Who says I’m opinionated?

Difference of opinions.  Tons of opinions in all shapes and sizes.  Whose opinion is correct?  Well mine of course!  🙂  Just kidding.

It’s funny.  I never thought I was an opinionated person until years ago my husband compared me to his step-mother who was extremely opinionated.  But then I thought about it.  Oh yeah….I am opinionated.  And the older I get, the louder I get with my opinions.  BUT the difference with me?   I love hearing other people’s opinions.

I just saw the movie The Black Panther the other day and a friend of mine asked if the people of Wakanda (whom the Black Panther is king of) were acting amoral, evil or ignorant.  Don’t worry, you needn’t have seen the movie for this question to be relevant.  And I said I saw both sides.  He just laughed and said “of course you did”.

At first I was hurt thinking he was making fun of me.  But then I realized, I love having the ability to see both sides of the story. When you try to see both peoples point of view, it diffuses anger.  There’s more understanding.  I’m not saying complete understanding mind you!  But I think MOST people and populations want the same things from life.  We just go about it differently.

I’ve tried to teach my children that and I’m happy to say I think they’ve learned it well.  Many times one of my kids has been a mediator between myself and their other sibling.  Not siding with either of us but explaining to each of us what the other person is trying to say.  Incredibly helpful.

I remember when President Trump got elected.  I was in Bahamas, and I was seriously interested in why people voted the way they did.  Even in Bahamas (not that they can vote in the US but they have opinions because what happens in America effects them) two different people with two very different opinions.  Now I know many people would be terrified to ask how and specifically WHY others voted the way they did.  But you know what?  If you ask gently, really wanting to know, out of curiosity, and not in a defensive manner…..and then just sit back and listen…..people will tell you.  And you can actually learn things.  IF you listen and not spend your time thinking up defensive responses!  No fights, no arguments.  Just a nice peaceful discussion.  Remember, you’re not trying to change people’s minds.  You’re trying to gain knowledge and understanding.

Can it be difficult if you’re trying to form a definitive response?  Yes.  Would other people consider it wishy-washy?  I’m sure.  But who cares?  Seriously–who cares??  Think what you want.  But listen to what other people have to say.  Really listen.  If it makes sense, keep it.  If it doesn’t move on.

And please don’t think I’m always good with this.  Sometimes I just think people are nuts and/or should be on medication!   And/or I’m the person that’s nuts or I’m PMSing.  Sometimes I AM right and you ARE wrong!  Or is that just my husband?  🙂  As he likes to say, he never knew he had so many things wrong with him until he married me.  Hey-that’s what I’m here for!


Itlbok, really!

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How Deep do you Go?

It’s freezing outside.  Let’s delve deep into your personality and see what we can find shall we?  What fun!  What else to do on a cold winters day.  And for those of you in warmer climates….do you feel our pain, on the extent we have to go to keep ourselves warm and cozy? We have to read blogs written by someone who’s typing just to keep her fingers warm!

You’re having a conversation with your friends.  Do you ask interesting questions?  i.e.-, If you were granted three wishes…, If you were stuck on a deserted island, which one album would you want with you and why? What’s your biggest regret in life? (besides starting to read this blog 🙂  )  Or are you the type of person that likes to stay on the shallow part of the pool?  i.e.–What’s the weather like today?  Did you see Game of Thrones last night?  I really like your sweater.

There’s nothing wrong with either type.  But can you guess which side of the pool I dive into?  I love going deep.  The deeper the better—Keep your minds out of the gutter people–that’s for later :-).    As long as we can keep the vocabulary within 3 syllables I love delving into other peoples brains and seeing what makes them tick.  And if you think we have to be best friends for me to want this, think again!  I can have deep conversations with someone I just met 2 minutes ago.  And if you don’t believe me ask my friends and family….much to their chagrin.

The reason for me, is that I want to get to know people.  Even if it’s just a five minute conversation.  People are interesting.  Just the other day, I started talking to a 40ish man reading a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman.  I’ve always been curious about graphic novels but from the adult point of view.  And I found something in common…I recognized the name Neil Gaiman.  Then we started talking about his teenage daughter and trying to get her interested in reading etc.  This to me, is so much more interesting than the weather!

A few years back, while waiting at the airport with my daughter, I saw three, what looked like, rappers coming down the stairs.  All three had white washcloths.  And they were coming from the arrivals section of the airport, so I was curious.  So I asked them.  And they stopped and talked with me and we had some laughs.  I honestly can’t remember the reason for the washcloths.  All I can remember is my daughters reaction.  “Mom, you can get anyone to stop and talk to you-unbelievable”.

