Sunday, March 28, 2010
I'm pretty excited right now. I got the edits from my publisher of my book, Sixty, Sex & Tango and I've been working all day on them. It's a rush, an exhilarating rush to clarify, review, change, read over what I have been working on for two years. And what is more terrific is that I had the foresight to ask my neighbor, Elizabeth, to come over and confer with her on the title. She is a marketing/PR person and has another set of eyes and ears.
As we changed the title, we decided to clarify the subtitle: Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. I felt a relief and satisfaction at the very small title changes. I'm kind of wacky that way. I get excited by things others would dismiss. But a writer is a writer is a writer.
So my book will be out sooner than I expected. I'll let you know when it goes on Amazon and the rest of the book sites and on Kindle and the other e-books.
Tomorrow night is Passover. I'm going to the home of one of my great friends and yoga students. She and her husband rarely asks people other than family and their very best couple friends, and I feel fortunate to be able to join their crazy family. Funniest of all, she and her husband are putting a rare blend of pot on the table in celebration of individual freedom, the right to express oneself in all manner of smoking. Oh, and I suppose the California initiative to legalize pot that will be on the ballot in November is another reason why pot will be displayed in full view. Maybe Elijah will smoke a doobie.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I got up at 5 am today to drive back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas. I rolled out of bed and, sans makeup, dragged my bags into the car and took off in the dark of early morning.
I don't usually drive the LA to Vegas route. I'm a once a month Southwest weekend flyer. But there is something so appealing about driving at 4 or 5 am in the morning. I get to drive with the truckers and see the sun come up. I listen to Howard Stern and the drive goes fast. I've listened to the shock jock for years, ever since I introduced my sons to him on the morning school drive. It was one of the ways we bonded. Anyway, I think the guy is pretty smart and very funny. Not the smut part, but his "take"on the human condition is fascinating.
Along the way on this single drive, my mind flips back and forth between missing my family, especially those adorable grandsons, that I just left and missing David, my long ago significant other. I usually have a good cry, one of those missing cries, and it actually doesn't make me feel any better. It just makes me miss more.
Along the way, I saw that my new man friend had called me an hour after take off. I had told him we needed the clarity of space until he returned to his home in Montreal. But he didn't exactly adhere to our plan and I was secretly happy. It was sweet of him to call after me. I didn't mind because it felt good to be watched over by someone, to be cared for from afar.
I just read an article about loneliness. Loneliness can be a by-product of depression but not always. I am not usually lonely. I like my own company. But sometimes I bounce off a few walls, especially when it comes to waking up in the morning and I would really like a man's arms around me. Of course, the feeling passes and I get out of bed, make my espresso and get on with my day.
I get that feeling when I drive alone sometimes. The wide, flat expanse of the desert, the sun rising in faded orange and yellow colors reminds me of how small we are in the universe, how this journey is transitory, our lives merely borrowed for a time, and how important it is to honor the present.
Sometimes driving is good for the soul.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Every day I give gratitude for yoga, especially today when I gave my son on the morning of his 38th birthday a yoga class. This is the second time he asked me to give him a class since I have been spending the week with my family. Yesterday, my daughter in law also asked me for a class. They are both awesome yogis.
Years ago, when my life seemed to be in a downward tumble, my son and to-be daughter-in-law asked me one Sunday to go to their favorite yoga studio to practice with them. I was beside myself with glee. Because I was living in Venice at the time behind Muscle Beach, I had been practicing at my gym down at the Marina. It was a small class and not very inspiring but it was yoga nonetheless. But to practice with my family made me really happy.
Thus began a ritual of Sunday practices either at Maha Yoga in Brentwood (where I now live - really west LA next door to Westwood and UCLA campus) or in Venice at Yoga Works where our favorite yoga teacher gave a class that could kill a decathlon athlete. We would come out of the studio, sweating and exhilarated, and go to a favorite breakfast place on Main Street and talk about the what was on our minds at the time. It was a simple moment in our lives and we don't have that kind of simplicity much any more.
