The Life and Times of Poopwa Foley

Archive for April 2012

Sometimes, toning up the ol’ bod might find you in some weird situations.  Like getting caught by the pizza guy out in the garage jumping rope.  (true story.) Falling down five or six times in the Peace Lutheran Church parking lot while rollerblading (true story, possible concussion, kids had to help me up.)  Forgetting the steps at Zumba class.  (big fat lie.  I’ve never done that.)

One thing I have done in the past (until quite recently, actually) to work on toning and fitness was to take belly dancing lessons.  I took lessons for a while when I was about 15; quite enjoyable.  Plus, I got a coin belt and zils (finger cymbals).  Not too many other 15 year old girls had those. 

Now that I think of it, they were probably busy with actual friends and fun plans because they weren’t complete teenage disasters who took belly dancing lessons.

Socially backward = me at 15.

We needed music to listen to and practice with at home, and a friendly (read:  creepy) sales guy at Recordland rang up my purchase of a belly dancing album, winking at me lasciviously the entire time.  (uh, I’m 15, dude.)
uh…this is SO not me.*
We took lessons until the teacher said that our class (consisting of me and my mom) had gone as far as she could take us, and that the next step would be to perform in front of judges and we’d get a certificate. 

Belly dance?  In front of people?  Are you frigging kidding me?    

A few years passed, but I still remembered how to do the “camel walk” and after the birth of three children ten years later, it sort of turned into an actual “camel walk.”  I needed a little more walk and a lot less camel.    

The next attempt at belly dancing for fitness was a class my sisters and I took at Joliet Junior College.  We drove to the campus, full of dreams of how we’d soon be snake-arming and shimmying with the best of them.  

Arriving at class, there was a woman sitting on the floor with her back to us, long dark hair, tanned, fit and toned.  Ah, we told ourselves, this must be our teacher.  Well, what an inspiration to take lessons from her, with herself being all skinny and cute and stuff.

But wait…then the real teacher walked in.  She was approximately 75 years old and had brutally dyed dark hair.  Nice enough lady, to be sure, but our dreams of following around our skinny, tanned hip-shaking inspiration were dashed and replaced by a pale, frail brunette of advanced years who confided somewhat naughtily that sometimes she danced for her husband. 

Someone had the audacity to ask her for an example, and she shot back that it was private. To her credit, despite the unbelievably audacious question, she never broke stride while leading us in a large, jerky sashaying circle while working her blue-lined, spaghetti-like limbs high in the air demonstrating.  Like this, she’d say.  Like picking cherries. 

It’s an arm movement, supposedly sinuous and sexy.  I just looked like I was actually picking cherries or replacing a light bulb.  Or being chased by real snakes.

Worse, the classes took place in the cafeteria of the JJC campus.  The doors were closed, so other students couldn’t get in while the classes were going on.  However, this did not deter them from pressing nosy-noses against the glass to snort gleefully at the thirty or so women parading in a big circle, somewhat like a sad cattle drive, practicing arm movements that we would only use later in life for grabbing a bag from the drive through at McDonalds.

To add insult to injury, we found out that our entire dance class was on security camera, which was playing on a TV outside the cafeteria for the growing crowd’s viewing pleasure.  Our mortification was complete.

We didn’t go back.

Moving to Rockford several years later, I figured that I could start over with a new class and a new teacher.  I did.  I attended faithfully and omi’d the best I could, but what she considered “constructive criticism” I perceived as “picking on.”  (maybe, maybe not.  Also, I found out that she had danced for my husband many years ago at his birthday party when he turned 30 and I was all like, “oh-no-you-di’int, he’s mine, beeyotch” and stopped attending.)

I’m cool and confident like that.

I found a wonderful new teacher.  Her class times worked well with work schedules, her gentle but effective instruction was pleasing and confidence-building, and she truly encouraged students.  Plus, she was about 40 years younger, all fit and toned.  She knew what the hell she was doing and did it well.

