Friday, April 30, 2010

Month-End Review, April

Anyone else shocked that it's April 30th or is it just the queen of denial who is surprised?

I hardly set foot inside of the gym but I worked it out – it being my body. ;)

My water consumption went down somewhat; I got in 193.5 cups of water -- 56 less than last month but c'est la vie.

How did you all fare this month on the fitness front? Is there an exercise or DVD that rocks your boat and that you regularly look forward to facing?

X = Exercise and a half X = under 30 minutes:

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fix Mix

  • Power Yoga, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Dance your body Thin!

  • Dance Toner, 1 x

  • Smooth & Sexy Moves, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts

  • Upper Body Workout, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • 10 Minute Stretch, 6 x's

  • Sleek and Sexy Abs, 4 x’s

  • 10 Minute Solution: Quick Sculpt Pilates

  • Core Conditioning, 1 x

  • Strength and Flexibility Pilates, 1x

  • Total Body Toner, 1 x

  • Bicycling, 9 x’s

    Cardio and Muscle Class, 3 x's

    Drills to Make You Sweat Class, 1 x

    Mowed the Lawn
    , 2 x’s

    Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 40-Minute Total Body Circuit, 1 x

  • P90X

  • Cardio X, 1 x

  • Rock Climbing
    , 7 x's

    Swimming, 3 x's

    , 1 x

    Walking Outdoors, 7 x's

    Disclosure: I received 10 Minute Solution: Quick Sculpt Pilates without charge.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    Resistance Is Futile?

    I haven't stepped foot in a brick and mortar bookstore in a long time and I was surprised and not surprised to see this book display right by the door. After all, the diet industry is a kabillion dollar one:

    Every year, Americans spend an estimated $42 billion on diet books; $18.5 billion on health club memberships; and $5.2 billion on diet foods and weight loss programs. (Eat This Not, That! For Kids!, 2)
    I've been holding onto Eat This, Not That!, countless magazines and doctors Roizen and Oz's book YOU On A Diet which I got from the library. One of phrases that continues to roll around in my head from YOU is:

    ...fructose tricks your body into staying hungry.(258)
    And this passage keeps me thinking about food memory:

    When you eat sugar, you light up the motor cortex of your brain, which controls your lips, tongue, and mouth. The hippocampus, which controls memories of food, lights up when people on rigid diets crave certain foods -- overwhelming their willpower and ability to resist. (167)
    I must have been absolutely radiant for decades and part of me wants to remember every amount of saturated fat and sugar that I've put in my mouth. Hence, the Kryptonite (partial list) on the sidebar. I want to remember so that I don't forget. Rigid, maybe, but that's how I roll right now but it also keeps me on point. When I'm eating out (usually because of a work function or family/friend celebration), I usually decline decadent stuff because I know there's a lower calorie option that's satisfying and, for me, once Pandora's pantry is open, it's wide open.

    I was reading a post over at Farty Girl and found out about the other Gillian -- Gillian McKeith. Her temperament reminds me of The Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels. One minute Michaels, in particular, will be working my nerves with the it's-not-what-you're-eating-it's-what's-eating-you angle and then she'll come up with a winner:

    Jillian to Victoria (Season 9, Episode 13):

    I don't want anything from you. What do you want from you?
    In the end, McKeith and Michael's hearts are in the right place. If you haven't seen You Are What You Eat, it's worth taking a peak at. I love the food options that she presents.

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    All I Really Need To Know I Learned While Rock Climbing

  • A figure eight knot is a powerful knot but it never hurts to have a fisherman’s knot as a back-up.

  • A strong core is advantageous.

  • Ask if the person is finished with a route before you start grabbing ropes.

  • Balance -- that’s what it’s all about…

  • Be attentive.

  • Be careful where you’re stepping and watch out for overhead traffic.

  • Be gung ho or don’t come at all. (Provided by Patti)

  • Be helpful to the newbies or someone struggling to ascend a route.

  • Be responsible.

  • Cheer for people – encourage them.

  • Communication is important.

  • Don’t be afraid to really stretch out and reach for the hold that you want; you might bend but you won’t break.

  • Don’t step on anyone’s chalk bucket.

  • Feel the fear and climb anyway.

  • Feel the fear and jump for a hold beyond your reach.

  • Flexibility is useful.

  • If one technique does not work, reposition your feet, shift your weight and try a different approach.

