Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Slow And Deep Breathings or Month-End Review, May

I was going to say that my vow to stretch went out the window but since I did more yoga, I'll say it's an even exchange. Well, it's not really even. An hour of yoga trumps 10 minute stints of stretching and is almost as good as a massage. Although with massage, I never feel as if my abs have been worked over.

Slow and deep breathings -- that's what my yoga instructor likes to say especially when we're doing warrior poses. Does a good warrior possess the ability to get into battle stance, breathe deeply and assess the situation? Maybe battle is engaged in after one's neck has popped a couple of times which is the sound my neck made at least twice when we made slow circles with our heads this evening... And what's battling got to do with it anyway?

Here's how I took care of business this month -- popping and all:

10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp

  • Basic Training, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • Stretching, 2 x's

  • Bicycling, 2 x's

    Give Me 10!

  • Fat Blasting Cardio, 1 x

  • Lawn Mowing, 3 x's

    Personal Training With Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 3 x's

  • Total Body Circuit, 1 x

  • Rock Climbing, 7 x's

    Swimming, 7 x's

    Walking, 14 x's

    Yoga (Gentle), 4 x's

    What about your May?

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    The Best Laid Plans Of...

    Hadn't planned on it but I'm headed out of town for outdoor climbing. Going to spend the night at Patti's, wake up before dawn cracks, rendezvous with other folks, set up camp in what's sure to be a muddy area because it's been monsoon season here then attempt to climb the same day.

    I'm nervous and already discombobulated as all get out. I'm talking impressive levels of whacked-outness.

    I know next to nothing about camping and I've only been once. Didn't own a tent the first time that I went and I don't own one now.

    And negotiating the food business? Ughhh.

    Send good vibes my way because I'm gonna need them...

    Ever been camping? What kind of non-perishable and must-have items do you take?

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Let's Not...

    Had I listened to Janine, I would have Catching Fire in my hands right now. Janine said that I should order CF right away so that when I finished with The Hunger Games, I'd have the next installment available.

    I didn't listen and I'm waiting. I'm reading another book that's good but... it's a memoir and one of those books that's interesting but has way too much fodder and I don't think that I have the stamina to finish it. In fact, I put the memoir down in order to read THG.

    This part of ...Hunger reminded me of Fair Game, a flick that I watched right around the same time that I read THG:

    I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can't own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I. (236-237)
    I love that part in Fair Game when Valerie Plame talked about her CIA training and how they did this one activity until they broke every trainee, except for her. I'm unbreakable, she said.

    I did my own version of unbreakable tonight. I went to yoga which I thoroughly enjoyed. I like the instructor too. I've been three times and he's never done the same routine. We used chairs and I felt the intensity heighten when we went into Warrior Three but for every Warrior Three, there's the moment when you lift your arms, stretch, then wrap your arms around your legs. Delightful. And who knew that laying on your back with your legs in a chair could be so refreshing? Let's come back to the present, the instructor said and I thought Let's not...

    After yoga, I made a pit stop then hit the pool. After a few laps, I went to Target -- didn't know that they're open until 11 p.m. during the week and certainly didn't know that such a thing as mango Chobani existed; I almost squealed...

    Anything made you almost squeal lately?

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    The Natural

    This picture of my nephew, Dylan, is one of my favorites. Dylan's visiting for a spell and he's definitely not the infant swaddled in a quilt, the chunky two-year old or the petulant pre-schooler who used to position himself on the opposite of everything: no to bathing, food, sleeping et al.

    Dylan went climbing with me and he's a natural -- climbing routes that took me a year to ascend. Of course, he also has unfair advantages like height and muscles.

    Yesterday was an interesting climbing day. There were plenty of people around but not my ace boon coon, Patti, and I missed her.

    I paired up with Leah who met Patti about two weeks ago somewhere near the water fountain.

    I introduced Leah to every climber that I knew which made her think that I was social. Leah, better luck with your assessment next time.

    At one point, I suggested to Leah that she could climb with David of David and Helga fame or that she could probably climb with Michael and Sophie -- all lead climbers. I thought Leah would have a better time scaling more challenging routes since I don't lead belay yet.

