March’s New Year

Okay, it´s the New Year. I´ve made my resolutions. Here´s this year´s slapdash list and an inspirational essay, which you can feel free to skip and come back Friday for a review of the Indults.

I will not embrace the new technology. (By “new” I mean anything this side of a CD player.) I will not get a Treo, I will not learn to send or receive text messages. I will continue to bother Patty with my higher-level technical issues, like when my toolbar disappears, providing her with hours of low-cost mirth. I will continue to use the same three online passwords I have been using for the last 10 years.

I will give up on trying to change the burnt-out bulbs in our recessed lighting and learn to Embrace the Darkness. I will try to harness my special electrical superpowers (nobody blows bulbs like I do – they practically explode when I touch any light or lamp switch) and try to channel it towards the forces of good.

I will not get a tattoo, have an affair, or learn to play bridge. I will find a place within a two-hour drive (there must be one) where I can shoot clay pigeons.

I will read more books. I used to read; I remember. You´d think in all the time I spend not watching TV I´d read more books. I´m going to check out that Library Thing some of you blogged about. Also, by the way, I just read Dave Eggers´ new book, What is the What, which tells the novelized true story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of Sudan´s Lost Boys. I didn´t buy it because it was too depressing. Having received it as a Christmas gift, though, I read it in one sitting, because I couldn’t put it down. Yes, it is depressing — it’s also glorious and wry and beautifully written.

I want to remember – and I know you know – what is that song which for some reason I am hallucinating is William S. Burroughs exhorting us to wear more sunscreen? Have I been hitting the Perrier Jouet and Belgian chocolates a little too hard? Come on, readers – help me out. Also, if I were less technologically inept I´d stick in one of those music thingies right here you can click on that would play Will Powers´ Dancing for Mental Health. Formerly disaffected geek/D&D/proto-punk children of the 80s – bring those hands together! I hope they are not still sporting chipped black nail polish.

Fragrance-wise, I will
: revisit Caron to see if my nose has smartened up any; add another five or ten incense or leather fragrances to Ma Collection; spend some time sniffing and reviewing more vintage fragrances; fall in love with one of those new Guerlains (the house can´t break my heart forever); completely reverse my feelings on several scents.

I want to live
closer to that ideal which says I will live forever – and only one more day. As part of that goal, we are taking a trip this summer, the whole motley Ship of Fools. I am hoping it will be a long trip outside the country. We are shopping the discount plane tickets and have put our house up on; our random first-choice destinations are Thailand, Greece, and Sweden, but we´d go lots of other places too – for three weeks or a month. When I am on my deathbed, which I hope will be at least 50 years from now, I will not wish I´d owned more crap. I want to travel, bringing my family with me when I can, because family trips are at the center of many of the best memories from my childhood.

Okay, here´s the essay:
In October I did something to my neck, which spread into my shoulder and drifted down my back. It was the beginning of The End – that long, slow skid into total unfitness that I had ignored for years. I was in the kind of pain that (can I tell?) my winning combination of Percocet and Valium didn´t begin to touch, the kind of pain I had to breathe through. I turned down the Vicodin only because I know too many horror stories of people who hooked up with Vitamin V and couldn´t end the relationship without a stint in rehab.

Instead, encouraged by the Big Cheese, I tried a Bikram Yoga class. Yoga requires balance, strength and flexibility, none of which I have. But yoga seemed like literally the only exercise I could attempt. Bikram is “hot yoga” – maximum humidity, 90 minutes, 26 postures, in a room heated to 100 degrees or thereabouts. I figured, well, at least I won´t be cold (I´m always cold). Their instructions are clear: lie down if you have to, but don´t leave the room unless you´re going to puke. I survived the first class, barely, crawled out and said, thank God that´s over.

And the next day … I went back. And I kept going.

There´s a diabolical simplicity to Bikram that works for me. All classes are all levels – the same 26 postures every time, in the same order. That means, schedule-wise, I´ve got five or six class choices a day, instead of being consigned to the purgatory of Beginning Yoga. Second, I can´t half-ass Bikram; even if I´m only doing 10% of a posture I´m working like a dog.

