Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Minute Forfeiture or Month-End Review, July

One of my colleagues shudders at the thought of doing yoga in a crowded room. I have similar feelings about swimming. Got to the pool when it opened last night and was able to get in eight laps before company arrived.

Three of us shared a lane. Between the mini-riptide and cologne, ew, it was enough to make me feel crowded. We ended up doing a kind of relay situation.

As Chatty Kathleen got ready to leave and I readied to dip under the divider, she told me that I looked healthy and strong. When I asked her how she was doing, I got a response at the other end of the spectrum but she was in good enough shape to tell me that I lifted her spirits but the only thing that I did was listen. I am an extrovert magnet because I'm a good listener even when I don't want to be...

Gladly forfeited a minute and finished kettlebell practice at 7:14. Wrapping up kettlebell practice always makes me feel that I have, officially, made it over the hump.

Tally for the month:

Bicycling, 3 x's
Boxing, 4 x's
Climbing, 1 x
Kettlebell, 4 x's

7/31 Kettlebell:

Two-Hand Swings, 30
Burpees, 10
Rows, 10/10
Triceps Dips, 30
Around the Body with a Catch and Lunge, 10
Deadlift, 10/10 (Two Variations)
Clean and Press, 20/20
Jacks, 30
Pull-Overs, 15
Double Leg Raise, 15
Snatch, 20/20 (10/10 for me)

Plank-Off: Megan a.k.a. A-Rod, Becky & Paige *

Stations of: Two-Hand Swing, Russian Step-up, Slam Ball (30 lbs), Russian Twist, Double Press, Double Squat, Around The Body, Push-Ups (Off a Chair)...

Stretch Max, 2 x's
Swimming, 8 x's
Walking, 11 x's
Yoga, 6 x's

I was totally satisfied with my production this month. What about you?

*I dropped out of the plank-off after 90 seconds. Megan lasted for five minutes while Paige got her "tent" on to help her endure.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Yoga Even

I have a low level of angst about boxing class. Think it's the whole pairing up plus the rock music that is sometimes too loud for my taste.

We ended up with eight people in class. I paired up with Ashley who has a black belt. My apologies to Ashley. As Dawn said, mitting is harder than boxing and it requires finesse. I'm finesse light on any given day but Ashley is pretty easygoing so she didn't lose patience with me -- the person who forgets that she should be punching with her right hand when she's in a right-legged stance...

Dawn was actually absent so Mike taught the class. Mike likes to have you box for 25 minutes straight then switch and I like that.

At the end of class, Mike reminded us about a training camp that the US Martial Arts Association is holding this weekend. They have Aikido, Karate, Krav Maga, Escrima...even Yoga. Mike's yoga afterthought made me laugh.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Had a two hour meeting yesterday. Usually, end of the week p.m. meetings find me dragging but the speaker held my attention. I liked it when he said that his personal mission statement is bigger than his company's mission statement. I was also captivated by his frequent use of the phrase I would like to encourage... It's kind of the in phrase but...

Agreed to pick up Hazira after work and we headed to a new-ish restaurant that was featured on Groupon. Love the name -- Hot Pot Smoothie. Also dug Janice Scherer's art. When I come into money and reduce my hoard, I plan to acquire more art.

After picking up our "hot pots," we headed to an independent coffee shop. The combination of good food and coffee was enough to make me moan and I definitely plan to return to Hot Pot Smoothie.

Udon Noodles, Chicken, Spinach, Peppers...Mmmm

Later on, Hazira and I watched Modern Family -- the fourth episode, Our Children, Ourselves, of season two just might be my favorite. It's the episode with the homeless Reiki master. So funny. It doesn't take much to make me happy...

Woke up and turned on the TV. They were doing makeovers or something on The Today Show and it seems that adding hair moves so many people. Additional hair is something that I have very little interest in but what I did notice was an audience member (with more hair) who had on a LOVED shirt

I want that shirt.

