for the Non-Diet

  • I will not berate myself for overeating
  • I will seek out fun, active things to do
  • I will spend time with others who are active
  • I will eat sweet fatty foods… on occassion
  • I will not eat by the clock
  • I will keep delicious, healthy foods in the house
  • I will not have seconds… unless the food is really, really good
  • I will take care of this body that is mine for such a short time
  • I will enjoy life
  • I will make good choices

It’s all about balance.

 Stay tuned…

It’s The Little Things in Life That Count

As my husband and I walked in, I waved and smiled at the lady behind the desk, who waved and smiled back at me. Not one of those “smile at the customer’s” smile, but a genuine “howdy” smile.

 My husband said I acted as if I knew her. In fact, I did know her. I knew her because she was a woman like me. I knew she worries about her hair/nails/hair and/or weight. I knew her because she was someone’s daughter. I knew she worked because she needed the money. I knew she has probably loved and been loved. I knew she has her good days and bad. I knew she was just like me swimming across the English Channel of life through calm seas and rough. Through sunny days and rainy days.

 In my past life, I would have walked by her as if she did not exist and would only acknowledge her if I needed something. I was so enmeshed in being me as I plowed through life with my head down bulling my way along life’s pathway,  that little else existed.

Somewhere along the way, I evolved. I became a nicer, kinder, gentler person, and made a discovery. I discovered that giving a smile gets a smile in return. I found that kindness begets kindness. I learned that a smile and a genuine thank you while looking one in the eye is a gift.

I tried to explain to one of our sons that I thanked the toll taker working on Christmas Eve, and my son looked puzzled. He couldn’t understand why I would bother to do that. I tried to explain that he could have called in sick then there would have been one less booth open. Traffic would have backed up and I might have lost my smile. Everyone needs to know that what they do makes a difference. The Verizon sales person explaining new technology to an elderly gentleman, and the grocery clerk at the self-service registers who exhibit the patience of Job. They make a difference.

Three to four times a week for the last few years, I give my parking ticket to the attendant at the health club. His position in the booth prevents him from looking me in the face, but I always say hello and thank you. He never responded. Finally, I decided to stop wasting my time. He obviously didn’t care. But I felt uncomfortable treating him like a machine. So I reverted and started saying hello and thank you again, because it made me feel good. A funny thing happened… he started thanking me back. 

It’s the little things in life that count…. One day, I may surprise him with a token gift 🙂 

Stay tuned…

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 40 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 69 posts. There were 181 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1gb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 22nd with 45 views. The most popular post that day was Was It Just A Dream?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mail.yahoo.com, networkedblogs.com, twitter.com, and linkedin.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for wadi bih, wadi bih cycling, cav reentry body, the word of i love you so much from uae, and journal of life queen aleta.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Was It Just A Dream? June 2010
7 comments

2

About February 2009
2 comments

3

Washington DC… The New Playground August 2010

4

Moving On March 2010
4 comments

5

Relax Into the Ebbs August 2010