Little antidote:  My husband and I and another couple were at this fancy country club restaurant down south (they are not as open down south as they are up north-at least from MY experience).   At the other side of the restaurant sat two tables of about 5-6 people each.  Women at one table, men at the other.  Obviously, couples separated.  From afar, I was trying to figure out who matched up with whom (who?).  Can you guess what happened next?  It wasn’t “afar” for long.  With my husband and friends practically begging me not to, I merrily went over to their tables to start chit-chatting with them.  These were couples in their early 70s.  Married for quite some time.  I told them I wanted to see if I could match them up.  Most of them were game for this.  One was NOT.  One did not share my enthusiasm of meeting new people, conversing with them and seeing compatibility.  I think problem in boudoir more than problem with ME! But did I let that deter me?  What do you think?  Did I do a good job of matching up?  Well no.  But that’s because I didn’t have time to ask probing questions.  See how I did that nice little circle of rounding this blog up?  If I had time, and that woman wasn’t giving me the evil eye, I would have felt more compelled to do a more thorough job!

Get to know the stranger next to you.  It might be me and I’ll write a blog about you 🙂


Itlbok, really!

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Good Morning!

How was your morning?  Is there something in your morning routine that makes you smile and/or should I say, giggle?  

I am a morning person.  And I know you night people hate us.  We pretty much do jump out of bed with energy and desire to check things off our list.  I start babbling to anyone who will listen (actually listening is not a prerequisite).  Now morning people definitely have a downside–afternoon slump, nighttime social life is practically nil etc.  But I don’t want to focus on that for now.  

I love getting things done before the rest of my family wakes up.  Before most of the country wakes up.  I love driving to work toward the east and watching the sunrise.  Every time I see a beautiful sunrise while driving, I’ll look around at others in their car to see if they see it. I’m amazed that no one else around me is in awe or even notices the beauty.  I want to roll down my window and point to the sky but I’m afraid they might think I’m a loony.   

Now one thing that I’ve been doing for years during my morning routine, that I didn’t even NOTICE was bringing me down, was watching the news while dressing.   Even 15 minutes of the news, for me, is like watching a balloon deflate slowly.  The life just comes out of me.  But what can I do?  I have to watch the news.   I have to know what’s going on in the world.  And I’m certainly not a news junkie.  I don’t go crazy on Facebook or Fox/CNN because I know I’m not the type of person that can handle 24 news without it affecting me.  Heck 15 minutes affects me.  

So….I found 2 ways to fix that!

One….I actually found a “Cliff Notes” for the daily news.  It’s called theSkimm.  Perfect for me.  One page.  Nothing emotional.  No photos, no angry rants.  I read it, get in, get out…bing bang boom! If I want more information on something, I look later on.   I know that’s not enough for everyone–but that’s why we’re all different.  But it works for me.  I’m not as “heavy” on a daily basis as I was before.  (Yes, very easy for me to make a weight joke right here but it’s toooooooo easy 🙂  

Two…I love this.  I’ve started using my inversion table. unnamedYou know for upside-down ab workouts.  Hahahaha.    No–for low back stretching.  It’s part of my morning routine.  And my little puppy dog, Beaux always comes to lick my face.  My face is right at his level now.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.  Totally makes me start giggling.  Every morning.  How’s that for a great start to a morning?  Gigglinbecause your dog is loving you, or getting depressed watching the news?  Your choice. 

Now obviously, the dog licking is not everyone’s cup of tea (following will be a funny story about the dog licking).  But find something that makes you smile–sunrise, fresh air…step outside, in your robe for 10 seconds and breath in the fresh morning air (if nothing else you’ll help your neighbor with their morning smile seeing you in all your morning glory.  Whether you’re a …..download or….. 4ced3d3209c82838fe512e1042e21f59 Who cares!  You’re neighbor needs something to make him smile too!  Don’t be selfish 🙂   Just DO Something that makes you smile during your morning routine.  

And just to finish with a funny story –  Dog licking is not all giggles and smiles of course.  Normally it drives me crazy when he licks my face.  But when you’re in the upside-down position and can’t do anything about it…and all he’s doing is loving you…..you have to just let it go and embrace it.  BUT, his tongue got into my nostril ( I guess I should be happy it wasn’t my mouth, which has happened more times than my husband’s tongue has gone into my mouth I’ll tell ya!!!)  And I could tell he went into the cat’s litter box. Yep-kitty poop scent (and whatever else) was in my nose.  How do I write the next sentence?  Do I need to write the next sentence?  And my little Beaux-Beaux is sitting on my lap at this very moment while I type this, looking at me, going “what, what, did I do something?”.  Actually what he’s really thinking is “your typing is bothering me, can you type quieter?”.   

