Saturday, August 31, 2013

Just Say Polo or Month-End Review, August

Decided to go to the pool after dinner instead of after lunch so I wouldn't have to worry about eating too late. It turned out to be a good decision. There was sun but not too much over the pool which I shared with one adult and six kids. The water? Divine.

Just say Polo, one of the other kids told a Marco Polo newbie.

I did the backstroke. The elementary backstroke. The front crawl. I floated. I watched a hawk eat dinner and I watched the sun set.

The kids left. I sang to myself and reluctantly hoisted myself out of the pool.

As I walked toward Hazira's to return her key, I saw lightning animate the sky. Wished Hazira had been at home so that I could have scored watermelon.

Popped in my Music to Quiet the Mind CD and thought of Mark Twain. It is lightning that does the work...

How I worked in August:

Bicycling, 3 x's

Boxing, 3 x's

Climbing, 2 x's

Ellen Barrett Live: fusion floor workout*

Kettlebell, 4 x's

Sleek Sculpt Express, 1 x

Stretch Max with Stability Ball, 3 x's

Swimming, 8 x's

Unclassified, (Carrying, Toting, Lifting...Festival Prep)

Walking, 6 x's

Yoga, 4 x's

*Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Summer Swimmer


water longue ears sub

merged a lone bird goes by the

clouds make all the noise

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ball Slamming and Whatnot

Went climbing yesterday and there's that part of me that wants to be sorrowful that my climbing is not what it used to be then Patti pops into my head. What are your climbing goals? Do you want to be active? Do you want to have fun? Check, Patti, check...

Also, even though I get the occasional resistance while climbing, my tweaked knee feels better after tackling the walls. Go figure.

You know how you just click with some people? Fellow kettlebeller, Julia, is one of those folks that I click with and we both think about napping before kettlebell. Analysis anyone?

Marisa was more than ready for us and had stations set up.

Today's workout -- for one minute of action and 30 seconds of rest:

Station 1........Squat with two kettlebells (or one heavier kb)
Station 2........Push-ups
Station 3........Alternating V Leg Sit-up with Bulgarian Bag
Station 4........Roll Out with Ab Wheel
Station 5........Burpees
Station 6........Triceps Dips
Station 7........Heavy Swing (35 or 45 lbs)

During the first round, I went with 45 pounds because Princess Scientist Warrior Tiffany went in front of me and I didn't want to let her down but I didn't have the stamina to swing 45 after the first round.

Station 8........Slam Ball (20 lbs).

Marisa said that she can always tell when I'm slamming the ball by all the noise that I'm making. I love ball slamming -- especially by hump day.

After three rounds of squatting and whatnot, the other women worked on pull-ups but I declined, stretched and resisted the urge to nap in front of the industrial fan.

Monday, August 26, 2013


No yoga practice and no pool yesterday.

A huge chunk of my day was spent at Festival of Nations where I got totally fascinated by bikes...

No boxing today. The Y has a two week mini session. As a non-member, I could have purchased a $10 punch card and sampled classes for two weeks but I can find most of those classes at the gym that I currently have a membership at so no punch card. Waste not, want not.

But what to do with myself?  It was still 93 degrees when I left work so no walking outside.

I pulled out my DVDs and thought about doing one of Jackie Warner's upper body segments and the cardio kickboxing on one of my 10 Minute Solution DVDs but my eyes feel on Ellen Barrett Live: Sleek Sculpt Express.

I like the workout and her banter. There were many things that resonated with me including the yoga-like moves and the barefootedness of it all and I like what she says about transforming the body and keeping it safe and how the benefits of exercise last much longer than the workout. The pilot light has been lit, she said. Yes.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

About Five Minutes, Okay?

To ensure that I got my workout in and to avoid feeling like a goldfish, I went to the indoor pool and swam 21 laps -- not an easy feat since the Chatster was in the lane next to me...

After I wrapped up my indoor swim session, didn't bother putting on my shorts or shirt, just wrapped my beach towel around me and headed to Hazira's. She igged me when I knocked on her door but since I was headed to her pool, being igged didn't bother me but I bet she was reading The Balkan Chronicle or something like that as she tuned out the doorbell.

I want to spend as much time at the outdoor pool as possible before it closes and the countdown to Labor Day is on.

Hiiiiiiiiiiii, said Olivia as I walked into the pool area.

What's your name?

We've been down this road before but I guess Olivia forgot my name. I don't feel well, she said....I have allergies. Olivia is very friendly and chatty. In fact Rabija's friend, Cindy, wanted to know if Olivia and I were neighbors. Nope, Olivia just rolls like that. In fact, Olivia completely wore Zoe's name out but Zoe, an older girl, was very patient with Olivia.

