Saturday, April 30, 2011

Keep Moving or Month-End Review, April

My body was all constricted. Neck, check. Shoulders, check. Upper back, check. My neck was particularly stiff.

Massage Therapist: Have you been stretching?

Me: Ye...,um, no.

After she asked that question, it dawned on me that I had not properly stretched in about three months. I had been feeling okay and just stopped incorporating stretching into my regimen. So, it's back to regular stretching to prevent constrictions.

April, I hardly knew ya -- here's a look back at how things went down. There wasn't very much exercise diversity this month but there was exercise. ☺

10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • Stretching, 2 x's

  • Bicycling, 6 x's

    Give Me 10!

  • Fat Blasting Cardio, 1 x

  • Lawn Mowing, 1 x

    Personal Training With Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 7 x's

  • Rock Climbing, 6 x's

    Route Tally for April 30th:

    Spring Cleaning, Ascended, 2x's; Down climbed, 2 x's, 5.6
    Let Me Smang It Girl, 5.8
    Eats, Shoots and Leaves, 5.9 (Attempted)*

    I Think We've Met Before, 5.9 -- Ascended 2 x's
    Lead Tag Friendly, 5.9
    Pandora's Box, 5.9
    The End of 2010, 5.9**
    The Maze, 5.9 (Attempted)

    Swimming, 5 x's

    Treadmill, 1 x (Only Time Spent at Gym)

    Walking, 19 x's

    Wii Fit Plus, 1 x

    *Eats, Shoots and Leaves is not a very friendly route at all. I actually bought the book for which the route is named in New York almost four years ago. I had banned myself from book-buying but couldn't resist after reading the joke on the back cover.

    **Thanks to Patti who coached me up The End of 2010. She was on the ground belaying and coaching. I heard Keep on moving. Keep on moving. Keep on moving. I did keep moving and it felt really good.

    How was your April?

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    That Moment

    I've been catching up on The Biggest Loser and, as always, I have that moment when I wish that I could be on the show and devote more time to exercise. I'm sure it's a moment that hundreds of people have had right until Jillian gets all up in their grill. The funny thing is I wouldn't qualify to be on TBL. I want The Biggest Loser Step Down show -- the one where you still need to lose weight but not 100 pounds or more.

    Every now and then, I'll take a look at The Biggest Loser Resort which is kind of steep and I'm not even sure what all you get for the price of admission.

    I also thought about getting a group coupon yesterday for 2.5 personal training sessions. I didn't because I think that I work best alone -- for the most part. On the other hand, maybe I need to be pushed.

    I do think it's time to break out the measuring tape -- if only I can find it. I went swimming on Tuesday and had to pull up before I got to the end of the lane -- not because I had problems with front crawl breathing (yay)-- but because I was about to have a Janet Jackson moment. My swimming suit is still snug but not snug enough.

    It would really be nice if I could find documentation of the last time I pulled out the measuring tape but I'll work with what I've got.

    Until there's a smaller Biggest Loser or something like that, I guess I'll have to vibe off the former theme song...

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    The Gospel According to Melinda Frances

    The gospel without preamble:

  • It’s just so quiet; it stresses me out.

  • Once the pool opens, I can swim, tan and drink.

  • Kids stress me out; they make too much noise.

  • M: I don't want to be pregnant.

    Me: Okay Jillian Michaels.

    M: Who's Jillian Michaels?

  • I want to be besties with Paris Hilton and Michelle Obama.

  • Whatever happened to being a classy lady?

  • They called me "The Hot Mess Express" in college.

  • M: I want to open a restaurant called "Street Food." I shouldn't have to go to Prague to get a fried cheese sandwich.

    Me: You can make your own fried cheese.

    M: I can make my own burrito but I still like to go to Qdoba.

  • Melinda: I was supposed to be named Veronica and I think I would have made a good one.

    Me: What do you think are the qualities of a Veronica?


  • Me: Is she nuttier than a fruitcake?

    Melinda: Mmmmmm, cake.
  • Saturday, April 23, 2011

    ...Because I'm Sweaty or Overheard At The Gym, V

  • People overvalue free.

    A man having a discussion with a friend.

  • Last time we went (climbing), we had a vegetarian with us. Ugh, we had to make sure that every restaurant we stopped at had vegetarian options. The rest of us were, like, eating meat all the time.

    Heard during locker room conversation.

  • Anonymous: Are you going to do that route again?

    Jeremy: No, my wrists hurt.

    Dane: I have a bucket of excuses; you want another one?

  • I scheduled all of my classes around climbing. Isn't that nice?, Dane

  • Your toes should not be flat but they should not be curled either.

    One friend to another discussing impending rock climbing shoe purchases

  • Female Climber on Auto Belay (to her partner): What are you doing?