I often think that if I want something as my epitaph, it would be that line from Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon: And she was loved! Even though it still surprises me when people like me, I do feel loved... a lot.

Did my usual Saturday morning bed-dwelling, then lifted my bike out of the basement. Such a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

As I sat on the bench reading a book sample, this family walked by and a little girl in a stroller noticed the group of people by the building with a lot of windows and asked Where's the bride?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Last Week's Episode of Yoga Class

Jen was having contractions every thirty minutes in last week's episode of yoga class. Still, she showed us how to check our downward facing dog alignment by getting into DFD and smoothly transitioning into plank -- full belly and all.

I had a gut feeling that Jen would not be in class even though the online scheduling system had not been changed to sub status and braced myself as I walked into the studio.

Despite being spotted at another studio yesterday, Jen had to throw in the towel for tonight's class.

Jen is totally into yoga -- with every fiber of her being -- and is a hard act to follow for sure. All trees are different, Kelly said as she talked about options for tree pose. Different teacher, different class and different me who walked in with a more receptive mind than I would have a few years ago.

Somewhere in Dunedin, Fl

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Marisa is training newbies and our kettlebell crew benefits. Marisa has remembered that there's such a thing as a swinging session without burpees and Spider-man push-ups.

We started off with the basics but here's where the workout got interesting:

Russian Step-ups, 60 seconds
Around The Head, (L & R), Squat, Curl, Press, Triceps Extension, 60 seconds
Russian Step-ups, 60...
Around The Body with a Catch & Lunge, 60...
Russian Step-ups, 60...
Around The Body with a Catch & Reverse Lunge
Russian Step-ups, 60
Figure 8 & Catch

After that circuit, we did:

Clean and Press, 60 seconds (L & R)
Clean, (L & R) 60 secs
Half Snatch
Clean and Press...

I'm happy to report that I executed my first kettlebell snatch without doing it in increments.

After the last series, we hit the floor for ab work then called it a day.

Got home and the weather was perfect -- especially the breeze. Grabbed my headphones and headed out for a stroll around the neighborhood and barely had enough energy left to take a shower.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cranking Power or Lack Thereof

We had stations at boxing class. Liked it. Entire circuit lasted about 10 minutes:

50 Jump Rope Rotations
25 Bicycles
25 Push-ups

Roundhouse Kick (5 per leg)
Side Kick
Push Back Kick
"Karate Kid" Kick

Repeat circuit until 10 minutes are up...

We did the stations a couple of times then paired up. Since there were an odd number of folks, I ended up with Mike who is the co-teacher and I hope to one day hit as hard as Mike. 

After class, stopped by the store to get bananas and an avocado. Car didn't seem like it was cranking like it should and made a mental note to get it checked out. Made one more detour to go to the gas station. As I waited at the light, saw a car that looked like my aunt's and she had, indeed, crossed the border to get cheaper Missouri gas. 

Filled up and turned the key and the car tried to turn over but didn't. At the suggestion of my mother, cleaned the terminals and removed enough corrosion to get the car started. Took it to The Zone and it didn't test well. Left the Zone around 9. It's been a longer day than I expected.

Frank, Under The Hood

Saturday, July 20, 2013

If You Think...

Worked half a day and by the time I finished with errands, the weather went from sticky to stormy. I, reluctantly, took off my swimming suit put on other gear, grabbed my umbrella and headed out to walk.

For some reason, impending rain makes me think of that scene in The Color Purple when a boy says to Harpo -- It's gonna rain on your head.

Thinking of Alice Walker made me think of Gwendolyn Brooks' The Mother poem: is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had a body, you died...
Brooks led me to Lucille Clifton's Good Times:
oh children think about the
good times
And good times made me think about the evening that I had with Hazira and Rabija.

H & R somehow reminded me of the Syrian intern whose stomach has been in knots and who said When you live in a dangerous country... And even though it's been an unbelievably violent June and July in this area, she was not talking about this country.

I read 11 Ways to Have Your Best Summer Yet on earlier in the day. Number six: take a nature walk...

