Friday Jams: My Bell Bottoms are not Your Vintage!

A few weeks ago a REEL crossed my path where a seemingly nice young lady was super exited because a realtor friend called her up and said that an apartment he will show needs to be cleaned out and the woman who lived there had an entire wardrobe of VINTAGE clothes from the, wait for it…1970’s. Yes, I typed 1970’s because if someone references the ’70s as vintage, I assume they mean clothes from the 1870’s.

1970’s. Vintage? I don’t think so.

If you think for one hot minute that I’ll post about the 70’s and not include a gratuitous picture of Randy White, you’ve never net me.

Anyways. This young lady’s excitement of finding an entire closet full of bell bottoms and knitted vests was eventful enough that I did a little math. It seems the 70’s were 50 years ago. When I was growing up in the 70’s, fifty years prior to that were the roaring ’20s and dressing up as a flapper for Halloween was so common to me I didn’t even consider it Vintage.

50 years. When the actual fuck did that happen? I mean, I understand that I’ll be 56 this year and when I was 40 I looked at people who were 56 and thought, ‘geez, I hope I’ll still be able to lift when I’m 56.’ Joke’s on me because right now my lifting is spotty but I’m doing what I can and it turns out that I think I’m fabulous at almost 56 and I STILL get mistaken for being younger than my 48 year old hot hunky hubs.

But today isn’t how hot 70’s linebackers were or how fabulous I am, it’s about the Jams. Look, I understand how each generation believes their music was “the greatest” but when it comes to the 70’s, well, it was truly the greatest. Sorry not sorry. You had the folk music coming out of the 60’s; new rock; funk; smooth rock; disco; some of the greatest country music in the history of country; and towards the end of the decade punk was becoming more mainstream and us suburban kids thought we were pretty badass because we could identify music from The Clash or Siouxsie and the Banshees.

When trying to come up with one Friday Jam to represent the 70’s, it’s impossible. I loved Donna Fargo; Johnny Denver; Queen; Blondie; Tanya Tucker; The Jackson’s; Cher; Deep Purple; Led Zeppelin; Olivia Newton John; Earth, Wind & Fire; The Pointer Sisters. I haven’t even gotten into the Blues or Soul! Point is, 70’s music is unbeatable for a generation of musical growth (and death. RIP Disco.)

So I’ll go with the queen, Donna Summer. When looking for a musician to identify with in the 70’s, my go to was Donna Summer. Sure, Blondie was sassy and hot and the whole Playboy bunny thing was an added layer of mystique. But I wasn’t built like Blondie and honestly, being introduced to sex so young and in such an abusive mode, I didn’t want to identify with a rock star who was also so overtly sexual. I guess some parts of me still clung to being a kid. Same reason I couldn’t identify with Olivia Newton-John, she was too pure. I was too dirty.

But Donna Summer was gritty. She didn’t ask for special favors, just a chance to be heard. She was curvy and imperfect but still sexy and soft spoken. I’ve never been soft spoken, it’s a quality I admire. She walked out on a stage and commanded, purely through her talents, that she be recognized and respected. Also, she was a little on the bad side. She made it okay to have a bad side, I needed that. She was one of the most beautiful women who has walked the planet in my lifetime and I hope sincerely that she had a good life. The joy and escape her music provided me was invaluable at times. Even trying to decide which of her songs to play was tought but ultimately, I went with the song that I listened to no less than 58,000 times. Donna Summer isn’t vintage, she’s immortal.

God had to create Disco music so I could be born and be successful.

Donna Summer

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Some Days the Weight Wins

It occurred to me the other day that I hadn’t written my story of World Masters Weightlifting Championships (otherwise known as, Worlds;) back in December. What now seems like a lifetime ago. I hadn’t even thought about it and my reaction to what transpired until the other night as a bunch from the WanAt crew were out for Pizza after celebrating our Buscia’s 95th birthday when my well intentioned brother-in-law asked how that “one meet in Florida” went. Whoops, too soon Steven, too soon.

I’m going to back up a bit first. 2022 had specific goals in specific timing. Get as strong and proficient at the lifts as humanly possible at 55. I was in a new age group and I had the ability to do some damage to standing records, both National and World. Yeehaw, let’s go! Nationals at the end of April found me without my coaches due to a family wedding and Michael connected me with the most excellent stand in, Debbie Millet in Salt Lake City. She was amazing. We did good. It wasn’t everything I wanted to do but it was a good start for the year. I had another National Championship under my belt and set a couple of National records. Goal one checked off for 2022.