    Partner: Bouldering.

    Climber to Third Party: So, if he kills himself, that means I'm single?

  • That was mucho sexy.

    One climber to another who had just ascended this new 5.11 route

  • She stopped taking her medicine and decompensated...

    Overheard in locker room

  • You're looking stable.

    Bruce to Dave as Dave started lead climbing a route

  • I can't because I'm sweaty.

    A Boy Scout and newbie climber's answer to someone trying to convince him to continue his ascent. He was about 3/4 of the way up a route but struggling.
  • Thursday, April 21, 2011

    I Hope Not

    At a lost for something to watch, I checked out my Netflix recommendations and clicked on Body of War. Let's just say that the documentary was not ideal viewing for Saturday. I should have taken a clue from the title, hunh?


    Young man sees President Bush stand on a pile of rubble, signs up for military, gets sent to Iraq and five days into deployment, gets shot in the spine. I have to say that I didn't think about other ramifications of being paralyzed -- like the meds. In addition to being on Coumadin and anti-depressants etc., the young man has problems regulating his body temperature and, when outside, has to wear a vest with ice packs in them.

    Most memorable line: I look at people walking down the street and I get jealous.

    * * *

    Before I jetted off to Florida, I made a mad dash to the library. I went to pick up one book but came out with two and after reading several pages of both books, went with The Memory Keeper's Daughter.

    This part made me think of Hazira:

    Caroline did not like Leo March -- he was not likable -- but whatever animosity she held for him was complicated by compassion. (100)
    I had the pleasure of going to two libraries while in Florida. *

    Cool Temporary Library Card

    Clearwater's Cool Main Library

    Hazira waiting for me outside of Beach Library

    In Ikea -- starting to think she likes this position

    Ikea map because you're gonna need it

    *Okay, I think that I might have Florida out of my system. On the other hand, I hope not...

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    The Rough Guide to Group Coupons

    When I'm in decadent mode, I like to up the ante so a post-Florida massage was definitely in order.

    I broke out a Living Social voucher which had been tucked away. The first time I attempted to contact the therapist, she said that she didn't have any evenings available for a while. Since I was on vacation, I didn't need an evening time slot. Here's how the convo went:

    Me: Yadda, yadda yadda...I thought I would try since I'm on vacation.

    Therapist: I bet your vacation is now.
    A brief aside: I don't like it when people make assumptions and I was trying to get an appointment with more than a week's notice and I didn't think that time frame was out of the realm of possibility.

    Therapist as she's looking through calendar: I'm booked for April. I don't work very many evenings. I have children and obligations.

    Me: Do you work on the weekends?

    Therapist: I don't do very many weekends and, on Saturdays, I share the room with four other therapists blah blah blah...
    She puts me on standby in case a weekend opens up.

    I'm all kinds of annoyed because why would you do a group coupon with such limited availability knowing how some of those group coupons can explode. I decided not to get a Groupon for a recreation center because they sold over 1,000 and I wanted the pass for the pool and with only three laps lanes, I don't think I would have had much access.

    At any rate, there's something to be learned from most encounters.

    So, here are a few of 'Drea's tips (and I'm sure you've been waiting) for group coupons.

  • Read the details carefully. I picked up a Groupon for Kaldi's knowing that they have delicious baked falafel. In my haste to pick up the Groupon, I didn't realize that it was for one specific location, one that doesn't have baked falafel. I ended up giving the Groupon away.

  • Don't wait until the last moment to redeem your coupon. Give it away, trade it or sell it on Craigslist before you let it expire. And, on that note, keep track of expiration dates. I know that Groupon will email you when expiration dates near but others will not. There are some group coupons that are valid for six months and others for one year. It's not a bad idea to print the coupons so that you have a visual reminder. I like to keep mine in a folder in the order of expiration.

  • Get in there and join the discussion. My rock climbing gym was featured on Groupon. I wanted to get one since I heard that it would be good for the new gym that they are building. The Groupon needs to be redeemed by Oct. 18th. The new gym is supposed to be finished by then but stuff happens with construction so I wanted to know how that would affect the rules of engagement. I got my question answered and I purchased the Groupon. Ask your question early in the day so that the merchant has time to respond and know that some organizations won't respond at all.

  • If you're getting a group coupon for a massage, lots and lots of people tend to purchase these coupons. If it's for a chain massage place, there's no need to worry because they'll have plenty of therapists and flexibility with times but if it's an independent therapist, check to see if they have a website. Online booking is a bonus but not necessary. If they have a blog with their availability, that's cool too. If you can't get an idea of when the therapist works, proceed with caution because if, say, 600 people buy the deal and the therapist is only available on Monday and Tuesday in the morning, that may not work for you even with a year to use the coupon.