    I ended up climbing with Helga while David and Leah climbed together. Then, I saw Lisa (fist bumper, kisser and posse member) and another Michael introduced himself to me. He's like the sixth climber named Michael that I've met. I belayed for Michael and watched him mold his foot around this protuberance on a route. The way he molded his foot was beautiful...

    Response of The Day

    Leah to her son who had used the autobelay: Put the other carabiner back on there.

    Her son: That's the way I found it.

    Leah: We don't have to leave things the way other people do...
    It's been interesting having my nephew around. Normally his brothers, my brother and other people are also around but he made this trek solo.

    There are some people that you like less the more that you know about them but that's not true about my nephew.

    Dylan on "I Think We've Met Before," 5.9

    D On Auto Belay

    Helpful To See Pictures of Myself (Belaying -- Pink Shirt); Otherwise, My Imagination Goes Wild

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Driving The Bike

    Today is Drive Your Bike to work day in The Lou and since I've been talking mucho smack about bicycling to work one of these days, I dragged my bicycle out of the basement just in case. I didn't know if I would be alert enough to pull it off but I packed my lunch, put Chobani lemon yogurt, a sliced apple and a Budget Travel in my backpack and hopped on board.

    Trust me when I say that I was fully alert by the time that I got to work.

    I walked to a nearby park and had lunch. This teenager stopped to ask me about the leaves in my water and she wasn't the last person to inquire.

    It's supposed to rain for the next five days or so but I got perfect weather for bicycling to work -- not too hot and a breeze. Maybe I'll drive my bike to work more often.

    It was so weird when I pulled up in front of my house and the car, complete with bike rack, was just sitting there...

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Why Is The Banana Bent? or More Stuff People Say To Me

  • I must have asked a lot of questions this day because my colleague told me about an expression the Germans have which, basically, translates to Why, why, why is the banana bent?

    It sounded much better in German.

  • Just ignore him. He could swim all night.

    A swimmer about his lane partner. I was huffing and puffing as I watched his friend do the front crawl and rock the bilateral breathing.

  • Woman in the locker room (who had just finished dressing her hand baby in layers of puffy clothes) with a sheepish expression on her face: I forgot my undergarments.

    Me: It happens.

    Woman: It's a good thing I'm going straight home.

  • We're opposites; you're at 12 and I'm at six. A colleague on our astrological differences.

  • Those walls are not going to climb themselves.

    David to me as I waited on a route to open up.

  • You have a lot of conflicts.

    Wynne to me as I was telling her how I used to struggle with my harness when I first bought it.

  • I'm done.

    A massage therapist unceremoniously ending a session.

  • Bruce: Are you lead certified?

    Me: Not yet. I don't climb 5.9's cleanly yet.

    Bruce: You definitely want to take your time. There's no need to rush it.

    Dave: Yeah, I always say "No Zero to Hero." Rock climbing is about fun. It's about the journey. I have so many other things in my life that are hard. I want this to be about fun...

  • Me to friend: Did you volunteer?

    Friend: I was VolunTold.

  • When your weight varies by three pounds, it's not a weight gain but, if there's a 10 pound difference, that's officially a weight gain.

    Next door colleague
  • Monday, May 16, 2011

    The Gospel According to Patti, (More)

  • I sound so glib but nothing was taken out of context.

  • Patti after reading The Gospel According to Patti

  • A body in motion stays in motion...You know what I mean? I just don't stop.

    Re: my disbelief with Patti's route stamina

  • It's all between the ears.

    Patti's commentary when you're stuck on a rock. She frequently tells me that I blast past the harder moves while getting stumped by simple stuff.

  • My child is still so trusting. I don't know how she got to be that way living in the house with the two of us.

  • Patti: Just do it.

    Me: Isn't that a Nike slogan?

    Patti to me while I was perched somewhere in the middle of What's Next?, a 5.9 route

  • "He who hesitates is lost." They don't just say that for no reason...

    Patti to me as I was perched on yet another route

  • Trust your feet.

    Patti to me.

  • Me: You're stubborn.

    Patti: Ya think? I've been married for almost 30 years and I have three kids that have been to college. You've been climbing with me all this time and don't know that?*

  • There you go being a purist again...

    Patti after my commentary on how someone climbed a route.

  • Patti: Our heat went out...Yadda yaddda yadda....(Climbing) Schedule...

    Me: Okay.

