Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Month-End Review, June

What was new this month?

I got a friendly e-mail from Groupon that my time at The Heights recreation center was coming to an end. I was able to use a different machine, the treadclimber, and I also shot hoops which I haven't done in ages. I really enjoy sinking baskets and chasing the ball around. The actual tossing of the ball doesn't burn many calories but you have to shoot baskets as if no one is watching or something like that. Right?

I also did more yoga this month than I've probably ever done. Frankly, it was necessary after Kate's Cardio and Muscle class on Tuesday.

Here's the exercise breakdown for this month:

10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • 10 Minute Stretch, 4 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Quick Sculpt Pilates

  • Standing Pilates Sculpt, 1 x

  • Strength and Flexibility Pilates, 1 x

  • Total Body Toner, 1 x

  • Bicycling, 7 x’s

    Cardio and Muscle Class, 5 x's

    Mowed the Lawn
    , 1 x

    Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 1 x

  • Rock Climbing
    , 5 x's

    Shooting Hoops, 4 x's

    Swimming, 4 x's

    TreadClimber, 3 x's

    Walking (with bouts of jogging), 7 x's

    Crunch: Candlelight Yoga, 4 x's

    I continued to enjoy the view and trek from the isolated portion of parking lots.

    Thanks again to Gingersnapper for reminding me of bonus exercise.

    Did you realize your June goals? Do anything different?

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Out Of The Mouth of Kate

    About four Cardio and Muscle classes ago, I decided to dispense with the internal whining and just stand my ground and do planks, squats -- you name it; I embraced it. Still, you never want to hear these two words come out of Kate's mouth: I'm tired.

    When she said that phrase, I walked over to Joy and told her that class was going to be very hard. About two beats later, Kate said that she'd had a two hour nap which just about made me shake in my Nike.

    About 15 minutes in, it felt like time was standing still but it's all about, as Kimberly over at Living the Fit Life talked about, leaving your comfort zone.

    Even cinema supports my effort. I was watching a movie on Friday. Actually, I fell asleep on a movie on Friday and finished watching it on Saturday. My friend likes to protest because I, apparently, have a hard time staying alert since I've taken on my second job i.e. exercising.

    I was watching Shall We Kiss? (Un Baiser s'il vous plaît?), a quirky little French flick which I liked because the director, at least, shunned the formulaic.

    Câline's former boyfriend wants to know why she is not upset about their breakup:

    All you can do is wait for your injuries to heal. No point in whining about it. It (anger) won't make your injuries heal quicker.

    That's the way that I feel about my shoulder now: C'est la vie and let the games begin. And that's the way I feel about Kate's class.

    Besides, according to Kate, her class has all kinds of benefits. All of that leg work, one-legged mountain climbers (platform-assisted) et al. is supposed to make us sleep better.

    Me: ThAnKs
    Have you thanked your cardio instructor lately -- even if it was in a slightly sarcastic way? Seen any good movies of late?

    Here's an interesting video about dinner plate inflation. I kept trying to embed the video but it kept giving me Keith Olbermann. Ha...

    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    I'm Willing To Move On If You Are

    I didn't get enough sleep last night...
    dun nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh
    I felt all lethargic...
    dun nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh

    I was hoping that the oatmeal would help...
    dun nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh
    but it didnt
    dun nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh
    My hands felt all tender
    dun nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh
    on just the first route...
    dun nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh
    And 'Drea's got the rock climbing bluesssssssss
    Okay, that wasn't the best blues song but I'm willing to move on if you are... We were a crew of six today and when there's a group of six, we have to remind ourselves to keep the yakking to a minimum.

    As my little blues ditty indicates, today was not a very good rock climbing outing. Still, I was pleased with how cleanly I climbed Hallelujah, the cleanest that I've ever climbed it.

    We all had fun on a new route, Pacman Revival.

    'Drea On Her Way To The Top of Pacman Route

    Jessica's Turn To Climb Pacman

    Route Tally:

    Under The Bridge, 5.6
    Sponge Bob, 5.7
    The Seven, 5.7 (aborted)
    Bright Idea, 5.8
    Chag, 5.9/5.8 (aborted)
    Hallelujah, 5.8
    Pacman Revival, 5.9

    Patti, the Wheaties-eater, had fun all over the place and wanted to try a 5.10 and bouldering. I kinda got a second wind too.

    Me: Everyone else is in the locker room.

    Patti: That's okay; we're studs.