Go and find something to make you smile and possibly giggle withing the first hour of the morning.  It will make and everyone else you meet that day happier!


ITLBOK, Really

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Smile, someone’s watching

So here’s something interesting that happened to me the other day.  It’s the first day of a new class that I’m taking.  Yes-I’m taking another mindfulness class, I like it that much.  Plus I fell off the wagon during the holidays.  BUT that doesn’t matter, does it?  Because, the important thing is that I’m choosing to start up again!  Anyway, that’s not the point of the story 🙂

As soon as I walk in, a woman from my first mindfulness class, (let’s call her Marty-I don’t know if she wants anonymity or not), was so happy to see me.  She said she was specifically thinking of me this morning and wondering if I would be in this class.  We hugged and she was truly smiling.   Now I remember this woman from the other class but we never had a deep connection.  She sat on the other side of the room of 25 people.  I could tell that she was going through some painful issues, not that anything specific was ever mentioned.  Our personalities, I’m guessing are totally different.  She’s petite, very quiet, kind of in her own cocoon.  I’m more vocal (obviously), take up more space just by spreading and stretching my limbs whenever I want to, crack jokes whether the timing is completely appropriate.  You get my point in our differences.  Think of quiet deer vs noisy chipmunk!

So where am I going with this?!?  You–the universal you–never know how you’re going to affect another person!  How people see you–what do you want them to see?  I’m asking, not judging.  For me, I don’t want them to see the nicest person, or the prettiest person, or the funniest person (I mean you can if you WANT to 🙂 )  I want them to see a REAL person!  With all their ups and downs and flaws and greatness.  Heck, I’ll walk into Barnes & Noble (my hangout) and tell all who’s listening, “I’m in a grumpy mood, watch out!”  I figure if you give fair warning….

But this is the real me.  Took me years to get here.  And I think you should try and be the real you.  Not everyone is going to like it.  Another lesson I learned from being a fitness instructor with lots of different classes taught by different instructors.  You have to be you.  Some people will like your classes and some will want to go to another instructor.  But that’s OK.  It really is!  This way, you’re having fun in your class and so are your students.  Just like life….you’re having fun in life and so are the people around you!

But just like how this other woman remembered me and actually CARED whether or not I was in class…….That’s how much affect you can have on people just by…….wait for it…….can you guess what I’m going to say?……

Just by smiling at someone!!!!  Yes I said it!  IMG_4590  OK maybe this smile is a little over the top….you might get put in the loony bin if you look like this at strangers!  

You smile at someone holding a door for you.  Maybe even say hello, thank you, make a small joke–anything.  That small act will make them smile.  That interaction will put a tiny pep in their step and they will smile to someone else.  And so on, and so on.  I kid you not!  Specifically people that WON’T smile.  You get the most bang for your buck with them!  They take more effort getting a smile out of them but it’s worth it.  I know you’ve heard this before….smile, pass it forward, blah blah blah.   But come on–it can’t hurt!  Takes two seconds.   What’s the worse that can happen?  You put a crease in your cheek?

So go out tomorrow, look around at all the people.   You never know who’s watching and who’s day you will make!!!



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Did I remember to write my Blog this week?

I have a theory ( I always have a new theory!).  The Universe is addling my brain to help me get my 10,000 steps! 

I’m sure 2/3 of my non-formal exercise steps are looking for things.  Looking for my coffee mug, water bottle, car keys, purse, book bag, Iphone, novel, items I put out to be “organized”, bills etc.  All this adds thousands to my step count.  I’m not just circling the house I’m going north-south, east-west, north-east, west-south …..looks more like a Spirograph f8bb9f94e7cdfc45b04861d9e7a0b895--spirograph-art-stringart (1)than a circle.  That’s what I look like running around the house!

And then when I finally find what I’m looking for?!  I look at it positively….”well at least I added many steps to my Fitbit”.  Wait, if only I could see the numbers on my pedometer.  Where are my eyeglasses?  And around I go again.  Of course two pairs of glasses already on top of my head.  IMG_4649 (2)

This is for women over 50…how many times has this happened to you.  I’m driving in the car, pretending I have everything under control….I just say to myself, “It’ll click, it’ll click.  I’ll figure out where I’m going.  Just let me figure it out before I pass the turn I need, that’s all I ask”.  And most of the time my brain reacts accordingly!  Thank you brain.  See, life is good 🙂