    Patti: “Okay…?" Where’s the sympathy? Where’s the love?

    Me: OMG...Are you okay? Are you warm? Would you like for me to bring you coffee, thermal underwear, blankets???

  • You get all the credit.

    An oldie but goodie. Patti's response after I thanked her for coaching me up a 5.8 when I first started climbing.

  • ***
    *H♥ppy 30th Anniversary to Mike and Patti.

    Friday, May 13, 2011


    I was gonna blog yesterday but, um, Blogger was down. An unbelievable amount of people were on Twitter going through withdrawal and the shaking was palpable.

    I went climbing yesterday and our posse was so sizable that we played musical partners.

    I've been feeling ready to take on lead climbing but, of course, there's no class this month. Still, I borrowed a rope to practice but I didn't do well with clipping and, because I was nervous, I was climbing like a bull -- not the best way to climb at all. The awkward clipping also shook my confidence.

    There's a part of me that feels like mental toughness is missing from my rock climbing game. New posse member, Leah, hasn't been climbing much longer than I have and she rocked a 5.10c. but it's probably not in my best interest to compare myself to other climbers and just not a good thing to do in general...

    Wynne told us that she is moving to the West Coast. She also told me that she wished she had done an interview with me.

    Last year I asked Wynne if she would consider sitting down to chit chat and she said that, although it didn't seem like it, she is an introvert and declined the offer.

    Fair enough, Wynne, and hope to see you in The Lou again at some point so that I can hear you say I'm done when you've reached the top.*

    *Since some of us were new to each other, we discussed rock climbing terminology. Generally, people say take when they get to the top of a route but Wynne likes to say I'm done...

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011


    I went to my first official yoga class, Gentle Yoga. I got there late because I had to go through a maze to find the room. I hate arriving late. The teacher asked me, of course, if it was my first time there then went on with his lecture about how yoga is not a competition as I took my place near the back.

    Deeper into the class, I'm in a pretty impressive split, trying to keep my arms straight and thinking about the misleading title of the class as I'm feeling that some of the poses are not too gentle at all.

    I did love arching my back, lifting my arms and taking a big ol' deep breath. So refreshing.

    About thirty minutes into the class, my friend Lori asked if the class ended at 6 or 6:30. I mouthed 6:30 and wanted to add welcome to my world -- the one where you start clock-watching about 15 minutes into an hour long class.

    After yoga, Lori, Opal and I went to grab coffee at the St. Louis Bread Company. I was tempted to get a salad but was glad that I had left my money elsewhere. By the way, thanks Opal for treating us to coffee.

    As we were sitting down, Lori told me that I looked good, my skin was clear etc. I was going to say something about how my stomach is huge and how I've chunked up of late but I closed my mouth before I opened it because some things are more important than a number on a scale.

    I drove home, changed clothes, made a sandwich then headed out to swim. I've been looking forward to swimming since going to the pool on Sunday only to find it closed for Mother's Day.

    I got in 13 laps, floated, hit the shower and headed home. I popped in my D'Angelo CD and pressed the moonroof's retract button. As I listened to Dreaming Eyes, it made me think about Aretha Franklin's Day Dreaming. There was a segment on Franklin on CBS Sunday Morning. I didn't realize that Franklin wrote that song about a member of the Temptations. She was really in love with him, as you can tell by the lyrics, but he was intimidated by her. Too bad.

    I drove home tonight but I was really leaping in my mind.

    Nightnight y'all...

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    The Ahhh Days

    I wondered out loud to Hazira if business was slow for our acupuncturist since he's having a special this month.

    She thought it was just a routine business decision but did elaborate and say that people generally feel better around this time since the birds are singing, the sun is shining and they feel, overall, less "jadna," a Bosnian word that implies physiological poorness.

    Good point, Hazira. I just realized that I'm also feeling less in need of bodywork.

    And speaking of the sun, OMG, it's not raining in St. Louis and the tornadic weather has quieted down. Really, I saw raindrops on my windshield a few days ago and I was thinking not again.


    Hazira and I watched a weird French flick Happily Ever After. I'm about to move to Hazira's side of the fence where she prefers Hollywood flicks. A lot of foreign films drop you unceremoniously so I should not have been surprised with the way that Happily Ever After ended.

