Thursday, February 22, 2018

Valentine Traditions and a Tender Tale

Oh Kyle! I still remember you. My mind can see what you looked like when we were both ten. You were soooo cute! Secretly, I was smitten.

I think you glanced at me a couple of times. You might have even said hi. Did you like me the way I liked you? The Valentine you gave me is etched in my memory. So is my tearful walk home after school that day...

The bittersweet thoughts about my first big childhood crush came rushing in today. I've recently had other random thoughts about Valentine's day, since the 14th was just last week

I started thinking about how this popular holiday has changed through the years. I did some research and discovered some of its dark origins!
Check out this 2 minute video on the history of Valentine's day.

The truth is quite interesting but definitely not beautiful to ponder. Certainly most of us prefer the mushy fantasies which have evolved over time.

While the main focus of February 14th is romantic love, we (as a culture) have personalized it to represent any kind of affection we want it to! Fancy cards, chocolate and other gifts are sweet for anyone to give and receive, right? Whether they are lovers, family members or friends.

My husband gave me a lovely card this year. But the highlight of my day was taking little heart-themed gifts to my three granddaughters, who are ages five and under.

When I was in elementary school, I so enjoyed all the traditions of the season!

A few days before the big V, our teacher would let us spend a couple of hours decorating white paper lunch sacks for our annual card exchange. We were so creative with construction paper, glitter and markers! We labeled the bags with our names in big letters. It was fantastical fun for second, third and fourth graders!

Mom or Dad would take us to the discount store and let us choose our favorite kiddie cards. Looney tunes? Or maybe Disney characters. We'd get a package of twenty-five, just to be sure we had plenty.

We'd spend most of that evening at home, carefully writing a classmate's name on each tiny card.
Then we'd take our labors of love with us to school the next day, and drop them in our friends' fancy sacks.

School is school, so we had to restlessly endure a few lessons before lunch on Valentine's day. But afternoon was party time!

There's nothing quite like twenty cupcake-devouring munchkins, full of sugar and high expectations! We anxiously opened every single one of our miniature envelopes. Various reactions followed.

When I was in fourth grade, I'd chosen a special card for my would-be beau. I'd agonized over what to write on it. Just my name? Should I add "I like you."?

Honestly I can't remember what I wrote, but I recall being very nervous about how he'd react.

During the class party, I would frequently sneak peeks at tall, lanky, shaggy-haired Kyle. I couldn't tell if he'd seen my brave declaration of like or not. He didn't behave any differently than usual.

When I opened my card from him, my heart was racing! It had a boy baseball player on the front, with the message "I'm crazy about YOU, Valentine!" He'd printed his name on the back.

I'm not sure what I expected, but I felt a rush of emotions when I looked at the small token of friendship. Maybe because I'd been attracted to him for many months. Also, I'd been obsessing about the "what ifs?" of that day for twenty four hours.

Thankfully, it was time to go home immediately after the festivities. My face was hot and I had a huge lump in my throat as we were all cleaning up our classroom.

The bell finally rang. I avoided my friends and escaped from the school as fast as I could! As soon as I crossed the street, the dam inside of me broke. I sobbed during my entire walk home. I'd never been overcome like that before. It was very confusing!

Dear Handsome Kyle, I know now that I was too young to be so caught up in my affectionate thoughts of you! At ten, I was far too immature to manage feelings of being rejected by the boy I like-liked! Sure, I'd liked other boys before, but you were something extra special.

My pre-adolescent emotions that year caused me to have my first stressful, miserable Valentine's day.

A million people could have told me to chill, because there would be plenty of time for boyfriends when I was older. But their wise words wouldn't have made a difference. Human hearts are not as easily managed as pink paper ones. Not when one is ten, nor when one is fifty-five.

I know you probably don't even remember me, Adult Kyle. But I thank you for the sentimental  memories. It was all good experience and just a natural part of growing up.
I hope your Valentine's day was wonderful this year.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Nude Exercising and other Healthy Activities

Copyright: <a href=''>panicattack /
 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Recent news flesh, oops, I mean flash: a gym in New York City is now offering a nude exercise class! Check this out!

We all know that exercise is very important to keep our bodies healthy.  But how do we keep our minds and emotions fit- especially with so much stress and bad news in our lives every day?

Well, haven't you heard that laughter is the best medicine? I truly believe it's helpful in every way, even physically! I've laughed so hard at times that my belly was aching. I'm sure that type of workout was as effective as doing crunches.

I remember one such occasion that happened many years ago. I was doubled-over and could barely catch my breath! I was cackling and snorting while watching a hidden camera scheme on Oprah.

The prank involved an actress who was posing as a receptionist at a fitness club.
She was sitting at a desk in a little room. Her job was to assist members in signing up for an upcoming class (raquetball, I think).

When each person walked in, she said something like this "Hi. Are you here to sign up for the raquetball class? "Yes." Well, I have a huge favor to ask of you! I just got a call about a family emergency and I need to leave. Can you please just have interested members fill out this form? It would help me so much! Someone will be here to replace me in about 10 minutes."

Most of  them said "Okay, sure!" As the receptionist was rushing out, she added "Also, do not let anyone open that door that right behind you! A nude aerobics class is going on in that gym, and we guarantee our members complete privacy!" The helper's wide-eyed reactions were just the beginning of the funny stuff.

So, each person was in this tiny cubicle with nothing to do but wait. No one came in and time just seemed to drag. Hmm, boredom and intense curiosity is not always a good combination.

There was a little window above the gym door, positioned very high, near the ceiling. The scenario was similar with each hidden camera victim. Most of them looked out of the cubicle first, to make sure no one was coming. Then they grabbed the chair and took it over to the gym door, climbed up on it and tried desperately to see through the window! But the chair just wasn't quite tall enough, not even on tippy toes! Ugh!! A few of them heard something while they were perched up there. Oh you never saw anyone leap down so fast!

Some of the sneaky peekers even got on their hands and knees to look under the door. When they stood up, oh, what bitter disappoint on their faces! They still couldn't see the exposed exercisers! 

I'm still unsure, all these years later, why those scenes were sooo hilarious to me! But I think it's because I've always thought that relatable humor is the funniest. Those common traits of human nature that makes us laugh, not only at others, but with them too.

So here I am. It's still early in January and I have a whole new year ahead of me.

I've recently written about some of my struggles and lessons learned in 2017. I wanted to start my new blogging year off on a lighter note.

Hearing about the NYC nudie exercise class was just the inspiration I needed! It sparked such funny memories and encouraged me to lighten up (both physically and mentally).

The Oprah show fiasco also reminded me to avoid judging others. We can't always predict what we might do in a new situation! I hope I'll always do the right thing, even if I think no one's watching.
It's true that I am a very curious person, but fortunately, I don't have time these days to get bored...