  • If someone is climbing alone, ask the person if they would like for you to catch them.

  • If you see someone struggling to secure the auto-belay, help.

  • It might not be today and it might not be tomorrow, but you will eventually make it over the arête.

  • It’s not if you get to the top, it’s when you get to the top.

  • Muscle memory is a beautiful thing.

  • Never give up on making it to the top, especially when people are taking a tour of the gym and standing right beneath you.

  • Relax.

  • Share your knowledge.

  • She who giggles first slips off the foothold last.

  • Some days you'll be in the climbing zone and some days you will not.

  • Take a break, breathe and reassess the situation then keep heading toward the top.

  • Wait your turn.

  • Watch out for the children.

  • Yoga helps.

  • You can never have enough belay partners.

  • You might fall but your belayer will catch you.

  • Your framework is strong.

  • Fellow rock climbers, do you have anything to add? What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from fitness activities and endurance events?

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Enter The Gym

    We were supposed to be a party of four today but Patti's newbie backed out at the last minute. It seems to take rock climbing newbies a few false starts before they actually enter the gym.

    Joe showed up -- that's him at the start of the Forever Loving Jah route. I climbed with Joe last Saturday while Patti was climbing outdoors.

    Check out Patti on a route in Jackson Falls. Are you thinking the same thing that I am thinking? What is there to hold onto???

    We had a great outing until I squared off with The Roadkill Helper route. Patti and I do our safety checks and I notice that she has her belay devices and I have my belay devices locked and ready. Only, I'm supposed to be climbing and looking at a figure eight knot and a back-up knot. You know that I never heard the end of that, right? Patti kept asking me if I was locked in...

    After climbing, my upper body was all locked up and tense. I decided to do a little yoga but I don't know if Amy Bento's 10 minutes of power yoga was the best choice. I will concede that my body is not as locked up as it was before but, dang, I was tired after those ten minutes.

    I do have to say that it's so refreshing to be barefoot. I really don't do it often enough. Since I've never taken an official yoga class, I often wonder if I'm doing downward facing dog right. My positioning is not as bad as I thought but, as with all things, there's definitely room for improvement.

    Route tally:

    5.5, The Five
    5.7, Sponge Bob
    5.7, The Seven
    5.8, Bright Idea
    5.8, Face Plant
    5.8, Rainbow Bright
    5.8, The Roadkill Helper

    What did you do active today?

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    I Stand Accused

    My mother called me a haint.

    haint [ haynt ]



    Southern U.S. ghost: a ghost or other phenomenon believed to be supernatural
    One of my friends told me that I have forsaken family and friends for exercise.

    My brother feigns surprise whenever he catches me at home.

    And my cousin said something like I bet you went rock climbing when she asked about a fish fry that I was absent from.

    I'm so grateful that I'm not as defensive as I used to be.

    A couple of episodes ago on The Biggest Loser, Ashley said that people were sneaking away to get in exercise. I feel like I have to sneak away sometimes especially when I want to double my exercise efforts.

    On the other side of the world, when my mother saw how devoted I was to exercise, she started taking water aerobics classes which helps with her arthritis and achy knees.

    My brother called me the incredible shrinking woman and my friend recently asked me to show her some exercises for her abs since she is having persistent back problems. So, there we were on a Friday night working on our abdominal muscles.

    I wish that I could have the fish fry back. My aunt is prone to cook large amounts of fried fish, fried hush puppies, fried okra etc. and, when I mentioned that to her, she said How could you think that I did not consider you? My aunt had baked some fish for me. I definitely wanted a do-over on that one.

    And my cousin?

    When I started this journey, I walked and walked. I was reading Prevention and saw and ad for a marathon and I started training to walk in a marathon because I had heard of people losing weight this way.

    As I walked in Forest Park, an aunt joined me then my cousin joined us.

    The three of us participated in the 2008 Go! St. Louis Marathon.

    My cousin got a scare recently when the doctor told her that her blood sugar was elevated which was definitely cause for concern since my cousin's father and every last one of his siblings has diabetes.

    Last Sunday my cousin, aunt and I were sitting on the couch talking and my cousin said that she went to the doctor and all of her tests, including cholesterol and glucose, showed improvement.

    Thank you, she said. If it had not been for you, I would not have started going back to the gym.

    I almost fell off the couch.