I avoided getting out of the pool the way I avoid sleep on Sunday night. Oliviaaaaa, about five minutes, okay?

Just as Olivia's mom gave her five minutes, I gave myself the same deadline. I had spent almost three hours in the water and hunger was getting the best of me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Princess Is A Beast

Comfort is no test of the truth. Truth is often far from being comfortable. My yoga quote of the day by Swami Vivekananda.

It's good to be reminded of discomfort on kettlebell day.

Slept well last night as I usually do after swimming. Guess the water gradually rocks me to sleep but not just sleep -- a solid, restful one...

Did my usual I don't want to go to kettlebell internal whining then got myself in gear.

2kb = double your fun. We did this sequence for a while -- all for 45 seconds:

Jump rope (with imaginary ropes)
Two-hand swing, two kettlebells or one larger one


I enjoyed doing the alternating kettlebell clean and seesaw press. I also enjoyed working out next to Princess Tiffany. She's been out of town for two weeks but totally owned her workout including the double snatches portion of the program. Tiffany handled those kettlebells so beautifully that I wanted to stop and take a picture. The Princess is a beast.

Julia and I don't normally join in for pull-up practice but we did today. As we we walked to our cars, Julia said I'm proud of us.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


As I walked into boxing class yesterday, I heard one of two guys (Afghan or Iraqi, I think) say There are mostly womens. Wasn't quite sure how Dawn would respond but didn't expect her to say Guys have a hard time hanging. They think that's it just about punching and then you see them on the sideline trying to catch their breath.

Later on, Dawn said that she also thinks that men get disappointed when they see that a female is leading the class...

Even though I like boxing and, like Dawn, think it's a great workout, I've been debating about whether or not to sign up for the next session even though Dawn said six words that pulled me into class -- We're going to keep it simple.

We pulled out bags and started off with one minute rounds of:

1's, 10 x's
2's, 10 x's
1-2's, 10 x's

I think my favorite combination was the side kick...back fist and elbow...

Went to the pool tonight and I'm glad that they have bumped up the open swim time to seven. Chatty Kathleen didn't know about the new start time and arrived later which gave me a chance to get in laps before she started talking to me about sycamore trees and yellow split pea protein powder.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Climbing, Coldness and Compassion

Went climbing after almost a month away and, as Nick said, Anything more than two weeks and you're starting over. I didn't do too bad and my knee, oddly enough, felt less tight after climbing. I was also inspired by Patti who had a 40 plus bicycle outing planned and Nick who didn't want to overdo it with climbing since he had to bicycle about 18 miles to get home...

Again, be compassionate, Gloria said this a.m. as we got into resting swan on the second leg. Even though resting swan is an intense pose, I like it and can usually make a home in it. I did have to be compassionate with my knee though. I had to help my leg get into place. You don't miss being tweak-free until...

After yoga, made a smoothie then made coffee. Decided to forgo a walk and unclutter for 30 minutes then gave myself permission to go to the pool.

Ugh, Jackie said as she got into the water. That's the same way that I feel about the coldness but Jackie is better than I am at ripping off the proverbial Band-Aid.

As I drank a sip of water, I noticed this mother looking in my direction. She was telling her youngster to watch out for me. As I got to the end of the lane, I looked up and saw his little face staring down at me. I gave him the go ahead. Each time, he waited. Such a good listener...

Around lap 11, my counter slipped off my finger. Minor problem. I don't dive -- didn't take that swimming class and not quite confident enough in my abilities. On the return trip, I saw that my lap counter was resting at the bottom of 11 feet of water.


Zach, do you mind...?

I'm pretty sure that I surprised Zach by knowing his name but I heard his mother shout Zach!Zach!Zach! on Tuesday night when a water walker inexplicably wandered into his lane even though Zach had been swimming laps (fast) for quite a while.

I asked Zach if we would get the lap counter after he finished with his training because I didn't want him to get in trouble with his mother. As soon as Zach and his mom got to the pool, she told him to find a lane and get in...

Talked to Jackie in the locker room. She has about 20 marathons under her belt and is always in some race. She showed me her swollen knee and advised me to put ice on mine (while watching TV or something). Patti also suggested ice. Don't know why it never occurs to me to try RICE.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Smile Maker

The Eucalyptus Rocks
Left work yesterday and went to get a haircut which took an hour. Grabbed an almond butter and preserves sandwich then went for an hour long walk.

Headed out to do shopping since my weekend will be cut short by work.

After my second stop, weariness kicked in.

Trader Joe's clerk: How are you?

Me: Don't ask...