    Me: (((cackling)))

    Patti Stepping Up to The Challenge on Chest Cracking Cart

    Chris belaying for Mike. We wondered if men would stay away from the Girl Power route; they didn't.

    Chris' Dilemma: Fingernail Length (short is ideal for rock climbing but not for fly fishing)

    Josh's 15th Consecutive Day of Climbing. His motto? Burn and grow.

    Busted Myth of the Day: We saw a frog who was splotchy and gray like a rock; his camouflage was excellent. Froggy peed on Jessica's hand. I thought peeing as a defense mechanism was a myth. It's not.

    What did you do today? Did you cackle like you meant it? Yak a lot?

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Rx For The Wrecked Body

    The wreckedness all started with Kate's class on Tuesday: fast feet, lunges, squats, jumping jacks etc. I remember sweat rolling down my chin as we were holding a plank and the saltiness hitting my lips as it continued along its path.

    My calves and glutes were so tight, I felt as if they needed the pressure let out of them and, as I was lifting my bike onto the rack, I knew that I should have rested but I have a little addiction going. When I tweeted that I had overdone it, Purty In Orange tweeted back:

    Color me surprised. LOL
    All that to say, I did gentle yoga yesterday and felt almost instant relief. How I arrived at relief in pictures:

    Check out how FLY midlife_swimmer is in this photo essay.

    In addition, Rachel over at Body by Pizza echoed some thoughts that I've been experiencing in Inspiration > Desperation about self-sufficiency et al.

    Have a beautiful day...

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Throw It All Out

    Back in 2008, I thought my books had finally toppled from their precarious perch on my dresser but it was an earthquake and, while I would like to say that the earthquake was a wakeup call, I can't say that...

    I came across Gail Blanke’s Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life and to say that I adored Blanke's book is an understatement; it rocked.

    About kitchen drawers, in general, Gail Blanke talks about the multiple bottles of dried up Krazy Glue et al.:
    There are keys in there that haven’t opened up anything in decades. But you think it’s not nice to throw away keys. They’re heavy and make a clanking noise when they hit the bottom of the wastebasket. Never mind. Throw them out. Throw it all out. (xviii-xix)
    This passage hit home because I have three bottles of Elmer's Glue at various levels of fullness. See, I'm a glue bottle half full kinda girl.

    There is always one Suze Orman statement that I remember and I'm paraphrasing here:

    You lose money by not being organized and by being unaware of what you already have because you end up buying multiples or you literally misplace checks and money.

    Blanke’s book is divided into four parts:

  • Part One: Getting Rid of the Physical Stuff

  • Part Two: Your Office: Paring Down the Professional Clutter

  • Part Three: Attacking the Mental Mess

  • Part Four: Stepping into the Clearing

  • In chapter one, Blanke talks about bedroom clutter and, like a mystic, she knows what’s in there; she also coaches you about throwing away stuff and sets down the rules of disengagement:

    If it – the article of clothing, the shoes, the lamp, whatever – weighs you down or makes you feel bad about yourself, or if it just sits there taking up room and contributing nothing positive, it goes out. (3)
    Blanke notes the disengagement of several of her clients including Tara who threw out all of her clothes. Blanke acknowledges that most people are not in a position to start anew with a wardrobe. In addition to ridding herself of the contents of her closet, Tara ends up changing her hair color and she starts to work out as well. Blanke describes her metamorphosis as a toned up persona.

    I love the concept of having a toned up persona and I do feel like that’s what happened to me after stepping on this health journey.

    I appreciated it when the author talks about going through her own bathroom and cleans out old medicine:
    Suffice it to say, surrounding ourselves with a lot of old medicines is negative, robs energy, and may even warm the way for those old ailments to remake their homes in our bodies. (16)
    One of things that I absolutely valued about Blanke’s book is her Green Tips. She even talks about how the old method of discarding medicine is not acceptable anymore.

    The perfectionist in me salutes Blanke’s steps for letting go of disappointment etc.:

    2. Perfect just isn’t in the cards. A few pitchers have pitched perfect games; no one’s pitched a perfect season. Throw out perfect. (146)

    Other wonderful steps:

    Steps for letting go of needing to be right about how wrong it is…(157)

    Steps for letting go of needing everyone to like you…(167)

    Blanke on courage:
    Here’s the thing about courage. It isn’t given. Which is good because it can’t be taken away. (185)
    Chapter 18 was possibly my favorite one because of this sentence:
    When you think about it, we weren’t meant to live tidy, predictable lives with everything neatly laid out in front of us, like all of our clothes for the next week. (191-192)
    Sometimes I need to hear the obvious. I remember reading M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled and the first sentence is: life is difficult. I was so relieved after reading that line which is obviously not profound or original but I felt like Peck acknowledged the elephant in the room.

