Saturday, May 31, 2014

Perfection or Month-End Review, May

The 'Fugee wrapped her hand around my foot last night as we watched Modern Family. It's perfect she declared staring at my size nine foot as it belonged to a newborn.

The 'Fugee has a new appreciation for the mechanics of the foot now that she is dealing with a surgically repaired calcaneus bone.

Lately I've been thinking that, finally, I'm getting my body back because I'm more toned and a tad bit lighter but my body was never lost. It's been here all along and, as Gloria told Claire in I can't remember which episode of Modern Family, I am ready to do the yoga...

Not only do I remain ready to do the yoga but also the climbing and, apparently, the Zumba. Even though I get frustrated by lack of weight loss, I do appreciate how seamlessly my body performs on such a regular basis.

May's Performance Record:

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix
*Cardio Kickboxing, 1 x

Bicycling, 6 x's

Climbing, 3 x's

Just Walk: 5 Mega Miles
*Mile 2: Walk & Tone, 3 x's
*Mile 5: Ab Walk, 1 x

Just Walk: Party Songs
*Mile 1, 1 x

*Kenpo X, 1 x

Stretch Max
*Stability Ball, 1 x

Swimming, 4 x's

Walk, 14 x's

Yoga, 9 x's

Zumba, 5 x's

Friday, May 30, 2014

An Uncommon Cold

Hydration Station
My hoarseness escalated to a massive production of mucus. Wednesday night felt like I was in an epic battle of good vs. evil as I tossed and turned and used, probably, half a box of Kleenex. Entire body was hot then not. Plus my head throbbed.

Rolled over and stood up and decided that there was no need to suffer. Went into work for half a day since my colleague had already made arrangements to be out in the afternoon but four hours bought me enough time to get rest and let the ibuprofen kick in.

Felt well enough to go to 7:30 p.m. Zumba yesterday and had instant sympathy for Shawny, the instructor, whose allergies are getting the best of her; she had a serious cough and could barely breathe.

On another note, I know that I'm bona fide sick when my appetite is not fierce.
"When we're sick or ill from many different conditions, our bodies mount a complex inflammatory response," Dr. Donald D. Hensrud, M.D., MPH..."As part of this response, we produce chemicals called cykotines, which have a wide range of effects and are partly responsible for the decreased appetite..."

Your lowered drive to chow down may actually free up some energy to mount the immune response, he says. "Digesting food also takes energy, so if we're not digesting food, it frees up energy to help fight an infection or illness..."
Yes, I still look up stuff about the common cold. If nothing else, it reminds me that I need to drink more fluids and that snot, made up primarily of water, is a good thing.

At any rate, I'll be glad when my body is totally back to normal.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Faux Crux

Got home, took off my jewelry (earrings and necklace with the yoga pendant), took off my clothes, crawled under the covers and touched Sound of Invisible Water which is in my Relaxation, Deuter (Mostly) playlist.

Woke up at 5:21 p.m. and asked myself who had initiated the impending climbing session. Rolled out of bed, looked for my glasses then ate an almond butter and preserves sandwich then headed out.

I am hoarse and feeling foggy-headed. Thought the hoarseness might be a result of the bike ride through the floating white stuff. I don't have a full-blown cold but...

I managed to work my way up routes but not sure how.

As Patti tied in and I secured my Air Traffic Control device, we heard Frank tell James That's not the hard part; the next part is the hard part. Belayers say the darnedest things.

Came home and drew a bath because I thought salt water would make me feel better. I was surprised to see that Dr. Teal's Epsom salt now has a velcro seal. It's the kind of thing that makes me think only in America... It does seal the heck out of the bag though...

Been thinking about Maya Angelou. I often quote Angelou's When you know better, you do better to the 'Fugee.

That particular quote makes me have more compassion for myself. It's also a challenge to do better by others.

I've always remembered a line from Angelou's poem No Loser, No Weeper. She talks about losing things -- a dime or a doll.
"Now if I felt that way bout a watch and a toy,
What you think I feel about my lover-boy?..."

