This Woman’s Life is for you. My friends, Karen Martin and Barbara Stahura, have kindly and generously agreed to join me on this page for women.
We are thinkers. We are doers. We succeed and fail. Laugh and act silly, and then can turn on a dime and be serious. I would say that we take life seriously, when necessary, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. And we would enjoy sharing what we know, chatting about we don’t know, what we have learned, how we have risen like great loaves of rising dough, and deflated, like a soufflé. And lived to laugh about it.
We will talk about a wide range of topics. All aspects of life … except politics. With absolute respect and kindness, we will be truthful and bold.
We hope you take part in this forum. We will each take turns writing and leading the discussion on our piece.
This forum will be open for three months. At that time, we will chat and see whether we want to continue or wrap it up.
We hope you engage.
Karen Martin has written a splendid opening piece. I am also putting her bio before her piece. That way, you can get to know her. I will put Barbara’s bio with her first piece.
We hope you enjoy this group, and engage. Let’s have some laughs.
If you are interested in joining our women’s group on FB, please let me know.
Introducing Karen Martin
My nicknames are clues to my background: “Kmart” and “Crash Martin.” I also respond to “Mom,” “Karen,” and “Oma.”
KMart was created by a mentor, a now 90 years plus marathoner who holds some world records in his age group for running. He was and is an avid canoeist and inspired a deep love and appreciation for all things outdoors. He taught me he, or she, who lives longest usually wins.
KMart is also my trail name. I backpack, and completed the Sheltowee Trace Challenge, across Kentucky north to south, from Morehead to Tennessee, one painful weekend per month, in 2017.
I became known as Crash Martin after a series of cycling accidents during a long and painful learning curve to aggressively ride my bike. Four bikes broken in five years. My first bike was a Schwinn, and my sedate beginner style kept it intact for five years, however. My current bike has endured for ten years. Either I’m calming down or getting better.
My husband and I also ride a tandem. I am proud we rode that Cannondale self supported from San Diego to St. Augustine Florida six years ago and we still speak to each other.
I am Mom to my two adult children, a pediatrician/internist daughter and a landscaper son. I am also known as “Bike Mom” to many cyclists whom I have coached and encouraged to ride during the past 20 years. The running joke is I teach them how to balance on the bike, change gears, climb hills, and then they leave me in a cloud of dust.
I answered to “Karen” aka the World’s Oldest Student at Cincinnati State, pursuing an associate degree in health fitness and technologies. Although I gained certification in spinning, water aerobics and personal training, I did not graduate. I was the most improved student in my Chemistry class but demurred when CS informed me I would need to take remedial algebra. Therefore, I am a certified drop out.
Prior to academic efforts at Cincinnati State, a long time I earned a journalism degree. Spent one year as a starving reporter, then used my typing skills at Xerox Corporation, a law firm, and finally managing my husband’s dental practice until we sold the business.
I am “Oma” to our beloved granddaughter, a precocious ten year old who has been bike touring each summer with my husband and me since she was four years old, riding on the back of the tandem while I ride solo. She lives out of state and we are privileged to have her to ourselves for a month each year.
I’ll celebrate 70 years in age and 49 years of marriage in 2018.
I hope to bond with readers of this page to share life experiences, both inside and outside, our mental, emotional and physical challenges, offer insight , discuss possibilities and provide encouragement and empathy.
My Life Is A Dance
To young Karen: “Okay, girls, let’s dance.”
To Teen Karen: “Want to dance?”
To Adult Karen: “Dance like no one is watching!”
At six, my mother enrolled me in the Bobby Ziegler School of Dance in Covington, KY. Attired in a pink leotard and tights, I spent 30 minutes in soft ballet slippers, learning the Five Feet and Hand Positions of a Ballerina from Mrs. Bobby Ziegler, and another 30 minutes in shiny black patent tap shoes, diligently practicing the command of “Tap, Ball, Change!” from Mr. Bobby Ziegler.
Six annual recitals later, it was determined I had reasonable rhythm, minimal mastery of dance steps and no future as a professional dancer. However, as I had a growth spurt to become 5’7 by 7th grade, I had thankfully mastered reasonable command of my limbs.
At age 13, eschewing all things childish, I was at a Saturday night teen canteen, dressed in a soft, faux-cashmere turquoise sweater, gray slim skirt with a kick pleat, and Capezio T-straps, anxiously awaiting/dreading an invitation to dance. I sat with the girls, nervously chatting and giggling, on one side of the room.
The boys on the other side of the room sized us up, and gradually, one by one, asked a girl if she wanted to dance.
Finally, I was left sitting alone. One tall and rather large boy remained on the other side of the room too. Sighing, he shuffled over and asked The Question, “Wanna dance?” I accepted. We awkwardly took a position on the floor. And we danced the Jitterbug.
Although classical dance training didn’t stick, my girlfriends and I frequently practice-danced with each other while watching American Bandstand. I knew what to do, so I pushed him around the floor. With rhythm.The music ended. The DJ announced the next song was a contest. We stood there. Everyone else was hanging on to their partners. He emitted another sigh. “Wanna dance again?”
We won. Two promo ‘45’s.
For the next year, he was my contest-dance only partner at the Saturday canteens. He chose prettier, perkier, and more rhythm-challenged girls (meow) for the other dances, especially the slow moving ones.
No romantic scene from “Dirty Dancing” ever ensued.
I aged out of the canteen, with a shelf-full of those 45’s.
Fast forward: I’m married and my husband and I enrolled in ballroom dancing classes. He had spent our college years playing music in bars to fund his tuition. I occasionally pushed a drunk around the dance floor when I got tired of sitting and listening and was asked to dance. Just to stay in practice.
I learned my custom of pushing men around, including my husband, on the dance floor is not conducive to good ballroom technique. As Bud, our ballroom dance instructor termed it, “Karen, you are a rock wall.”
My husband learned to push ME around and I finally conceded. We are tall, we both possess rhythm, and we dance well together. Together we learned to waltz, foxtrot, and even a little salsa.
We also learned to follow a certain rhythm off the dance floor. We’re still a couple. 48 years of marriage.
I’m now 70. The ballet and tap shoes are gone, of course. The opportunities to dance ballroom style are limited to weddings and the occasional Big Band concert. The call from “Dancing with the Stars” never came.
However, I find more opportunities to “dance” on my own. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “Dance like no one is watching?”
As a cyclist, I was advised to learn to dance on the pedals, i.e. rotate my feet lightly, easily, like a butterfly. A male cyclist once told me he loved to watch me climb a hill (it must have been an easy one) and then swoop down it. He actually compared my “performance” to a ballet. This was years ago, and I still remember the compliment. I didn’t know anyone was watching.
As a grandmother, I dance with my granddaughter. We started with “Ring Around the Rosie” when she was younger, and have moved on to something that resembles a cross between Irish dance and hip hop. I don’t care who watches. We are dancing because we love each other.
This week, I’m enrolling in “Booty Bounce.” It’s an exercise class, but I may learn some twerking moves, too. No one will watch each other. We’ll be too busy trying to keep breathing.
The older I get, the less dance-inhibited I become. I try to project this attitude frequently to other life-associated activities. For example, writing this post to this group required me to overcome a little fear of failure to connect with you on Facebook.
However, Susan waltzed in, asked me to put my name on her “card” here and I started tapping my toes, er, keyboard.
Now, here’s my question: Is YOUR life a dance? Is it a Box Step, a Polka, or a Hokey Pokey? Are you Footloose, a Dancing Queen or maybe you Move Like Jagger? What do you recommend to achieve a rhythm in your life?
Your responses will be rewarded with a show-all video of me at Booty Bounce.