When I was an upstairs neighbor, I never realized how much power I had until I became the downstairs neighbor. The upstairs neighbor has the power to put anyone living below through hell.
Add a two year old kid, a surround sound television and the fact that neither adult has a job, and you’ve dropped down a few levels in hell which is now painful on a tangible level. Oh, and steps; can’t forget about the steps.
I cannot figure out why they have to stomp up and down the steps that lead up to their lair. Neither one of them weighs close to two hundred pounds. Yet, every opportunity I get to sleep, the screen door bangs open and there goes one of Satan’s disciples down the stairs. Bang, bang, bang, bang! They must always forget something because back up they go. Bang, bang, bang, bang! And… back down again.
I am convinced that they have external speakers on a television with surround sound and that they lay them down on the floor above my bedroom while they blast some ridiculous program every time I need to lay down before I go to job number two. It must sound better. Perhaps I’ll try it.
The kid got a walker. When kids should be sleeping, this kid is having the time of her life rolling back and forth on their wretched hardwood floors. This coupled with the melody of what seems body slams from above is great to add to my night time television watching.
In the wee hours of the winter mornings they park in front of the building (I suppose because it is just too cold to walk the extra twenty feet to where everyone else parks) which is right outside our bedroom window. The car idles for twenty minutes or so, allowing me to waking up to the smell of exhaust in the morning. It’s a good thing I love coffee.
White cigarette butts sprinkle the dark stone drive outside. I try to convince myself that they look like white rectangular pebbles, but my sense prohibits my imagination from entertaining the thought.
Finally, let us not forget about their little dog named Annie. Annie is a small, fluffy white dog. The female demon spawn likes to chant “treat, treat, treat, treat, treat!” whenever the dog doesn’t feel like coming in. She does this at least six or seven times in a row louder and louder. The dog is not a barker and is the most polite member of their boorish family, now that I give it some thought. I am convinced the dog is looking for a way out.
I was walking into the bank yesterday in my leggings and long form fitting sweater. The leggings were black. The sweater gray with black horizontal stripes; black belt and black flats accessorizing my look. My butt and boobs were tucked away.
This gentlemen – I use the term loosely – passed me and was looking at me oddly. He then says, “Wow. Look at that outfit. Look at that outfit.” Since I was having a less than secure day I kind of freaked out inside. What does that mean? Do I look bad? Do I look good? Is my look mediocre? Have you looked in the mirror lately pal? It seemed as though he had more to say, but before he could utter another word from his seemingly seedy lips, I ducked into the vestibule.
The rest of the day entailed me telling everyone who would listen about my momentary encounter with the stranger. I suppose I was looking for validation. I desperately needed someone to say, “your outfit is awesome! Nice! Super! ”
This was not the first time I have been in the presence of someone who thought it was necessary to let me know his or her feelings (which he didn’t really – he left it open to interpretation) about something that was really none of their business.
But maybe we need more of this. I mean, have you looked around lately?
Men in muscle shirts two sizes too small with very little muscle, women wearing clothes that leave nothing to the imagination and on some of these women imagination is needed.
I’ll admit it. When I was 20, 25, 30 and even 35 I walked around showing off as much of me as I possibly could. I had a great belly at one time and every chance I got, out came the midriff. I’d be at the bar or even the local corner store and I would get hit on or whistled at. After this came my incensement as to why no one took me seriously and why guys only just wanted to have sex with me.
Really? It took me all those years to finally get it. To get why the girls at the bar in the jeans and baggy t-shirts had boyfriends or husbands. To get why there never was a phone call the next day, or week or month for that matter, after having sex with someone less than twenty four hours after meeting.
I was nothing more than eye candy. If I had sex with you, then I was eye candy with the prize inside. But all in all, just something nice to look at. Like that freaky shirt in the window that looks awesome with it’s shiny studs and peacock colors, but the beige shirt is more practical and so that is the one we buy.
I can still wear clothes like that but I don’t want to. I realized that dressing like I am ready for my meeting at the local street corner still left me empty inside when I went home.
