Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Exercised Body or April, Month-End Review

Swam from 7 to 8 p.m. last night, showered, went by the store then stopped to see The 'Fugee who was disappointed that I wouldn't stay long. And the lyrics that go through my head the most? Time won't give me time...

On Saturday, I also fretted about time but realized that I had spent two hours bicycling even though I seldom regret time spent in the pursuit of fitness so I turned the fret station off.

There are days when I feel wrecked when the alarm clock goes off and when I get to work, I want to put my head on the desk until I feel rested.

To go to yoga tonight or to do a little spring cleaning and prepare stuff for the American Kidney Foundation pick-up? I could have used the extra time but the tension in my arm, neck and back made the choice an easy one.

Last Tuesday, at an impromptu "party," Asmira and The 'Fugee declared that I had lost weight and, although I've lost five four pounds, I've been struggling with portion control and feeling quite whale-ish. The 'Fugee elaborated by saying that she can tell the difference between my exercised body and her unexercised one. Though visions of being smaller float around in my head, I know that life would be dim without exercise.

Month-End Review:

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix
Cardio Kickboxing, 2 x's

10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!
10 Minute Stretch, 2 x's

Bicycling, 3 x's

Climbing, 4 x's

Just Walk: 5 Mega Miles
Mile 2: Walk and Tone, 2 x's
Mile 5: Ab Walk, 2 x's

Just Walk: Walk to the Hits, Party Songs
Mile 1, 4 x's
Mile 3, 1 x

Kenpo X, 2 x's

Swimming, 4 x's

The Gauntlet, #Kettlebell, 2 x's

Treadmill, 2 x's

Walking, 13 x's

Yoga, 15 x's

Zumba, 2 x's

Monday, April 28, 2014

Belly Up

Made a stress-relieving bubble bath bag for Chiquita, my cousin. The contents of the bag included Epsom salt infused with essential oil, lavender bubble bath and Dr. Oz's new magazine, The Good Life.

Chiquita reported back that she enjoyed her bath and I told her that she could bring the Mason jar back for a refill of salt.

This article, Massaging Your Soul, made me think about Chiquita and her bag and it made me think of myself as I get drawn deeper into massing my soul.

And massage? It gets me out of my head and hits the reset button. At the end of a massage, I often think Okay, I'm ready to be nicer, more patient, more...I can even rub the furry one ad nauseam and watch as he tilts his head back into my hand or watch him as he goes belly up.

The Little Wolf with a Bone (iPod moment)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Vacation Of Sorts

You get spoiled by making play dates to exercise with others and while I knew that I would miss meeting up with my peeps, I didn't despair because I like my own company too.

The forecast was for stellar weather and I wanted to honor the stellar by exercising outdoors. Lingered in bed a bit then made preparations for departure. Felt like I was going on vacation as I gathered stuff and bicycling on the riverfront did feel like a vacation of sorts.

Headphones, check. Orange slices, check.

I might have hit the trail by my lonesome but I wasn't alone. There were plenty of people to engage with and it was nice to see so many kids out.

There is a sizable hill before you make it to the end of the Riverfront Trail and to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. I hit the proverbial wall -- big time. That orange that I packed and ate while on the bridge was one of the best oranges that I've ever had.

View From Chain of Rocks, Arch in the Distance

Up-Close View Again

I racked up 22 miles which would represent a slow day for Patti*. Still, my appreciation for mileage has been renewed.

*Checked with Patti and she got in 31 miles...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

You Forget About The Windows

Zumba was not calling my name but I went last Thursday because Alison wanted company and she thought the class was so fun that she wanted to return this week and she also brought her sister, Joanne, who's visiting from the UK.

Joanne proceeded to tell me that she had been to boot camp with Alison and today she'd been walking around the sculpture park and gardening plus... I'm supposed to be on vacation but something went wrong.

Joanne had me cracking up when she asked if people were going to be looking into the windows of the exercise room. I told her that they hardly ever do and once you get into the class, you forget about the windows.

We got a visit from one of the gym staffers because our teacher likes to crank up the music plus open the doors since it gets stuffy.

After the staffer left, the instructor said but not bitterly Excuse me for trying to teach a Zumba class. She reminds me of Little Diva from Pit Boss. Ashley asked Little Diva if she would tone down her attire and Little Diva responded Tone what down?