    Taking Energy From Your Defining Moments (Chapter 22) and Find Your Song and Sing It! (Chapter 24) were also memorable.

    My song? It was hard to pick just one but I’ve always been moved by Nina Simone’s Ain’t Got No…I Got Life.

    What’s your song? You know – that one that makes you pull through the workout, face the day or emerge from a blue funk...

    I'll document what I threw away in an upcoming post.

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Go For It: A Look Behind the Rock Climbing Scene, Part III of III

    ‘Drea: Any tips for people who are looking to get into rock climbing?

    Jessica: Go for it. Just try it. It’s a lot of fun. It can be intimidating walking in for the first time. You don’t know anybody and there are a lot of people around. I think there’s a perception that if you’re a rock climber, you already have to be in amazing shape and it’s not true. I’ve seen people who have come in for the first time who are older, people who are overweight or people who haven’t done a lot of exercise. If you want an engaging sort of puzzle, if you get bored with exercise easily, don’t worry about where your current level of fitness is -- just get in and try it…

    Patti: I would also say a six week class is good because it makes you come back… If we had gone once, I would have been like, yeah, that’s fine but who wants to do that again? But if you’ve committed for six weeks, by the end of the six weeks, you start figuring things out...

    ‘Drea: I agree because I came sporadically at first. I had a six month hiatus at one point and everything suffered – from belaying to climbing.

    Jessica: And it becomes less about using your forearms feeling pumped out right away and feeling scared… Your arms are used to it. You’re used to being up that high so it's not a shock. You’re used to falling more… It becomes more about the puzzle; so, you’re engaged with it...

    Patti: Plus, it’s very social. You're on the wall for a very short period and then you're down and you’re yakking... and yakking... and yakking.

    'Drea: Who's yakking?

    Jessica: You’re right. It’s more about community. In a normal gym, you’re trying really hard not to exit your bubble but, here, if you go in alone, people will offer you a catch, say "Hey, what’s your name?” “What’s going on?” They’ll help you if you get stuck on a route and people who you don't know will come by and say, "Move your foot over there."

    ‘Drea: That’s what Bruce did.

    I was trying mightily to get over the arête on this route called And You’re Ready Now? Bruce hopped on the wall to show me how I could approach it. He also placed my foot back on the wall when I had fallen off and told me that he knew I was strong enough to do the route. That was the first and last time that I laid eyes on Bruce.

    ‘Drea to Patti: You used to swim?

    Patti: Yeah, when I was a kid, I was into gymnastics and band. I was really more of a tomboy. It really wasn’t as structured as it is now. We would be outside running from sunup to sundown and then I had kids and I did a lot of walking. I was never engaged in anything that I would consider athletic.

    ‘Drea: That is so funny to me that you don’t consider yourself athletic.

    Patti: No. Oh no, I would be the last person.

    ‘Drea: And you’re like the best climber out of the three of us.

    Jessica: What about now?

    Patti: What about now? I think that I’m doing all right. I can’t run…

    Jessica: Don’t put that in there about her. You can talk about her false modesty because she really is the best climber among us.

    Patti: I’m not.

    Jessica: Oh wow.

    ‘Drea: We’ll agree to disagree.

    Jessica: I think you’re very athletic, mom; most grandmas don’t look like you...

    ‘Drea: Okay, ladies, we’ll call it a wrap.

    I actually had one more question for Patti which I e-mailed.

    ‘Drea’s emailed question: Did Jessica express an interest in swimming or did you get her involved? If swimming was your idea, why did you think it was important?

    Patti: I grew up around the corner from the park pool. It was big with 3 diving boards in the deep end and 8 'racing' lanes in the shallower end. I lived there in the summer, swam on the swim team and eventually became a swimming teacher and lifeguard.

    I knew my kids would be swimmers, no ifs, ands or buts. I took them to the YMCA when they were little and had no fear. They learned quickly and I didn't have to worry about them so much when we were by 'water'. The swimming pool in our subdivision became a social spot, plus it had a swim team so I signed them up. You'll have to ask them, but I think they had fun.