Men still check me out, and yeah, that feels nice sometimes. But men also take me seriously. More importantly, women take me seriously. I never had female friends in my twenties and early thirties. I thought it was because they were all bitches. Then I thought it was because I was unlikable. After I started putting some clothes on, I realized it was probably because I was unapproachable.
I’ve read in a lot of books about writing that in order to get anywhere with writing it is necessary to write at least a page a day. I was at one time trying to break into the fiction market. I was writing at least five pages a day about whatever popped in my head and I would not stop until I reached five pages. This type of writing is called free writing.
I stopped writing for a couple of years. Life happened and I had to buckle down. Being practical superseded trying to live my dream. I am trying to break back into the market again. However, this time I am going down a different road. That is the article road.
I find this to be a lot more challenging than fiction writing. See, in fiction writing, I could write whatever I wanted. There is little requirement for facts in fiction writing.
Article writing requires a lot of facts. Facts are not hard to come by. Finding facts that are indeed facts and not an interpretation of the facts is the difficult part.
So I get out my notebook and I write a list of all of the things I would like to write about. Then I write facts in big bold letters next to each idea.
Sports, Motorcycles, Women, Abuse, Alcoholism, Running, Eating right. These are some of the ideas I have jotted down. Some of these ideas are articles in progress which may make it to my blog or may be a victim of the delete button.
I was fortunate enough to get a response when I posted a link to my blog here on my Facebook page. A writer guy I am friends with on there gave me some good advice. I have to love it and I have to keep writing.
Ideas come from living. I have to reach deeper and pull out some of the stuff that may make me a little uncomfortable to write about. This world certainly wasn’t built on playing it safe. My writing won’t be built on playing it safe either, it seems.
The beginning week of January is always crammed in the gym. Resolutions are made to get in shape and be healthy so you run to the gym to sign up for their special membership prices. You might even get that free t-shirt that ends up becoming a cleaning rag. You leave feeling accomplished! You did it! You took the first step! Hats off to you, my friend. However, there is a sequence of steps that come after that very first important one that need to be maintained or your dream of looking like the hot chic in apartment 8 will be squashed.
You need an action plan. If you walk through those doors to the upbeat music and clanking of weights without a plan, you’re going to be all over the place.
So where do you start?
Get out your fave fitness mag or hop on the computer and find a plan that fits you. Although you are anxious to look like Jessica Simpson a few years back or the brand new Britney, the reality is that they didn’t get their rocking bods overnight and neither will you.
You want to make sure you do not overdo it in the beginning.
The experts say that you need to maintain at least twenty minutes at a certain level to burn fat, but for the moment you need to build endurance. Start off doing fifteen minutes of light cardio. You can start this at about 3 times a week.
If you’re at the gym, pick the treadmill and try to do a pace of 2.5 to 3.5 mph. If you aren’t a big fan of the tread, then hop on the elliptical and go at a steady pace. The elliptical works your legs a little more so you may want to start off a little lighter.
For some of us the gym can seem like a monotonous display of testosterone and skimpy outfits. If this isn’t really your thing then getting your cardio routine down at home is a great alternative.
The time of day is not really an issue since calories burn the same at 6 am as they do at 6 pm. If you are not a morning person, trying to commit to waking at 5:30 a.m. is going to frustrate you and give you reasons to make excuses to bail out. Start at a brisk walk for 10 – 15 minutes whatever time of day you choose. Again, you are trying to build endurance.
Where to walk is not an issue either. Do a search for parks in your area if you like the ambience of trees and babbling brooks. If being alone amongst nature gives you the creeps, then stick to your neighborhood. There are sites on-line that you can find a way to map a route in your area.
Please make sure to check with your health care professional before starting any fitness routine.
