Sunday, April 26, 2015

small potatoes (random musings)

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1. I'm rediscovering blogging. As in, other people's blogs. I love my local blog conglomeration, and I'm researching other ways of shifting some of my online focus away from time-suckers like Facebook and TMZ over to sites that will ultimately be helpful for my goals.

2. These petit fours. You already know how much I love lavender in my food. But how is that I've never heard of lavender extract until now? I must get some.

3. This author. I stumbled upon one of her food-themed novels while downloading e-books to listen to while I'm walking. Turns out she's written a bunch of other novels with a strong food theme, as well as independent childfree women characters (something I'm always on the lookout for).

4. I need lessons in housekeeping. I wasn't really brought up learning how to properly clean and maintain a household, and it's sort of embarrassing - not to mention completely overwhelming. Pinterest doesn't help - as much as I love Pinterest, I think it's contributing to the growing problem of social media making us all think we're not good enough - and in this case, I already know I'm not good enough. So if any of you have a simplified site or manual that would help me learn how to clean, please share.

5. Small potatoes. It's been a while since I made one of these random thought posts. I miss them. So I came back. One of the best things about this being my blog.

Food for thought

"Without my morning coffee I'm just like a dried up piece of roast goat."

-  Johann Sebastian Bach

Friday, April 24, 2015

The day I got a trainer and taught myself to put my foot in my mouth without even trying

This is my new trainer. Except not. But sort of. Just keep reading.
Dr. Fat Ass is persistent. As you know, for my first several sessions with him, he casually pointed out that perhaps I should lose a little weight. Sometimes not so casually.

But Dr. Fat Ass also knows his shit. So far (knock on wood) he has been dead on about what I need to do to help my back. #1 rule: Always keep moving. Or, as he colorfully puts it: "Stopping equals death."

He likes to talk about death, particularly after donning a thick and obviously fake Scottish accent (he's fun!). It's sort of contrived - a doctor telling you that if you don't change your ways you'll die. But I guess it's true. Well, of course it's true: no matter what you do, eventually you will die.

Way to play the odds, Dr. Fat Ass.

A couple weeks ago, after giving me a trainer's phone number maybe three times over the course of six months, he chastised me for still not calling him.

"You know what happens to people who put things off?" he asked as he stretched my legs back and forth.

Don't say they die. I know you're going to say it, but don't say they die - it's such a cliché, I thought.

He stopped stretching me for a moment, paused dramatically, and said:

"They die."

I wanted to smack him and laugh at the same time.

But he was right.

I called the trainer that day, as I was leaving the chiropractor's office. We played a bit of phone tag and finally met yesterday. I went on and on about how I'm an athlete at heart - I used to row, how I came to college after a life of couch-potatoing championships and turned things around and worked out every day and then I hurt my back and since then I haven't been able to work out consistently without re-injuring myself and starting from square one.

I joked and charmed and rocked his evaluative exercises and even teased him a bit about his broken nose (which I immediately regretted because - HELLO you just met him and maybe he's sensitive about it? But it turns out he's got an awesome and manly story to go with it so it's all good). I felt like I was on top.

He was super cool. Fit but not a meathead at all. Friendly. A bit of a hippie, but in a really good, authentic way. Knowledgeable. And he likes cats for crying out loud.

I left feeling utterly amazing. Okay, I thought. I can do this!

And then I followed him on Instagram.

He had mentioned how he was crazy about Instagram right now, posting videos and exercises and such. Cool, I thought. I'll check it out. I logged on and quickly followed him.

Um. Guys. He's phenomenal.

He does things with his body that I've only ever seen those crazy-fit Cirque du Soleil brothers do. He's just plain ridiculously and amazingly and jaw-droppingly in shape. He trains with freakin' pro football players for the love of Pete.

At this point, I know two things for sure:

1. I am way out of my league (and shape).

2. I want to do all of those things with my body, too.

Watching those videos stirred that ember within me - the one that used to be a raging fire, until my lumbar spine threw a big bucket of water on it. The fire wasn't extinguished, but it's certainly struggling.

My new trainer - I think I'll call him Chimpy - has a really great mentality: Go back to basics, break it down to the foundation and build from there. Breathe. Build. Move.