Despite that inevitable moment when I was turned in the opposite direction of the class, I thought That was fun when I walked through my door and then I couldn't stop singing Dancing Machine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

If You Swim, Just Swim

As I pushed the button on my lap counter to mark the occasion of lap three, I thought about my coworker, Rene, who doesn't like lap swimming because she thinks it's monotonous.

Lap three seemed like such a little number compared to the number of laps that I wanted to accomplish and I longed for an MP3 player but quickly dismissed the idea too.
...We're just saying if you eat, don't eat your projects. Don't eat your sadness. Don't eat the argument you just had. Just eat. If you walk, just walk. If you drive, drive. We have to choose again and again to be in the present moment... (The Healer...Prevention, Jan. 2014, pg. 48)
Pretty sure that I was sluggish since I took a nap after work and, pretty much, headed to the pool post-nap...

I've had an active dream life of late -- three dreams within a week:

Dream One: Someone hits my car and leaves a lot of white paint on it.

Dream Two: I'm in an amphibious situation and just as it hits the water, I wake up.

Dream Three: A part of my yoga mat is missing. It's as if someone has taken a scalpel and sliced a fourth of it off but it still looks the same when it's rolled up. Plus, it has a cute little bow on it.

My upper back was so jammed up on Monday that I did a few minutes of yoga in the morning -- cat/cow, child's pose and fish.

If I had a yoga studio, I'd name it Yoga Works. Because it felt so good and calming, I did a few minutes of "back care" yoga this morning too. Threw in an earth salutation to make it even sweeter.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring Training, #TeamDrea

Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, New

Caught Off-Guard by Blue Water (for St. Louis Blues)
Was tired, thirsty, sleepy and feeling a bit guilty when I got home from bicycling. It was about 1:30 when I rolled my bike through the door and Easter "dinner" was at 2 and there was more stuff that I wanted to do. I hate being on a schedule during the weekend.

I could have rushed and gathered stuff but also knew that I'd probably only eat turkey and green beans then stare at everything else including my aunt's mac and cheese and sweet potato pie so I stayed at home and, among other things, cooked Monday's meal...

Simply Stir-Fry
Still thinking about squeezing in a short nap before visiting some of my folks this evening.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Nod In My Direction

A former colleague stopped by the office and my immediate coworker explained that she was walking funny because of back pain.

A massage? Melinda suggested. My boyfriend is an opera singer and he gets them for his voice. As a flight attendant, Melinda often accesses things from awkward angles and her boyfriend suggested massage therapy for her as well.

My coworker said I don't get massages but she does (nodding toward me). She knows how to take care of herself.

Melinda then asked me if I watch Parks and Recreation. Apparently, there are characters that have a Treat Yo Self day, ha-ha.

Melinda and I both agreed that The One Afflicted With Back Pain should try massage. The Afflicted One... started tallying the cost of the chiropractic treatments she's been receiving.

You can't afford not to deal with stress crossed my mind.

If you can get rid of the stress element altogether, we can get rid of your spine pain.
-Shorty's doctor to Shorty, Pit Boss

Stress dampens empathy.
-On Being podcast?

Stress can take you down physically and energetically.
-Jackson, cat behaviorist on My Cat From Hell, Season 3, Epi 7

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

E Is For Empty

It was a mad scramble yesterday: work, grocery store, cook (phase one), exercise, cook (phase two). Don't like cooking on Monday but I did like what I cooked -- baked chicken and Sweet Potato, Feta and Shiitake Packets.

Only, I didn't use feta cheese, shiitake, Swiss chard or mint. The packets were yummy and with the addition of mint, I just might out-and-out moan.

Sweet Potato, Feta & Shiitake Packet

Instead of the usual Monday night yoga class, opted for a bubble bath while reading the Jan. issue of Prevention. Spooky that I named the last blog post Soothed then came across The Healer.
If a doctor learns to practice mindfulness...and she walks in quietly, peacefully, that's already medicine. She's calm. She's not outside of her body. The patient feels the attention, that tenderness, that care, that true presence. The patient is already soothed.
The Healer, by the way, is Sister Dang Nghiem.

Took The 'Fugee to see her acupuncturist a few weeks ago and we were on a very tight schedule but the thing that I remember the most is the acupuncturist's calm...

Felt punch-drunk when I woke up this morning. Crawled under the covers when I got home and it was about 70 minutes later when I woke up. Ate then headed to the pool and hoped that the chilly water would energize me.