Week 1: 15 minutes light cardio 3 x a week
Week 2: 15 minutes light cardio 4 x a week
Week 3: 20 minutes cardio 3 x a week
Week 4: 20 minutes cardio 4 x a week
Week 5: 25 minutes of cardio 3 x a week
Week 6: 25 minutes of cardio 4 x a week
After you’ve built up your endurance after five to six weeks then your body at this point should have adjusted to your new workout. You can now gradually turn up the speed and the length of your cardio. If it feels like it is too much, knock it down a notch for a week and then come back up.
Remember to keep hydrated!
We as women stress out over the tiniest things because it is in our genetic make-up to take care of everyone and everything. Kids, work, mates, money, exercise and the list goes on of all the things in our lives that stress us out. And let’s add one more thing… ourselves! Meditation can help us through these trying times of overreaction.
If you can sit quietly for ten minutes then you have what it takes to meditate.
There really is no big secret to meditating. Breathing and having a peaceful focal point, which often times is your breathing, are really the only two things that are essential to meditating successfully.
The first and foremost step to meditation is breathing. Once you learn how to focus on your breath you are well on your way to meditating. So you’re thinking, ‘ well I already know how to breathe’. Well, yes, but this is a more focused breathing. Try to imagine your breath as a physical entity. You inhale the fresh air through your nose while you suck in your abdomen and then you push the bad air out of your mouth as you slowly relax your muscles.
You can meditate in your home.
Meditating at home is one of the easiest places to meditate. Just knowing you are in a familiar place can be relaxing. Try to give yourself a good amount of time. For some ten minutes works; others might need up to an hour. If you can’t make a meditation room (and really – how many of us can?) then just find the most relaxing place in your home. Sit in a relaxed position. Close your eyes and inhale through your nose (good in!) and then exhale through your mouth (bad out!). If your mind starts to wander take it back to the breath. You cannot think about more than one thing simultaneously. So if you are concentrating on your breathing there is nothing going on in that already over loaded brain of yours.
You can meditate outside.
Meditating outside in a park or even on your front porch or stoop in the quiet time of the day is another great place to meditate. The noises of nature; chirping birds, the wind rustling the trees and perhaps even a close by trickling of water, are great accents to go along with your breathing. If sitting on the grass makes you uncomfortable then go for a walk. Still, be sure to focus on your breath while your senses take in the sights and sounds of the outdoors. Feeling the wind brush your skin is an added bonus.
You can meditate in your car.
This is a tricky one. However, focusing on your breathing and finding a happy space in your head while stuck in traffic is a good way to get through your commute without wanting to repeatedly bang your head on the steering wheel! Instead of turning on the talk radio or cranking the tunes (which I am guilty of often) try being in the quiet with your breathing for .. yep! Ten minutes! Then put your radio on.
You can even meditate at work.
It’s true! This is probably one of the top places we all need to learn to meditate. When deadlines are crashing in on you and your boss won’t stop hitting the intercom button it is great to know how to focus on your breathing and getting to that happy place. If you have to step away from your desk so be it. You’ll collect yourself and be more productive when you get back to that intercom.
So remember. As long as you can find yourself a happy place in the midst of the insanity of your day-to-day, and you can focus on your breathing then you have what it takes to meditate.
I met this guy who had a Suzuki GSXR 750 one night and we hit it off well. A few days passed and he asked me to ride with him on the back. About 8 or 9 months went by and he decided I should learn to ride for myself. So out came the Gixxer from the garage and he told me to get on. I went down the back drive and around the bend out to the bigger part of the parking lot.
The bike and I were apparently on different frequencies because I wanted to go right but the bike went straight and I dropped it. I was mortified. I cracked the mirror and scratched the right front fairing.
He told me that maybe I should take the Rider Safety Course provided by PENNDOT.
“I think that’s a great idea,” I chirped.
I got the motorcycle rider manual from the driver center in Bensalem and read until I felt like my eyes were going to bleed ink. I went and took my permit test.
I was distraught. I had never failed a test in my life! Back home and I read some more. This time I handed the book to my BF and told him to ask me questions. A couple weeks went by and I went up to take the written test again.
