Subourbon Mom


What’s Your Dream?
June 20, 2022, 10:04 am
Filed under: Middle Age, Posts, Sports | Tags: , , , ,

Here’s something I learned this year – you can keep your childhood dreams, but they’ll look a little different when you’re middle-aged. But really, what doesn’t look different as you get older? I literally am those people on the Progressive commercials that are turning into their parents: “We all see it…we all see it…BLUE!!!”  Don’t know what I mean? Watch this…

So, back to childhood dreams…

This summer I checked off two huge bucket list items. To most people they might seem frivolous or meaningless, but to me they mean so much more. For the first time in 35 years, I jumped a horse over little cross rails (for non-horse people, that means poles set at a foot off the ground). By jump, I mean the giant horse I was riding barely saw them and hopped over while I just tried to stay out of the way. I also rode in a small horse show trotting over poles just lying on the ground. Yes, I was the oldest in the class by maybe 30 years, competing against a few  people, most of whom were children and at least two who were your people training horses who barely knew what a pole was.  Did I forget my girth (saddle belt) and have to borrow one?  Yes. Was I freaking out?  Yes.

But I did it, and I couldn’t have been more proud of myself.  

See what I mean?  This doesn’t seem like much, in but in my heart those two things were huge. Let’s back up so you can see why – and why you should still pursue your dreams, no matter what shape they take as you age.

After a terrible year of deaths in our family this year, human and animal, the barn where I ride was and remains my refuge. Soon after the sweet horse I leased died in January from a sudden, terrible infection, I walked back into the barn to get away from the world. It was awful, seeing his empty stall and halter, but the barn has always been and always will be my refuge.

One of the horse moms (aka boarders) saw me and said, “I didn’t think you’d be back.”

Not come back? For a second, I was really offended. I had to regroup and remember that this nice woman didn’t know me as a child, creating notebooks full of fictional racehorses with breeding charts, colors, personalities and race results. She couldn’t know that for years I doodled horse heads all over my school notebooks; that I drew pictures of the horseback wedding I was going to have (shockingly that didn’t happen); or, that until I was 15, when I fell off, busted my shoulder and simultaneously found boys, the only thing in the world I wanted was a horse.

To my mother’s credit, a single teacher who made $30k a year, she somehow found a way for me to take lessons once a week and occasionally do a local horse show.  But a real horse of my own?  Out of the question. As an adult, I was able to satisfy my horse itch by being a horse show mom for years, until Daughter #2 was clearly able to do it on her own but let me “help” because she knew I needed to be involved.

Then came the end of 2021 and early 2022: three family deaths, one horse death and one horse near-death.  It was terrible, but there was a silver lining. Losing so many people and animals in such a short time made me realize time really is finite, and that if I want to achieve some dreams I have to put my phone down, get off the couch and figure out what that means.

A horse of my own may still not be in the equation, but now I take lessons. Do I want to be in big horse shows? Not really – I don’t need that kind of stress. My dream has changed into finding that balance between learning to ride better and riding for mental health. The two are not always the same. Some days its okay to just walk around in a field, to look at the bobbing head beneath you and find that simple joy. Other days, its feeling like flying as the horse you’re riding graciously allows you to flop around while it steps over poles. Whatever your dreams once were, don’t let them go entirely – find out what parts of those dreams you can still do, or how they might work in new ways for you.  Life is short and unpredictable.  Ask yourself, am I going to be mad next year, or in five years, that I didn’t start something today? If the answer is yes, then put your phone down, get off the couch and see what can happen. You might be surprised with what your old dreams look like now, and what it feels like to realize them.  

Special thanks to my family, friends and especially Kimberly Anderson at Manakin Sabot Equestrian Center for their patience and encouragement. Thanks to Daughter#1 for telling me the truth and making me get up and do it, to Hubby for funding and taking pictures, and to Daughter #2 for listening to my blow-by-blow descriptions of each lesson. 🙂



The Sad Teletubby
August 1, 2021, 7:51 pm
Filed under: Exercise, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,

I am a person who is weird about being on time. I get stressed out when I’m not, and other “Laties” stress me out too. So when I was late to my Pilates class, it did not go well. 