My second son and his wife are also yogis. Although they don't practice much anymore, their hearts are opened and they spread the positive joy. My intention is to give all of them together a yoga class in the not too distant future.
The lives of my adult children and their wives are so much more complicated and stressful at this moment than I could have possibly imagined. I thought I'd be sailing over smooth waters at 66, but I am still that parent that my sons rely on to give emotional and psychological support. I am hitched mentally to their well being and their happiness as they try to put one foot in front of another and live their lives to the best of their ability. Both the men and the women in my family are terrific parents, devoted, loving, embracing and understanding and I am extremely proud of them as divine beings and professionals.
But what yoga adds to their lives is extraordinary and they are well aware of yoga's benefits. The birthday boy just left the house this morning telling me how fantastic he feels, how clear and joyful is the beginning of his day. He went out the door playing "Tool" feeling positive and hopeful. The success of my family rests on his shoulders.
Yoga is a mind/body experience that is connected by breath. In Sanskrit, the word breath is prana or life force and it is considered sacred. Yoga is a practice that creates joy and a positive attitude; it centers the self by emptying the mind, for it is truly a meditation whether the yogi is moving or siting in silence. Yoga/meditation has an impact on the way we think (more positive) and the way we feel (more joyous). It gives the body more energy as it speaks to the spiritual center of our being. If this is the gift I can give to my children, I am content and fulfilled. Nothing else matters.
(The divine in me recognized the divine in you)
Happy Birthday, Jonathan
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I was musing today about being single. After years of fighting the odds to mate with man, I have succumbed to the freedom, the joy, the bliss of being single. Don't get me wrong, I haven't given up sex. Being single and sex are not antithetical to one another. I love sex now as much as I loved it at 19 when some hunk took my virginity at UCLA on New Year's Eve. Funny, we never forget who took our virginity. Oh, well, sorry, "took" is not appropriate since I was the other half of the consenting situation. I can still remember that small, dark motel room in Manhattan Beach, past midnight, January 1st, with a little light coming through the faded white, shabby venetian blinds. His name was John and I was madly in lust. But I digress.
So being single is being able to come and go as I please without checking in with anyone. It's being able to be in Las Vegas with my family and not worrying about whether I have called my significant other today to let him know that I miss him and I promise to be home on Saturday afternoon. It's fully planning my day without questions, planning my trips without censure, planning my meals without a thought for anyone else. I can go to bed when I want and get up when I want and take my computer to bed and read at 3 am if I want and listen to the silence. I can get up to feed Baby Jude Love at 4 am and gaze into his little face with love.
I'm going to Bali in August with two single female friends. I am visiting my tango friend, Brenda, who, with her husband, built Desa Sanctuary in Ubud. Check out the website. It's so very beautiful and special.
The way this trip camd about was that Brenda emailed me on Linkedin to connect with me and to say she was reading my blog. Bali had been in my head for a long time and I felt I needed to get there before the Eat, Pray, Love movie came out this summer and the followers of Ms. Gilbert began to pay homage in Ubud to her personal journey. A few days before, my friend, Carol, a yoga student of mine at UCLA, was talking about going to Bali with her friend and I immediately invited myself. I showed Carol and Adrienne Desa Sanctuary and everyone was hooked. It took us 3 days to make the plane reservations and reserve a sanctuary for a week. Women are so smart and efficient with organizational execution because we know what we want and communicate efficiently. Bali, here we come.
Last year I went to southern Spain and Morocco with GAP Adventure Tours and I was the oldest of the seven women. It was a fabulous journey and one that I will remember always. The year before I went to Costa Rica for a yoga retreat and then an eco tour with my guide friend. Another great adventure. Being single allows me to plan my travels intuitively and take fully advantage of my curiosity. I used to think that I could never, ever travel without a man beside me. Life sure plays funny tricks on us.
So while I think that I may be falling in love as indicated in my last post, I am not rushing to fall in love. This is probably the first time I have been reserved in a relationship process. I have some things at stake this time around. I'm older and maybe a little wiser and maybe, just maybe, happier with who I am, my family relationships and my dearest friends.