    After the movie, I got on the computer for a spell and someone popped up on instant chat. It was Hazira's niece (Bela) and it was cool to chat with her because I don't see her as often as I used to. Bela sent me a link for a very cool video showcasing two Zagreb cellists.


    I got my mom a card that says wow is mom upside down. Happy Mother's Day to all of the WOW moms -- the rest of you know who you are...

    And, as my friend Lori said when she gifted me with Shea butter, bath salts etc., make every day a SPAhhh day.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Unless You're Chaka Khan

    Okay, you know the Living Social massage therapist that I was trying to make an appointment with but she had limited availability?

    She sold almost 400 massages the first time out and I was a little put off with her hours, tone of voice and assumptions.

    She was back on Living Social for Mother's Day and this time she sold about 500 massages. At least she has a website now with her hours of operation. She has also added two days that she's available during the evening.

    I've seen other therapists who've been featured on group coupon sites get additional help (temporarily) once they've sold beaucoup coupons. I don't think this therapist will employ that strategy; it's a case of trying to have everything and be every woman which is not possible unless you're Chaka Khan.

    MassageLuxe is on Groupon today and will be up for three days and they've already sold close to 5,000 massages on the first day. Now, that's a lot of people wanting massages or a lot of Mother's Day gifts.

    Blogger's Note: Chaka is rockin' that outfit.

    P.S. Happy Anniversary to my brother and s-i-l.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    The Shred Event

    My bank had a free shred day which I had known about for a while but waited until the morning of to revisit the boxes that have been sitting in my bedroom since the professional organizer came a year ago.

    I don't like to throw the word around lightly but I feel like a hoarder.

    In the end, there wasn't that much confidential stuff that needed to be shredded but there were plenty of articles.

    Other things in the boxes included:

  • New York Quick Guide

  • Playbill from The Color Purple (along with ticket stubs)

  • A sampling of the articles:

    Dr. Oz's Ultimate Beauty Test

    Foolproof Steps To Fix A Flat

    Madame Secretary Shows Her Muscles

    Small Changes, Big Results

    What Your Pet Can Teach You

    In all honesty, my bedroom looks like it's been ransacked and I need to get a handle on the clutter. It's just so hard for me to get rid of stuff but I'm hoping that I can start with articles, like the ones above, that I can easily find online.

    Any budding organizers that would like experience and/or spectacular before and after pictures to place on your business website, please contact me as soon as possible because the clutter is daunting.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Lying Down For A Cause

    In between stints of going to a licensed massage therapist, there's a student clinic that I go to. I've read that the effects of massage are cumulative and I like to go on a Sunday because I feel it's a great way to decompress as I face the work week.

    I've also thought about not going to the clinic because the massages are 50 minutes, you have to fill out a feedback form, some students have awkward methods (I know, they're students) and a supervisor comes into the room twice to check on the student which is kind of weird. You're also not allowed to request anyone so you usually work with a different student therapist -- not the ideal situation for someone who takes time to adjust to new people.

    I went on Sunday and got someone who had a really sure touch which reminded me that I have gotten students who've been better and more creative than some licensed therapists.

    As I'm feeling out the feedback form, I hear the supervisor on duty ask this other woman if she would like a second massage for free because they had cancellations and the students need practice. Then, he asks me. I chuckle and say hell to the yeah Yes, someone's got to do it.

    The second student asks if I have any areas that I want focused on. Given that I just had a massage, I tell her if there's any technique she wants to try to knock herself out. I enjoy giving people carte blanche at times. I hardly ever say a word to my barber because I know that she's got skills.

    Student Two decided to do myofascial release which I'd heard of but wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to do. Interestingly enough, when she was doing MR on my shoulder, it felt very good even though my shoulder wasn't bothering me that morning; it has been an on-again off-again thing with shoulder tension. We had this whole symphony of deep breathing going on. I felt like we were breathing for world peace or something.

    Student Two was great -- felt like she had a knack for bodywork and her presence was excellent. Like Student One, she had such a sure touch. She also knows how to start and finish a massage -- muy importante.

    It's funny that as I contemplated not going back to the clinic, I get two great back-to-back massages and I really did feel like I was doing my part to help students get necessary training. The supervisor thanked me as I walked out. I laughed and told him that if he ever needed that kind of assistance again, I would be more than happy to help.