Monday, May 26, 2014

As I Walked

Thought about bicycling but didn't feel like I had the stamina for that mode of exercise so I decided to walk which was a good choice for my quasi-pensive mood. During my first walking stint, I logged 98 minutes then I went back for more and walked a total of 123 minutes.

I listened to episodes of Death, Sex & Money, RN Ted Radio Hour and NPR's Ted Radio Hour and Fresh Air while walking.

Saw a bird that I'd never seen before. Believe it was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. So beautiful...

Thumbs up to This Senator Saved My Love Life on Death, Sex and Money.

As I listened to Rita Pierson, I planned to send the link to my cousin Chiquita.
Every child needs a champion who will not give up on them.
Chiquita had the chance to hear Pierson speak several times and told me that, unfortunately, the educator died last year.

I wish the TED talk had mentioned Pierson's death the way The Moth mentioned that Katherine Russell Rich, author of Dreaming in Hindi, had succumbed to cancer.

Shane Koyczan had my full attention during his TED Talk about Overcoming:
We are meant to endure difficulty if for nothing else than to give us a reference point to navigate us toward something better.
I thoroughly enjoyed Unstoppable Learning, Sugata Mitra's account of installing roadside computer stations in impoverished neighborhoods in India.

Didn't start my car once. Washed clothes, cooked (veggie casserole, baked chicken) and read.

During Survivor's Live Reunion Show, Jeff Probst talks to a soldier who'd been in Afghanistan. Can't remember how he was injured but the soldier endured 120 surgeries. How does a body get through that many surgeries?

During my second outing, kept my eyes open for the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Didn't see the bird but saw plenty of things that captured my attention.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

He Was So Happy

Woke up softly, took care of my a.m. needs then headed to the riverfront to meet with Alison. A bicycle ride is less arduous when you're taking on the hills with someone else.

The St. Louis Riverfront Trail is beautiful and beastly and I haven't tired of it yet. The a.m. weather was stellar with a gentle little breeze for emphasis. My favorite rider to witness was a young man in an orange shirt. He had the hugest smile on his face and I got to see it twice. He was so happy...

A Cyclist at Beginning of Trail
Around Mile Marker Six, Flying Everywhere (Including Into My Nose)

Choo Choooooooooo

Crazy Little Patch of Wildflowers
Until We Meet Again

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Inspiration Comes In Different Packages

Got asked the dreaded question -- Do you want to go out to lunch with us? A former coworker is in town and wanted to meet up. Plus, it was another coworker's last day.

I studied the Lebanese restaurant's menu and decided that I would get tabouli or the hummus deluxe appetizer -- which comes with a small plate of hummus with either beef or chicken shawarma on top. Also thought about getting a smoothie with banana, dates, walnut and honey if the appetizer had been small.

The bread basket was put right next to me and I couldn't resist those golden orbs. The bread was amazing. Bonus points for me for not eating the entire basket.

We season everything with love says one of the posts on the restaurant's Facebook page. Love is a little salty when you get the chicken shawarma but, otherwise, I don't think that I did too much damage.

Oh yeah, I also tried a bite of a stuffed grape leaf but didn't really care for it.

So Delicious

You'll need the comfy window seating after all of the hummus.

Went to Zumba to try to dance off a few calories. Shawny asked the usual instructor questions: Is there anyone new to Zumba? Anyone new to my class?

Yes, I am a Zumba instructor she said. I try to stay chubby to inspire you all...

After the first beats of song one, there is no doubt that Shawny is a Zumba instructor.

Around song five, Alison said I can feel the pulse in my forehead.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Next To The Seals

Got to the pool about five minutes before open swim time and "blue short" man was positioned near lane one and the "Navy Seals" were by lane two. Everyone eagerly waited for the lifeguards to dismantle four lanes that had been put up for the youth swim team.