My terrible pain was gone in a week, and my skin looked amazing. I didn´t lose a pound. Instead, an even weirder thing happened. In yoga, you´re not working with weights – you are the weight. You work like that for 90 minutes several times a week and – surprise! – you get stronger. One day I looked at myself in the mirror and realized my thin, lax Pillsbury Doughgirl body was sprouting muscles. The one area that really bugged me – my round I´ve-had-twins abdomen – is now down by several inches, and I´m wearing skirts and pants I haven´t squeezed into in years. I could say that I´ve taken 10 years off my body, but that would be a lie. I have never looked like this before.

So. I´m singing that hackneyed platitude from the rooftops – if I can do this, if I can get in shape — anyone can. I know Patty´s been hitting the Pilates hard and is very pleased with the results. It doesn´t have to be Bikram or Pilates or boot camp. But if, in the back of your mind, you´ve been a little worried about what shape you´re in, let me state the obvious – you´re wearing the only body you have, and it might be easier to start taking care of it now than wait, like I did, until you´re really in trouble. Go do something. If you´re lazy like me, don´t just join the gym – assuming you ever go, you´ll just stand around in your shorts reading Vogue. Sign up for a dance class, hire a trainer – make a commitment. Just a thought to carry you forward into what is, I hope, a great 2007.

  • kuri says:

    Y’all are so inspiring! Loved this post.

    I will add that Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune wrote the wonderful article that Lurhmann made into a song.

    I plan to take a trial belly dancing lesson 😀

  • March says:

    Andy — well, I’ll think about it. The tattoo, not the affair.

  • March says:

    Tom — the sweaty young college boys!!!;)

  • March says:

    Jake — thanks for the tip. It’s getting up there to the ceiling that counts… the Cheese is afraid of heights, and I need a real ladder.

  • March says:

    P — okay, so they could be my sons too.

    But they aren’t.

    So as long as I look and don’t touch…

  • March says:

    Emote — every year knitting is on my mental list. Maybe this year I’ll actually do it! Daughter wants to learn with me…

  • March says:

    Ellen — I am totally on board with the leafy greens.

  • Andy says:

    March …hehehe… I was more thinking in you having an affair, showing off your new tatoo, and wearing my perfumes 😉

  • tmp00 says:


    Leafy greens aren’t a resolution, they’re a joy. But you’re right, we should eat them more. Tossed with a bit of olive oil and roasted? Yummm. Sprinkled with a bit of cider vinegar mixes with dijon? Heaven!

    Also, In LA, the busses are even more air-conditioned than my little Honda can manage. Divine.


    Sadly, sweating is part of the equation. Personally, I like sweating in a heavily air-conditioned room with the sure and certainty of a hot shower minutes away. I may have to try Bikram though, I have friends who swear by it. If I end up a puddle on the floor, I’ll balme March. :d

  • Jake says:

    How to change a recessed light bulb: Take a twelve-inch strip of duct tape and make a “handle” out of it by sticking it to itself, while leaving a few inches on each end to attach to the light bulb. Once it’s stuck on the bulb, twist the “handle” and it will turn the bulb. Voila.

  • Patty says:

    No tattoo? Oh, hell. I’m actually thinking I should get one.

    I’m with Tom, I don’t like to sweat. The moment I start to break a bead on the treadmill, I turn the speed or the incline down. So as swoony as a class of hot, sweaty college men sound (they could be my sons), um, no way, at least not yet!

  • Emotenote says:

    Thanks March, for a wonderful post. I’ve been wondering about Bikram now that I’m free of reproductive possibility (A glorious and much needed serious operation) to stay in shape and get off the pain killers. The classes are few here in Chattanooga but it sounds like they’re worth the travel time. I, too, resolve not to get a tatto, yet.

    Also, I must pursue and sniff at least a couple of carons, get ahold of some mandarine mandarine and actually purchase some Divine and Sacre Bleu. I’ve been a tech nerd for so many years that I’m actually tired of it. I want my innocense back, when I didn’t think I would need to know html. It’s too exhausting. I want to teach painting, or knitting or fragrance appreciation.

    China is big on my list and I would really like to take the whole family to Ireland, one of my favorite places on the planet.

    Happy New and Fresh Year!

  • Ellen says:

    Dear hearts: Another resolution for us all — let’s eat lots of dark leafy greens — kale, collards, spinach, mustard greens, chard — with a dash of vinegar in the cooking pot to aid absorption. They’re often neglected and are great sources of calcium, minerals, and fiber. Article re avoiding osteoporosis may be of interest:
    www. ABChsph .harvard . ABCedu /ABCnutritionsource /ABCcalcium.html (the ABCs and spaces are there to get through the spam filter)

    Tmp00 – “like driving a Slurpee” — that phrase is going to stick with me! Wonderful!