TJ's clerk: Need a hug............I'm here for you.
At the precise time that I thought Don't "toy" with me and there's nothing that you can do to alleviate the situation, the clerk gives me the flowers that I'm buying for The 'Fugee. I was shocked. Needless to say, a smile spread across my face.

At my next stop, I paid it forward and got a hug in return.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Coming Out Of Hero...

Had to come out of hero pose on Sunday because my right knee wasn't feeling it.

My knee tweak moves around. Sometimes it feels like the tightness emanates from the quads -- sometimes the tightness surrounds the kneecap. Going up stairs -- not a problem. Going down stairs -- minor problem.

As I swam last night, I could feel the tightness. Post-swimming, the knee released somewhat.

To exercise or not to exercise? Of course, I don't want to do any further damage but there's always the option to modify.

I thought about texting Marisa to see what she had on tap for kettlebell practice. As for Saturday climbing, I already know that corner routes will be off-limits...

I decide to go to kettlebell practice knowing that with swings, at least, my hips will do most of the work.

The 50 V sit-ups (25 per leg) and the 50 snatches (25 per arm) totally owned me. By the time that we finished with two-hand swings (50), burpees (25), push-ups (25), clean and press,, around the body with a catch and lunge (25 per leg) etc., I was a broken woman too tired to whimper. On the lunges, I went in reverse and barely dipped my right leg in case you're wondering why I would attempt lunges with a tweaked knee...

This newbie bought a 10 lb kettlebell and Marisa quickly told her that it was only good for the trash and that she didn't even think it was ten pounds. To illustrate her point, Marisa went and got her kids (4 & 5) and they were both able to swing the "10 lb" kettlebell. Newbie said, Okay, I got it. Not sure why she didn't consult Marisa in the first place.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The French Namesake

Lots of Admirers
It has been a grand weekend. Went along with Hazira to her mentor's house. He hosted a dinner party for his French friends.

Three hours of eating and talking and no one touched a cell phone. So civil. I decided not to be picky about food. My aperitif was water but I ate the grape and cheese appetizer. Also ate the mozzarella cheese and tomato. Ditto for the decadent hash brown casserole with cornflakes. I had the chocolate mousse --two shot glasses of it. The whole time I was hoping that the French paradox would rub off on me the way it had rubbed off on Martine...

Went to Gloria's twisted 9:00 a.m. class. Took a seat in the front and thought about how I no longer hide in the back.

The class was packed and it was pretty cool. Lots of amazing energy. My mat neighbor and I alternated hoisting our hands and watched out for each other during spinal twists.

I kept thinking about how twists are supposed to be cleansing. A lunge with a twist and pigeon with a twist are pretty intense and I had to keep reminding myself not to hold my breath.

I was fully alert and energetic after class. Spotted Alison all the way in the back with her fuzzy mat carrier. Among other things, Alison is a champion hugger. We talked about tracking calories and other tools for a good 15 minutes...

My mat neighbor beamed at Alison and me after class. It's a glorious day she said. And another one who came into class about halfway in said that she felt amazing as well and that she was glad that she came.

DJ Gloria hipped me to Michael Chapdelaine. Many thanks. Digging Blue Chile right now and Chapdelaine is also a reminder that I need to put Tuck and Patti tunes on my iPod.

I texted a friend and told her that I met her French namesake and that it reminded me of one of our professors who used to sing her name. The one who liked my New York accent?, she asked.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hot In There

Saw Hell-Bent somewhere and immediately put it on my must-read list and it didn't disappoint.

Cracked the cover and wondered when I had gotten the book wet. Did I take it to the pool? I was so relieved when I saw H20 dmg of 1st 80 pgs. Now, if I can only locate the two copies of Cooking Light that are hiding from me...

Benjamin Lorr arrives at a Bikram yoga studio fat fat. His words not mine.

One evening at a party, I overheard a good friend say, "It looks a lot like Ben ate Ben." (14)

Early on in the book, Lorr gives feeback from Dr. Yeargin, a sweat scientist who studies heat. I like what she says about fainting.

When you faint, your body is essentially commanding you to lie down fast. The new orientation makes it easier to get blood to the brain. (35)
Don't ask me why I like information like that...

There are several stories in Hell-Bent (and elsewhere) about yoga working for people with debilitating knee and back pain or addiction but what will draw a lot of people to this book is a look into the world of Bikram yoga founder, Bikram Choudhury, who has multiple lawsuits against him. When I saw part of a deposition with Choudhury responding to a suit, he came off as petulant and dishonest. After reading Lorr's book, I'm pretty sure that those lawsuits have merit.