So I went onto the website and I found a class up at Brian’s Harley Davidson in Langhorne, PA for a rider course. Basically, 2 weeks, 6 classes. 2 in the class room, 4 on the bike. The last 2 would be test classes.
I passed the written with flying colors. The bike I chose for the riding part of the class was a Honda Rebel 400. The guy looked at me kinda funny He was apparently surprised that I had not chosen a smaller bike like a 250. But I’m tall and the Rebel fit me. Isn’t that one of the most important parts of riding?
I felt like I won the lottery after I got my license. Now we could ride together like real riders. He told me I could ride the Suzuki 750 GS which I really came to dislike. It was air cooled and so as long as I was moving the temp was good. However, when stopped at red lights it would heat up rather quickly and it would stall out. Plus it had one of those engine protectors on it so it felt a lot bigger that it actually was. Still, I rode the GS for about 3 months or so.
Andy took me to Bromley’s in Trevose, PA one late afternoon to look at bikes. I didn’t have to look too long because my eyes caught a Ninja 500 sitting to the right and I swore if it the air had been silent I would have heard it calling my name. I looked at a few other bikes to appease Andy, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted that bright green Kawasaki Ninja.
I had my license for about 2 months and was really liking the winding roads of Bucks County. We would ride up through New Hope and into Lawrenceville, NJ. I was still gun shy and would just about do the speed limit. Andy would pull over up ahead and remind me of how I had to keep up with him. I would roll my eyes and keep up for a little bit but then I would let off of the throttle and go back down to just about the speed limit.
It was the first week of August and Andy decided we would go up to Bloomsburg, PA via the PA Turnpike. I felt my stomach churn. The turnpike?
It was hot that day and my riding jacket was secured under my cargo net on the back seat. I had on my helmet, a pair of jeans, my sneakers and a white ribbed tank top.
We got on the turnpike at the Bensalem entrance. I was white knuckling the whole way doing sixty-five. I wanted to tell him we needed to stop but my foolish pride kept me going.
We merged onto 476 North which has only two lanes. We passed the Lansdale exit and I felt like I might be okay. I was really going to make it to Bloomsburg. As I cruised along, now doing about 75 trying to keep up with Andy, I started to see signs for construction and my stomach twinged a little. I was watching Andy up ahead and then all of a sudden the cars in front of me had brake lights lit and I was gaining on them quickly.
I’d like to say that what I learned in my rider safety course took over but instead I panicked and instinctively grabbed the front brake. I heard this awful screech, the bike shimmied and suddenly I was down on my right side sliding down the highway.
I didn’t feel anything as I slid across the asphalt and all I could remember was hoping that whoever was behind me didn’t run me over as I was pretty sure that would have made things a lot worse.
Suddenly, there was this really nice woman who was kneeling beside me telling me not to move. I kept reaching for my chin strap. All I wanted was to take my helmet off. Andy was there talking to me and I was pretty calm. My adrenalin was in overdrive because I still felt no pain.
The ambulance arrived and I remember the one EMT was funny and he made me felt at ease. My adrenalin started to wear off and the pain of the road rash on my right shoulder and arm, my broken ankle (my shoe had been torn off of my right foot), and my bruised knee really started to scream. The EMT asked me if I wanted some morphine and I felt like that might be a good idea.
While I was doped up in the ER of Lehigh Valley Hospital Andy got in touch with our friend Chris who was nice enough to ride up there with his trailer and get my beat up bike back home. The left mirror was shot and the whole left side of the fairing was scratched and cracked.
I was discharged from the hospital that same day and when I got home the first thing I did was run in the bathroom to throw up from all of the morphine I had been shot up with. I felt awful about ruining our trip to Bloomsburg, but Andy assured me we could go another time.
I missed work for the rest of August. I was a car parts delivery girl at the time and due to my injuries could not effectively carry an alternator or even press my foot on the gas and brake pedals.
This year we rode to Port Jervis, NY. We took back roads and it was one of the most amazing rides of my life. I did wear my jacket for the trip.