I passed on the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico for Pan Ams. Truth be told, I just don’t wanna be that hot when I lift. I don’t throw in the snow or rain either so I’m an equal opportunistic snowflake.

Because of the late timing of Worlds as the international weightlifting world recovers completely from lockdowns (a disgusting word in a free world), the Howard Cohen American Championships were held in August (usually November.) Now I DID have my coaches and even received my medal from the legend himself:) I increased my National records and was especially pleased that my Snatch numbers were 2 kilos shy of the world record and the weight literally FLEW into position in Baton Rouge. Goal 2 achieved.

After recovering from the meet, it was time to really face that my post menopausal weight was not going anywhere and I had to really take inventory of how I wanted to go into the last half of my 50s. Not supersized as I’ve been, was the answer but 3 months before worlds when I have my last set of goals to achieve isn’t the time to address it. Be as strong as possible. Be bold in my attempts in the gym. Gain confidence and go forth to kick ass. I had until December 3rd to prepare but afterwards, I had decided to take the bulk of 2023 off to address the body weight.

Nope, I can’t do both. If I’m competing, I want to be strongest as I can be. Not just strong, strongest. That means that my training has to push me hard and I need food to recover from that hard training. It also means I need to handle the constant inflammation that comes and ensure that it isn’t taking over my recovery. Ya know, kinda important shit old people need to keep an eye out for. So Worlds 2022 was it for the upcoming year and I needed to go out with a bang. Showcase my hard work. Plan A.

If you know me, you already know how that went. A head on car wreck that I’m still paying for physically, 3 days prior to lifting and my world completely fell apart. What my mind could do, my body couldn’t. That I even made a total is something of a miracle. The other day while visiting Savannah, the PollyPocket and I were tooling around talking about Worlds and she said something along the lines of me stating in Orlando that I wasn’t going to be able to lift. To be clear, not competing wasn’t on the table. Didn’t occur to me. But yes, I DID tell her that I wasn’t able to lift. I had tried, unsuccessfully, to deadlift 35kilos 2 days out and I failed due to kneck and knee pain. I had two crying bouts in the training hall each time I tried to lift with little success. I was fucked.

Matt’s pregame hype, normally the talk that gets my grrr face on, led to more tears. Not because I wasn’t going to try, but because some days your body just can’t hold up to the stress you’re about to inflict on it and I knew this was going to be one of those days. Every lift on the platform was like a skyscraper driving me into the ground as I tried to hold the weight up. I had a potential gold medal jerk in my hands and though my mind said “yes”, my spine said, “nope” and I failed to achieve that 3rd and most important goal. I was emotionally destroyed. I was completely unprepared for failure and that it came out of someone else’s inability to, oh I dunno, NOT FUCKING PLOW INTO ANOTHER CAR with me in it hasn’t helped at all. That I was, still am, physically damaged didn’t help. I’m a horrible patient when I’m not 100% and the effort it’s taken not to be a bitter whiny hag about it all has been a lot.

As disappointing as that whole thing was, it has not been my only challenge this last year. In fact, I have had possibly the worst year of my life when adding up personal challenges. I have hits coming from all sides and I’m so very proud that I wake up each day with gratefulness for this amazing life I live with an amazing husband and amazing friends and amazing security that I’ll get to eat today without much effort and most likely vacuum up dog hair from our fuzzball, Glitch.

But I have sadness and in some moments, just like the pang to the heart when faced with a quick reminder that my weightlifting meet didn’t go as planned, the weight of that sadness hits hard enough that I need to stop and acknowledge it. I don’t dwell, but I feel until the feelings are done. Maybe it takes a quick cry, dunno, I don’t rush it. Some moments or even days, the weights of the world win.

Just like physical inabilities in the moment (I have officially joined the ranks of doctors appointments, and even today am in considerable pain and inflamed from a snatch session yesterday that built to a measly 45kilos) there are times I have emotional/mental inabilities to handle a session of difficulties spiraling around me. The ability to compartmentalize and focus on moving forward is a beautiful thing, highly recommended.

In many ways, the last 3 years has not been easy for so many. The weights of the world are crushing more and more and the inability to deal with these struggles is apparent every day. Yours may be also, just don’t throw your shit onto someone else thinking it’s going to help you feel better. It won’t. You’re going to have to buck up and feel your feelings while being grateful that you live in the most amazing Country on the planet (except for those few readers on here who plug in from China, sorry guys, you’re fucked.) Keep fighting for yourself and remember when the weights get too heavy, you’re going to be okay. When that jerk wouldn’t stay overhead for a gold medal, I put the weights down instead of trying to keep it overhead for a couple of months. Do that. Even when the weights win, acknowledge it and then get back in the fight.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

Mary Ann Racmacher

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February 2nd is Fake News

I recall the years I spent as a young girl (all great novels OR blog posts start out this way) that I held my breath on February 2nd to hear if a groundhog saw his shadow and whether or not this Hawaiian growing up in frigid Minnesota would have to deal with another 6 weeks of winter.