    My mother-in-law can't swim and is afraid of getting in water over her hips. Until I married, I never met anyone afraid of the water. Of course swimming is important in case you get into trouble in the water, but I think swimming is like riding a bike. How can you go through life without knowing those simple joys?

    Part I of Interview with Jessica and Patti

    Part II of Interview with Jessica and Patti

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Somebody Done Told You Wrong

    I literally just untangled and uncrumpled my still damp sports bra and shirt I had on this morning when I went rock climbing. I went straight from climbing to get an acupuncture treatment. This method is not 'Drea approved since freshening up and lunch were not in the mix.

    I had an incredible time rock climbing.

    Patti was there.

    Mike was there.

    Joe was there.

    Plus, some newbies latched on. I think we spent more time talking than climbing but I was quite happy because I made it up Somebody Done Told You Wrong. I climbed it much better than I did last time. So, yay, for improvement and thanks to Joe for giving me pointers as I made my way up the route. Patti continues to amaze me. Her technique is great and if you saw the way Patti scrambles up the wall, you would agree with me.

    My shoulder didn't feel odd while I was belaying but it did the other day when I was doing Pilates; it's a weird little injury, I tell ya.

    Route Tally:

  • Under the Bridge, 5.6 (Warm Down)

  • Sponge Bob, 5.7 (Warm Up)

  • The Seven, 5.7

  • Chag, 5.9/5.8

  • Festival of Britain, 5.9 (I resorted to rainbow climbing and attempted this one purely to practice.)

  • Somebody Done Told You Wrong, 5.9

  • I raced to meet my friend and we headed to see Dr. Ginger. This time, I hardly felt the needles (ten of them) that the assistant assassin put into my stomach.

    After treatment, I felt a lot of intensity (healing?) in the area of my shoulder. After the initial session last Saturday, I went swimming the next day and I was able to do a lap of the backstroke which I hadn't been able to do before without feeling that subtle but yucky kink in my shoulder. In addition, I was so relaxed after acupuncture that I didn't feel my usual Sunday malaise and that, my friends, was priceless.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Cilantro and Bean Sprouts On The Side

    I'm a picky eater but it's a different picky than my leg dangling days at the table where I waited for a pardon. I was thinking about Cathy Erway's book, The Art of Eating In, again. Erway cooked tripe several times:

    Offal has traditionally been reserved for the poor; hence, it is cheap, but people have been finding ways to make it more palatable across the world, in some cases turning them into delicacies, such as head cheese (made from simmering a pig's head and coagulating the pieces into a sliceable block) foie gras (the fattened liver of goose), fried sweetbreads (the thymus gland) or braised chicken feet, another one of my dim sum favorites...(221)
    My folks love chitlins. I, however, have never wrapped my lips around them. The folks moan and tell me what I am missing but I tell them they may have my share for the rest of my life and I mean that sincerely.

    In thinking about food that poor folks eat, I remember how my grandmother used to make sugar syrup; a bit redundant, no? My grandmother would add water to sugar and heat the concoction until it resembled syrup which would then be poured over biscuits or pancakes.

    I once took a short trip to the store with my aunt and grandmother. My grandmother wanted to go but she was also hungry and didn't want to leave her hog head cheese behind. She had also added vinegar to the cheese. Oh my God, that was such a small car, the foulest smelling concoction and the longest trip ever.

    What's the most exotic thing you've eaten? I haven't been much of an adventurous eater so I would have to say goat and once I heard another goat bleating nearby, that was the end of my adventure...

    I had another work-related luncheon today. If it had not been someone that I have known for so long, I would not have gone. We went to Lemon Grass, a Vietnamese restaurant which had no nutritional information available. I decided to go with Chicken Egg Noodle Soup (Mi Ga):

    Egg noodle soup with shredded chicken breast and vegetables.
    I was given cilantro and beans sprouts on the side. This was, hands down, the best soup that I've had in ages. I took comfort in the fact that I haven't seen any overweight Vietnamese in the area. The portion was huge and my colleagues kept teasing me that it looked like I hadn't touched the soup. I shared some and then took the rest home.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010


    "Let me know when I can talk," my cousin said while I was distracted by the frenzy of the Celtics/Lakers' game on Sunday.

    My cousin could have talked as much as she wanted since she told me that my face et al. looked slimmer. She also gave me the muscle vs. fat spiel about how muscle looks leaner. I love the muscle card...