I often feel connected

and grounded when I take walks and today was no different but I wasn't totally grounded because my throat felt totally constricted at one point...

What truth needs to be said???

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mind Tending

Been fantasizing about moving to Dancing Rabbit and living off the grid or going to the forest -- whichever location is closer.

I contemplated skipping yoga but knew that I needed to tend to my mind. Jen gave us a lot of cooling postures so it turned out to be a calming practice. During savasana, the door opened. I had been in the zone up until that point. Good thing that Jen talked about the yogic principle of non-violence during class...

Rolled up my mat and headed to the pool. As I walked by, this girl wanted to know if I owned the pool and if I was going to swim. She also wanted to know what time the pool closed. Once she got my answer, she told the adult that she was with that there was still time to swim. We need more time to dry off was the response she got...

Swimming was such a pleasure. Perfect water temperature. Interesting cloud formations. Deeply green trees. I swam for about twenty minutes. It was all about quality today.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Eightieth Swing

The only things, activity-wise, that I've enjoyed this week have been yoga and swimming. Boxing is always good for letting go of Monday tension but I wasn't all the way present. I'd rather forget the climbing outing and, 15 minutes before kettlebell class, I still had doubts about whether to attend. In the end, though, I know that I have regrets when I don't move my body.

Kettlebell class was to the point -- for me at least.

We warmed up then picked up our 'bells. Two-hand, one hand, hand-to-hand, snatch, clean and press, around-the-body with a catch, around-the-body without a catch, squat-curl-press-triceps extension. Floor work included: overhead press, floor press and ab work.

We did two minutes of push-ups, lunges and squats.

I went easy on the lunges and squats as I would like my knee to continue getting better.

At some point, we did 100 two-hand swings. None of us stopped swinging because I think no one wanted to lose momentum. I looked at the clock and it took, roughly, three minutes. Around the eightieth swing, I could feel the burn somewhere between my biceps and triceps.

Marisa got inspired after she saw me using the high pull to work my way up to a snatch. So, we worked on the high pull and we also worked on the Turkish Get-up which we haven't done in ages. Chip whined all the way through the Get-up and marveled that I was able to punch the kettlebell into the air so "effortlessly" but I marvel at Chip when he does push-ups; he has perfect form. Just goes to show you that people really do have different strengths.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bringing It

There are six of us in the summer two session of kickboxing and I miss the energy of 15 plus people but Anika brings a lot of energy and Lori brings it too. In fact, if you're lollygagging, Dawn will by your side in no time.

I thought about going for a walk after boxing but the humidity was too much for me.

Can't Stand The Humidity

Popped Stretch Max into the DVD to relax more than anything else. With my abdomen on the stability ball and my arms around the ball, I got into the relaxed zone. Does that mean that a relaxed back equals a relaxed mind?

Cooked before kickboxing. Sometimes I have to drag myself into the kitchen but when I get there, I'm entranced by colors and smells plus satisfied that I know what's going into the pot. 

Pot Fodder

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Bike weather today. Pool weather for the next week...

I hopped on my Globe Vienna by ten and stopped to admire the flowers along the way. It was like a little oasis by the lily pads.

Got home and since I was warmed up, hit the play button on Absolute Beginners: Kettlebell 3 and 1 with Amy Bento. It's been in my Netflix queue forever with a short wait status for most of that time..

Even though I'm not a beginner, I like to see how other people teach kettlebell and to see if I can pick up any tips.

I didn't do the whole workout but I did like the simplicity of the workout -- just some good ol' swinging -- two-hand, one-hand, cleans, jerks...The sweat was rolling after just five minutes. I decided to practice the snatch. I was not in class when Marisa taught it so I usually do a clean and press while everyone else is doing the snatch.

I did what Phil Scarito said in the video below and success! I love that feeling of exhilaration that comes with learning how to do something and I liked doing the snatch in three parts (high pull progression). I instantly felt the fruit of my labor smack dab in the middle of my back. No pain. Just gain.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Stepped into the yoga studio and Jen asked about my shoulder. Seeing that she is deep into pregnancy and that summer, in her words, has turned her two-year old into a wild woman, I was impressed that she remembered my shoulder tweak.

