Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Friday in the Hall with George

The hubs and I took the day off last Friday to attend a convention put on by our wealth management firm.

Let me just say here that "wealth" is a relative term and of the approximate 2000 people in attendance, we were obviously in a lower tier of clientele - wealth-wise, wardrobe-wise and age-wise.  But, we thought we could learn something from the big players, maybe score some free food. And while we've never been fans, we didn't want to miss hearing what former president and keynote speaker, George W. Bush, had to say about the upcoming election.

Helicopters hovered overhead as we walked back to the convention hall after lunch. A formidable police presence surrounded the building.  It was easy to spot the Secret Service agents in the crowd because they skewed so much younger than the civilians.

And, then there was George. It was a laid-back Q & A session with the expected questions. No, he does not regret the decision to go to war in Iraq. Yes, he regrets the way he handled Katrina. And while he refused to say who he was voting for in November, it was crystal clear it wouldn't be Donald Trump.

Then, he started talking about painting, the retirement hobby that changed his life. His latest project is a series of portraits, men and women soldiers who were wounded in battle in Iraq "because of my order." They can be seen here and in a new book called "Portraits of Courage."
It was obviously an emotional endeavor for a war-time president who is still wrestling with some demons. He said he got to know each one of his subjects personally, "their stories of recovery or lack of recovery" and their families. I gotta say I was impressed.

We were told they'll invite a Democrat to next year's event.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Planet Fitness and the Beauty Angel

It reminds me of something out of an old Woody Allen movie.
When Planet Fitness opened up five minutes from my house, I dusted off the old jogging bra and sprinted over to sign up. Why wouldn't I? It was $10/month to join with no initiation fee (at the time) and, besides, I'm a champ at signing up for fitness centers. There isn't a gym in town I haven't tried, at least for two or three days.

Planet Fitness has a 'big tent' marketing approach that discourages obnoxious gym rats and encourages couch potatoes and everyone in-between. Signs placed around the facility say: You Belong, No Judgment and No Gymtimidation. As a result - or maybe because the price is so low - members run the gamut in all shapes, sizes, ages, colors and fashion sense. I love that about the place.

At first, I couldn't figure out why it was so cheap. The place is huge and well staffed, the equipment seems top-of-the-line and what they spend in cleaning products could break the bank. This is a sparkling facility with comfy rubber flooring (bonus!) and it's not bare bones. But, they don't have classes or fancy stuff like a pool, hot tub and towel service. And, I guess they're counting on volume.

I'm happy to report that, six weeks later, I am still going to Planet Fitness just about every day. I upgraded to the "Black Card" membership for another $10/month which gives me "spa" privileges including unlimited guests, access to HydroLoungers and tanning beds which I will not be using as I  firmly believe they should be banned from the planet...and the Planet.

My favorite perk of the upgrade is unlimited use of the Beauty Angel, a sci-fi "total body enhancement" booth with walls of red light and a vibrating floor. The infrared light (no UV rays) is supposed to boost collagen production and ease pain while the vibrating floor - builds muscle, increases circulation and strengthens your core. What's not to love? It felt awkward and silly at first, especially since you go in there naked (the room is locked) if you want to get the full effect. I couldn't stop laughing the first time but now those good vibrations just zen me out.

It's hard to know if the firming I've noticed is due to the Angel or the exercise or both, but my skin is much, much softer. The vibration is doing my joints and lower back a world of good and the occasional numbness in my legs is completely gone. That's worth a lot more than $20 a month.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The day that will live in infamy, if only he can remember it.

Photo from the same year as my husband's up close and personal encounter with Angie.
Pictured are the infamous vials of blood worn by her and Billy Bob.

Yesterday, I promised to share this story in light of the YUGE news of the Brangelina break-up. (Is it still news today? I haven't checked.) I knew I had told it before and, in fact, it appears I told it twice: Once in 2009 before this blog existed and again in 2011 when my husband inexplicably forgot he went swimming with a topless movie star while swapping stories on a boys' weekend. (This is so typical of him, I can't tell you.) The versions are slightly different, as one would expect as the years pass, but the truth remains. Someone will no doubt tell this story at his funeral someday (decades from now, I hope) because it is so uniquely him: Refreshingly unassuming and far more impressed by female nakedness than celebrity.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

One more time with feeling


As Elton John once famously said, the bitch's blog is back. Not that anyone will read it with the hot Brangelina divorce news breaking. Stunning! Tragic! So unexpected! I'm reeling, dear readers!

(Did I ever tell you the story of my husband swimming alone with a topless Angelina Jolie at the Sunset Marquis Hotel shortly after she won her Oscar for "Girl Interrupted?" I'm sure I did. It's one of my best stories. And it's 100% true, unlike some of my other best stories. I'll have to dig that little nugget up again for tomorrow's post.)

My extended hiatus was necessary to allow me time to complete a big project (a play) and to regain my enthusiasm for the whole blogging experience which, after so many years, was becoming a bit of a self-absorbing drag. The truth is, I didn't think I had much more to say.

But, shit happened and now I do.

In the past several months, I have become a mental health advocate, a dedicated practitioner of net-zero-injury exercise (a term I made up where the goal isn't miles or steps or losing weight but not getting hurt), a FODMAP-restricted dieter and, yes, still a seeker of boomer-friendly products, services and travel.

Also, I've recently embraced the idea of finding comfort in ritual, something that's eluded me my entire life. These days, my daily rituals are limited to coffee drinking and teeth brushing. I don't even make my bed on a regular basis. This may be why I tend to be.... let's call it scattered. I prefer that word to the others. It reminds me of baby bunnies scampering in all directions when the dog goes out to poop. Scattered = Adorable!

When done consistently, blogging can be a satisfying ritual much like journaling at the end of one's day. It's important to keep writing when you're a writer. Especially at my age. Which is only 8 years older than Brad Pitt and totally within the realm of possibility. I'm just sayin'.

See you tomorrow.
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