Life is beginning to work out very well for a change.
Monday, March 22, 2010
This morning at breakfast my 5 year old grandson asked me how old I was. I thought that was a pretty curious question coming from Jordan; however, this young boy has an unusually potent intellect. So his father, my son, asked him to do a little math.
"Before you answer this questions, Jordan, let's first find out how old I am," my son asked his son.
"How old are you, Daddy?" Jordan asked.
"I'm going to be 38 on Wednesday," Jonathan said. "So if I am 38, how old is Gran?"
Jordan gave it not more than a few seconds of thought.
"You're 60, Gran."
"Good guess," he father replied.
I told Jordan I was more than 60, so he began to guess moving up the 60's ladder. He hit 65 and I said, "One more, genius."
"Sixty-six," he giggled. Then he asked, "Do people who are 80 years old still have birthday parties?"
"Of course we do," I responded.
No matter the age we celebrate the years of living. It's an important ritual because it marks a another year in the journey of our lives. And we celebrate our children's birthdays and our grandchildren's birthdays to stay connected to family no matter what is going on in our personal lives.
Jonathan will turn 38 on Wednesday and it is another milestone for me. He still possesses that innate and quick intelligence that makes him so engaging. By a long shot, he is not perfect, never was and never will be. He has flaws like the rest of us, but his heart is good and his loyalty to family and friends is huge. He still parents me like crazy and monitors my thoughts and feelings when I am in his presence, teases me endlessly, and he still drives me nuts. But I love him unconditionally and cherish the fact that he is and forever will be my oldest child.
Which brings me back to Jordan Mac, my first grandson. I never imagined being a grandmother. It was the most distant of thoughts until 5 years ago. I didn't know how I could love more children, and I find myself loving my grandsons as much as I loved my two sons. Love is simply magic. Holding my newest grandson, Jude Love, is the most delicious experience, even at 5 in the morning as I am walking the floor with him and trying to make his gas pains go away. We fell asleep on the bed together about 6 am, Jude on my stomach, my head flopping on a pillow and I knew I was in a magic kingdom where pure love exits.
I made a commitment to be with my family for this spring break week, to be living in their homes, watching their children, my grandchildren, because family is the single most important value in my life. Sure, I could have been in Buenos Aires dancing tango as I have done in the past; or I could have gone back to Costa Rica to my yoga retreat center; or I could have worked some more to keep my students happy. Yet, none of the travel or work means anything to me at this moment. Jude Love in my life right now and I want to hold him and watch him smile endlessly and grab on to his first few months with every bit of energy I have.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
At the moment, I am surrounded by my 4 grandsons and thinking about falling in love again.
How does all this love energy work together? I have no idea, and I am trying to figure it out.
I've been keeping a secret to almost everyone in my life. I met a man last Saturday night who is enlightened, more evolved than most men, dances tango as elegantly and as passionately anyone I have ever danced with, plays tangos on his guitar beautifully, is looking for a mate, makes love like an angel, and maybe is falling for me. Besides that, we have a strong connection with our professional work. More importantly, we want to make a relationship.
What man puts it out there like that to a woman? What woman could walk away from this man without serious consideration.
Oh, and I forgot to say that he lives in Montreal six months out of the year; winter is spent in Los Angeles where he hangs out with his two adult children and grandchildren.
Long distance relationships. They are a plague. They mostly don't work. How do we do this and keep the emotional connection? I tried it before. It lasted 7 months, which is pretty good, I think. But now I'm older and wiser and have settled into singleness with joy - finally.
I didn't get enough face time with this man. He's complicated in a good way. I'm settled in a good way. But we are both looking for companionship. And I think we could be right for each other.
I'm wrestling with how to do this and we have just left each other. Do I really want to fall in love again? Big question after all this work on myself. I think I do but I don't know if I can.