  • Don't be too impulsive. Group coupons, like anything else, can be addictive. I bought a Groupon for the movies but I seldom go to the movies and the day (close to expiration date of coupon) that I went every single movie was sold out and movies at other locations had already started.

  • Group coupons can make great gifts (pedicures, manicures, facials, spinning gyms). Just don't give a a chain massage one because the person that you gifted will be harassed at the end of their massage to join the gym chain -- the last kind of experience you want them to have after a massage.

  • Do your research. The group coupon might say that it's 51% off but companies have been know to tinker with the truth so check out the company's website. Likewise, see if there are any testimonials. In addition, check out the hours of operation and distance. Is it really a deal?

  • I've had very good experiences with group coupons and I've been introduced to businesses that I might not have ever gone to had it not been for Groupon, Living Social etc.

    What has been one of your best group coupon experiences?

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Overheard At A Florida Pool

    Vacationer: Oh yes, there is a God -- maybe many.

    Thank you God. Thank you Goddess.

    (Woman as she got into and glided in the pool.)

    Vacationer's Husband: Don't mind us; we're just trying to relax. It usually takes about three days to...

    Me: And you should relax...

    * * *

    People have asked me what the best part of my vacation was. Besides spending time with a friend and having time to decompress, gonna have to say a little bit of this:

    A little bit of that:


    When I was at Ft. DeSoto Park, I sat up at the precise time that a dolphin took a leap through the air. Amazing. I had gone on an excursion that guaranteed dolphin sightings. Only, the dolphins were quite shy that day. At Ft. DeSorto, the dolphins were feeding on what the fishermen threw back. I tried so hard to get a picture but the sun was blocking the view. Finally, I got this footage. As you can see, the sun was wreaking havoc with the camera but the footage is still pretty good...

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Pushing Back

    After the flight attendants settled a seat jockeying dispute and made sure everyone was buckled in, one of them came on the intercom to say that the cabin was ready and that we were about to push back.

    My aunt Alice once told me that all I need to do to lose weight is to pull away from the table.

    I tend to let my guard down a bit when it comes to food while I'm on vacation. We had a kitchenette so I could have certainly cooked but I haven't been cooking at home much either.

    Now, it's time to push back from the overindulgence including putting half and half in my coffee simply because it was put before me when I ordered coffee. I must say that no real damage has registered on the scale; I'm one pound up and I'm hoping that my body appreciated the change in food -- like a one week absence of noshing on almond butter.

    Here's a food log of sorts from Florida where I sometimes felt like I ate like a queen and pushed my intake limits.

    Instant Oatmeal with Mango, Soy Milk & A Lil Water)

    Evos -- home of air-baked fries and flavored ketchup

    Subway English Muffin Melt w/ Egg Whites + Bell Pepper + Tomato + Red Onion


    All Natural Yogurt

    Hazira had gelato...

    Panera Bread Sesame Asian Chicken Salad -- pretty sure dressing had HFCS

    Veggie Burger with Butter on Bun at Marguerite's -- had ketchup; pretty sure ketchup had HFCS

    Ikea Before -- Wanted roasted potatoes but the Potato Nazi wouldn't let me substitute

    Ikea After

    Atlanta Bread Company

    Break pizza kibosh -- organic pizza with veggies makes me swallow pizza much easier -- at Pan y Vino

    I continue decadence by going to Sweet Art when I return home but I'm gonna have to say that I did not regret one bite of this Magnolia sandwich with avocado, sprouts, white cheddar, tomatoes, cucumbers, caramelized onion jam on toasted Companion bread. Amazing...

    Do you take a vacation from your regimen while on vacation or have a regular "cheat" day?

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    The Body In The Sunset

    I know that I'm not the first person to have vacation-related epiphanies but I saw the light about a few things. I love it when you have solid time to quiet the mind.

    My suitcase weighed 28 pounds and I still took too much. What was I thinking when I packed so many socks and underwear? I wore half the clothes and read half the magazines; I took two and actually did read the second part of the first one and all of the second one on the return flight.

    I didn't listen to my MP3 player entranced as I was by the seagulls and sound of the water.

    To the lady who stopped her car to ask for directions -- the roundabout is not a good place for that. Having said that, my GPS is one purchase that I have never regretted. I hope that roundabout lady gets one soon.

    And one of the biggest lessons learned was patience.

    I tried so hard to get pictures of pelicans when I visited The Pier in St. Petersburg. I was completely fascinated by them and was thrilled when one dive bombed into the water and, later, one perched close enough to capture.

    And that body in the sunset? I realized how hard I worked for it and, even though I'm not finished working on it, I'm proud. Please feel free to remind me of this feeling at a later date...