    Andy, March – Oh, me too! Finally got to try L’Air du Desert Morocain recently — I will be forever in A’s debt…how beautiful!

    Maybe the next time I get annoyed on the bus I can imagine driving a Slurpee through the Moroccan desert…. no fossil fuels wasted.

  • March says:

    Maria — physically, I am the Poster Girl for Potential Osteoporosis. I should have a bone scan.

    I THINK a Treo is like a BlackBerry — I think that’s what all my Type-A friends are always fiddling with around here. But what do I know? Maybe that’s the name of one of my son’s toys…

  • March says:

    Bliss — I have a friend who is very into Kundalini. Getting her certification and everything.

    Gad, I know — that smell. And the sweat. And, frankly, the studio most convenient for me isn’t super clean-looking. I try not to think about it too much while I’m there.

  • March says:

    Andy — are you suggesting an affair?>:d< You and I are already having an affair, via your perfumes.

  • Maria B. says:

    March, a big line of little gold stars for you for taking up a tough exercise regimen when you were hurting the most. (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*) I wouldn’t have been able to make myself do it.

    I do have a bit of a health-related cause. I know that a lot of our fellow bloggers are quite young and some are even male, but I’ll pass this on anyway. Ladies of a certain age, please, get a bone-density screening! I was 53 when I had my first DEXA scan and was found to have full-fledged osteoporosis. I had only been postmenpausal for 1 1/2 years (forgive me for getting so personal). I was utterly dumbfounded. And scared. My mother had fractured her hip a few months before and the quality of her life had plummeted. The doctor told me it was unusual that I should have developed osteoporosis so early, but, you never know, ladies, you could be as big a fluke as I am (at least in this sense). Osteoporosis is a reversible condition, so there’s really a point to finding out. If you’re too young to act upon this advice now, I must confess I envy you, alas.

    In the meantime, please do not explain to me what a Treo is. I don’t want to know. 😐

  • March says:

    Tom — shoe guy — that’s my dad. He went to slip-ons (and a shoehorn with a reeeeally long handle) at age 45 and that was that.

    The sweat factor in the room is pretty gross. But there are also vicarious pleasures — in my case, frequently a room full of pretty young college boys. There — how’s that for motivation?/:)

  • March says:

    Ellen — when the Cheese is out of town and I HAVE to walk the dog, it’s amazing how much exercise that actually is. And I like walking. Not sure why I don’t just keep it up — I’m adding it to my resolutions!

  • March says:

    Elle – That meant so much to me in terms of reinforcement. My parents didn’t travel so much, although the trips we did take were great fun. But they were going to travel after my dad retired…. but by then my mom was sick and they couldn’t go all the places they’d dreamed of. I am so glad your dad gave that gift to you. I bet he was a wonderful dad.

  • March says:

    Marina — hey, let’s get all get together, get drunk, and get Guerlain bottles tattooed on our keisters…;)

  • March says:

    Judith — I love you. 😡 “The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy”!??! You always boil things down to their most important points. How have I lived all these years without knowing that fabulous band name?!?!

    I wonder what you’re looking forward to most? My money’s on the Exclusifs. Or the Serge. Or one of those absurd-sounding Guerlains?

  • BBliss says:

    March – love the realistic resolutions and the inspirational story. Bikram rocks – it made me respect my body a lot more. Unfortunately, it’s not good for pregnancy and new motherhood – so, my practice has been sporadic over the last 5 years. I have stuck to other forms of yoga – Kundalini is amazing and I came to it by accident – it’s invigorating and peaceful at the same time. All help with my congenital back and neck problems, too. The only drawback – the smell from hot yoga rooms that hits you in the face when you walk in the door – wretched!

  • March says:

    Sariah and Judith — see, this is why I can never give up blogging. How else can I get the important questions answered? 😕 Although I’m feeling a bit sheepish that I didn’t think of googling, say, “burroughs sunscreen”

    Sariah — how do you know that, anyway? You’re, like, 14 years too young.

  • March says:

    Julia — gad, I love that thing Swedes do — our little insignificant country:-”

    Come on, babe — you can’t hide that light under a bushel. Any country that brought us Gustavian furniture, Pippi Longstocking AND Ikea (right off the top of my head) is genius. My husband has much nobler cultural interests.