Chatty Kathleen, who hasn't been to p.m. swim in ages, dragged her roller luggage and headed to lane two. By the time she was finished, the "Navy Seals" were on the outside of the lap swimming lanes and one of them said I don't know why they don't put up another lane. I agree. Three lap lanes would still leave enough room for the recreational swimmers.

I got pummeled by water just about all night. The "...Seals" often made it rain on my head and when "blue short" man left, the "...Seals" got in his lane, the lifeguard got next to me and she made it rain on my head too. As Kathleen left, she said They (a.k.a. "The Seals) almost drowned me and that is definitely the price you pay for swimming in the proximity of the "Seals."

As I headed toward the locker room, the lifeguard was tickled pink. She thought that the "...Seals" really did need a lane since they are so fast and whatnot and she told someone that I was really going to get a good workout since I had to swim next to them. And it really is like swimming in a current when you're next to the "...Seals..."

The last time that I bicycled with Alison on the riverfront, I mentioned the sorry state of my fitness paraphernalia. She asked me if I wanted her to make me a bag. I had totally forgotten how artful Alison is. She put the bag together in two days.

Check out my faux fur swim bag. Kind of like how thick my arms looks in the one picture -- cuz strong muscle resides in there.

Inside of Bag

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Free Walking

Got ready for yoga and bicycling in an impressive 30 minutes. All was well until the Squeezer -- the woman who likes to squeeze in between mats and the Perfumey One started working my nerves. I had a discussion with myself about not slipping into a mood so easily -- especially when I'm sitting on my yoga mat.

Post-Namaste, Alison and I headed to Forest Park for a spin. Forest Park is gorgeous. There's a gravel lane for walkers and a paved one for cyclists but, somehow, the bicycling real estate seems slim.

MO History Museum, Forest Park 

Giraffe in Animal Always Sculpture (Albert Paley)
Alison asked me about the whereabouts of my new trainers. I told her that I didn't buy the orange shoes. I had tried them on. Kind of like them; they feel superb but, yeah, they are kind of loud even though the 'Fugee thinks that I can get away with them since I wear a lot of dark clothing.

Also went for a walk and listened to The Moth's Live in Boston show. The theme? High Anxiety. Steve Burns served as MC and asked each of the storytellers What is your happy place? What calms you down? For Nina Mitchell, taking walks in Boston Common calms her down. About her physical therapy, Mitchell says I was the first to graduate to a wheelchair then a cane then to free walking... I let the idea of free walking roll around in my mind.

Stuff that calms me down in no particular order: walking, yoga, massage, acupuncture, energy work, reading, bubble baths...

Thought about the 'Fugee yesterday when I burned myself in three places. For first degrees burns, they sure did smart. I told the 'Fugee how my brother described physical therapy as torture and she relates. The 'Fugee is looking forward to free walking again.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Just Let Go

Finished My Cat from Hell. I've never had a cat but really enjoyed the series. Jackson Galaxy talked a lot about energy. In fact, my favorite episode is Big Boi Ruins Our Social Life. The second half of Big Boi... features the 23-year-old cat Pump and a healer who works with tuning forks. It's pretty funny when Pump drives the healer over the edge.

Also finished Breaking Bad. Gingerzingi, you are not the last person to watch the finale. Breaking Bad always had me on the edge of my seat and the final episodes racked my nerves even more. The ending made me think of so many cliches: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Live by the sword, die by sword. It also made me think of a professor who liked to say that fiction lies in order to reveal truth. Had really weird feelings after the finale. Felt like I had been dropped into a chasm or something.

Another item that I finished was A Tale of Two Lives: The Susan LeFevre Fugitive Story. I heard Marie Walsh a.k.a. Susan LeFevre on The Moth and immediately wanted to know how she negotiated life as a wanted woman.

When Walsh/LeFevre gets caught, it's hard for her (and me) to understand why the guards want to destroy her. They were not the same guards who were employed prior to her escape but they have taken her escape personally and tell her that she will never see her house and Lexus again.
Instead of a beating from the triumvirate, I get a new cellmate. Amanda, who is 22, white, and about twice my size, has just been released from segregation. She was put in seg for throwing a chair at someone in the anger management class she was kicked out of... (346)
Several articles caught my attention in the March 2014 Prevention including Your Body On Sugar.
Sure, sugar looks innocent, but it's an inflammation bomb.  (32)
I also liked Mark Bittman's article Rule No.1: Cook Real Food.