    On one hand, the scale says that I'm in maintenance mode but my pants feel looser.

    I once heard this joke about a man who had an affair. His wife says that she saw him with her own two eyes then he says, "Who are you going to believe -- me or your lying eyes?"

    Hope my cousin's eyes aren't lying.

    If the pants that I recently tried on are any indication, my cousin's eyes are golden. I got in a size 12 which I've been itching to try on. There was very little room for negotiation but, by golly, I got in them.

    By the way, I feel lost in the store now. I feel like I don't belong in any department and I just sort of wander around...

    Went to Kate's class tonight. I slid in, as usual, with about three minutes to spare. I head towards the step platform and risers but I'm waved off and told that we're doing 30 minutes of kickboxing moves then strength training. Lesson for tonight: Kate doesn't need props to kick one's butt.

    Kate even had the nerve to say that she has the best job (i.e. butt-kicking) in the whole wide world. She also confessed to listening to aerobic music in a non-exercise environment.

    Before class got started, Joy asked Jane who will be helping her out after knee surgery. Jane says no one.

    Joy: What do you mean no one?

    : No one. I live by myself and I will get through this surgery by myself.

    : If you give me your number, I can bring you dinner.

    Jane: No thanks.

    Me: Joy, my number is...
    I thought Joy's offer was sweet. Gestures like that renew my faith in humankind even though I might be semi-jaded right now.

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    The Point of Well Being and the Assistant Assassin

    When I went on a cruise about a year and half ago, I went to a lecture by the acupuncturist on board and she handed out neat brochures. See how long I keep things?

    I decided to return to an acupuncturist that, ironically, I saw before I went on the cruise.

    Areas of concern:

  • Body Tenseness (i.e. I wrecked my body over a two day span which started with a Kate Tuesday evening special)

  • Rotator Cuff

  • Weight Loss Plateau

  • One of my friends went with me and she told Dr. Ginger a.k.a. Dr. Xinsheng Jiang that I was also having issues with my hands which are calm for now but I've had what I believe to be contact dermatitis.

    Old Picture

    The cruise ship's brochure touted acupuncture as a treatment for pain management, weight-loss, detox as well as for:

    The first thing that Dr. Ginger asked me about was PMS. I told her that I was good as gold. I'm sure that being overweight wreaked havoc with my hormones but it wasn't until I saw Dr. Ginger that my symptoms disappeared. Hasta la vista suffering.

    After the niceties and inquiries about my regimen, Dr. Ginger went to work. I soon had six needles in my shoulder area on my left arm in addition to two additional needles in my lower left arm.

    Dr. Ginger's student i.e. the assistant assassin put the needles in my stomach and I don't know if the stomach is just more sensitive than the arm or it's Dr. G's skill but let's just say that I felt those six needles when they entered the stomach. I also got a needle in each hand and one in each leg. Then, the heating lamps were turned on. Instinctively, I start breathing yoga-like.

    Dr. G also wants me to drink this tea. In addition, she gave me a three day diet to follow which I'm almost sure that I won't. For sure, though, I felt relaxed after my treatment and I'm hoping that Dr. Ginger will have worked her magic once more.

    When I told a colleague that I intended to see an acupuncturist this weekend, she said that if I suddenly lost 20 pounds in one week to let her know. I told her that Ginger is an acupuncturist not Houdini even though she's magical and all.

    I continue to find this commercial funny. Hee-hee???

    Have you ever been to an acupuncturist or thought about going?

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    A Charmed Life: A Look at Making Toast

    I picked up Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt after seeing it recommended in O, The Oprah Magazine, I believe. I was pulled in by the synopsis. The author’s daughter, a 38-year-old pediatrician who had an unknown heart abnormality that people rarely succumb to, collapsed while on a treadmill. Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, move in with their son-in-law, Harris, to provide support for their three young grandchildren.

    Sammy prefers whole milk in his Froot Loops or MultiGrain Cheerios. He calls it “cow milk.” Jessie drinks only Silk soy milk. She likes a glass of it at breakfast. Sammy prefers water. Such information had to be absorbed quickly. (6)
    One of the most touching things that I read about in the book is that Amy and Harris' friends made a website in order to provide meals for the family.