    P.S. Laura, do you know the name of this tree???

    The Fascinating Waterfowl

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    (Even More) Stuff People Say To Me -- Special Vacation Edition

    HC: How long do you want to stay?

    Me: I'd like to see the sun set.

    HC: Let's go... You saw it yesterday (in Dunedin).

    Me: (Gathering my beach belongings).

    HC: I wonder if that thrift store by the produce stand is still open.

    Me: I hope not since you went to a thrift store yesterday.


    Ft. Desoto Park was nice even though I didn't get to see the Ft. sunset.

    What's up with this sign?

    I did sit up just at the right moment to see a dolphin leaping and I also got to see the dolphin along with his two friends playing for a while. Dolphin footage to come later...

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Ending World Grease

    A bit of advice: never fall asleep close to landing because when the rubber hits the road, it's alarming.

    I'm traveling light. My suitcase only weighed 28 pounds and my carry on probably weighed more since it had oranges, crackers, sandwiches, almonds etc. in it.

    The rental car dude tried to convince me to upgrade from my poor little compact car. This car, of course, comfortable fits four people. He even said that it was not fully automatic but the only thing not automatic are the doors i.e. no keyless entry but who needs it?

    I should have brought more long-sleeved shirts though since it has been a tad bit cool in the Tampa/St. Pete area. Today's weather is a bit warmer and things are looking up for the next few days. I took an hour long walk on the beach and was relieved because I was starting to feel way too sedentary; it's hard to sit still these days.

    I even missed rock climbing so I took over the children's playground for a minute.

    My first meal in Tampa was at Evos. I joined their mission to end world grease. Loved the air-baked fries and the flavored ketchup (garlic, mesquite et al.) was amusing.

    Been to the Tampa/St. Pete area? If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears...

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    What To Wear On The Plane

    What is it about readying for vacation that correlates with an increase in tasks at work?

    I've been thinking about the things I use during the course of a day and other creature comforts that I want to take.

    I had a dream once about leaving my camera behind. I was headed to the airport when I realized it, tried to get back home but the only mode of transportation was a canoe and it was slow going and I was never going to make the flight because I was stuck in the water.

    I'm also searching for engaging but light reading. Jessica suggested The Hunger Games, a young adult book that, apparently, appeals to adults. Every copy that the library owns is out and I'm not supposed to buy any more books (an agreement that I made with myself).

    Right about now, I wish that I had an iPod Touch and Kindle and I wish that I was less antsy about how much to take. What can be worn twice? Sandals, tennis and/or casual shoes? How much workout attire?

    I'm scoping out places to eat and to exercise. Trying to remember which bills are due before I return.

    Hopefully, I'll be less nervous soon even though I feel like I didn't do enough research regarding the place that I'm going to.

    I'm trying to tell myself to chill out, a state that you definitely want to be in on the cusp of vacation time.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    The Laps Contest

    It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and it was even more beautiful in the gym because it was not crowded.

    Jessica, Patti and I started climbing the walls around 11ish.

    Patti: Which one?

    Me (I look at The End of 2010 and Jack and the Bean Stalk): The End of 2010 -- the lesser of two evils.

    Patti: That one is harder than Jack. The End is all about strength and Jack is all about balance.

    Me: That's my problem -- balance.

    Patti: That's what we always say -- that Andrea is so unbalanced.
    And, so, I chose strength over balance.

    As we were winding down, the three of us decided to do laps and it turned into a contest. I couldn't walk straight afterwards but it definitely felt good to do a gut check. I just didn't do a deep enough check.

    Contest Results:

  • 'Drea: Ascended and Down Climbed Spring Cleaning, 5.6 -- 5x's

  • Jessica: Ascended and Down Climbed Spring Cleaning, 9 x's

  • Patti: Ascended, 11 x's; Down Climbed Spring Cleaning, 10 x's

  • I watched in disbelief as Patti hopped on the wall for the 11th time (in addition to the other seven routes she had climbed), Jessica (who talked all kind of smack about my rate of ascension etc.) advised me not to go first next time.

    Basically, Patti ran a clinic on hitting a wall then busting through it.

    Route Tally:

  • Spring Cleaning, 5.6 (Ascended & Down Climbed), 5 x's

  • Let Me Smang It Girl, 5.8

  • The Letter Eye, 5.8

  • I Think We've Met Before, 5.9

  • Jack and the Bean Stalk, 5.9

  • Pandora's Box, 5.9 (Attempted)

  • Pandora's Box, 5.9

  • The Maze, 5.9 (Attempted)

  • Jessica tackles The Maze, a route that tackled me. During the contest, Jessica talked so much smack that I asked her to hit the mute button but, in true smack-talker fashion, she refused.