    My cousin has lost 21 pounds since she rejoined a gym about a year ago.

    I stand accused. Sort of...

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    The Devil You Know

    Episode Recap
    The last time I saw The 'Drea Slayer we were doing kickboxing moves and she told us that if anyone in the class put their non-punching hand down, we would have to do extra cardio. Hunh? I couldn't believe that Kate had resorted to threats but as she surveyed the room all hands were, indeed, on deck.

    Episode Preview
    Knowing how my energy wanes toward the end of the day and, miraculously, before Cardio and Muscle, I decided to dig deep and gut it out no matter what. I made a decision to pull a Miggy -- to give it all I have and to give it all I didn't have because, really, I'm sitting just about all day. Why should I feel fatigued? Okay, my coworkers wear me out at times but that's beside the point...

    Tonight's Episode
    Kate will be on vacation for three weeks and, as it turns out, she wanted to give us something to remember her by. My behind is sore because Kate kicked it. My abs, legs and shoulders are also in on the soreness. Honestly, I have to stand up slowly and get accustomed to being in that position before I can move on.

    Kate kept chanting push it, push it and she kept saying:

    Everything you have -- lay it out and, then, no one should be stopping.
    If your legs felt all wobbly like some newborn animal whose mother is nudging it to walk because the lions are nearby, then you had the option of doing the lower modification but you could not stop. Oh, the instructor pressure.

    A couple of times, Kate put her hand to her ear and asked if we were going to miss her. Silence.

    When we finished with class, this woman who hadn't been there in awhile walked up to Kate and said one-legged mountain climbers -- you are a devil.

    I have to say that I gave it all I had tonight and I even chose larger weights for the muscle portion of the program...

    Saw this video on The Early Show. Hats off to Sally Hazelgrove for making a difference. I'm so glad that I participated in an organized team sport in junior and high school. I think it made a world of difference concerning my confidence and self-esteem. Did you participate in a team sport? If so, what kind of impact did it have on your life?

    Watch CBS News Videos Online

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    More Than Sportsmanship

    Started my day off by going for a refreshing bicycle ride while it was still cool and crisp in the one and only Forest Park but I had to hop off my bike when I saw the hot pink dog. First, I had to do a double-take since my mind goes in slow motion a lot. At first, I was kinda of shocked by the dog but, in retrospect, I dig the picture because of the diversity and because all the dogs seem well-cared for...

    Before I headed to Forest Park, I saw this little bird -- the same little bird that I've seen for a couple of days and I finally saw where she was headed with her raw materials.

    I caught this segment on the evening news yesterday and was touched by the U.S. Women's synchronized skating team who learned that the Croatian team was stuck at the airport due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland. As the newscaster said, they offered more than sportsmanship; the U.S. team offered the Croatian team a place to stay. The same can be said for a family who offered to house a family of seven from North Ireland. The American family said they knew what it was like to be stranded at the airport as they once were in South Africa.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    I also need to say that I didn't even know there was a synchronized skating team. If I were on Twitter right now, I would use this hashtag #livingunderarock.

    Another segment on yesterday's evening news moved me as well. It's about Cesar Morales who is giving back by teaching fencing to individuals who are visually impaired.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    I don't know about you but I'm inspired and I'm going swimming...

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Getting What I Wanted

    I was itching to go climbing. It is Saturday, after all, and Saturday = rock climbing. Hello!

    Patti was itching to go climbing outside but I was not itching to climb outside especially since Patti and crew were going rock climbing at Jackson Falls.

    I had misgivings about going because I've never climbed outdoors and I know next to nothing about what kind of equipment is needed and I like to do my research. I know that I would have been in good hands but the trek to Jackson Falls was going to be an all day affair and I just didn't feel like I had all day.

    I pouted internally and I was a little bummed out and part of my pouting was due to my inflexibility and need to be in control.

    I was wondering if I should go to the gym at all but knew if I didn't I would be haunted, later on in the day, by thoughts of going rock climbing. I headed to the gym but even my harness wasn't cooperating; it was all twisted and tangled. After I down climbed my warm up route, I was looking around and saw this guy and we made eye contact.

    Him: Are you waiting on someone?
    Me: No.
    Him: Do you want to climb a few routes together?
    Me: Sure.
    The old me would have never agreed to climb with someone I did not know. For that matter, the old me would not have been climbing.