Towards the end of class, Jen talked about how strength is easy for a lot of people and how softness and flexibility is not but it's when you're soft and flexible that agendas get lost.

Post-savasana, Jen talked about meeting people where they're at which is something that I'd like to work on...

The talk of softness made me think of a passage that I recently saw on Spirituality and Metaphysical's Facebook page:
Rest does not come with sleeping, it comes with waking. This is both an insight and an action of enlightenment. When we are enlightened we realise that real rest is possible only when we become free of illusion and we no longer struggle against life. Illusion is the idea that people should be, and do, what we want them to. The truth is, all is as it should be, despite appearances, or our perceptions of others to the contrary. This means you can be easy on yourself, easy with others and easy with the world around you. Easiness is a virtue, an attractive one at that. It is much more influential than force. So quit forcing, end the struggling and...relax!

Gratuitous Pic of My Aunt Al's Soft Puppy

Monday, July 8, 2013

Moving In The Right Direction

Headed out the door in my flimsy flip flops and thought about how my sparring partner, Michelle, says that being barefoot is the best part of the boxing workout.

Being barefoot also feels good during yoga practice, Sleek Sculpt express and willPower and Grace.

I've seen people swing kettlebells without shoes but I don't feel that lucky. A bottle of vanilla flavor landed on my big toe and knocked skin off. Painful. So, no thanks to kettlebell without shoes...

Two Ounces of Pain

It was all about bags in boxing -- no partners needed. Theresa told me Nice kicks as I connected solidly with the bag time and again. Dawn, the instructor, thought I was inspired because she was standing behind the bag but I just like roundhouse kicks; it has nothing to do with holding a grudge against Dawn for giving us impossible sequences to remember.

Dawn Holding My Favorite Red Bag

The best thing about kicking was that my knee felt solid. Not a hundred percent but definitely moving in that direction.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How I Spent My Saturday Vacation


Grafton's Kinsey Millhone Would Say This Sign Is A Clue


Admiring the Flowers...

and the evening sunlight...

What about you???

Thursday, July 4, 2013

No More Vegan Bouillon Cubes In The Pantry

Many of the clothes that I wore last summer are snug very uncomfortable and there is a pair of pants that I can't button up at all.

My face is fuller.

My body is fuller but, apparently, I have street credibility since people still talk about my willpower and how much I exercise.

No one is talking about my fullness. Guess they are being polite. Although, truth be told, only a few relatives said anything to me before I lost weight.

I'm not going into freak out mode because I still walk past cupcakes. I don't eat fried food and I practically freaked out when I discovered that there were no more vegan bouillon cubes in the pantry.

I'm already tired thinking about the work that I must do on the food front...

In other news, I finally found recipes that I like and please don't tell me that gnocchi has a lot do with weight gain. It's the first time that I tried it and, you know, it was a recipe that I actually liked. Here's the "gnocchi" recipe and the others.

Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Enjoyed the Flavor

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

Spicy Vegan Sloppy Joes

"Eating is one of the most emotional things we do," says Karl Guggenmos, dean of culinary education at Johnson & Wales. "That will never change." But how we eat and how Americans relate to food are undergoing rapid change, for reasons related to sustainability as well as health.
-from Making of a Modern Chef, Psychology Today, March/April 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nice Rhythm

Not exactly outdoor swimming weather but I remembered that my indoor pool was slated to open on July 1st. Would they defy the odds and finish remodeling on time? A quick look online answered my question.

Got to the pool and it wasn't crowded. The usual cast of characters were present including Chatty Kathleen who told me that she had somehow managed (with her bad back) to survive the closure.

After completing a couple of laps, Kathleen told me that she could hear the rhythm of my swimming and that it was a nice rhythm.

After that, Gloria Estefan's song entered and got stuck in my head.