Monday, April 8, 2013


Birthday milestones are fun when you are turning ten. They are equally fun when you are turning 13, 16, and 21. The fun leaves, and the "ugh" arrives after twenty-one. I cannot recall any 29 year old fist pumping because they are about to turn 30. In addition, I cannot recall the moment in time when you stop wishing that you looked older and begin to wish that you looked younger. These two episodes must coincide and I'm guessing that it all happens around the age of twenty-nine.

Our oldest boy is not nearly as excited to turn 17 as he was to turn 16. Other that becoming legally able to purchase a ticket to an "R" rated movie and reading Seventeen magazine for the first time as an actual 17 year old (him personally, but other girl variety 17 year olds), there aren't many perks which come with seventeen. In fact, those who are seventeen spend the last half of the year telling people that they are almost eighteen. Anticipating the next birthday for six months can't be much fun.

Our other boy turns 12 this year. There are not many perks with that age either. He told me the other day that next year he will really be grown up. Turning thirteen is so much cooler than twelve, unless all of those notorious body changes have you wishing you were eight again.

The youngest of the family turns 10. Now that's a milestone, I'm told. Double digits mean something amazing, I'm just not sure what. Does it mean the exit of adolescence and the entrance to pre teen, or is it simply the exit of those pesky single digits which are associated with preschoolers and blankies? Double digits hang out exclusively with other numbers, and in pairs, and altogether, like a party. Whatever the reason, it's big although we don't have big plans.

Our daughter turns 20 but not until December. She exits her teen years and will enter the age of a 20 something. She will have the option to say "I'm in my 20's" or "I am almost 21." People expect more from a 20 year old. By this time she better be capable of hard boiling an egg and doing a load of laundry along with a whole host of other things otherwise I have failed as a parent. Fifty years ago, 20 year old women were married and had children, and were doing much more that boiling eggs and making sure that the darks and whites didn't mix in the washing machine. I'll take the 21st century expectations over that.

I just turned 50. Milestone yes, but definitely no fist pumping involved. This year I'll settle for raucously celebrating, ten, twelve, seventeen, and twenty, and in addition, thanking God for 50 amazing years and a spectacular husband and family.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Near Death

When I decided to "mix things up" in my exercise routine, attending "Boot Camp" at 6:30 a.m. should not have been one of those options. Had the coffee shop nearby opened at 6:00 a.m. instead of 7:00 a.m. my unwillingness may have diminished more quickly. Six thirty in the morning mixed with no caffeine, sprinkled with 40 degree weather, was the perfect storm. Remembering  the treadmill which was located inside a 70 degree room was taking its toll on my will power.

While mustering every ounce of energy I had, I pulled on my running pants, zipped my jacket and walked to the field house where the boot camp was taking place during a conference I was attending. I was the first to arrive. The instructor gave me some descriptions of the class and filled me in on what I could expect---misery.

Sixty year old lady and her husband were next to arrive and then two young gazelles free of make up and body fat. I surmised that I was first going to die from attempts to keep up with the gazelles and second that I had a good chance of beating out the 60 year olds and coming in 3rd place. Even though this wasn't a race I knew that there would be mental point distribution is one way or another. I had to make my mark quickly and stay in the game. The mental challenge caused me to break into a sweat before we even started.

The class began, and with a hint of pride, I took first place in "jog around the gym." Before I could question whether or not this class had any hopes of challenging my cardio stamina we burst into 30 jumping jacks, another lap, 30 squats and leaps into the air, another lap, 30 push ups, another lap, 30 burpies, another lap, and then 30 high knee marches. By this time I was about to pass out but stopping was not an option. Sixty year old lady and her husband were keeping up without a problem and naturally, the gazelles we leaping and dancing as if this was just an exercise in fun.

When instructed to grab a yoga mat I was certain that the next 30 minutes would be devoted to abdominal work or more push ups that I could fake my way through but when everyone was then issued a medicine ball I knew that the next 30 minutes would perhaps be more painful than the first.

The details of the last 20 minutes are fuzzy. I slipped into unconsciousness several times, lapped water from the drinking fountain like a weary hound dog after an entire day of hunting, and fell exhausted onto my mat for the final 5 minutes of stretching.

The gazelles exited before the final stretching and barely broke a sweat, 60 year old man left but lady stayed, and at then end of the class the instructor had the audacity to ask me if I was okay.

I refueled on guzzles of water and a large coffee, welcomed a hot shower, and popped some ibuprofen anticipating sore muscles. I will never, I repeat never, attempt boot camp again, ever.