    He (Joe) asked how long I had been climbing and if I felt comfortable belaying. I told him that I was completely comfortable belaying and that I had been climbing seriously for about six months. He had been climbing for two years but had taken a hiatus. I later learned that Joe had been afraid of heights, he's never taken a rock climbing class and his friend taught him what he knows. Said friend also started him off by rappelling down a 60 foot cliff.

    It's funny that people don't believe you when you say that you are not crazy about heights. You get so focused during climbing that you concentrate on the task at hand. Eventually, the sensitivity to heights falls by the wayside.

    I'm still pondering how the universe gave me what I wanted. I got to rock climb without relying solely on the auto-belay and I enjoyed watching such a skilled climber; Joe was hugging the wall and doing heel hooks while tackling 5.10s and such. One day...

    Route Tally:

    Sponge Bob, 5.7 (Climbed and Down Climbed 3x's)
    Bright Idea, 5.8
    Face Plant, 5.8
    Rainbow Bright, 5.8
    Have you ever been surprised by getting something that you thought you could not have or achieve?

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    The Friday Funnies

    What are you willing to lengthen your workout for?

    Personally, I have a jones for many things. Who would have thunk it, right?

    I like Kashi's TLC (Tasty Little Cereal) Bars. I also dig Crisp 'n light Wasa crackers which I usually adorn with Sabra Red Roasted Hummus.

    What's your Achilles' heel? What do you stock up on?

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    The Inflamed Body

    I don’t know how YOU On A Diet: The Owner’s Manual for Waist Management did not get on my radar sooner. I absolutely loved this book. It was so easy to relate to and it often made me chuckle. I also saw a review of YOU: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty over at Diane's Training Journal that sounds great. My conclusion: I really need another 'Drea to help me get more reading done.

    One of the major takeaways from YOU On A Diet was this statement:

    Most important, the process of gaining weight is often a process of inflammation. (75)
    The authors (Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz) go on to say:

    Inflammation also makes it more likely that your DNA will be damaged, and a cell will become cancerous. (75)
    I can’t say enough how much I liked the illustrations and how the authors broke things down. This book is one that I wish that I had read eons ago. It was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I said that already, didn’t I?

    Don’t have time or money to exercise? Here’s the authors’ take:

    You need only one piece of equipment: your own body. Your body is your gym. (138)
    If you don’t have time to do this, then you have to be willing to admit that the problem is not the fact that you’re out of time but the fact that your life is so out of control that you can’t budget enough time for your health and well-being. (150)
    I just touched the surface of this book. The authors cover so much including cheat words (dextrose and mannitol), chemistry, desserts (consider them every other day) metabolism, nutrition felons (in your kitchen) and stress. There are also recipes and a troubleshooting guide.

    And for a final quote that moved me:

    But to put fat in perspective, remember that it’s an all-body risk factor – with implications everywhere. (118).
    This is my body when it was inflamed. At the time, I was at Café Nastaha with coworkers on the occasion of someone who had resigned. It’s so crazy to me how much "birthday" cake and punch and restaurant food we consume at work-related functions. I’m sure that I was having fried falafel on top of my salad at the time and I'm so glad that I don't eat fried wild things anymore.

    Have you all seen this video about the New Calorie Counting? As if the old way wasn't challenging enough...

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Your Abs Should Be Talking To You

    Sometimes I like to do a gut check or, in this case, let's call it a back-to-back date with Kate.

    I went to Cardio and Muscle class on Tuesday and Kate wore me out as usual.

    There are times when I imagine myself as a delicate flower or something and somewhere, in my brain, I negotiate this situation where I'm not able to do back-to-back hardcore exercise.

    As I was walking around earlier, I was checking my body. Yeah, I had a hard workout yesterday and other than a little tenderness in the leg region, there was nothing to prevent me from going to Drills To Make You Sweat.

    Does anyone else get tired (and hungry) right before exercise? I'm trying to figure out how I'm so fatigued at the end of the day when I've been practically sitting on my behind for the most part. That's when I just tell myself to suck it up because, surely, if I've been sitting down for the bulk of the day, I should have no problem putting my backfield in motion.

    I delivered myself to Kate and she wore me out again. We went through this whole sequence with legs and when we came out of squats, lateral runs etc., she wanted us to do fast feet. My legs felt like rubber and I made some animalistic sound and the girl in front me went Yeah, she doesn't stop.