Stopped by The Fugee's after swimming and she wanted to know what was wrong. She was surprised by the whole Queen of the Ashy People look. I need to remember to put lotion in my gym bag because when my face is under water, all the moisture is sucked out.

Also stopped by the gas station. I can count, on one hand, the number of times that I've let my tank get this low. And, apparently, my car's tank is not the only thing that's low.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Linda to Alison: I didn't see you in Joanie's class.
Alison: Where was I at? Oh, I was bicycling with Andrea on Grant's Trail.
Linda: Isn't that kind of flat and boring?
 Alison: It's just the kind of terrain that I like...
Right before savasana and about 45 minutes after Linda and Alison's exchange, Gloria asked us to pull our knees into our chests and to rock side to side So that you feel calm and soothed.

It has been a calm and soothing weekend and I've ticked just about everything off of my Weekend Bucket List.

Grant's Trail

Post-Yoga Herbivore Omelet with Sweet Potatoes, Not On The List

Pink and White Carpet
The 'Fugee and I watched August: Osage County. Didn't really know anything about the plot line. Knew that there had been nominations but didn't know that it was a dark comedy. While I watched, I thought What a meaty movie...It was a star-studded film but I was still taken with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts' performances. I had to hit the rewind button during the fish scene which was funny and devastating.

The song that's been rolling through my head? I Can See Clearly Now. Only, I didn't remember the name. I thought it was It's Going To Be A Bright...Sun-Shiny Day.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Better Circumstances and Bucket List, Weekend Edition

Fascinated by the concept of "hedonic adaptation."
Why does the burst of happiness you get when your life improves rarely last -- whether you start eating heirloom tomatoes, get a promotion, or marry your true love? The answer is "hedonic adaptation," the phenomenon in which you quickly get used to better circumstances... (Psychology Today, Dec. '13)
According to PT, there are four steps that you can take to help with hedonic adaptation: give it up (favorite food, activity), revisit your life without, take a break (TV shows, massage) and relish amateur status...

My upper body has been completely jammed (or jacked) up so I went to the library for the sole purpose of getting magazines for bubble bath reading. Hedonistic?

For the "unjamming" session, I chose the November 2013 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine. You know how people say it's never too late to do xyz? Well, Martha Beck explores the other side of the coin.

1). It's too late to get a completely different body.

2), It's too late to live without purpose.

3), It's too late to live on ego candy.

4). It's too late to turn toxic people into healthy ones.

5). It's too late to feel guilty about enjoying simple things.

Inspired by Beck, here's my weekend bucket list.

1). Watch a movie with The 'Fugee.

2). Sleep in on Saturday.

3). Ride my bicycle with Alison.

4). Do yoga.

5). Do yoga again.

6). Spend time with family.

7). Pet and play with Teddy.

8). Read

9). Walk

10). Play Running with Friends.

Beck starts her column by remembering a friend who refused to go out for three months while she attempted to reach a weight loss goal. After emerging, the friend died days later.
Self-acceptance can help you experience what Dr. Herbert Benson famously called the relaxation response. This is the state in which your body can calm down and heal. The alternative? More boring self-loathing, with its accompanying stress-related illnesses, compulsions, and addictions? We don't have time for that. (O...46)
Hope you have time to work on a bucket list this weekend...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Making It Work

Been trying to have a play date with Katie for a long time. Think the last time that I saw Katie was at my yoga birthday party last year. Well, we finally made it work and went to a studio, Practicing Yoga, new to both of us. Love the name and enjoyed the class which was a donation-based class with proceeds going to the service opportunity of the month, Hope for Young Adults With Cancer...

Things got heated right away and I wasn't the only one feeling the heat. Roxanne opened the door and we were immediately saluted by horns.

Stevie Wonder and the city -- you can't beat that..Roxanne said. And, somehow, the sounds of the city were not intrusive.

As we went from downward facing dog to plank to cobra, I could feel every route from yesterday's stint at the climbing gym. Of course, this did not stop me from going to my "traditional" gym after yoga which was literally across the street from the studio. I still had lots of energy but it seemed like I was on the dreadmill forever despite being distracted by the Miami vs. Memphis game and The Big Bang Theory.

