As you know from my post yesterday, I spent some time this weekend playing around on the internet. I found my photo in a tattoo gallery and the caption writer was questioning whether I was a man going commando or a woman. Apparently, it’s hard for some people to tell because I found another photo of mine posted on a different website. The photo happened to be one of my favorites. I was number 13 in the gallery titled, “21 American Flag Bikinis To Celebrate.” The caption on the photo was quite nice…”Showing off the strength of America.” What I really got a kick out of was the comment section.
The last comment, that’s cut off in the screenshot was something like “What’s up with that dude?” It seems the consensus was that I look like a man who maybe looks like Michelle Obama or something like that. Was I upset? Not at all. I LOVE it. I felt the same way I did when a lady asked me if I did manual labor for a living because my arms were so muscular. I was amused…almost giddy with delight because it means my hard work is visible in the photo. I know the aesthetic I prefer isn’t for everyone and it makes me happy to think that someone noticed the results of my dedication enough to call me “gross” or a “man.” What’s the old expression?
That’s right! I must be over the target. BRING. IT. ON. The only bad part is that now I’m all revved up and wanting to pack more of that beautiful muscle on my frame. My workouts have been incredible the last few days and consequently, my entire body is sore. So sore. If you see me hobbling down the street, I might not be able to raise my arm to wave to you but I know you’ll understand if I just smile!
When you’re active on the internet, whether it’s blogging or posting on social media sites, you never know where your photos or writing will turn up. People re-post things they find all the time so you have to be comfortable knowing your content will spread in interesting and unusual ways.
I got all excited last weekend because as I was playing around on my Ipad I saw that one of my images was in the tattoo gallery at a place called the Tattoo Hut. It was in a spot titled “List of Top Men Commando Tattoo Images.” Now, I have to admit something that I have kept to myself until now. I’ve always wanted to be a tattoo…or rather, I wanted someone to use one of my images as inspiration for a tattoo. That might sound strange but it happens all the time. People find ideas for new ink all over. My interest in that type of tattoo is simply an extension of my love for the pin up genre. True, the images people pick are often of celebrity women but there are lots of tattoos based on regular women too.
Some are cartoon-y, some are more realistic, some are funny…and I love them all! So I was looking forward to seeing what was in the tattoo gallery that had to do with a commando and me.
There were a total of 28 photos in the “List of Top Men Tattoo Images.” Under the title heading was the line, exactly as written, “Here is the top Men Commando images we have.” Because of the grammar on the site, I suspect it’s run by a non-native English speaker. I was number 13 in the gallery. The following are some of the other photos in the gallery with their captions.
Now for my photo – happy number 13 on the list.
Did you read the caption? Did you? That’s right. They weren’t sure if I was a actually a woman or a man going commando in sweatpants.
No! No! No, wish granters of the universe. It wasn’t supposed to be me going commando, looking like a man, in a tattoo gallery. It was supposed to be me as a tattoo on a “commando” (military/patriotic) man from America. The basic elements were right but they were all mixed up.
I learned a valuable lesson over the weekend and I’m passing my newfound wisdom on to you.
You better be very, very specific when you wish for things!
**This post is not intended to slight the Royal Marine commandos in any way. The very few Royal Marines I’ve had contact with were lovely but everybody knows I absolutely adore our American military men…
–Tune in tomorrow for the next installment in the Commando Man series —
My family and I spent a bit of time in the mountains around Independence Day. It was a great trip and we were blessed to have friends and family for guests most of that time.
One of my favorite young people, my 11 year old niece, came along for a few of those days. When she walked into the cabin, she saw my pull up bar in one of the doorways and asked what it was for. I told her it was what I used for one of my exercises and demonstrated pull ups using different grips so she could see what I was talking about. She looked at me for a minute and said “I can’t do pull ups.” I told her she most certainly could and that the only reason she couldn’t is that she thought she couldn’t.
I explained that she probably only tried to use her arms to accomplish the task and explained that what she should be thinking about is using her back muscles (which are much stronger) to help her get her chest up to the bar. I could tell she was contemplating that for a while.
The next day, my younger son and I were doing a workout. We’ve been concentrating on compound, large muscle group exercises to help him make an easy transition into his upcoming football season and she asked to join us. I told her that would be fine but pull ups were part of the routine and that she had to try. She agreed and did a great job keeping up with what we were doing. I modified some of the exercises for her (like having her do bent knee push ups) so that she’d be successful and before long, it was time for pull ups. I told her once again that she absolutely COULD do pull ups and reminded her to visualize using the muscles in her back.
Lo and behold, she did not one, not two but three complete pull ups! They weren’t consecutive but each one was perfect. I gave her lots of praise and made sure that everyone knew about her little victory. I was very proud of her and she was proud of herself. I joked with her about getting her a pull up bar for Christmas and turning her into a workout phenom.
When it was time to go home, she looked at me very seriously and said, “Auntie Lynn…I really DO want a pull up bar for Christmas.”
…and a pull up bar, she shall receive! There’s nothing I like better than passing on my love for fitness.
“Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. Happy Fourth of July.” (Ronald Reagan)
Enjoy your day!
…And that about explains my current condition! I think my face looked just like that when I was halfway through my morning walk with the dogs and I realized that I didn’t have my Fitbit on. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized how much I’ve come to enjoy seeing my step count at the end of each day. I often challenge myself to see if I can go farther each week, or how high I can get the count in a single day or hour. It’s another great way to motivate me to stretch beyond my previous boundaries. I just can’t forget to strap it on at the start of the day!
“I may not love you perfectly but you are perfectly loved.”