There has long been talk about the absurdity of letting Bikram copyright yoga postures and how he doesn't embody the true spirit of yoga. I like how Lorr addresses narcissism and charisma in his book. Lorr talks to Eleanor Payson, a therapist, about narcissism:
"A narcissistic relationship is a one-way street," Eleanor explains, "Once you engage the narcissist, the dynamic increasingly takes place on his terms -- each encounter dictated by his moods and whims, and inevitably serving his agenda..." (208)
There are times when I'm in yoga class and get frustrated by eagle pose or the fact that I can barely lift my arms when my hands are clasped behind my back and I know it's because strength training has made my body rigid to a certain degree so what Tony Sanchez, an "excommunicated" Bikram teacher, said resonated with me:
..."Most yogis believe yoga is a total solution -- that yoga will cure all their problems. If you tell them that you run or lift weights, they'll act like you are betraying them...This is utter nonsense...Actually, it is worse, it is fraud and will end up harming people. Yoga is a system for maintaining one aspect of your health..." (263)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

You'll Feel It Tomorrow

The feeling is starting to return to my arms. It's a burning feeling but feeling nonetheless...

After the warm-up, Marisa pointed towards the whiteboard and said that the workout was self-explanatory - pretty simple or something like that. And the words were pretty clear-cut.

50.....................Swings, squats, push-ups

Chip did require clarification but I saw the glint in Marisa's eyes and knew what she was up to.

50 swings
50 squats
50 push-ups

40 swings
40 squats
40 push-ups. etc. etc.

Since Tiffany, "A-Rod" and Megan were the pacesetters, as usual, I never made it to 10 but 120 two-hand swings were enough for me.

Next up was the kettlebell clean and press.


Marisa told the newbie that she was going to feel it in her shoulders tomorrow.

Newbie: I'll feel it tomorrow? How about now?

I got in 98 cleans and presses before the pacesetting crew finished the set.

Next, we hit the floor for side planks with a reach. Rocking side planks. Static planks. Planksplanksplanks... Russian twists...

Marisa was tickled that she saw one picture of the yoga event at Busch Stadium and I was it. She wanted to show me the picture that had been shared on Facebook but I had seen it and didn't need to see it again.  It's a picture that I wish didn't exist because I can see the weight that I've gained but as I told Hazira today -- it's not the end of the world. I just need to batten down the hatches and reassess my food intake.

Marisa also asked me why I practiced yoga but she pretty much knew that it was for mind and body. I also told her that yoga felt particularly good the day after kettlebell practice...

Cindy emailed me a link to the video below. I forgot how beautiful kettlebells can look in the hands of an experienced swinger.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Still feeling lifted after the mass gathering of yogis that was Seventh-Inning Stretch.

People continue to share pictures which just makes me maintain a buzz...

Rolled out of bed with hardly any time to spare and headed to Gloria's yoga class.

Heads down. Hips up., Gloria reminded us as we went into downward facing dog...

Gloria closed out class with something similar to: I honor the place in you which is of love, light, peace and joy. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.

Love that philosophy...

Alison, a yogi-mate, noticed that I was still buzzing from Seventh-Inning Stretch said that she often maintains her buzz by going to workshops. I told her that I often think about workshops but when I see certain topics, I haven't felt strong enough about the content to attend but Alison will keep me in the loop if she sees anything of interest going on with her yoga tribe...

Rosie got a really good picture as we entered the stadium for Seventh-Inning.

Cindy shared these pictures with me and I'm particularly moved by the savasana one.

I spy Jeremy, Gloria and Alison.

Ah, savasana...

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Ultimate Outdoor Yoga Experience: Seventh-Inning Stretch


What?... Seventh-Inning Stretch
Where?...Busch Stadium

I enjoyed everything about practicing yoga with 1,499 people -- from the collective Om to the weather -- just beautiful.

It was even cool when The Harlem Shake came on and everybody got silly with it.

After savasana, one of the instructors asked us to put our right hand over our heart and left hand on our face as reminder to love ourselves then she asked us to put our left hand over our heart. That was one powerful silent meditation. Bonus: Got to spend time with some of my favorite people.

During savasana, either Danielle or Roxanne asked us to put our palms face up -- or on our bellies if we still didn't feel grounded. I'm still flying from the event so maybe I need to ground now -- or maybe not.

Into The Stadium We Go

Cindy Minus Me (A Part of Pic That Will Never See The Light of Day)

Jeremy Getting His Stretch On

Kelly Finding It Hard To Walk Away from the Bases
Me and Gloria -- Found the Night Scene Mode Too Late
Picture from Lululemon Plaza Frontenac's Facebook Page
Rosie and Kelly

St. Louis Post Dispatch iParty

 P.S. That baseball grass is incredible...I think that we all could have walked barefoot indefinitely.