    When we were on the floor for abs, we had one leg raised to meet an arm. Kate said: your abs should be talking to you and, indeed, they were quite loquacious.

    Is your body talking to you?

    How do you convince yourself to exercise and gut it out?

    Did you see this article, Stand Up While You Read This!, in The New York Times about how sitting all day is one of the worst things that you can do to your body?

    To borrow Bob Marley's lingo, are you rocking your workouts and are you keeping your fitness dates? As Kate would say, don't stop -- do the lower modification when you can't go all out.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    The Ear to Ear Standard

    After test driving a few bikes, it was the Globe Vienna 1 that made me smile from ear to ear. I probably should have looked around more but I was itching to get back on the road and not with the ancient clunker that I’ve been riding.

    Still, I made a few more calls and did more research even though the guy told me that it was spring and the bike might not be there when I got back. Finally, this guy in Illinois told me that Specialized had a 2009 Globe Vienna 2 in stock for the same price that I was going to pay for the 2010 Globe Vienna 1. I called the shop where I had taken the Globe for a test ride to ask them to order the bike for me.

    Said salesman told me he checked and verified that the 2009 model was still in stock. Then, the question: May I ask why you want the 2009 model?

    Hmm, let’s see. It’s an upgrade and it costs the same as the 2010 model???

    Said salesman then told me that he had the 2009 in stock and that he would give it to me at the same price that Specialized had it discounted for.

    I was disappointed when the fellow asked me why I wanted the 2009 model. Am I naive to expect people to play fair? When I told him about the 2009, he should have just said: The 2009 is a better deal.

    I went to pick up my bike on Saturday and I was so nervous. I wondered if I should have looked around more. Maybe I should get my down payment back. Was I being extravagant?

    Before I went to pick up my bike, I had to tighten the bolts on my bike rack which someone tried to relieve me of last year. Once I had the bike on the rack, I was praying that no one took that moment to run into me. Phew, no one did.

    I took my Vienna 2 for a spin on Grant's Trail this afternoon and I saw a Clydesdale and a Cardinal along the trail... :)

    All this bike talk reminds of the January 2010 Aha! Moment in The Oprah Magazine. Glenn Close said that she had a hard time saying vagina until she participated in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.

    Who could say "vagina" out loud before that play? After being in it, I actually walked into a bike shop and asked for the "vagina-friendly" bike seat. I thought the guy behind the counter was going to pop a gasket. But it was the best way to describe what I was looking for.
    Close said that she also had to learn to say schizophrenia, depression and bipolar. I really like what the actress had to say after talking about her sister who has bipolar disorder:
    We are all connected, and none of us should ever feel marginalized, stigmatized, and alone.
    Here's a better picture of my newbie...

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Where Your Butt Is Right Now

    I have a half-filled journal that has inspirational quotes or portions of articles which I haven't laid hands on in ages but I went hunting for it this morning because half of the articles are excerpts from Anne Lamott's former Salon column Word by Word.

  • A Bad Thing Happened at the Beach

  • Diving Into The Wreckage

  • Into The Mouth of the Cave

  • Into Thin Mud

  • Jesus and the Lemon

  • The Things We Carry
  • I only cut out one line from her essay My Secret Body since I so related to that line at the time:

    I was once again the world's oldest toddler.
    This young lady, Ena, told me that Lamott would be in town. At first, I didn't feel like going but I've read several of Lamott's books and had never seen her before. I felt it was time to unplug anyway so I headed downtown last night.

    The clergyman who greeted everyone to the Christ Church Cathedral was very welcoming. He invited people to not only look around later but to come back saying that it was our house and what a beautiful house it is...

    Lamott is engaging and funny. She invited late folks to come to the front of the cathedral (with the other latecomers) saying that they could be closer to the M & M's and Hershey's Kisses. It was Lamott's birthday and I'm assuming the M & M's came with the balloons.

    Lamott covered a lot of ground -- talked about three things she did to raise her son right (raised him in a church in the presence of multi-racial and multi-generational people, was sober and didn't get him a Nintendo) and she talked a lot about friendship and the grace of God in friendships.

    During the Q & A, someone asked Lamott about her dimply thighs that she wrote about in Traveling Mercies. A light bulb finally went off in Lamott's head when she asked a dying friend if her thighs looked okay in a dress and her friend told her you just don't have that kind of time.