However, sadly, I am a hell of a lot older than 15 now.  Joints that once moved fluidly now feel like they’re filled with broken glass, especially after a long day at work.  Shimmying, hip drops, snake arms…the day after a class, I would have to painfully crawl down the hall toward the copier.  All the cool coin belts and zils in the world can’t make up for actually being able to lift my thigh and operate the clutch on my stick shift without excruciating pain.  I have reluctantly put classes on hiatus.

For now, I’m making do with plodding on the treadmill.  However, belly dancing is always there, lurking and swaying seductively in the background.  Perhaps I’ll practice and bide my time until I have my sweet moves down pat.  Then I’ll show you.

Look out, YouTube.

(Beautiful Belly Dancer In Rich Costume by photostock, freedigitalphoto.net)
Get down!  Get down!  Go see Daddy!!”   (actual panicky orders I gave my black lab, trying to get him off the couch before he was spotted up there)
That was me, getting busted last week for letting the dog up on the couch.  My husband, in preparation for a trip to Florida, asked me if I wanted to go run errands with him.  I regretfully declined so that I could tweak the article I was working on.  (and had a deadline for.  I wanted to be “prompt” with my submission.)
I figured I’d have a 45 minute chunk of time to write.  I settled in on the couch, pulled my laptop onto (what else?) my lap, and began to work.
In my writing frenzy, I failed to notice (ha! No, I didn’t.) that my dog climbed up on the couch.  He’s 95 pounds and does nothing subtly.  His fur coat looks exactly like a big black blanket, so while I may have noticed him get up there, I became engrossed in writing and forgot he was there. (Ha! No, I didn’t.)
Forgot, that is, until I heard the sound of the back door opening.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Although I couldn’t see who was opening the door from my spot on the couch, from the horrified gasp I realized it was my husband.  He was back very, very early from his errands and opened the door just in time to see Cooper’s back legs hop off the couch.  Dammit.  Caught.
He looked at me while he directed his comments to the dog. 
“Cooper!  Did your mommy let you up on the couch?”  Of course, like every good wife I immediately denied knowing he was even up on the couch, but we both knew the truth.  Also because my hubby felt around on the couch until he located the very warm spot on the couch where the dog had been sitting.  (To my mind, we keep the couch cushions covered with sheets to keep them from getting dirty.  So where’s the harm?)



“what?  me, on the couch?  There’s a first time for everything…”



Also from time to time, when my husband and I are gone, that same dog is also fully allowed on the couch by one child in particular.  This one child (her name rhymes with Banana) has actually taken pictures of her doggie sitting on said couch, and then flagrantly posted them on Facebook, where her dad could see them.



Fast forward one week.   Cooper had a very sore paw for whatever reason.  (Probably because he jumped off the couch.)  He limped around feebly and made us feel very sorry for him.  My hubby couldn’t bear to see Cooper in any pain and petted him anxiously over and over.  I left Coop in my husband’s able care while I went downstairs to fold clothes. 
And came back up to find Cooper happily curled up on the couch next to my husband, who just smiled at me.
I smiled back, in complete understanding. 



(author’s note:  Cooper has made a complete recovery.  And as I write this is sitting next to me on the couch.  But don’t tell my husband.)