When I was a teenager, I remember being annoyed with my dad. I thought he should acknowledge my accomplishments more than he did. He wasn’t one for giving compliments and I found myself pouting over that issue more than once. I wanted him to give me verbal praise for things. I wanted him to tell me he was happy with my performance on the track, or on the balance beam or that he loved the character development I achieved in the school play, but that just wasn’t his way and it made me mad.
It made me mad until I had a realization one day. I figured out that it wasn’t my dad who had the problem, it was me! My father showed me each and every day that he loved me and he let me know that in ways small and large. He often made little folded airplanes for me out of matchbook covers because they amused me. When he had a bag of pecans, he’d patiently crack open and clean one nut for me each time he cracked one for himself and he ate my Lima beans without telling my mom because he knew I hated them. He worked tirelessly and without complaint so that my sister and I had the material things we needed (and some we didn’t but just wanted). A huge chunk of his paycheck went to the Hamlin School for Girls…an academically challenging, private school in San Francisco. He let us buy books and magazines whenever we wanted. He never said “No” to reading material, be it comic books or my very own encyclopedia set (which I enjoyed immensely especially on rainy weekends). I had tap dancing lessons, ballet lessons, horseback riding lessons, tennis lessons and swimming lessons. My dad took the family everywhere he traveled because he wanted us to experience other places, people and cultures. In other words, he was a great dad but I chose to focus on the one thing he didn’t do…give verbal compliments.
Once I gained the insight to look at the whole picture and to take what he gave me with gratitude, I was a much happier girl. It changed our relationship for the better since I was no longer childishly demanding he do something entirely foreign to his nature. I opened my own heart and suddenly, I could see what I should have all along…that I was always loved and always appreciated whether he gave words to it or not.
It’s a lesson I’ve carried through all the rest of my life. People love you in the way that’s most natural to them. It’s a waste of time to fret over the things they don’t do (like bring you flowers) if can see that they show you appreciation in other ways (like happily fixing your car when it’s broken). Sometimes you can make your own happiness by simply adjusting your own perspective.
*One year, my dad started going to McDonald’s constantly. He hated the food there but ordered his Happy Meal and dutifully ate the thing several times a week. One day my older son who was about 3 at the time said “Grandpa sure does love McDonalds.” I smiled and said “No, he sure does love YOU.” He was going to McDonald’s and ordering Happy Meals in order to collect the toys included in meal. He was on a quest to get each and every Teeny Beanie Baby in the collection since he found out his precious grandson liked them. Now that’s love!
Happy Flag day to you and yours! May your day be perfectly beautiful…
Our Own Red, White and Blue (Author Unknown)
Today is the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. It’s the day when American, Canadian and British forces made the largest amphibious assault in history on several heavily fortified beaches in Normandy (Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold, Sword) in order to fight Nazi Germany and gain a foothold in Continental Europe. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft were on hand to support the invasion.
General George S. Patton, Jr addressed his troops as they were preparing for battle on June 5th, 1944. He said
“There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you won’t have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, ‘Well your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.'”
Nothing comes without a cost. During the invasion many of the Allied ground forces were either killed, wounded or went missing following the landings and there were many additional deaths among the Allied air forces.
It’s good for us to remember them always but particularly on this day…
One day, not too long ago, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items. As I got out of the car I spotted a woman with beautiful, long hair wearing a tank top going in ahead of me. She had an amazing physique. Her shoulders, triceps and traps were beautifully shaped…muscular and lovely. I immediately started considering my own workouts lately. I started regretted not lifting heavier, with more emphasis on muscle building. My back has always been my favorite and most responsive body part to train and although I still lift diligently, I’ve not been pushing the very heavy stuff around for quite a while. Most of the time I’m pretty satisfied with the balance I’ve been able to strike. Although I’m not lifting super heavy I’ve still been able to maintain a little muscle mass and my joints are much happier than they used to be.
…But that woman! Seeing her sparked that old competitive spirit that lurks inside. I was comparing her physique to my own (both the new and the old) and watching her so intently, I wondered if she could feel me from across the parking lot.
As she turned inside the store to grab a cart, I was jolted out of my musings. She was a HE! The woman I’d been watching from behind was actually a man with long hair! I had to laugh. For years, I’ve had relatives telling me that my view of an ideal female body is skewed. I like more muscle than they do by far. I suppose this is one story I’ll keep to myself at family gatherings!
Angels on the Battlefield
The sculpture below speaks to my heart. I’ve never even seen the finished piece but I don’t need to. It already says everything just as it is. This was a work in progress in 2014 and from what I understand it was being created for an art show. I can’t imagine it didn’t win first prize.
If I was an artist, this is a piece I’d want to create…
Description from the sculptor, Larry Binkowski
Angels on the Battlefield is a memorial sculpture created both as a tribute and a reminder of the sacrifices made by the nation’s fallen war heroes. The sculpture features a lone modern day warrior mortally wounded in battle. The figure of the soldier is symbolic of all the service branches of the military, both men and women. The soldier is faithfully watched over by an angelic figure, a somber look graces her face as she gazes down at her newly acquired charge. Her wings shelter him as her hands reach out as if to protect him from further harm. The heavenly guardian comforts and cares for the soldier as would all of those that will now be touched by his departure. The pictures are of the work in progress. The sculpture will be finished in cast stone. The following inscription will be engraved on the front. “When the brutality of war has ended and the cool chill of darkness steals your last remaining breath away, may you find the comfort and compassion of your loved ones in the warm embrace of angels”
(Larry Binkowski is a primarily a self taught sculptor from Auburn Hills, Michigan. He started his sculpture career as a figurative and portrait sculptor with commissions coming from both the public and private sector).