If memory serves correctly, Minnesota winters were brutal. I actually KNOW that memory serves correctly because the coldest I’ve been each and every winter since I’ve moved away is when I come back for a visit. Windchill’s that register in the negative 30s or 40s? Pshhhh, you’re still walking to school kid, bundle up. Layers of ice that have shut down Texas? Better leave more time to get to where you’re going. Walk to work in 18 inches of new snow because the busses can’t run? Yup. A Minnesota winter is not for the weak.

Any chance I had to cut this torture short by 6 weeks was welcomed and all I had to do was watch tv in the morning with Pastor John and wait for Puxawhatever Phil to see his shadow (or don’t. I still have no idea how this bullshit is measured.) I vividly remember the conversation in my late elementary years with my mom during a March boy’s hockey tournament snowstorm (if it doesn’t snowstorm during the boy’s hockey tournament in Minnesota, look out. It means it’s coming later and it’ll be a doosie) that we weren’t supposed to have any more winter cuz, ya know, groundhog day and all. Well, Lynda looked at me like I was either stupid or crazy and laid the truth bomb on me that Groundhog’s day didn’t REALLY mean anything other than February 2nd was probably pretty miserable in the northern regions of the country and needed a distraction.

What!The!Actual!Fuck! There ya go, as if 11 didn’t suck enough for me. Now I knew that no matter what, February 2nd was the day that GUARANTEED at least 6 weeks more of winter and became one of the more hated of dates on the calendar. What a rip.

And so began my distrust of anything and everything that appeared differently than what I was told. The fancy term for it now is ‘gaslighting’ but it all rolls back to the February 2nd’s of my childhood.

In later years, as a mother myself, I used the pomp and circumstance of Feb 2 to show my children that the TV will lie to you. There is no “maybe” in another 6 weeks of a Minnesota winter, only an absolute “yasure deal with it, get your snow pants on for the drive to school.” (One year the school district recommended that those children who are being driven to school NOT wear their snow pants to streamline the process of getting everything off and hung up in the hallways when school started which meant that the children who’s parents were dumb enough to follow this rule stood outside in below zero temps while waiting for the school doors to open without snow pants and oops, maybe this wasn’t smart.) By the way, I never got a “thanks mom for your honesty” for that one. Ingrates.

Enjoy your Feb 2nd. The good news is that Austin, TX will be back up in the 70’s in a few days. Texas has a sort of reverse Groundhog day where they get around 6 days of winter in February. Cool. Another reason to love Texas. But if you’re up north, suck it up folks, winter is here to stay for at least another 6 weeks. The rodent lies. Truth.

Ok, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties because it’s cold out there. It’s cold out there every day.

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Monday Bacon: Fire & Ice

The HotHunkyHubs and I were talking this morning about various topics that landed on the current state of healthcare. It’s a mess, if you didn’t already know. It wasn’t great before the shutdowns but mass layoffs; shutting down most areas of healthcare save for Cofid treatments; and the administrative “streamlining” that has backed up nearly every aspect of healthcare, including mental health care, has taken a toll that you don’t realize is there until you need healthcare.

It’s a mess. We’ve gone from, “Let’s talk about mental health” to “Everyone has some type of mental trauma and concessions must be made for each individual.” It’s non-sustainable, kowtowing to every person’s whim. This is why there are general rules for society. Don’t kill people unless they’re trying to kill you. That’s one. Drive on the right side of the road at a proper speed. That’s another. Don’t wear jammie pants on an airplane, just to name a few of the critical rules.

In general it’s helpful to see someone and their idiosyncrasies as a representation of a population group. It helps to prepare you on how to deal with people of similar nature. If you know someone who is extremely immature and self-centered and life forces you to interact with them, you’re going to know how to generally deal with others like them. It’s useful. It’s going to be up to you to decide how much bullshit you’ll put up with but overall, the more experience you have with different personalities, the more prepared you are to know what to expect.

After talking about a particular friend’s current situation, I reminded Matt that they represented a general group of people and would we allow more like them (yes, I’m being vague) in our lives? If the answer is no, why are we allowing this person to wreak havoc on our peace? You can take a few steps back without saying an outright goodbye, unless a goodbye is needed. I then asked Matt, “What do my characteristics represent?” Matt, being a very smart man, said he had no idea. I told him that sounded more like, ‘I’m not touching that’ and he finished by saying, “with a 10 foot pole.” So I had to finish the thought myself and I came up with fire and ice.

