Stretching Out Winter

OMG!  Posse!  This is just the most ridiculous Winter EVAH!  We are in the midst of  Polar Vortex 2.0, which follows yet another blizzard.   I. Hate. Winter.  And for those who think I get to stay inside, eating Mallomars and drinking tea….remember those chickens?  Yep!  5:45a, shoveling a path to the coop. We got 4″ of snow last night.  It’s persackly 29 solid steps from our back door to the coop gate…and in Polar Vortex those are the longest 29 steps………. But I sprayed a bit of Tom Ford Noir de Noir to keep me company in the pitch dark morning, with the wind howling…the swoony rose and vanilla bloomed beautifully as I worked up a nice head (and other places) of steam, sweeping 4″ of snow out of the run…. and, yes, I trickled the water.  Fool me once, bay-bee…

….but I don’t want to talk about perfumes or chickens today….  I wanna talk about Body & Mind.  You all know of my travails with my back, my knee, my hip, my shoulder, sciatica, my anxiety,  my garden-variety, all-around middle-aged Crazy.  Hey, I’m not proud of it but it is what it is.  These past 5 years have not been especially easy on me, with business and personal travails, longterm injuries from everything from the ‘exotic’ (an unexpected motorcycle ‘get-off’ @ 60mph) to the mundane (tripping on ONE PIECE of gravel!)….they all have taken their toll.  And to be honest, the toll is more psychological than physical.  I’ve become timid about everything from getting down from the bed of a pickup to simply walking down the street!  It was freaking me out!  I’m not 90yrs old and frankly, even if I were, I don’t want to be afraid to walk down the damn street!    And  I’ve noticed that a lot of you have commented with similar (or WORSE!) ailments!  Let’s face it, none of us is Benjamin Button so it’s only going to get weirder, as we progress.  So I decided to do something about it.  I have no problem growing old (as my pop used to say ‘you get old or you get dead’) but I want to do it with as much grace and health as possible.  Wonky joints and fearful movement is aging & demoralizing.  And I ain’t havin’ it.  So I turned to one of Our Own, Nina Zolotow.  She, along with her yoga partner, Dr. Baxter Bell, run Yoga for Healthy Aging.  It’s not Yoga for Old People – it’s actually persackly what they say it is – Healthy Aging.  Since all of us want to age, why  not do it in health, if we can?   This came about via one of the many Six Degrees wonders of Mark Zuckerberg’s little Social Media platform.  Nina is an avowed perfumista and one thing led to another…..I started poking around on her blog but didn’t really pay close attention until THIS article!  I’ve flirted with yoga in the past, from classes to DVDs (Rodney Yee, you’re HAWT! but too fast for a gal) …..but nothing really addressed what is going on with me – that sudden lack of confidence in my body, born of injury and inaction.  Nina and Baxter put together a series of exercises which she is chronicling on their blog (I think it starts HERE)   Those of you who are used to my ways will recognize my yammeration in that post – I have no problem identifying myself here – yeah, it’s me.  Scared to death, stiff as a board, shakin’ like a leaf and feeling like I’m 1000 years old.  And now it’s winter?  And the idea of walking  beyond the front door makes my stomach clench?  Gotta stop.   What’s cool about YFHA is, Nina, Shari and Baxter recognize that there are underlying issues – the lack of confidence is one that has to be addressed as well as – well, actually it has to be addressed as we go along.  I’m not just interested in more mobility; I don’t want to be scared to move anymore.

So!  What does this have to do with perfume?  Not much – but in a way, a whole lot.  See, the diminution of my confidence has impacted every aspect of my life.  I feel old.  Crunchycrackly.  Blech.   I was losing joy in nearly everything.

At least I was.  Now, with Nina, Shari and Baxter to help, I’m feeling a WHOLE LOT BETTER!  and it’s just starting.  The poses for sciatic?  Yeah, baby!!! I even took the boyz out yesterday, on the slick street (there are no sidewalks right now, you can fuggedaboutthat) and while I wasn’t Gene Kelly I wasn’t Gladys, either.  buzziJust that little achievement – walking on a slickery street without my heart in my mouth – in December!  In a blizzard!  with my knees bent and my hips a little bit loose!!! – that was HUGE!!!!  (okay – I lied when I said my heart wasn’t in my mouth.  But it was just barely there – more like on the tip of my tongue (or should that be the reverse? Hanging at the back of my throat?  Yuck.  I’m a little fuzzy, combining axioms and physiology ain’t mah thang).   And it made me feel less like a dinosaur.   So!  for allayouse who are illin’ a little bit or a lot – get over to Yoga for Healthy Aging and see what they have going on.   You  can follow my journey or take one of your own.  I’m not going to out ‘my girls’ here – it’s not my place – but you know who you are (and there may be some guys, too!).  I had no idea yoga could address so many things!  El O working m Very Last Nerve?  They’ve got a pose for that (my hand to Floyd, these past 5 days I have been in that pose EIGHT TIMES!     It really is cool!  I’m hoping to find a post on “Yoga for Crappy Sinuses”!!


btw – there is no affiliation here other than what I was already doing with them – I just thought it might be a interesting connection for some of you!  We’ll get back to perfume next week!!!