    Participants deposited dinners in a blue cooler outside our front door. Food was provided every other evening, with enough for the nights in between, from mid-December to the beginning of June. (7)
    In addition to being surrounded by the love of family and friends, the family also has Ligaya, a nanny for the youngest child. She gives them her take on the situation as only an immigrant can:

    “You are not the first to go through such a thing, and you are better able to handle it than most.” (8)
    Ligaya is right. Harris is a hand surgeon. Rosenblatt is a professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook University, Ginny is a former teacher and the kids have access to a grief counselor.

    Rosenblatt talks about a road trip that the family went on when Amy wanted a plain hamburger from McDonald’s which made me remember my own requests for plain hamburgers. Actually, I have no memory of it but my family tells me that they had to wait and wait – just like the Rosenblatt family:

    Since orders for a plain hamburger were not anticipated in the billion hamburgers prepared by McDonald’s daily all over America, it took as long as twenty-five minutes for the fast food restaurant to dish one up. (23)
    When Amy turned 21, her mother gave her letters from 30 of her friends. Ginny asked her friends to advise Amy on the nature of womanhood. How cool is that?

    Rosenblatt feels like nothing has prepared him for the death of his daughter:

    Except for a few disappointments, probably less than my share, I've had a charmed life. I am learning what most people know at a much younger age -- that life is to be endured, and its rewards earned. (156)
    There were so many touching moments in this book including how Jessie, I believe she's eight, is so tender with her two-year-old brother James. This part of the family story is only 166 pages but, substance-wise, it feels twice as long...

    If anyone has a need, I highly recommend Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' On Death and Dying. Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking is another memoir that deals with grief. Didion and her husband were eating dinner when her husband stops speaking mid-sentence. Not only does Didion lose her husband to a heart attack, she loses her only child who was already gravely ill before her husband's death.

    A poem that has always pulled me in is Grief by Gloria Wade Gayles which reads, in part:

    I tell them,
    "It's not my mind I have lost,"
    but those who have not seen
    the cutting of the cord that gave them life
    cannot understand.

    There is a female poet whose name eludes me. I've been wanting to reread her book for a long time. Her brother had cancer of the eye, I think, and there's one poem in which she talks about a doctor sticking a needle in his eye and another poem that says something like:

    He had washed his last dish...
    I am hoping that in the process of decluttering, I will come across a book review that I undoubtedly clipped of this book.

    Hope this post doesn't come off as gloomy but I have a need to know how other people deal with grief. In addition, food memory also fascinates me...

    I happened upon this article in Salon the other day. I swear, I didn't go looking for it: Building my father's coffin.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    The Horror of Houlihan's

    I had to attend a work-related lunch and Houlihan's was the restaurant of choice. I immediately did reconnaissance but I saw nothing friendly on the menu. In disbelief, I comb through the menu over and over and, finally, I spot tortilla soup but when I look at the sodium count of 1,000 +, I'm dumbfounded.

    One of my colleagues even tells me that most restaurants have options for healthier fare. Um, yeah, I know.

    While I'm climbing, I chat about the luncheon with Jessica and she suggests calling ahead and letting them know that I have dietary concerns; the idea did cross my mind. In one of the You Are What You Eat episodes, Gillian McKeith tells Lisa Apston (2:25):

    Have you ever thought of ordering off menu? You deciding what you want and asking them if they can do it or what can they do. Don't be afraid to assert yourself...

    Just thinking about the thrashing that I received at the hands of Kate yesterday makes me want to be careful about what I put in my body...

    I call Little House of Horrors Houlihan's and I'm told that I can order something, say chicken breast, unseasoned and the vegetables (asparagus or green beans) without sauce.

    When I was looking at the veggie club, a straight up red herring, I even got resentful of the price. I usually have all the makings of a sandwich in my refrigerator: almond cheese, lettuce, basil, bell pepper, turkey -- and it doesn't cost $8 dollars per sandwich.

    Eight dollars is not going to make or break me but it's the principle of the whole thing.

    Like, how in the world do you get 1,000 + calories in a small salad?

    Take a look at the stats on the Buffalo Bleu Salad:

  • Calories: 1037

  • Total Fat: 60

  • Saturated Fat: 17

  • Total Carbs: 70

  • Dietary Fiber: 7

  • Protein: 43

  • Sodium: 2,282

  • And the sodium? That's just diabolical.

    I would have thought nothing of going to a restaurant before without checking the nutrition stats but I would never have imagined that a meal would be infused with fat and sodium as a lure to get me to return.

    I'm disturbed by the nutrition stats at Houlihan's. Disturbed. Houlihan's gave me a chocolate chip cookie to placate me though.

