Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fitness inspiration: Recovering

In case you haven’t seen it, this (below) is an amazing, almost unbelievable video about a man who used yoga to recover from a traumatic injury.

I’m not a fan of yoga. (No particular reason–my body just doesn’t like it and I think the poses are unattractive. Shallow, I know.) But this story struck a chord with me because my own fitness problems began as the result of a difficult recovery from surgery, many years ago.

My post-surgical troubles were not remotely as complicated as the troubles experienced by this man. But I do still suffer from issues related to a wound that didn’t heal quite right. It affects my core strength, and as I’ve learned, core strength is everything when it comes to feeling strong and fit.

This year, I’ve been working on getting healthier, stronger, and losing some belly fat. This video gave me hope that I can get where I want to be. (I’ve gotten close before, but I’ve quit.) I’m posting this here to remind myself and others not to quit on ourselves.


Ruthless purge of the makeup collection

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog (and a few times on my previous blog), I’ve been feeling annoyed by the size of my makeup collection.

I kept telling myself that I wanted a small, carefully edited selection. So periodically, I’d throw out a few useless products. But I knew I wasn’t done. Because then every day, I’d see my “favorites” left in the makeup drawer, and I’d still feel like it was just too much.

Well, last night, as I was putting away my latest purchase, I decided enough was enough, and I started tossing. Really tossing. To be precise, I threw away 24 items, including some that were recently purchased.

What I’m left with:

  • Products that are tried and true and that I’ve purchased more than once, or will likely repurchase.
  • Products that work well for specific purposes (long wear, photography, formal or casual, etc.)
  • Products that I’m still experimenting with, and/or learning to use. (I.e., I’m not quite ready to give up on them.)

What I discovered from what I tossed:

  • I am DONE with lip gloss. No more. It doesn’t look good on me.
  • Even if it was expensive, if it doesn’t perform, it’s not worth keeping. There are so many amazing products available– why hang on to the duds?
  • Gifts-with-purchase and other random samples are not worth the space they take up. I’d rather choose my colors thoughtfully.

I’m pretty happy with what I have left. And I’ve decided that from here on out, I’ll implement a one-in, one-out rule. If I buy something new, something else will have to go. Since all I have left are things I like and use, this rule will make me think twice about my next impulse purchase.

Now that I’ve done this, I’m working up the courage to edit my clothes wardrobe. This is going to be a challenge, because I don’t actually own a lot of clothing.

But I do have a good number of pieces that I never wear. And I’ve decided they don’t need to be hanging in my closet.

My current (musical) obsession

Here’s how I listen to music.

I have about 50 of my favorite songs on my iPod. I listen to them until I’m bored. Then I listen to Pandora or or some other music site, hoping to discover (or be reminded of) some new music that I might like.

When I discover (or rediscover) a new bit of music, I’ll purchase it and, more often than not, I’ll put it on a short playlist of extra-favorite-favorites on my iPod. And I’ll listen to it over and over. Sometimes I’ll listen to several different versions of the same composition. I’ll get to know the piece inside and out and finally I’ll get bored with it and it may or may not stay on my iPod as one of my favorites.

This week I discovered an old song by an artist whom I have loved since being introduced to his music in my high school French class  ca. 1979. I had a couple of his records, but I’d never heard this song, or at least I didn’t remember it.

Anyway, it’s a classic and very VERY beautiful– and I know I can appreciate it much more at my “certain age” than I ever could have as a high school student.

Jacques Brel sings La Chanson des Vieux Amants. That chorus makes me tear up every time!

There’s an English version that’s been frequently recorded, called “Song for Old Lovers”. It’s nice but I don’t think it quite does justice to the original French version. (Mr. Brel had a special way of putting it all out there with his lyrics.)

So anyway, about the song:

The song is about two lovers who, over the course of 20 years, have endured their share of ups and downs, infidelities, and fights, and yet the love remains. Here’s my own translation of the chorus:

My love,
My sweet, my tender, my marvelous love,

From the break of dawn until the end of the day
I love you still
You know
I love you.

(If you’re interested in an actual singable translation of the entire song, check out this very good one by musician Jeff Rosenberg.)

As you might have guessed, I’ve listened to many interpretations of this song by various artists. The original recording by Jacques Brel himself, despite its obviously dated orchestral accompaniment, remains my favorite version.

I like that he sings the melody as written, without extreme variations in tempo or other “tricks” typically used by artists to add drama to a performance. And yet, he manages to convey such deep expression. The chorus is sung three times during the song, and each time he sings it, it sounds different. But not in an obvious way. He was a true master.

Listen to yourself.

“Listen to the whispers, or soon you’ll be listening to the screams”

–folk proverb