I thought I would never fall in love again after my last relationship. After almost 4 and a half years of his running away and coming back, I ended it. He broke my heart and my heart is still broken. I think I'm on the mend and then I'm not. My therapist would say: "Sit with it, be with it, let the emotions embrace you."
I am and I'm trying. In the meantime, I have enough testosterone around me to last a lifetime. Tonight I'm going out to dinner with my 2 sons and their wives to celebrate family.
I'm full of joy.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I'm in a kind of margarita kind of mood. Literally, I just had a margarita after teaching my tango lesson to my best, best friend and not my lover John. I refer to John in my book, SIXTY-SEX & TANGO, as my best friend and not my lover. He is 67 and I am 66 years old and we behave like teenagers. Every Friday after I give him a tango lesson, he and I drive to a Mexican restaurant where I have a margarita and get slightly high and he has his pretentious British aperitif. We talk and talk and talk for an hour and depart knowing that we will see each other the following night for sushi and dance tango at our Saturday night milonga (the place where tango dancers meet up to dance tango). How I adore this ritual! It is so close to feeling 20ish again that it makes me giddy with joy.
But, alas, tomorrow morning at 4 am I'm leaving for Vegas, Baby, Vegas. I'll spend a week with my family - 2 sons, 2 daughters in law, 4 grandsons. I'm overdo; I'm in a rabbit's stew. It's been 2 months and I'm in withdrawals. My grandsons are 5, 3, 2, and 4 month old - all boys. And we are expecting another baby in Sept. We are not going to know the gender. It's too much pressure for us all because we want a girl in our family. It's scary not to know the sex of a baby now-a-days, but in the olden times, my time, we didn't know either so what's the difference. We want healthy, healthy babies.
I love driving in the early morning. I drive with the truckers. I feel save with them. And I feel young again. I'm on my own, traveling like Jack Kerouac in On The Road and loving the freedom, the music, the flowing thoughts. I don't ever want to give that feeling up. It takes me three and a half hours door to door and that's with a Starbucks stop before driving into my oldest son's home. I enter with all the kids up - Jude Love - the baby - as I imagine him in prop chair - the other two, Jordan and Luc, playing and running around the house in their pj's.
That's life. That's the best one could ask for.
Meanwhile, I think I am getting into a relationship. Life throws us curve balls, even at my age, even at 66.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I feel guilty and completely intimidated at this moment. I am back blogging. I have been putting this blogging thing off for a year.
If anyone who knows me personally, they will think, "She's kidding, right?" "It's a joke." Joan is never intimidated, never afraid, never insecure. Well, guess what? I am all of those things.
I have a few good excuses for not blogging in a year. The overriding excuse is my book. Over the summer of 2009, I got an agent and my book was entitled, SO YOU'RE 60, GET OVER IT, CONFESSIONS OF A BEATNIK/BOOMER. My agent and her wonderful assistant, an author in his own right, changed the name to SIXTY-SEX & TANGO. They thought is was more sexy, catchy and would appeal to publishers.
Alas, after six months, all rejection notices were in. Despite some good reviews, the over-ridding response was, "Who's she? What has she done? What qualifies her to talk about living large in the decade of the 60's?"
I don't know. What have I done? Lived a full and rich life and had some very happy and sad and wonderful experiences and slept with some really terrific men.
So, what do I know? I know that I live by my teaching and practicing, my dedication to meditation and my joy at being a mother, a grandmother (now 4 grandsons and counting one more in Sept), a writer, and a darn good friend.
So the book publishing experience wasn't all negative. Yet, I did sit on the book for several months after my agreement with my agent. I thought of putting it on Kindle, then took it off, then decided to self-publish. I selected iUniverse and have been very happy with my experience with them. My book is now in the editing stages after 7 weeks of rewriting, re-organizing and clarifying the message of my memoir Some people have even found this blog in the meantime and I owe those people my attention and further writing on the subject of living crazy, wild and free at 66.
I am almost late for my yoga class at UCLA so I will write more later. Oh, yes, and it took me days to find out how to find my blog. Being technically challenged is a bitch.