    It seems that not even animals are immune to the obesity epidemic. Did you catch Nightline on Monday?

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    That Place In Your Head

    I had never heard of Jackie Warner but the title pulled me in since I've never had a personal training session and wonder whether or not I should sign up for a few.

    I later learned from a coworker that Warner had a show on Bravo. Chalk my unknowing up to that fact that I don't have cable tv which I go without in order to maintain other elements of my luxurious (not) lifestyle.

    I didn't really pay attention to the As Seen On TV. Although, the silver shorts and the six pack did capture my attention. I popped the DVD in and haven't looked back since.

    If you wear glasses while you workout, don't -- at least not while you're doing Jackie Warner's workout because they are going to get all wet and slip and slide off of your face.

    Personal Training with Jackie: Power Training Circuit is no-frills and Warner gets to the crux of the matter in no time starting off with a light jog, kick squats and chain breakers for the warm-up.

    I also like the presentation. Before the actual routine, there's a screen to let you know what you're about to get into:


    The Moves:

  • Sissy Squats
  • (done while standing on weights)

  • UFC (a drop, get on a knee, get up and crouch, get down again, then up sequence)

  • Front Lunge

  • Power Burn

  • I think that I heard myself whimper through the chest and back portion of the program. Ditto for abs. I'm doing a straight leg crunch in the picture and because Warner hits the abs so thoroughly, I had to really tune in when she was saying, "Go through the burn; believe it or not -- after awhile it gets numb."

    While it didn't get numb, it definitely helped to be talked through the rough spots. There's also a point when she says go to that place in your head...

    Here's how Warner hits the abs:

    Upper Abs

    The Moves:

  • Straight Leg Crunch

  • Legs Up Crunch

  • Tall Sit Up

  • Power Burn (Repeat of Straight, Legs Up, Tall Sit)

  • Lower Abs

  • Reverse Crunch

  • Tummy Tuck (oh, the inhumanity)

  • Single Leg Jack

  • Power Burn (Repeat...)

  • Obliques

    The Moves:

  • Sumo Side-to-Side

  • Windshield Wipers

  • Side Plank

  • Power Burn (Repeat...)

  • I've come to really like this workout even though I know that it requires stepping up to the proverbial plate. I know that It's going to be rough but it's good to be challenged, right?

    When you're doing a challenging workout, what is your self-talk like and what's one of your favorite workout DVDs?

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Are You A Hustler?

    Me: I feel like I'm really getting my butt kicked today.

    Patti: That's strange; I usually feel it in my arms.
    Har dee har har...My belay partner has such comic timing...

    The butt-kicking and tender hands are courtesy of some routes that I have not been able to ascend or have not tried at all. I am so done right now. After I got down from Festival of Britain and Somebody Done Told You Wrong, I told Patti that I didn't know how she did it. I never found the technique, balance or solid *ground* to ascend those routes with continuity.

    Route Tally:

  • Sponge Bob, 5.7

  • Bright Idea, 5.8

  • Hallelujah, 5.8

  • Let's Talk of Spaceship, 5.8

  • Rainbow Bright, 5.8

  • Chag, 5.9/5.8

  • Beware of Bats, 5.9

  • Festival of Britain, 5.9 (Can you say barn door and rainbow climbing ?)

  • Somebody Done Told You Wrong, 5.9 (take after take got me up the route)

  • There was this trio of women who took Rock Climbing 101; they squealed and giggled almost the entire time they were there...

    Okay, who saw the women's French Open? I don't watch much tennis but that was one of the most exciting tennis matches that I've ever witnessed. I immediately noticed Samantha Stosur's body. She has bulging biceps and thighs and her body has this completely symmetrical aspect to it. Then, I looked at Francesca Schiavone's body and her biceps and thighs are athletic but not as pumped as Stosur's. One of the commentators was saying how Stosur's body could be an intimidation factor for other opponents.

    The match was tightly contested and, at one point, one of the commentators said that Schiavone was a hustler. He was right. That woman was sliding all over the court and, passionately, giving it her all. It was a joy to watch her play and, in many ways, I do think she out-hustled Stosur.

    Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

    Are you hustling during your workouts and are you having fun?