I'm going to do this. Even if I'm completely intimidated the entire time.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sand: or, The Bane of Every Curvy Girl's Existence

Let's talk about sand, baby.

Is anyone out there able to gracefully and effortlessly defy the laws of gravity (and weight distribution on a semi-solid surface) by scampering around the beach without sinking? I grew up being brainwashed (in more ways than one) by the Baywatch gang, who seemed to do just that.

I've heard that people who routinely run on the beach (i.e. lifeguards, wild horses, crazy Californians) have amazing strength and stamina. It makes sense - you're walking on an ever-shifting surface. Your core needs to constantly compensate for the changes in your steps. Your quads and hamstrings and calves are engaged in a fashion normally reserved for a StairMaster or the high incline setting on the treadmill.

At least that's the way it is for us curvy girls. I think it has something to do with PSI - pounds per square inch. Ladies, if you look down, you'll notice that, size-wise, your feet are on par with the majority of other women. However, our bodies vary greatly. You could have two people with size 8 feet, and one of them wears a size 2 dress and the other's a size 20.

That's a big difference in the amount of pressure your tootsies have to take - and attempt to distribute across a freakin' beach. They really need to invent snowshoes for beach-goers.

What makes the constant stepping and sinking even worse? You know where I'm going with this - super-heated  sand. There is a very small window at the beginning and end of the day where the sand is at a bearable temperature; the rest of the time, it gladly absorbs as much heat as it can, and it just sits there, lying in wait like some creepo with a sadistic foot fetish.

What an exercise in self-torture: Yay! I'm at the beach! It's so wonderful! Oh but my feet are burning! And to get to that perfect beach spot over there I have to continually subject my feet to burning then respite then burning then respite then burning again! Ow! Ow! Ow! But...Yay! I'm at the beach!

While the teeny bikinis around me in St Croix danced across the sand like those water-skimming mosquitoes, I found myself walking around looking like a very hot, very sweaty penguin. I tried gripping the sand with my toes and quickly had an evolutionary flashback to a monkey in a tree gripping onto the branches with its nimble feet. It didn't work very well, either.

One thing I did notice was that if I kept my core engaged - my center pressed against my spine - it was a little easier. But just a smidge. For the most part I just fumbled along, insanely grateful to finally reach the final destination of my beach chair.

It was worth it, though.

beach and palm tree at the buccaneer st croix

Sunday, April 19, 2015

This is really ending

The bags are packed. So are the flip-flops. I'm back in my trusty yoga pants, an appropriately supportive bra hooked across my back. It feels too tight.

The room is surprisingly tidy - I wonder if housekeeping staff notice/appreciate when an outgoing guest leaves the room like this. It breaks my heart a little that it almost looks like we were never here.

Sous Chef is working on a presentation he has to give first thing tomorrow morning, flipping through a horticulture magazine, circling purple flowers and noting varieties and species of plants he wants to use this Fall. Yesterday, I weeded through over 600 work emails with the hope that Monday morning will hurt a little less.

The flowers in the small vase beside me here on the glass table are starting to wilt; I'm actually surprised they've lasted this long. Must be something about the salty sea air. I'm convinced the sodium molecules in the mist somehow osmotically enter any living thing around them and heal, refresh, and nourish whatever needs a little boost.

I've got salt crystals on my arm; I must've been sprayed with some sea water on the walk up to breakfast this morning. Yesterday, I could have played an extra in a Twilight movie, I was so sparkly with salt. The water here seems more salinated; so much so that Sous Chef was able to float effortlessly. Normally, he sinks like a bad fruitcake.

My mind is overflowing with things I want to talk to you about. I'm so scared I'm going to forget something. Like the mongooses (mongeese?) or the secret onion ring sauce or the fact that it is physically impossible for a curvy girl to walk gracefully across a beach. I'm afraid I'll forget to tell you about my first time snorkeling. Or the simultaneous terror and exhilaration of maneuvering a kayak across the crystal aqua water. And the stories I heard from the locals - the taxi driver's favorite food, the beach waitress's sojourn here after closing shop on her life in California. How the Cruzan rum flows like water, and how a couple of Dark n' Stormies can lead to one of the best conversations you've ever had.

Maybe I'll forget. Maybe I won't. I guess I'll have to be okay with it either way.