A few weeks ago, I knew I was going to be cutting it close to get to the studio on time. I would need to bring regular leggings, a sports bra and a tank top to class, and change when I got there.

I remembered it all, but instead of regular leggings I grabbed my biker short-length leggings, which are pretty much just Spanx without any of the benefits. I bought them because I was anticipating the studio being too hot in July.  I also mistakenly packed a tight, black tank top, not my usual flowy top that hides….a lot.

So there I was, skidding into the gym like I was ten on my dirt bike after landing a perfect jump. I changed my clothes in the mirrorless bathroom and joined the class. However, when I got to my station and looked into the mirror…OH…MY…GOD. 

Black is supposed to be slimming.

Staring back at me was a Teletubby in mourning.

The biker shorts squished all the doughy bits up to my waist and out the bottom to my knees. My body looked like someone had grabbed a tube of Jimmy Dean sausage, cut the ends off and squeezed from the middle.

So, I decided I would ignore it and that was fine, until about half-way through class when I saw it…the camel toe.  Friends, there’s no discreet way to fix that in a room full of people and mirrors. I hopped into the bathroom again and tried to fix it, but I knew it was a lost cause. I have a long torso and the shorts were (apparently) not long enough. It re-appeared and stayed for the rest of class.

What’s the big deal, you ask?  Isn’t it a class full of women?  C’mon, people.  You know we’re all super judgy, even though we say we aren’t. And if it’s just me that’s judgy like that, well, rest assured that Karma’s a real thing and she’s a bitch.

But it didn’t end there.  Being thrifty, I tend to get my workout clothes at discount or “cost-efficient” stores.  I think these shorts came from Old Navy. Anyway, as I was huffing and puffing during the workout, I started to smell something.

How was the scent of chicken nuggets wafting into the Pilates studio? There isn’t a Chick-Fil-A anywhere nearby. 

No…it can’t be…

It was my f#$%ing biker shorts! How could they do that?  I knew it wasn’t me because after class I ran back into the bathroom and did a smell check – it was definitely the shorts. And yes, I washed them before I put them on.

So to recap, because I was late, I looked like a sad, squished sausage and smelled like fast food.

Basically, I was a giant dog treat. 

So that’s why I try to be on time.      



No More Exercise Appointments
July 23, 2021, 7:00 am
Filed under: Exercise, Middle Age | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In our efforts to become more and more efficient with our time, exercise has become something we do to be healthy, look good and relieve stress. And the faster we can do that, the better.

So, hat’s off to all you exercise psychos who get up at 5:00am, be at the gym by six and showered and at your desk by eight.  You’ve knocked it out for the day and you’ll sleep better knowing your blood pressure is lower, your muscles are tired, and that eating the donut Kevin brought into work isn’t going to wreck your dietary world.

I used to be one of you. 

But, since the pandemic forced me to work from home, I’ve learned some unpleasant truths about myself: 

  • I won’t exercise at home unless it’s walking the dogs, and even then it’s really only because my apple watch talks to my health insurance and I get $1 for it.   
  • Watching exercise videos on YouTube is like watching TV – I’ll just turn it off when I don’t like what they’re doing. It’s a lot harder to do that when you have a trainer blocking the gym door against runners like me.
  • I need physical and mental separation from my work, which doesn’t happen for me, working from home. Compartmentalizing is not my thing. 

As soon as I could, I started going to a Pilates studio. I was too out of shape to go back to Orange Theory (no way was I going to go back to being a “Walker” – if you know, you know…).  I had injuries to heal, and I knew Pilates is good for strengthening your core. Since my “core” had expanded to include a lot of peripheral areas, that sounded perfect.

And it was, for a while. But just like with all the other exercises I’d tried, I got bored. It became an appointment I had to keep instead of being something I looked forward to.  Worse, I still couldn’t disconnect from work. I’d be doing stretches and making a “C—Curve” until my body shook, but I would still be thinking of all the things I had to do.