    Radical self-love came out of Lamott's mouth a lot. I also dug other things she said:

  • If you're not okay at 180 pounds, you're not going to be okay at 140.

  • You're only going to be okay where your butt is right now.

  • I'm so militant about self-care and self-love.

  • Diets will make you fat and crazy if you're not doing the spiritual work.

  • Some days are just going to be too long.

  • I just want to give people my strength, my light...

  • There's comfort in self-love and there's comfort in quiet.

  • We are preapproved.
  • A woman asked Lamott's advice on how to help the people in her life without being completely drained. Lamott took that time to tell people that she would not personalize books. She said I have an old hand and if I personalize books, I won't get back to my hotel room until 10:30 p.m. She did tell people that they could write whatever they wanted and she would sign it.

    Lamott addressed the woman's question by saying, in part, that no is a complete sentence and that so many sweet women get caught up in being the flight attendant for the world.

    How do you take care of yourself and do you feel as if you are preapproved? Who inspires you?

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Turned A Corner

    I was so energized this morning. I got up and did ab work. I was going to say that a strong core is helpful for rock climbing but a strong core is good period.

    I ate a champion-like breakfast: oatmeal with almond milk, cinnamon, flax seed, and a mashed banana.

    As I was making a morning snack of strawberry and pineapple, I was thinking that I don't really care for strawberries by themselves but with pineapple -- yummy. Of course, I started singing Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

    HER: One can have a dream, baby
    HIM: Two can make that dream so real
    HER: One can talk about bein' in love
    HIM: Two can say how it really feels
    HER: One can wish upon a star
    HIM: Two can make that wish come true, yeah
    HER: One can stand alone in the dark
    HIM: Two can make the light shine through

    It takes two, baby...
    After I had climbed my second route, Patti said I think that you've turned a corner in your climbing. Patti is right. I'm more comfortable on the wall and, more importantly, I'm more conscientious.

    We had so much fun today. It was an interesting dynamic because normally Patti and I or Jessica and I or Jessica and Patti will go climbing. We haven't all been together in awhile. We teased each other endlessly but, don't worry, no one got hurt. Well, I almost got hurt when I swung off of Beware of Bats but that's another story.

    Route Tally for 4/10:

    The Five, 5.5 (Climbed 2x's & Down Climbed 1x )
    The Seven, 5.7
    Sponge Bob, 5.7
    Bright Idea, 5.8
    Face Plant, 5.8
    Hallelujah, 5.8
    Rainbow Bright, 5.8
    Beware of Bats, 5.9

    The 5.8 by the name of Hallelujah is pretty accurate because, when I made it up to the top, that's definitely what I wanted to sing.

    By the way, see that picture (the fourth one) where it looks like I'm doing a split? Wow, I didn't feel myself doing that and I can't believe that I'm that flexible now.

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    The Arabic Music Phase

    I had this whole Arabic music phase. When I heard Aicha by Cheb Khaled, I immediately fell in love with the song.

    Really, you should hear me singing in French and my apologies to all of the French speakers out there. And what does French have to do with Arabic anyway?

    Here are the lyrics, in part, to Aicha:

    écrite par J.J Goldman

    Comme si je n'existais pas,
    elle est passée à côté de moi
    Sans un regard, reine de "Saba",
    j'ai dit Aïcha prends tout est pour toi

    Voici les perles les bijoux,
    aussi l'or autour de ton cou
    Les fruits, biens mûrs au goût de miel,
    ma vie, Aïcha si tu m'aimes...

    I’ll have to find the actual translation but Aicha walks past the gentleman without regard and he’s going to bring her jewelry, the sun...yadda yadda yadda. Listen to me, he pleads. I’ll erase your tears, your sorrow...yadda yadda yadda.

    When I told my friend Lori the lyrics she said, he’s lying. Wow, Lori, have a little faith.

    My fascination with Aicha led me to Raï music which led me to Magic System.

    If you look at my workout play list, I have this song Un Gaou Oran by 113& Magic System. I love this video. I think it’s so funky, cute and no one is scantily clad. So, here's something funky for Friday. Sit back and enjoy 113 & Magic System.

    What's the story behind one of your favorite workout songs?

    Cheers! It's Friday.