Finished reading the October 2013 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine this morning and, no, I didn't start reading it last year. Out of 188 pages, I Survived...Getting Hit By A Car, stuck with me the most. Charlotte Rutherfurd says:
Now, just shy of a year and a half later, I still can't run. (My knees give out immediately). But I can bike, do yoga, and hike -- 35 miles on weekends. I'm addicted to exercise. Maybe I'm even a little crazy. And I feel too lucky to stop moving. 
Thanks for the motivation Charlotte Rutherfurd...

During savasana, Roxanne played What A Wonderful World. Now, that's something to ruminate on in the final posture plus how I felt so at home.

Monday, April 7, 2014

To The Max

"Anything that comes in through the senses is also regarded as 'food' for the body and therefore affects one's mental, emotional, and physical health." Smriti Srinivas in Gurus of Modern Yoga (Yoga Journal, March 2014, pg 17)
Hard not to think about mental health on Monday -- especially now that my immediate coworker is stressed to the max.

When I told Alison about the stressed out one, she said something to the effect of Good God, woman, you need to learn to deflect. And I have learned to deflect to a certain extent but I'm hoping that my powers of deflection will increase. It's hard not to "feed off" of someone and/or buy into the stress fest when you've worked with someone for a long time.

Two weeks ago FitSugar posted an article, Are You Suffering from Secondhand Stress?, that originally appeared in Shape. Guess I'm not the only one...

Last night it was my turn to snicker when my cousin Chiquita said that she'd read that bubble baths provide stress-relief. Told the shower-taker that I would bring her Epsom Salt infused with essential oil next week.

It's hard to talk and catch up with my folks about stress relief tactics when Teddy a.k.a. Theodore a.k.a. Poopie is around but who needs a bubble bath when he is nearby. If skin is visible, Poopie will lick you until...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sun, Glorious Sun

Just Lovely
So nice to wake up to sunshine and not blaring sirens that remind you how the area earned its Tornado Alley nickname.

All of that glorious sunshine and no wind or rain called for a walk.

Listened to Pharrell's Happy about five times then was disappointed to find out that an On Being podcast hadn't downloaded so I listened to Mistaken Identity from the Story Worthy podcast and part of a This American Life podcast, Bad Baby -- scary.

Went to see The 'Fugee last night and I believe that she said something like she's going to kiss the ground when her cast is removed and she's able to put pressure on her foot again.

The 'Fugee and I watched Boy, a really quirky but sweet film. It's a good thing that the movie is visual because there was plenty of dialogue that I couldn't decipher. Boy's director, Taika Waititi, is also the director of the equally quirky Eagle vs. Shark which I also liked.

Any movie or podcast recommendations? I've been watching Hoarders: Buried Alive and finishing up the Long Way Round. Patti just recommended Life, which is on Netflix. Come to think of it, I need a new book to read too. I started reading Dreaming in Hindi but haven't seen it in days.

Went to yoga as well and I keep forgetting how much I like earth salutations. As Cindy would say, earth salutations make you feel so grounded.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dose of Climbing, Tony and Gloria

Shake out your arms and figure out where you're going
-- a belayer to his climber.

Hadn't been climbing in a month. Can you say struggle? There was an arete route in my grade range. Never did get over the arete but it was fun trying. Some of the routes just annoy me but I enjoyed figuring out where I was going on this one.

My hands were so fatigued at the end of the climbing session and I could barely hold my head up when I got home. Climbing, 42. 'Drea, 1.

Did Kenpo X today. There are always two segments that capture my attention. At the drag claw and punch point, Tony Horton says punchpunch in a funny way.

I am also captivated when he does this little monologue:
Take care of your body and it will take care of you because time keeps on ticking and you keep getting older. You can get better or you can get all gooey and crotchety, old, pathetic, icky, gross. Not me, not into it...
At the 12 minute mark, I usually feel my energy wane and Tony steps in with Where's your intensity?

During the Kenpo X breaks, I usually swing my kettlebell instead of doing whatever Tony and his crew are doing. I get back into the routine when it's time for jumping jacks. Didn't swing the kettlebell for long because my hands still smart. Punchpunch...

Went to Gloria's yoga class to get a dose of Gloria and yoga before Gloria heads off for vacation.  A couple of people complained of back pain so we did a back care class. It was so sweet that I could have rolled over on my yoga mat and turned in for the night.

At one point, we went into rag doll and Gloria said Release the head; let it be free and I did.

What made this class even sweeter is that I felt like I really nailed, alignment-wise, Warrior I for the first time.