UPDATE:  for some reason the links aren’t working so… and

Nina Z January 23, 2014

The "Winter Ice, Fear of Falling and Yoga" post is up now. Baxter has some great recommendations about how to use yoga to acquire the strength, flexibility and agility you need to handle icy conditions. See:

Furriner January 23, 2014

Whoa! Thanks for the recommendation! I recently bough a couple pair of boots, which, while being nice looking and providing the necessary traction, are kind of a pain in the neck to get on and off. These cleats seem like an easier alternative!

Nemo January 23, 2014

I love mallomars! I have also been meaning to start yoga for the past few months, but even going outside these days seems like too much to ask :( I am very happy to hear how well it is working for you, and maybe that will help me get over the hurdle of getting into the habit myself.

Queen Cupcake January 22, 2014

Another great post, dear Musette! I can really relate to the ooching and oww-ing (I am 60). And I was just thinking the other day that I ought to get back to doing some Yoga. I find it works well for not only physical ailments (or deficits), but also the mind and the mind-body connection I sometimes neglect, as if my body is just an unruly thing that drags my thinking parts around. So happy you have found a path to Yoga! I think it really boosts confidence and relieves anxiety, at least for me, and I hope for you too. XOX

Kandice January 22, 2014

Musette, I could so identify with your post. I feel like as we get older we draw in and unfortunately fear makes us withdraw somewhat from life (unless we are very lucky). Yoga, however, helps not just our bodies but our feelings of being connected to life and to others. It makes us more at ease in our own bodies and helps with so many aches and pains. I have done yoga for many years, ever since a serious car wreck in college, and it has helped greatly. Last year, I started studying to get my teaching certification. Unfortunately health issues got in the way, but I hope to continue at some point. I know the yoga classes will help you with more than your aching back. Hang in there. It's well worth the journey!

Nina Z January 22, 2014

I'm learning so much from reading your comments! Fear of falling on the ice is such a common concern that I've asked Baxter to write something for the blog about it. He said he would do it, and it will be up on Friday!

eldarwen22 January 22, 2014

It's funny that I'm only 31 and I'm starting to feel some of that. The fact that my left knee pops when I go up the stairs and crunches when I go down the stairs. Don't get me started on when my neck starts popping. It's madness I tell you. Since it's been really cold, I've spent a lot of time with Netflix and window shopping. I'm still trying to recover (financially) from Christmas and my stupid oral surgery in November.

rosarita January 22, 2014

I will definitely be checking this out as an extension of the PT exercises I'm doing (it's become impossible to be on the couch without stretching and bending.) A sweet nurse at my ortho's office had a partial knee replacement the day before I had my full replacement. At week five, she slipped on ice and fell - now she has to have the surgery redone. That experience has put the Fear in me! I'm through with PT but they have a great program where I can go use the equipment & my therapist has made a plan for me to follow. The problem is getting there! I have 5 steep steps and a 120' sidewalk between the house and garage, then there's the ice & snow to drive through, plus wearing snow boots with no support .... I move at a snails pace down that dang sidewalk even though my husband keeps it shoveled & salted; when it's windy, it drifts shut. Slogging to get groceries, the icy parking lot and wet floors, yep, I'm Fearful. The knee has had an infection in the incision since the day after surgery, so I've been in a haze of antibiotics, pain killers and Ambre Russe for weeks. Calgon, take me away! Thanks for letting me whine, Posse, and thanks for the links, Musette, those ice cleats look awesome :-) May will be here eventually, right?