Are you pressed for time?  Is it hard to find time to even write a grocery list?  Is there something that you would like to have some uninterrupted time to work on…a book, a screenplay, a short story or say, a contest of some sort?
I have the answer for you!  The In Print professional writer’s group is hosting a writer’s retreat on Sunday, April 29th.  It will be held at Camp Winnebago, Rockford IL, from 10-5pm.  Time has been carved out for visiting and a dish-to-pass lunch hour. 
What do you like to work on, a computer?   An Ipad?  Pen and paper?  Chisel and stone tablet?  Bring it with you on Sunday the 29th of April along with a dish to pass and a lawn chair, if desired.
Cost is minimal.  If you’re a member of In Print, send a check for $10 to In Print, PO Box 2146, Loves Park, IL 61132.  If you’re not a member of In Print (yet!) the cost is $15, the mail to address stays the same.
Tell anyone you think would be interested in coming on Sunday, April 29th.  Let your fellow writers know there’s a retreat coming up where there are no ringing phones, no crying babies, no TV, no laundry to fold…just you and your writing, with others and their writing.
I’m going.  Will you be there?
Questions?  Call Kristin Oakley, President of In Print, at 815-275-9226.
You’re a good writer.  You know it.  Anyone who’s read your work knows it.  Have you been thinking of entering a contest to prove to the world that you can write a winning short story?
Here’s a wonderful opportunity for you.  The In Print writer’s group is holding their 1st annual writing contest.  Your short story has to be 1000 words or less; poetry needs to be 30 lines or less, and the only other requirement is that your story or poetry must be something about writing…an author, a group, or perhaps how you beat writer’s block. 
Will there be prizes?  You betcha…there will be one $100 winner for each category.  The deadline is June 10th, and the winners will be announced at the August 11th In Print meeting. 
It’s $10 for members and $15 for non members.  Checks should be made payable to In Print and sent to PO Box 2146, Loves Park, IL 61132.  Make sure each submission you send in contains your entry fee, a cover letter with your name and contact information, and your story or poetry.
Do you have lots of stories you’d like to submit?  That’s fine; just be sure to include a separate $10 or $15 fee and a cover page with each story.
We have three distinguished judges who will be judging in three categories:  fiction, non fiction, and poetry. 
You know you’re a good writer.  Time to let everyone else know!
Questions?  Call Kristin Oakley, President of In Print, at 815-275-9226.
On a recent trip to Mexico, there were many beautiful things to see…the blue, blue Caribbean Sea, white sand, colorful fish, beautiful sunrises (one of which we actually got up early enough to see) and many, many people of all different shapes and sizes.  It was a treat for the eyes and a balm for the soul. 
However, time and time again I found my eyes drawn to…FEET.
Talk about all shapes and sizes!  Many women, (me included) knowing they were going to a beach resort, treated themselves to beautiful pedicures.  Others, men AND women, just had well tended feet and clean, clipped toenails.
And then…there were others.  Short stubby toes on dirty feet, toes that look like fingers, toes that look like all pinky toes, missing toes, too many toes…the list goes on and on.
This actually happened in Mexico:  It’s 6pm, you’re pleasantly tired from a fun day on the beach, and you’re hungry.  You’re standing in line for the buffet.
You see them before you hear them.  Click.  Click.  Click.  Then you see them.  Indescribably, disgustingly gross bare feet stuffed into a pair of shower thongs, shuffling your way.   Yellowed, thick toenails two inches long that have never seen the silver flash of a pair of clippers.  They’re so long they’re actually curved over the sandals and clicking on the floor.  Those toenails grace feet that have obviously never, ever seen the light of day as the glare coming off those pasty feet forces you to shield your eyes. 
Your appetite = gone.
joes toes.  how pretty.
I’m surely not the expert on pretty feet.  I’ll certainly never be a foot model.  (author’s note:  I do love my husband’s feet…see above)  I have noticed that as I grow older, my toes alarmingly seem to be moving closer together of their own accord. 
I mentioned it to my sister recently and she nodded wisely.  “I’ve heard of that.  Yes.  It’s called “traveling toe syndrome”.”
(sigh)  I hope my toes get to travel to Mexico.  There are lots of pretty things to see there.


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  • Mary Fran Says: Thank you for contributing to Sweeps Week! We make a great team. Maybe we'll collaborate in our next lives? SISTERS! lol :)
  • Mary Fran Says: What's better than a Baby Shower aka Early Baby Birthday Party? Baby's FIRST Birthday Party! (Although it's hard to call them "baby" by one! They grow
  • Ann Jones: I'll have to check it out, thanks for the heads up!

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