Not really, I actually said, “Harshness and Kindness.” I’m often attracted to others with some type of harshness. That doesn’t have to mean boss ass bitch but it will come with a tenacity to not sit still. High achievers? Maybe but I don’t know that I consider myself a high achiever, I just “achieve” here and there. Each one of my closest friends have walked through a fire or two. They’ve chosen to allow those fires to make them stronger and not limp through life because of burns or scars. My closest friends also have an element of kindness to them. My fab fav WonderWomanPollyPocketSavannahSister, Sheryl, is one of the most patient people I’ve ever encountered. I have no idea how she does it. She gets bombarded every week by at least one Masters weightlifter and where my answer would most always be, “I dunno, you’re over 35, figure it the fuck out” she takes the time to walk someone through their inability to apply critical thinking to help themselves through life. She’s cool that way.

See, when you have fire you need the ice or you’ll burn yourself and others out. It’s the tricky part of friendship, when you see fire taking over someones existence but since they’re smart adults, there’s only so much you can do to be helpful. If you’re my friend, you’re going to get the truth. Sorry not sorry. The harshness that will attract me to you must hold kindness or you’re just a hateful hag who burns with every touch. Not good.

Getting back to Jules, harshness and kindness. See, most who know who I am can recognize the harshness. Believe it or not, it’s better than it was. If you consider me telling you truths about a current situation ‘harsh’, then I’ve gotten worse. The kindness is less seen, at least I believe it is. In general, I don’t talk about works, I just do. I’m not interested in getting public points for shit I do, I’m more interested about how my heart feels at the end of the day. I can be harsh and I can be right (usually am by the way), but if I’m not kind then I’m just a hateful hag who bitches her way through life. Sounds gross, hard pass.

Years ago, I competed in Scotland at my first Masters World Championships for Highland Games. It was amazing, incredible, awesome, mind-blowing fun. It was the first time our age group, 45-49, was throwing a 21# weight as heavy weight for distance vs. the 28#. Which meant that the first throw was a new world record and if you threw a bit more than the previous world record, you have a new world record and with each new WR, the thrower wanted a picture next to the WR marker. It was kind of fun, kind of annoying because I wanted to throw an actual WR and win the event and I was the last thrower for the event. After my first throw (you get 3 throws plus extras if you win the event), the judge (an Angela Lansberry look alike, Elsbeth was her name) didn’t even look up from her clipboard and said, “Okay, go get your picture with the marker” as I was walking away. I gave her my ‘no thank you, I’ll get a picture at the end of the event if I’m still the WR holder” and looked up to see her nod of approval. I was the WR holder at the end of it and I got a picture with the group of women who were the 1st to throw a new implement at a World Championships. I was very proud of my World Record but I didn’t need to take a picture and post it if I didn’t have it by the end of the day. I’ll smile at others having fun but I don’t need to apply their approach to me. Sorry not sorry.

I don’t want to talk about it unless I want to talk about it. I’ll talk about the highs and lows of life and competition, but I’m not going to give you a rundown of all the old ladies I helped across the street each day. (Truth be told, I’m the old lady now.) At some point, I’m going to have to accept that while I have fire in me, I also have some ice to cool things down because I’m friends with some of the most amazing, smart people on the planet and I’m not just a pretty face.

So I have characteristics that represent a population of people and if you can get along with me, chances are high you can get along with others like me. That’s useful. Recognizing these traits about yourself is good, recognizing these traits in those closest to you is vital. Matt is far more social than me. He’s found camaraderie in a nearby gym, MKE Muscle. The owners, Bill and Bradley are amazing guys who’ve built up a black iron/body building mecca in the Cream City suburbs. Great energy and top equipment, a super nice and focused clientele, and Matt has his home away from home gym. I like to go with him here and there and then I remember why I love to train at home, my gym doesn’t have other people in it.

My bigg guy needs other people around and I need my bigg guy to get what he needs. Because I don’t need a lot of other people around has nothing to do with anything. I couldn’t say, “well I don’t need people so you don’t need people.” That would be rude and nonsensical. We’re not some robot couple, we each have individual needs and wants and working to get those in life makes us a stronger couple. Also, since I’ve worked and played alongside Engineers of different sorts for over 30 years, I understand characteristics that makes you want to pull your hair out in individual strands if you happen to be married to one. Heh.

At the end of the day, be you and work to be a better you. If your fire is burning too hot, allow some ice to douse the flames.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Zig Ziglar

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