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Eight Days Ago

    The first thing my eyes fell on when I perused The New York Times on March 30th: David Mills, Television Writer and Producer, Dies at 48.

    My gut told me that it was the David Mills that I knew of a.k.a. Undercover Black Man, a blogger that I followed. Yet, it was still hard to comprehend. Mills was someone that I never met. I never verbally spoke to him. Yet, I left comments on his blog that he sometimes responded to. In addition, there were a couple of commenters that I felt I had camaraderie with on his site.

    I left a comment on UBM’s blog as did about 160 other folks upon finding out that he had died. I looked on the internet for final arrangements although I had no plans to go. I found some solace in that fact that Mills died literally doing what he loved to do – he was reviewing a scene on the set of Treme, a new HBO show that is set to debut in about a week. I also thought it was fitting that his last post was a video about the making of Treme. And, overall, Mills got a lot accomplished in his 48 years.

    Imagine my surprise when I saw that Undercover Black Man’s blog had been updated with the title Blowing UBM’s Cover. Had someone else been writing for UBM all along? I certainly didn’t expect to see another update. I went to see what the update was all about and it was UBM’s nephew, Clifton Porter, giving a wonderful tribute to his uncle. Porter, in charge of his uncle’s estate, had given me what I needed – closure.

    I have many journals and books (Can you say storage issue?) and I often think about burning my journals. Yet, I’m reluctant to destroy them. When I first started my fitness journey, I started by writing down what I was eating in a journal. I track what I eat online now but I still keep track of my water and exercise in a journal for some reason. Maybe I need something tangible to hold onto.

    Do any of you keep offline journals? Have you thrown any journals away and is your blog password kept alongside other passwords?

    And, finally, what are you dreams and are you following them?

    I've always liked this quote:

    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. - Henry David Thoreau
    If I were a preacher, I'd start my cadence now. How did he say go? Did he say go tiptoeing? Did he say go timidly? (Hitting hand on imaginary pulpit) Did he say go lukewarm? No, he said go confidently. He said go confidently -- in the direction of your dreams...

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Push It

    Called my aunt tonight and announced myself by first name but no one in my family calls me by my first name unless they are doing it for emphasis, teasing or trying to get my attention.

    What have you been doing?, my aunt wanted to know. I explained that I had just gotten back from a cardio class. She, of course, suggested that it was probably time for me to hit the relax button since I was having trouble with my name.

    Kate was in rare form. I don't know if she was Salt or Pepa put she was pushing us big time. I felt like she threw everything in her arsenal at us: fast feet, lateral and tire turns, jumping jacks, planks and push ups on the step plus shuffles. Kate was belting out calls like a military officer.

    Back straight. Head above the heart. Tuck those abs in. Go hard. Push it.
    After one cardio set, we went into squats. Squats are kind of perfect for placing your hands right at your heart and praying that you will survive the hour.

    Kate's wisdom for tonight:

    All of your movements are strong (travel farther, get lower)... You get out of your workout what you put into it.
    The class was packed and I didn't hesitate to square off with the mirror. I look leaner so I'm going to ignore the number on the you know what...

    What's your most memorable workout or toughest event that you participated in? Did you push yourself and endure? When you're working yourself out, are you able to look yourself in the mirror and say that you are pushing it?

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    I'm My Own Heroine

    I was reading the blog Overdose of Satisfaction. I have to first say that I really dig the title which comes from this quote by Salvador Dali:

    There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.
    Kourt wrote a post on March 31st called Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy. In the post, Kourt decides to address her low self-esteem issues and wrote 50 things that she likes about herself. I was intrigued and wrote in the comments that I didn't know if I had the (introspective) stamina to write 50 things that I liked about myself but I was still intrigued...

    I googled the exercise and came up with some guidelines from eHow which include:

    1). Start by listing 5-10 things you really love about yourself. Think of all the things you have done so far in this lifetime that made you smile and to be proud of yourself.

    3). Do this exercise over a couple of days...
    I think the couple days is crucial because characteristics occurred to me over a span of time especially while walking. Without further ado, here's the list:

    Well, here's some ado. My title is inspired by MizFit who has a shirt (along with her daughter) that says I Am My Own Superhero.
    1). I like my sticktoitiveness. I’m told that even when I was a little shorty and knew nothing about shoe tying, I persistently wanted to tie my own shoes without assistance. Also, I once stored food in mouth that the babysitter had given me until I was able to get to my grandmother who helped me to dispense with the distasteful matter.