Michelle January 22, 2014

No complaining about the winter here, as I´m reading your blog from the lobby of an open-aired hostel sala in Tulum, Mexico! Yaay!!! Funny though, M, as I was thinking about going to the ¨nice & easy¨ yoga class that I went to 15 years ago when I was pregnant with precious darling drunkard daughter (spent Sunday morning in ambulance/ER/children´s hospital with her, she´s fine now but grounded ad infinitum). Cuz I don´t think it is normal for 40 sumthin to be so sore all the time, right? I should be able to ride a mountain bike 15 km and swim in the ocean without feeling like a cripple all night. XOXOX

Martha January 22, 2014

I've been to several yoga classes over the years and have discovered that some of the teachers really aren't all that attentive. It is possible to get hurt if you're 55 (like me) and try to follow a super flexible 25 year old teacher in class. So, I started going privately to a teacher who is my age and teaches something called Gentle Yoga. This is more expensive than a large group class so I don't go weekly, but it is worth it because my balance has improved, my confidence is back!, my tendonitis is no longer a daily occurrence, and I just feel better overall. Aging is certainly a humbling experience, but it doesn't have to be dangerous. There's another type I've done called Restorative Yoga and it is like cuddling up in your favorite fuzzy blanket. It is all about calming down, chilling out, call it what you will, it is a wonderful way to relax AND get a good, safe stretch. Thank you, Musette and Nina for calling attention to these annoying issues of middle-age, and the ways that we can help ourselves.

jirish January 22, 2014

This is just what I need. I'm 52 and have been feeling the creaks and aches of aging (I can hear myself going up and down stairs!), especially since I injured my shoulder last year shoveling snow. And I especially need to increase my flexibility and balance since I've decided that, in spite of my 'advanced' age, I want to learn to ski. I've recently decided that since I can't beat winter, I might as well learn how to enjoy it.

bevfred January 22, 2014

It's good to hear about the chickens again and to enjoy your open honesty about your life. I'm 64 and have just moved to Winnipeg which is beastly cold. I too have a fear of falling and have been experiencing some of the things that you have. YFHA, here I come! Slow down Rodney Yee! Thanks for sharing......I'm looking forward to some changes in my life and body. Cheers!

Ann January 22, 2014

Howdy, sweetie, from one end of the deep freeze to the other! So glad the yoga is working for you -- hooray! I've always been afraid to try yoga as I am klutzy and as inflexible as the day is long, plus add an iffy neck and a wonky back and leg. Most days I feel lucky to just get around in one piece, ha! Keep up the good work!!

Jackie b January 22, 2014

OMGI love this post! A quarter of the way in I was, and there, you have already arrived! I am an ex dancer but now even the thought of a pirouette makes me feel disoriented. But yoga has given me more confidence and sure footedness (a word?) It seems to enhance balance and core strength...and is non competitive. Wherever you are at, you are doing great, Yay for you!!!

poodle January 22, 2014

I dragged my hubby to a yoga class years ago. He went in kicking and screaming and saying yoga was not for men, etc. needless to say he's been going pretty faithfully at least once a week ever since and it's the best thing he ever did. It has helped him physically but it's the mental stuff that really makes a difference too. He's calmer and he sleeps better. It's a matter of finding a class you like though. He and I both hate heated classes. I like slower paced ones too. I'm a huge yoga fan. I'm glad you found something that is helping you feel better. Keep it up and don't put any pressure on yourself with it. Just go at your own pace. I think people try to keep up with the rest of the class and that's where the problems come from. Some bodies don't want to bend certain ways. There's no shame in that. Do what feels good to you. And be careful out there on the frozen tundra.

Laurels January 22, 2014

Just followed your links, and this looks very helpful. Thank you!

Laurels January 22, 2014

My (few) previous experiences with yoga haven't been encouraging--everything seemed to hurt either my neck or my lower back, although that could be due to my own lack of coordination. If you find something for sinuses, though, I am IN. (The Santa Ana winds make for higher temperatures, but my head is killing me, and everything I touch gives me a shock. I got off the couch the other night and was literally crackling with electricity. I may be becoming an X-man.)

Furriner January 22, 2014

I'm glad you're recovering from your back problems. I understand what you say about lacking confidence in your own body. I think I'm feeling the same, although probably not to the extent you are, given the circumstance. I slipped on the ice again (oh, boo hoo!) on the first, and ever since then I feel like a little old man getting on and off the bus or crossing the street... you just can't be too careful!! And, yes, I hate this weather. I was fortunate to be on vacation when it was 50 below or whatever it was, so didn't have to leave the house if I didn't want to, thank you! But it looks like it is not letting up. I'm also with you on the sinus yoga, as long as it doesn't involve running knotted ropes through my nostrils. My congestion has been really bad this year.

Nina Z January 22, 2014

I'm out on the West Coast, but I promise to check back as early as I can tomorrow (and on and off during the day) in case anyone has any questions or just wants to chat!