My goodness I feel sorry for people who don’t have a good sense of humor!  How on earth are you going to make it through these times if you’re tough on yourself?!?  I crack up at myself all the time.  Of course laughing at myself, WHEN being by myself used to look odd in the past but not anymore.   Not in the days of Bluetooth and ear buds.  THEY (other people) don’t know you’re not talking to another hilarious person.  THEY don’t know you’re just happy having this wonderful conversation in your own mind.  The only time I run into a snag is when I start talking and assume the person I’m with has heard the dialogue in the my head.  I can’t tell you how many times my daughter has said, “mom, I know that makes sense to you, but I haven’t heard the conversation that led up to what you just blurted out”.  She’s practically patting my hand, and cooing at me with a soothing voice.  I can see her mentally filling out applications to a senior living facility! Heck, I like the chit-chat in my head.  I’m pretty funny and not bad company if I do say so myself! 

Another good thing about starting to go a little loony this early in my lifetime (of course, some may say I’ve always been this way, and I think I would have to agree).  If I end up with Alzheimers or dementia, who will know?  My husband and kids know I’ve been like this for years.  So, the memory is not as good as it used to be.  There are worse things.  Forgetting the little things forces me to be more organized.  And makes me realize the “little” things – if I forgot – obviously are not that important.  Peoples names, birthdays, etc are still “little” things.  People themselves, they are the BIG things.  And THAT I haven’t forgotten!!  

So don’t be hard on yourself!  Laugh, it’s no big deal!


ITLBOK, Really

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Happy New Year! Self-improvement time!

Happy New Year!

Well I just learned something about myself – Writing is very similar to Exercise!  If I don’t do it for more than a few days, It’s very difficult to get back to it—almost scary!

I took the month of December off from my blog writing.  Thank you so much for those of you that noticed.  I love you!  And I’d like to say that I took it off intentionally.  If I have to be honest, (and what’s the point of a blog if you’re not honest?) Not really. Just one week off led to another, which led to another.  I kept looking at the computer thinking, I should blog, I really should blog.  And like exercise, that first day back was not easy.  But once I sat down at the computer and started typing, I remembered how enjoyable it is.  Just like exercise.  You start moving, and you remember how good it feels!  How many of you are thinking “is this girl for real?”  Remember I’m a fitness instructor. Your body loves to move.  Can you at least pretend you agree with me?  Thanks 🙂

Now I LOVE December.  I love the holidays.  I love the decorations and the gift buying and the crowds and the Hallmark movies and all the festivities.  I think 4-6 weeks is much too short a time.  I love the chill in the air, and the food and the fancy drinks and the friend and family get-togethers.  My husband is Catholic and I am Jewish.  Neither of us are religious.  I consider myself culturely Jewish.  But I would call myself a Born Again Christmas Person.  I love Christmas!

BUT I do so enjoy January.  I really do enjoy routine.  I enjoy getting back to my normal habits, my normal eating, uncluttering the house (not the tree, the tree with lights stays up until the pine needles fall when you blow on it).  I love thinking of January as a clean slate. Don’t we all?  Come on, how many self-improvement books have you bought?  It’s January 5 and I already have 3.  Will I read them all the way through?  Of course not!  But just starting them is refreshing!  Like taking a shower.  It’s a renewal process.  If I get just one good nugget of information that sticks with me it’s worth the $20 I paid for the book.  Heck, this year I even bought new highlighters!  I’m a crazy person.

I don’t make resolutions.  The rebellious part of me would just poo-poo it.  One of my books is about habits.  Why habits work for some people and not for others.  How your personality defines which habits work best for you etc.  There are four categories and I am definitely part Rebel!  I can’t even tell MYSELF to do something or I may rebel against it!  BUT I’m also part Upstanding.  If I put it on a to-do list and give myself plenty of time, then I’ll do it.  Make sense?  Human beings are such interesting creatures, aren’t we?

There are sooooo many self improvement books out there.  Just walking through the bookstore makes you feel like a better person.  It’s like walking through Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  Don’t you feel healthier just by shopping there?  Heck-you can be buying nothing but non-gmo organic popcorn and chips but within minutes you feel like you’ve lost 5 pounds and substantially healthier.

If you do start browsing books, here’s a tip, skip the ones that don’t have a sense of humor. Who needs that?  And skip any fads—we’ve all been there, done that.  We all just want to keep improving-or else we get complacent.  And improving is like replacing the battery in the Energizer Bunny.  It puts a hop in our step.  And improving can mean something so small – as to finally admitting to ourselves we’re never going to sew on that button so let’s finally get rid of that shirt!!  Yes, that’s an improvement!  You are clearing something from your mind as well as your closet!  Trying to eat healthy?  You can start with eating one extra piece of fruit a day.  Exercise?  Work out once a week.  Media addiction?  Turn it off just one evening a week.  In other words you don’t have to be Superman or Superwoman.  Just be the fun wonderful person you already are—just a little tiny bit improved 🙂

Oh wow, when did I turn into this motivational speaker?