Finally, after a lot of bitching and a heart-to-heart with Daughter #1, who is now a personal trainer herself, I understood that I need to find an exercise that is something physical that I enjoy doing away from the house/work, but that also takes my complete attention.

Enter Daughter #2, who asked for the millionth time why I didn’t just start horseback riding again.

From the mouths of both my babes.

With horses, you must be present. They can read your emotions form the moment you enter the barn, and trust me, if you’re in a shitty mood, they’re going to be too.  And who can blame them?  Would you want someone sitting grumpily on your back, hands clenched, attached to the reins and the bit in your mouth?  When I’ve tried to ride Daughter #2’s horse like it’s a mission to accomplish, he simply refuses to walk out of the barn, and I don’t blame him.


From grooming to riding to walking them to their field, horses demand your complete attention. There’s no sneaking out when you’re done, like I used to do at Orange Theory, when the rowing part of the class was just the last straw. If you’re not paying attention with a horse, you’re either on the ground, chasing an escapee or simply stepping in a big pile of shit.

humor patience

So this fall, after Daughter #2 heads back to college, I’m going to start riding again in earnest. God help the poor horse that has put up with me flailing around until I’m strong enough to stay balanced (and on).

Now, I know riding isn’t for everybody – that’s not the point. The point is to make exercise something you want to do, not an appointment you have to keep. Go find your thing – hiking, canoeing, pickle ball, swimming, rock wall climbing, yard work, whatever it is that floats your exercise boat.  Just make sure it’s something where you have to be completely present – the rest will follow.  

   



Call Me Lagertha
March 19, 2021, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Country Living, Exercise, Middle Age | Tags: , , , , ,

After the possum-in-the-driveway incident, I realized I may need some skill with a gun to put animals out of their misery. Well, I’ve changed my mind. Sure, there are some valid reasons for getting a gun, especially when living in the country: coyotes, cops don’t hang around the end of my road for my convenience, and the creatures going bump in the night can be a little more menacing than the neighborhood tom cat calling for his ladies.

But there are a lot of reasons for me, personally, to not get one:

  1. I can’t see 10 feet in front of me without contacts or glasses (which are nowhere to be found when you actually need them), so night protection is out. All I’d be able to do is point my gun in the general direction of the problem.
  2. The kind of gun I would have to be able to shoot in order to actually wound anyone would be too heavy for me to use. (But OMG I love the image of myself charging out of the back door with a shotgun at my hip yelling “Come and get it, Mother F@#$%r!!)
  3. I don’t like loud noises, and using a silencer just screams “I’m going to end up in a Netflix movie.”
  4. Even with practice, I still can’t hit the side of a barn because it’s impossible for me to keep my eyes open and shoot. So, I pull to the side. Every time. Honestly, I don’t trust anyone who can keep there eyes open while shooting – they can probably do it while sneezing, too, and that’s just messed up. If you can do that, your body clearly isn’t functioning properly and you should start surfing WebMD to find out what the Hell’s wrong with you.
  5. Snakes (a.k.a. “danger noodles”) have tiny heads and move fast; therefore I will most likely still be bitten if I try to shoot them.
  6. Trying to shoot a dying possum in the driveway as an act of mercy would probably result in bullets ricocheting back into me, rendering me unconscious, next to the possum. I don’t want to die lying next to a possum. But if that happens, that shit better be in my obituary because that is FUNNY.

All of that said, I am now in the infancy of becoming the Lagertha of my neighborhood. For those of you who don’t enjoy bloody, Viking sagas on tv, Lagertha is a bad-ass, axe and sword wielding Viking Shield Maiden on the show Vikings. Oh, and did I mention she’s gorgeous? So yeah, I decided to channel my inner Lagertha these days.

Last month, when I turned 50, I asked Hubby for a different kind of gift, one I learned about from my friend Patrice. I asked for a set of throwing axes and a target, which he made, although not without some concern that his life expectancy might drop dramatically if I was having a bad day. On my birthday, when the world had iced over in one the many signs of the coming apocalypse, we threw axes at the target in the sleet for 2 hours.

Friends, I gotta tell you….it is life changing.

