Monthly Archives: March 2011


Photo of a female nude, about 1900. Model and ...

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I’ve been noticing what I think qualifies as an obsession in my life. An obsessive obsession.

First though, I’m happy to report that I’m not obsessing about men. Or politics. Not sure how to credit those developments, but I can tell you, it’s a relief. I feel (at least today) that I’ve turned a corner on those subjects that have previously occupied too much brain space.

I’m noticing a new trend. I’ve replaced men and politics with an obsession about my torso.

Age appropriate?

Just over a year ago my clothes fit. Some of my pants were loose. I did not have a muffin top. I felt good. But by the time March 2010 ended, I was beside myself with disgust over my new shape: a stomach that was bigger than my boobs and a three-inch roll above my pants waist. This is life changing for someone who never spent much time thinking about her body shape (except for that summer of depression in college when I porked out). I’m tall, smaller boned and when ten extra pounds would appear, I knew they would disappear in a week or two if I cut down on treats and walked around the lake an extra day each week.

This past year has proven this is no longer the case. I am menopausal, complete with the no-estrogen zone that is reputed to show up in the midsection when periods cease. How can this be? I started looking at other women’s no-estrogen zone, and sure enough, there’s that thickness between breast and pelvis. I began guessing other women’s ages based on their torso size. Even Today Show host Meredith Viera (spotted on a camera shot from the side) has “the zone!” I was scrutinizing other TV anchorwomen who sit behind a desk. Ever notice how trim a woman can look while she’s standing, and how the midsection collapses when she takes a seat? Do anchorwomen obsess over the height of their chairs? Does her stage manager understand the importance of proper chair height? I should never sit down again. I need a tummy shaper—or a straight jacket.

Finally, driven to distraction, I thought I would channel my lost-cause obsession more productively. After many years of “free” exercise walking three miles around my neighborhood lake, I am now paying for a gym membership AND a yoga class. My goal is to prove that the no-estrogen zone can dissolve, given proper care and less feeding. Is it possible to succeed?

Okay. I’ve revealed my obsession. Pathetic. Sometimes, when I’m in an Elliptical machine reverie, I wonder what it would be like to obsess over something that really matters. Like overcrowded classrooms, like people who see no place for themselves in the workforce, like U.S. citizens who are hungry or who can’t read. What if I directed the fervor with which I attempt to whittle down my torso into something that really mattered?

My soundtrack today: Christine Lavin – “Butter” (to listen)

Finding the Words

This is my inaugural entry for my new blog. Boy, it better be awesome.  But if I wait until it is indeed awesome, or somehow perfect, it will never be published. So, wherever we are, let’s begin:

This is a blog about women of a certain age; let’s say those who have their feet firmly planted in their 50s. I’m 56—very close to 57. I keep forgetting that I’m 56 and I often wonder if I shouldn’t be acting more my age.

As I go about my life, it seems there is a pattern emerging as I find myself asking, “is this age appropriate?”  Honestly, I don’t know what to think about being in my mid-50s: middle aged, baby boomer, empty-nester, qualified to join AARP.  Jeez, I ordered off the senior menu at Perkins Pancake House because I was over 55! I wanted only two potato pancakes, and I found them on the seniors page. Price was right, too.  Not going to fuss about that.

Ask any woman if she believes she’s really going to turn 50-something and she’ll tell you, “Hell no!”  When the topic comes up among my friends (and it frequently does), we all look aghast and assure ourselves that 50 is the new 30.

My friend Kitty and I certainly weren’t feeling our ages as we did some crazy dancing with our male pals at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis. The occasion was the annual tribute to John Lennon, a concert held on the anniversary of the Beatle’s death every December. It had been a long night, the five of us among those closing down the place–belting out “I Want to Hold Your Hand” during the fast and furious encore of early Beatles hits.

Age appropriate?

Exuberance is always age appropriate. I’m on the look out for it everywhere. Now, I’ll admit, on the day after the Beatles dance-a-thon, my left foot (the one with the bunion) felt all knotted up, and my knees were really sore from the jumping around for four hours. But I managed to still be able to walk, so the aches seemed a small price to pay for … exuberance.

What’s in an age? Being 50-something by any other name would smell as sweet (sorry Shakespeare). I love being 56—when I’m not thinking about it.

My soundtrack today: I Want to Hold Your Hand.