I need to go now and get a martini, a brownie and watch Mike and Molly.

Do as I say and not as I do 🙂


ITLBOK, Really!

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Mother Daughter bonding has taken odd turns.

This post is going to be more of an open forum.  Please feel free to comment.  Yes the comments are public.  And yes feel free to disagree with me. Makes life more interesting.

I know I promised you a blog about my trip to Sedona but that will have to wait until next week.  I’m in Arizona now and realized for time purposes, this made more sense.   

Here are two of my recent experiences:

1– My girlfriend and I walk into a salon to get a pedicure.  A mother was there getting a pedicure along with her 3 year old daughter!  Let me repeat that, her 3 year old daughter was getting a mani-pedi!!  Gee, can you tell how my opinion is going on this one?  This wasn’t a cute little mother daughter bonding moment.  This wasn’t momma smiling at little girl saying, “are you having fun?”  “The polish looks so pretty on you”. Nope!  Mama reading her smart phone the entire time.  And the little girl wasn’t just getting a coat of polish.  She was getting a full leg massage!  My mouth is dropping just typing this.  The poor woman who had to massage the little girl’s legs.  I was embarrassed just being in the room watching this spectacle. And a manicure.  And still mom barely said anything to her.  Then they walked over to the drying station.  Shockingly guess what happened?  The little girl messed up her manicure.  What a surprise.  The manicurist went over and fixed it!  

I have so much to say on this particular subject but I’d really rather hear what you guys have to say.  On the plus side, she’s with her daughter, didn’t leave her at home ( I guess, I don’t even know if that’s a plus, I’m pulling at straws).  You never know what’s going on in other peoples lives, do you?  I’m sure the mother thought this was a wonderful treat for her daughter.  

2– The other night I go to a Chinese restaurant to order take-out.  While I’m waiting for the food I consider sitting at the bar that’s connected to the restaurant and ordering a drink.  Now as soon as I walk into this bar I hesitate.  It’s….shall we say, a bit sketchy?  Still has the smell of cigarette smoke from years past, 2 1/2 men playing on the tv, and 3 patrons sitting at the bar where the first thought that popped into my head? Barflies!  Not wanting to sound like a snob ( I know, too late) I sit down because I’m a big girl- I can do these this!  

Of course as soon as my drink comes so does the take-out food I ordered for my family.  But hey, I paid for my vodka and soda, can’t waste it.  The female customer next to me (one of the so-called barflies) starts talking to me. She’s cracking up at 2 1/2 men asking me if I like the show etc.  She has been at the bar for quite some time it seems.  But she really was so nice.  So friendly.  Turns out we both have kids who went to the same school, we’re around the same age etc.  She teaches me how to play Keno, the bar game, kind of like a combination of bingo and lotto.   She tells me how there’s a much nicer bar on the other side of the restaurant but the drinks are at least $2 more.  I’m surprised. I’ve been coming to the Chinese restaurant for food for years…….what bar?  She says follow me.  Sure enough.  I never noticed.  So you get me point—very nice.  

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, Laura this is all very fascinating and thank you for sharing but is this story leading somewhere?  Patience—yes it is 🙂

Here’s where it gets interesting. Then she asks me if I have any tattoos.  I don’t.  She tells me her daughters have a bunch. She says when her daughter was 15 she wanted permission to get her tongue pierced.  She did not give it but apparently her husband or ex-husband did give permission.  I’m like—ok.  Now her daughters are older, in their 20’s and want a nice mother/daughter bonding moment.  See, I told you this would all tie in.  In her words, she said, “ hey mom, why don’t the 3 of us all get our va-gi-gis pierced”!  I kid you not.  These mother/daughter bonding moments just bring tears to your eyes don’t they?  

I’m just looking at her…….I said something like “ I think that’s so sweet that they asked you. If my daughter wanted a mother/daughter tattoo I would do it”.  I mean, what could I say?  Can I see it? What piece of jewelry did you choose?  Hope it’s hypoallergenic.  It turns out she didn’t do it but her daughters did.  

Like I always say, you meet such interesting people when you just put the phone down and talk to people.  She was really so nice.  Different from me—but all the better!

 I hope you all have a wonderful week. And remember to try and bond with SOMEONE this week.  


Itlbok, Really


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