It is like being Lagertha (but in a semi-rural setting with the dogs barking madly behind the storm door because they’re too untrained to stay out of the way). There is something viscerally satisfying when you hear the THUNK of the axe sinking into the wooden target. When I picked up a powerful handgun once and fired off several rounds in a row, I could see how that firepower would have its appeal. But throwing an axe seems more connected, more intimate, more ancient. More violent. More…satisfying.

Yes, I know Millennials have been throwing axes at bars for a while now, and as usual, us old folks have probably already ruined it. But for a middle-aged woman, being able to forcefully throw something and connect with the target somehow makes you feel powerful, and more importantly, less invisible.

Will an axe beat a gun in a fight? Nope, probably not, but I’ll bet there aren’t many criminals who’ll expect to see a 2021, female version of The Shining coming at them.

Will throwing an axe make a difference in how others see me? Probably not, but more importantly, it changes how I see myself. So, if you come into our driveway and hear the steady THUNK, THUNK THUNK of an axe hitting wood, know that I probably had a bad day. You may want to loudly approach, holding a glass of bourbon at arm’s length. If you see me doing this with my hair braided and wearing some kind of animal skin, you probably should call the cops.



Quaran-Tuck It – Exercising
July 22, 2020, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Exercise, Middle Age | Tags: , , , , ,

Like a lot of people, I’ve gained some anxiety pounds during this pandemic, even though I have all the means I need to eat less/better and get more exercise. For the last week or so I’ve been staring at my flapping arm wings and the growing tire around my tummy while drinking wine and eating jalapeno poppers like it’s the end of the world (if you watch the news every night, that’s exactly what it feels like). 

ramen

I knew I had to do something when my sports bras started making it hard to breathe, causing me to question if I have the “‘rona”, until I remember it’s just that extra layer of fat squeezing into the modern-day corset causing the issue. For more on sports bras, read “Sports Bra Removal – The Struggle is Real.”

sports bra 2

Even my exercise shorts, designed to be stretchy and provide lots of leg room, were cutting into my stomach and making my muffin top flop over and nestle against my also-tighter workout shirt.  I basically feel like a moon pie that’s being held too tightly.

One of my Quaran-Tuck It List items is to start doing an exercise regimen in my pool. I’m lucky enough to have one, so I should get my butt in there and use it, right?  I downloaded a couple of YouTube pool exercise videos and started doing them yesterday.

That shit HURTED! (To quote Daughter #2)

I had forgotten how hard it is to run around a pool while swooshing your arms and pretending you’re doing certain dance moves under water. That night I was sore and tired, but that means it’s working, so I’m going to keep it up.

aaerobis

But here are a few tips for those of you who might want to try the same thing:

  1. Check your dignity at the door. You’re going to look ridiculous, even if it’s in your backyard. If you can, get a friend to do it with you – then you have blackmail on each other.
  2. Make sure your bathing suit fits snugly – that 3-year-old Target suit isn’t gonna cut it. I had on my old bikini bottoms, and they were so loose that they kept making a THWOCKA THWOCKA sound every time I jumped around as they scooped up water like a sail, smacking it against my back. It was so loud I couldn’t hear the instructions, and I had to keep stopping and pulling them up again.
  3. Make sure you’re standing in the right water depth – a couple of times I slipped on the ledge going to the deep end and went under. Again, check your dignity at the door.
  4. Don’t try to watch the videos on your cell phone at the edge of the pool. It’s really hard to flap your arms around effectively while squinting at the lady in the video, and also not get your phone wet. I suggest you watch the videos a couple of times and write down the exercises on a piece of paper that you can prop up somewhere – for those of you 40 or older, make it BIG. 
  5. Wear water shoes if you have them – nobody wants those weird red sores from the bottom of the pool on your toes – people will think you have COVID-toes.

Even if you don’t have this on your Quaran-Tuck It List, go ahead and make one.  It’ll help you focus…but be realistic.  “Have sex with Brad Pitt” is not realistic; however, “Dream about having sex with Brad Pitt” is certainly an achievable goal. 

What’s on your list? 

Here are the videos I was using (thank God at least one of those women isn’t a 20-year-old in great shape!):  




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