Today I’m wearing velvet. Because – social isolation. Who’s going to know or care?

I bought these leggings last year. They’re teal/emerald green velvet with a black leaf pattern on them. I saw them and immediately said OOOOH.

If you look at the leggings, you think of a tall, slim, blond woman – impeccably groomed, welcoming her scintillating dinner guests to her New York penthouse where they will truly appreciate the depth and palette of the wine she’s selected and discuss the latest trends in modern psychometrics.

None of that is me… but I’ve got the pants.

Gorgeous in a size two – rather more like an unfortunate sofa upholstery choice in an XXL. So I save them for Alone Time, when I can blissfully stroke my own thigh without being regarded with deep suspicion.


I know there are many, many reasons to mourn what is happening to our nation – but I find that in this, as in all things, one can only sustain TRUE fear for so long. After that, you have to calm down a little and share with others the lessons one learns to make life more regular, more endurable, more open to the possibility of joy and calm.

I have two such thoughts for you, and now that I have my velvet pants on, I’m ready to share.

FIRST: An online exercise class is EVERY BIT as annoying and sweaty and exhausting as an in-person class… and at the end, all my stress and grumpiness has been purged. Washed out in the sweat. I’m tired – but I feel better. Stronger. Like I’m ready to tackle The Next Thing, whatever that might be.

So I strongly recommend you cast about for a class you can join online. All of the Body Dynamics classes have gone virtual, and new faces are showing up and bitching with us every day – which is fun, for misery (as we know) loves her some company. The website is and all the class times are Eastern Standard Time. Or find a different provider… but treat yourself to an hour of not thinking about whatever has you stressed and instead thinking about how utterly annoying Barbara is when she peers through the screen and notices that you’re totally slacking off. How does she ALWAYS know?! (Oh – that’s probably just me…)

Bonus to online classes: You hit mute while you’re working out, which means you can BITCH OUT LOUD, provided you have the breath to do so. Favorites of mine so far are “I want to stop this now” and “Oh, how many more of these do you expect me to do?” and “Christ, that’s enough abdominal work, BARBARA.”

SECOND: I did not hoard toilet paper; I wasn’t smart enough. But now that every grocery store shelf is empty, now that Amazon is telling me they can send me some in late April, now that the Charmin factory has turned to – what? Making ventilators?? Why aren’t they cranking out the white stuff, damn you?! – I’ve had occasion to wander my house and survey the supplies on hand.

I have eleven rolls. That really OUGHT to last a human quite a long time. Probably to late April. But maybe the kid is going to come home from Vermont, and how can I ration HIM the way I’m rationing ME??

So I have a bit of the wiggins about the whole thing. It’s raw panic – I know that. It’s not SENSIBLE. Still, if someone approached me on a street corner and offered to sell me a four-pack for just twenty bucks, I’d pick up a little black market bumwad and scurry home with my ill-gotten gain.

But here’s a solution I offer, in case you are similarly panicked. Amazon DOES still have Kleenex available. And if you take one Kleenex – high volume but far too soft and dissolveable to be used alone in regions of higher-than-normal moisture – and bundle it inside an outer coating of a few squares of hoarded toilet paper (like – what, eight or ten squares?), then SWEETPEA – that roll of Scott tissue is going to be on duty (or on doody) in your potty for WEEKS.

There. Don’t you feel better now? Who else is going to tell you these things?


Smooches to you. Stay inside; wash your hands; put on your velvet pants. Share your solutions, if you care to!

And Why Not?!


There you are, sheltering in place – doing your part for America and being a tiny cog in the impressive, patriotic, citizen-led effort to flatten that curve.

You don’t want to ADD to YOUR curves while you’re doing it, do you??

Believe me – I know. All nesting instincts are coming to the fore, and when we nest, we lay in the body fat that will see us through the INEVITABLE APOCALYPTIC HELLSCAPE RUN RUN RUN YOU FOOLS.

Cookies and ice cream are just so EASY now!

But you know that’s not good for your body – even if it’s good for your soul.

So eat the ice cream AND join me on Thursday at 10 am (EST) for Barbara’s “Better Balance” class. Body Dynamics has opened their virtual version up to any who want to join online. And why not you??

Go to

Go to “Small Group Training”

Pick the date (Thursday, March 26)

Register for Better Balance at 10.

They may ask you to become a member, but go ahead and do it; they don’t sell names and you won’t suddenly be getting emails from people you’ve never heard of.

In person, the classes are $19, but they’ve lowered the price to $15 for the online version. And there are a million ways to cheat so the class isn’t as hard as it ought to be… although from last week’s experience, I can tell you that Barbara will frequently stop demo-ing the movement we’re supposed to be doing and will get right up in her computer’s camera to eyeball the tiny screens of all the people who have joined.

Then her enormous face, filling my laptop screen, says “Pru, ribs down,” or “Marty, you’re shifted to your left foot,” or “Use your abs, Rosemary.”

A tiny screen – like a postage stamp – and she’ll STILL know when you’re cheating. Sigh.

Come on and grunt and bitch and complain with me. After you finish, I promise your heart will be lighter.

(And no – you won’t be able to hear me; we all put our microphones on mute. For this week I’m thinking about making signs that I can hold up on popsicle sticks that say HOW MANY MORE BARBARA and JEEZ YOU’RE KILLING ME BARBARA and one that just says UGH. Watch for them!)

In this photo, you can see Barbara showing us what to do, and Gabby (another excellent BDI trainer) looking like she’s about to rebel. Gabby was supposed to represent the class in bitching, but she wasn’t nearly as vocal as we are when we’re in that room grumbling. You can also see at the bottom left – my sleek, fit torso (bulging, as usual) taking the photo. Any excuse to avoid the exercise!

Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 12.13.35 PM

I’m a big fan of the Liberal Redneck, Trae Crowder – who often closes his comedic videos with the phrase “Love you like chicken.” But in these exciting times, allow me please to alter that for the occasion:  Love you like toilet paper!






I’ve discovered the GREATEST DAMNED THING about this social isolation stuff:

If – and I’m not saying this is you, but it might be – IF you have been neglecting your regular schedule and the laundry hasn’t been done (and why should it, since you’re clearly spending all your days dressed in your jammies anyway)…

…then you know who cares if you fish nasty old gym clothes out of the bottom of the laundry hamper to work out in?


Because online, no one can smell your screams.

(And of course you pick your retread-clothes from the BOTTOM; those clothes have had longer to cure. Perhaps the smelly bits have gotten old and fallen off.)

I had this brainstorm when the amazing Body Dynamics Gym in Falls Church, VA began offering training sessions online. Barbara, the world’s most astonishingly insightful and valuable personal trainer, sent me an email. We’ll meet on Tuesday at 11, like normal, but online.

Ew. I thought I’d managed to escape the question of health. “Can’t come in, so sorry, social distancing.” They were having none of it.

And EW. I haven’t done the laundry.

But… okay. I offer offense to no one but my own nose when I dress in the Garments of the Unclean. So let’s give this a try.

The video link worked beautifully. Even better, occasionally needing to move my iPad (so Barbara could see what I was doing) turned out to be an EXCELLENT procrastinatory technique. I’m not panting in desperation; I’m moving the camera. There – is that better? Hm. Maybe a little bit more here? Wait – I’ll try it over here…

If you know anything of Barbara, you’ll not be surprised to learn that she was STILL correcting my form from miles away. I’m amply padded, I wear a deliberately baggy shirt to mask the padding, I was in an indifferently-lit basement on an older-model iPad camera, and STILL Barbara was saying “pull your ribs down” and “where are your headlights” and “lift up through your pelvis.”

Now, maybe you’ll say that Barbara now knows me so well that she’s anticipating (not actually witnessing) when I’m cheating – but I don’t think so. We did all kinds of new exercises since my on-hand equipment is different from BDI’s. And she knew.

She always knows.

Today I worked out with Chip online, and that, too, was excellent and hard and DAMN IT I want to go back to bed! (So – in other words, successful. Can a work-out be judged as valuable if it does not include a little bitching, a little regret?) He said I was his first video client, which confused me. Aren’t we ALL supposed to be sheltering in place? Isn’t that the point of healthy people like me staying home? I’m doing what little I can to ensure the doctors and nurses aren’t hopelessly overwhelmed in the weeks to come. It has nothing to do with ME.

So why are all Chip’s clients still going in?

One of us is a sucker and a fool, and I hope it isn’t me…

I have two lessons, boys and girls. They are these:

  1. People who exercise regularly – even those with ample padding and the need for deliberately baggy – and possibly smelly – gym clothes are BETTER POSITIONED TO SURVIVE THE VIRUS. If I get it, I’ll recover more rapidly because my general health is good. And that’s because of Barbara and Chip and Gwynn and Tracey and Gabby and all the big-brains at Body Dynamics. So thank you all!
  2. If you’ve ever wished that you, too, could attend Barbara’s Balance Class – next week, Body Dynamics will be opening up her class to anyone who wants to attend online. In person, the class costs $19; I don’t know what or how they’ll charge for her class during the virus – but what else do you have to do? Thursdays at 10 Eastern. (Not tomorrow; they can’t start it until next week.)

If you’re wondering if #2 is right for you, please go back and reread #1. Come on in – the water’s fine. And you can’t smell me from there!

IMG_0945By the way – just to make the point: I am DIGGING all this social isolation, unlike most people. I’m writing a romance. It’s cranking along at about two chapters a day, and I am THRILLED with the world I’m creating. I cannot too strongly encourage you to write something – or paint something – or choreograph something. Create, my friend. It passes the time and engages the brain most bigly. Onward!

Feline Fascia



Like all cats, mine loves to join me at the desk. If I’m working at the computer, she’s almost always nearby.

Sometimes REALLY nearby.

As I type this, she has her little cat butt snugged up against the “return” side of the keyboard and her tail is just barely twitching as it lies across the number keys. I can’t hit the delete button without getting her right at the base of her tail, which would annoy the hell out of me, but she seems to like it.

But her really, truly favorite place to lie is across my forearms.

I’ve developed great wrist muscles because so often I’m typing with a large cat holding my hands to the desk.

Why don’t you throw her off?, you ask. Why indeed. She LOVES to be thrown off; it makes her rush back to me with even louder purrs. Do it again! Do it again! I’m just going to lie right here…

She’s fully capable of stretching out over both arms. She LOVES stretching out over both arms. If I should lift one arm – say, to scratch my nose because some random cat hair is floating on the air and tickling me – she remains draped over my arm like a large, warm, purring dead thing. She hangs there until I lower my arm again, at which point she lifts her head just enough to not be smacked into the desk.

It looks HORRIBLY uncomfortable, and yet she’ll lie there for hours.


And just this evening it occurred to me what she was doing.

Like me at myofascial stretch class – draped unwillingly over a foam roller and very definitely not purring – my cat is loosening fascial restrictions in her abdomen.

Ah. Now I understand.

I think cats must have very pliant fascia.


This is Selma. She is purring like an engine.