Sunday, June 22, 2014

Five things you hope you don't see at the community pool..(yes, more pictures)

1. Speedos on anyone but an Olympic swim team member (thanks for reminding me of this one, Jenn)
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2.  Food in the water...either before, after, or during the process of digestion

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3. These guys:
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4. The chain smoker:
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5. The water-is-freezing-so-I'm-going-to-splash-everyone-not-in-the-pool joker:
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Five things you'll always see at a community pool; a blog post of (mostly) pictures...

1. Sunburn. OUCH!

2. the under five 'streaker'

3. Teenagers in looooooove

4. All the good chairs...claimed

5. An end of summer tan at the beginning of summer

Manners, ladies. Manners.

Last week in Zumba there were three girls watching the class through the door window to the gym. Eventually they came in and were dancing right behind me. I heard the sound of their voices and their laughing, even though I couldn't tell what they were saying. I didn't give it much thought until I saw one of them with her cell phone. Held up. While dancing. Right behind me.

I moved over, she moved over. So then I went to get water and stood behind them when I returned. And they stopped dancing and sat down against the wall behind me. So I slowly kept working my way over to the other side of the room.

While I don't mind dancing like no one is watching (when people are watching) and I am actually there for my health, I don't particularly enjoy being made fun of. Believe me, I completely understand I've got this whole thing going on:

Any of us that have extra jiggle in our wiggle...WE KNOW. Chances are that extra jiggle is exactly why we are in that class/program/activity.  And, depending on the type of class and the people that attend, some are a lot easier to walk into than others. Some of them take a lot of courage. Some of them take borrowed strength from a higher power.

I don't know if she was taking pictures or recording a video. I have no proof that she was doing either. But if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck? It's probably a duck.

I love that the Zumba instructor made them leave when she noticed they stopped dancing. And while I'm pretty secure with myself, it doesn't mean I want to watch myself from behind in a Zumba class. I wouldn't want to even if I looked like this:

photo credit

 Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes. Were I standing in class sucking down a milkshake and mainlining chocolate while half-assing the workout, then sure. Comment. Take a picture. Make a video.

It took me a year to work up the courage to start going to classes where I live now, because the disdain for overweight people is palpable. And it seems to be assumed that if you are heavy, there's no way you could be living a healthy lifestyle. Or a good person. And I notice the looks and hear the commentary and the laughter. And yes, it hurts my feelings. I've battled a weight problem all my life and I'll probably battle it until I die. Some days are better than others. But when someone is obviously trying (and the sweat pouring off me was obvious proof), how about just leaving them alone to do their thing?

Manners. It's what's for dinner.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Good night, sweet friend

May 4, I woke up and did the normal things - went to the bathroom, washed my hands and face, brushed my teeth, drank some water, kissed my husband and kids good morning and wandered into the living room to see what was new on Facebook and in my email.

I had gotten a message from my friend Brian at 4:41 am that stated simply, "Dawyn has left us."

Oooooohhhhhhhhh. ::big, slow exhale::

I knew it was coming. Dawyn had been diagnosed with IBC (Inflammatory breast cancer), had beaten it into remission, but it came back pissed off and super aggressive. She had slowly been fading away from her Facebook and blog updates (Living with IBC ). She had seemingly offhandedly mentioned on Facebook that her diagnosis was terminal months and  months ago.

If you knew her, you were devastated. It's hard to describe Dawyn in a phrase or a paragraph. She had a love of life and people that was bigger than racial issues, economic status, cultural differences, religious intolerance...any of the petty things that often bog us down in day to day life. She is, I mean was, probably the most naturally happy person I've ever met.

Her Facebook page is filled - FILLED - with people saying good bye to her. She has left an emotionally bereft crater at least twice the size of the Grand Canyon in the hearts of those that know and love her.

About a week later, I met up with three friends of mine from high school when we went to her memorial service. I met her wife, Michele, and I could feel her grief from across the room. Or it could have been our grief radiating out too. So many people love her. So many people admire her. So many people had stories to tell of meeting Dawyn or of an adventure (or seven) they had with her. It was hard to be sad among so many happy memories. We were prompted to relate a memory of Dawyn when we signed the guest book. And all of us looked at each other and wondered how? How to choose one thing? I'm sure we all wrote something down, I couldn't tell you what I wrote because there were so many things I wanted to say but I couldn't find the words.

The memorial service was beautiful - an opera singer sang Amazing Grace and I had to concentrate really hard on my shoes not to bawl like a baby. In the middle of the service, a thunderstorm erupted right on cue and while the wind whipped around and the rain poured, there was enough room in the gazebo for all of us and no one got soaked. The people that spoke at the service told stories of the Dawyn they knew who really just seemed like an wiser, kinder, more experienced version of the girl we all knew.

After it was over and we were talking to Michele, she told us she wanted to get to know the Dawyn we knew. I didn't trust myself to say too much at the time. Truth be told, I wasn't super close with Dawyn like Lori, Brian, or Donovan. But Dawyn was one of those people that you always saw around, that always spoke to you, would laugh at your stupid jokes, would give you a hug if she thought you needed it. In high school, I think it's common to think you know someone yet not know them at all. From what people were saying about her that day, nothing much had changed.  She faced her fate with dignity and grace. She seemed so grateful for the blessings in her life and damn if she didn't consider just about everything a blessing. It was not possible to know her even an little and not love her. It just wasn't.

I'm so sad my friend has gone. I'm sad that she won't be able to give her and Michele's coat and boots to any more homeless people she meets on the street. I'm sad that the world didn't have more time with her. Dawyn, you were one in a million and so many will miss you but so few will forget.