    2). I enjoy hanging out with other people but I also enjoy my own company.

    3). Little things make me happy.

    4). I only applied to one college.

    5). I know how to change a tire.

    6). I know how to check my oil.

    7). I like my eyes.

    8). Even though they don’t seem like they should be on my body, I like my massive calves.

    9). I like my arms which are firm.

    10). I like that I can make other people laugh.

    11). I like my love/hate relationship with altruism.

    12). Very few things frighten me.

    13). I’m a stickler for details.

    14). My family is important to me.

    15). Hello! Hips unplugged.

    16). I’m fond of the burgeoning definition in my abs.

    17). I was able to lose 58 56? (fickle scale) pounds.

    18). I stuck with rock climbing even though it gave me jitters at first.

    19). I climbed a 5.9 (just yesterday).

    20). I’ve read hundreds of books.

    21). I participated in a sprint triathlon.

    22). I learned to swim as an adult.

    23). I like the introvert’s angle.

    24). I smile from ear-to-ear when I get a sentimental message.

    25). I’m willing to try new things.

    26). I have eclectic taste.

    27). I’m considerate.

    28). I’m thorough.

    29). I am responsible.

    30). Whenever I see a Cardinal, it stops me in my tracks.

    31). I enjoy photography.

    32). My friends are important to me.

    33). I like that I write sappy missives.

    34). I enjoy singing while I walk or clean.

    35). Lovin’ the new collarbone.

    36). I’m a good listener.

    37). The shape of my head is pretty cool.

    38). Satisfied that I stopped using hair chemicals.

    39). Glad that I’ve been working on being flexible (with other people and physically).

    40). I like it that, at night, if I’m fretting about something I can usually put it aside and get a good night’s sleep.

    41). I like casualness.

    42). I more generous with myself.

    43). I’m level-headed.

    44). I’m patient.

    45). I pick my battles.

    46). I have an expansive spirit. (Friend verified)

    47). I am sweet. (G’ma verified)

    48). I am loyal.

    49). I’m kinder to myself.

    50). I am more vocal.
    I'm also including the video that Kourt posted on her blog which is from The Conan O'Brien Show and it's called Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy. Kourt encouraged everyone to do a list and I hope this exercise spreads like wildfire. I also hope that you're having a satisfactory day that extends into many more days.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    There Is No Try...

    When I got to Upper Limits, there was a group of the cutest little girls. I love it that parents have active birthday parties for their kids and judging from all of the squealing going on upstairs, they had plenty of energy to expend.

    Here's my gear on a bench before I got all harnessed up -- complete with belay devices and chalk bag.

    I went climbing with Jessica and we both had pretty good outings. Jessica was a bit sleepy and this guy had us cracking up. He was like: What's with the yawning? Before you know it, I'll be yawning and it'll spread through the gym. Have some coffee, man, before climbing. And, let me tell you, I think the anti-yawner was properly caffeinated.

    The anti-yawner was belaying for Yoko (I know her name because he called it out several times to give her tips) and told her: There is no try; there is only do or do not. Jessica immediately looked at me and started shaking her head because I've told her that I will try before. So, be advised, never tell your belayer that you are going to try to climb a route.

    I tackled my first 5.9 route, Beware of Bats. I did it awkwardly, experienced sewing machine leg, felt there was no way that I could progress up the wall at one point -- like a checker player with one piece left facing a board full of kings -- but I did it. I know those holds look innocent enough but you should see the whole route. Jessica had me laughing too. She was like Beware of Bats? Beware of 'Drea. Jessica, flattery will get you everywhere...

    Today's route tally:

    Truxton or Bust, 5.6
    Gymnopaeda, 5.7
    Sponge Bob, 5.7
    Bright Idea, 5.8 (3x's)
    Face Plant, 5.8
    Beware of Bats, 5.9

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Friday Frivolity

    First things first: Happy Friday!

    I should have, perhaps, posted this yesterday when it was April Fools' Day.

    Here's me working out to the Smooth & Sexy Moves segment of 10 Minute Solution: Dance your body Thin!. I have on the two pound belt that the DVD comes with...

    Gingersnapper, do you still think you're less coordinated than I am?

    You know what they say: dance as if no one is watching... Hee-hee.