  • March says:

    Leopoldo — I am keeping my fingers crossed for a happy, healthy 2007 for you.@};-

  • Andy says:

    Loved your post a lot, especially the tatoo section. What a pity…
    I go with Marina: No resolutions. I just have a few wishes for myself. This way I feel less guilty when I fail doing what I wanted to do…like using less fossile fuels.
    Congrats by the way on your yoga: Now, with your super-body…how about the tatoo/affair resolution?

  • tmp00 says:


    You’re inspiring me. I used to be in pretty good shape- I walked to work, which was buyer at a local bookstore. I lugged books all day and took yoga class at night with my friend. The the friend moved back to NYC, my favorite yoga teacher retired, I got my present job (where the most exercise I got was pressing Ctrl/Alt/Delete) and I became a lump with back problems.

    Of course, in reality all of this is at the level of “the dog ate my homework”.

    In any case, I’ve always resisted Bikram for some reason. I hate heat, I hate to sweat, I have the AC cranked in the car so hard it’s like driving a Slurpee. But I might just give Bikram a chance: I’ve actually had to take days off due to being totally unable to bend over enough to tie my shoes, and I have nothing to blame but my own inactivity.

  • Ellen says:

    Here’s how exercise gets me: You’re out of shape. You exercise. It hurts. The only way to get it to stop hurting is to exercise again. I would say that must mean that nature intends for us to be active, except, by that reasoning, nature also intends us to take Vicodin.

    Great list, March! I’ll just try to listen more often when my dogs tell me they’re bored. They don’t do much productive, but they’re excellent exercise buddies!

  • Elle says:

    I’m like Judith – pretty much addicted to exercise here too. It’s always been my drug of choice. I don’t do Bikram, but I’ve been doing yoga forever. It’s the only thing that’s helped w/ back problems.
    *Great* idea to do a long trip! I think my travel mania is genetic since both my parents, especially my father, literally lived to travel. Have the most fantastic memories of constant spur of the moment trips w/ him and also long trips where we settled down in one place to truly “absorb” it. He retired super early so he could travel more and died in a car wreck a few years after retirement. I am endlessly grateful he had the good sense to realize enjoying his life to the fullest was more important than working longer.

  • Marina says:

    I loved your post SO MUCH. Having said that, I am not making any resolutions or commitments. OK, I can probably make one. I will not get a tattoo either. 🙂

  • Judith says:

    Yup, as Sariah indicated, it was Baz Luhrman with the Sunscreen. William Burroughs and the Disposible Heroes of Hiphoprisy did “Words of Advice for Young People.” I would copy some of it here but the spam filter probably get me; it’s easily googled.

    I’m addicted to exercise (one of my healthier addictions)–spin (going to class right now), step, weights, pilates, what have you. . .

  • sariah says:

    I believe that “sunscreen” song is by Baz Lehrman (sp?) – the guy who directed Moulin Rouge and the Nicole Kidman $5M Chanel commercial.

    LOVE your resolution about living in another country for a month. I swear to take a long trip in 2008.

    And amen to the Bikram yoga. I did it 4 times only (it was right before I moved) and even that made a huge difference in the distance I could stretch. So I don’t make resolutions, but I have decided right now to find a place to do hot yoga here. I am so glad you are sticking too it and feeling great March.

  • Julia says:

    Such a lovely idea to visit our country! Sweden is beautiful to visit in the summer. I was most suprised to see that you choose between a holiday paradise (Thailand), a historical paradise (Greece), and our little unsignificant country (Sweden) Anyway, feel free to contact me for any tourist advice:)


    P.S. I didn’t make any new years resolutions this year since I have failed all my earlier resolutions (more or less anyway) D.S.

  • Leopoldo says:

    I have no idea what a Treo is… though I do text a lot (but this was the main reason for cell phones existing in Europe – one area that you Americanos took a wee while to catch up on).

    Yay! to feeling good. My big plans for 2007 are to sort out my health issues which I know won’t go away like I’d like em to, but I want to make them more manageable. I too, do yoga (stop snickering Patty). It’s really helped my lungs most of the time, but I do get bored. We don’t have the hot stuff you do in the countryside here.

    and I want to hear all about your family holiday exploits when you have em. They’ll be great.

    And you’ve reminded me of my key resolution – write, write, write. Some of those people getting published – I’m damn sure I can do better than that.

    *heads off to massage ego down to more manageable size*