It was good to be reminded of number one in this article:
1). Cooking is healthier than not cooking
Studies show that home-cooked meals contain fewer calories than those eaten out. Sure, there are exceptions...but nearly everything you cook is superior in quality and nutrition. (82)
I've made adjustments to my diet plus prolonged exercise sessions which has resulted in a seven pound weight loss. It's kind of silly but I feel as if I've won the lottery...

Went climbing and felt the difference. I've been avoiding more difficult routes but I took them on this time. Plus, I felt like I had much more energy.

As either Patti or I got ready to climb, this newbie asked his belayer what he was supposed to do after he had reached the top of the route. Just let go, she said. Good advice for many circumstances.

Mike shared this video with the climbing posse. I could watch it over and over -- minus the commentary.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"The Struggle Continues, Victory Is..."

Headed to Recycle Bin
Trying to unclutter again. A lot of old papers that I tucked away were about diet and exercise (pool to bust a to drink more water, white bean burger recipe) -- surprise. Bob Greene had a spot in the 2007 article 21 Things You Can Stop Worrying About Right Now!:
You can't put all your emotional eggs in the weight loss basket. People say, "I'll be happy when I reach this size..." but that's a problem, because either you don't reach the goal, or you do -- and you're no happier than you were 40 pounds ago...
I had also clipped an article from the March 2010 Shape, a success story follow-up with Jenna Autuori who'd lost 160 pounds and kept off all but seven of those pounds. "I never again wanted to go through the struggle of slimming down."

I had the same sentiment back in the day but what to say? The struggle continues...

Signed up for a Springpad account so that I can spring recipes and articles instead of making hard copies.

Monday, May 12, 2014

What Ifs

Not The Woodsy Part
Finally went to get oil changed and tires rotated. I've been wondering if my car is noisier because it's old or if another wheel bearing had worn out. No matter, when you have an old car, you dread the moment when the mechanic walks out and instead of being finished with, say, the oil change, he wants to talk with you.

Handed my keys over and headed in the direction of a park that I'd seen before. The hiking-like, woodsy area surprised me and I prayed that no ticks would attach themselves because I had on capris and short sleeves and hadn't sprayed anything to deter insects.

About 40 minutes into my walk, I got a call that my car was ready and they hadn't spotted any glaring issues. {Exhale}

Listened to Krista Tippet's interview, Deromanticizing Civil Rights Movement, with Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Lucas Johnson. Liked it when Simmons said This is why I can't give up. Don't remember the entire context but she said that great strides have been made but there's still more work to be done.

Worry about my car often makes me think of the documentary Craigslist Joe. All of Joe's food, lodging, entertainment and transportation are gotten, for free, via Craigslist. He even goes to an alternative healer at some point.

Joe makes his way across several states and his benefactor has an ancient car. And you know what? It breaks down but they're able to get it fixed.

At the end of his epic trek (with Charley Boorman) from London to New York by motorcycle in Long Way Round, Ewan McGregor says something like Don't let what ifs stop you from going on an adventure.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lovely Day

Rolled out of bed, gathered fruit, made a smoothie, attached bike rack to car, applied sun screen, maneuvered through all manner of downtown detours and placed my mat under the Arch at 9:05.

The teacher, Holly, was into a lot of things including Qigong and I really liked this movement where you kind of let your hands hang while you lift your arms then you separate your arms, bring them back together etc.

At the end of yoga practice, we made a huge circle and did om after om after om. My attention span is at about a one om count.

Chitchatted with Alison, April and Rosie then Alison and I made a quick right turn then left and hit the Riverfront Trail. Well, not before this guy in a yellow jersey noticed that Alison's rear tire was under inflated. He pulled his floor pump out of the car and put air in Alison's tire. Yeah, I'm not that hardcore. My floor pump is in the basement and I have no idea where the compact pump is at.