    Congratulations, big time, to Francesca Schiavone, the first Italian, oldest woman (at 29) and first non-top 10 seed, to win the French Open.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    What Not To Read While On Jury Duty

    I took Cathy Erway’s book, the art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove, with me when I reported for jury duty and I read it for almost two hours before anyone’s name was even called for a jury panel. I never imagined that my wish to get in more reading time would be granted in this manner.

    Erway starts off her book by recounting a tale of a friend, Ari, who was looking for an apartment in New York.
    One place had no kitchen and when Ari asked about it, the realtor said “This is New York – everyone eats out!” (1)
    Erway’s book is based on her blog Not Eating Out In New York. She starts her experiment with one cookbook and a passion for cooking and dabbles with bread in the beginning; her Peppercorn, Potato and Parmesan No-Knead Bread ends up in a tie for best overall bread at The Brooklyn Kitchen’s “No-Knead Bread-Off.”

    In the chapter “Getting Dirty: Trash Diving, Freegans, and Frugalistas,” Erway dumpster dives for, in most cases, perfectly good food that gets thrown away. Janet Kalish, an organizer of such freegan outings, points out to a French reporter that bread is one of the most wasted foods in New York:

    “I’m sure you know that in Paris, if you go to a bakery toward the end of the night you’re picking through the last crumbs left on the shelf, maybe a croissant here, one last roll there.” The reporter nodded and scribbled. “But here the attitude is to always have fully stocked shelves.” (81)
    Erway also realizes that in the process of eating in, she reduced her “garbage footprint.” (116)

    Regarding garbage, Erway notes that:
    China produces 45 billion pairs of chopsticks each year, which accounts for an annual loss of roughly 25 million trees and a deforestation crisis that in 2006 prompted the Chinese government to place a 5 percent tax on disposable chopsticks, in the hopes that businesses would begin using and reusing washable chopsticks instead. And yet, most still haven’t. (128)
    An adventurous eater, Erway consumes dried cricket snacks and tripe along the way and she also attends a pig butchering class. Speaking of tripe, I didn’t realize that a cow had seven stomachs. Learn something new every day, hunh? Erway mentions how many Americans have a disconnect when it comes to the neatly wrapped meat they purchase and the animal that it originated from.

    I’ve found that many people are horrified or offended by the sight of raw meat with telltale signs of the animal it came from, such as a quail with its feet still attached that I once cooked for friends, or a whole fish cooked and served with its head still intact. (222)
    I completely related to Erway when she is baffled by her mother’s invitation to a restaurant. Her mother is annoyed and thinks that her daughter has become too invested in her project:

    I could…meet up with them at the restaurant, sit and talk, but not eat? (258)
    Erway decides to eat with her mom and uncle and I love it when she describes her meal and a favorite of her mom’s:

    I spooned a knife-scored piece of squid into my mother’s rice bowl since I knew it was her favorite. (261)
    After two years of not eating out, the author decides to have an opposite week and eat out for every single meal. She also decides to weigh herself before and after opposite week but, as she noted in the book, she is one of the lucky ones whose weight pretty much stays constant no matter what she’s eating.

    I like that Erway found common ground with her dad through cooking. She wins third place out of five in a Chili Takedown competition with a recipe called “If I Had A Pepper.” In the book, she shares a recipe similar to the “If I…” one called “Four-Pepper Pulled-Pork Chili,” a recipe that her father tries to emulate.

    Erway’s mother tells her:

    “It’s like he never knew you before or something,” she said, after telling me that my dad had reported having a good time that day. She’d been slightly surprised by this. (309)
    Earlier in the book, Erway says that her parents were skilled at finding superior Chinese restaurants and the experience was better if more people came along since there was more to sample.

    According to my father, it’s completely not worth it to have dim sum with two people…(14)
    Even earlier in the book, Erway talks about the evolution of eating out.

    If national trends continue at the same rate, eating out will soon eclipse the home-cooked meal altogether. Eating out is also a habit that gets passed on to subsequent generations, something of a dominant gene. (7)
    When the author’s parents were growing up, she was surprised to discover that they ate out but, as her parents informed her, eating out was a special occasion.

    I decided that I liked that way of treating a restaurant meal: as something special. A special occasion, or a special dish you couldn’t easily make at home. (268)

    Is there a special dish that you go to a restaurant for? A particular food that you enjoy sharing with someone? Some food that you won't share? Got a stash?

    Have you gotten closer to someone as a result of your fitness journey?


    One of Erway's former boyfriends gets annoyed with her 1:00 a.m. blogging habit. Anyone get irritated with you for blogging?