Yeah, that would be my finger.

Really like this picture of Rosie -- for some reason.

Oh yeah, the 'Fugee has finally gotten into yoga.

The 'Fugee did her exercises while we watched Modern Family last night and, for some reason, this particular exercise made me laugh over and over. I'm going to blame it on a very challenging day at work. 

*P.S. 'Fugee, Rosie says that she misses you...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


This morning I was reminded of when my cousin Chiquita asked You know how some people are just off-brand?

Someone doing an internship at my j-o-b amuses me greatly. She is off-brand -- practically her own little earthquake since she has so much energy and shakes as she walks.

The off-brand one: How are you?
Me: Good.
Off-brand One: WellI guess I'm good too.
The way she delivered her response made me smile and laugh. Plus, she hit on a truth -- goodness can be infectious...

Went swimming last night and the "pool" negotiations were amusing.

This guy and I arrived at the check-in desk at the same time and we waited while the staff dismantled extra lanes that had been put in place for a team's practice. As we both headed toward the lap lanes, he asked me which one I wanted although he clearly had arrived first and was in front of me. Hope that I didn't throw him a look...

As I was about to complete lap 14, noticed a pair of legs in the lane. It was one of the lifeguards. You want to just swim on the left side and I'll stay on this side. That was more like a one-sided decision but these things have to be settled swiftly. Plus, you never want to tick off a lifeguard. You never know...

In order to keep swimming, I need a new suit. I could also use a gym bag and shoes but can't find what I want. It's funny when you're ready to shop but can't find what you want.

Something's going to fall out sooner or later.

These shoes have seen better days.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

...We Are Flexible

Dreamed that I walked into a yoga room and someone had taken my mat and replaced it with a thinner one that was pink and lavender with a diamond pattern. Plus, there was no longer room for me to practice next to friends. While it wasn't a bloody dream, it disturbed me.
To dream that you are performing yoga symbolizes unity, balance, harmony, calmness, and self-discipline. You have complete control of your mind and body. Alternatively, the dream indicates that you are stressed and overwhelmed. You need to take a breather.*
Fast forward to 8:30 a.m... Gathered my belongings and headed out but when I got in the car, realized that I didn't have my gym key. Returned to the house to get key but when I arrived at the fitness club, everyone was standing outdoors. I've never been greeted by a locked door but others have. Apparently, they're short-staffed which is interesting since they're opening up another location which is nothing new.

We decided to do yoga outdoors. We do yoga; we are flexible Gloria said. And we stuck with our decision even when the key holder showed up. I'm glad that the doors were locked. We had a great practice and it got me out of a mood that I was about to slip into.

Gloria -- About to Guide

Downward Facing Dog is just amazing when you're outside. A classmate also let her dog chill out on the lawn and when we went into DFD, I heard his collar clinking. He had gone to check out why his owner was upside down...

I logged about 25 miles on my bicycle over two days. Did everything that I could to stay outside and enjoy the weather.

Kids, don't try this at home. Alison and me.
Not Fredbird.
Every creature wanted to be out.

The others helped me keep my head in the bike ride, part deux.
*from Dream Moods Dictionary

Friday, May 2, 2014

But Rock On

Let me know about Zumba. I'm going to try to nap for a bit. If you're not going, I'll exercise at home.

My quick email to Alison who didn't know whether or not she was going to make it. Once I got Alison's confirmation email, I rolled out of bed around 6-ish and made preparations for departure.

Alison noticed the sub first. A Zumba sub doesn't make me take notice the same way a yoga sub does. Although, Alicia was pretty noticeable because she rocks an afro of sizable proportions and she looks pretty athletic.

I also learned from my previous stint in Zumba classes that every teacher's routine is different. Duh and goodbye little comfort zone.

It was a fun class. Alicia was part Marine, Paula Abdul, for choreography, and Erykah Badu. Plus, I was pretty sure that she could hold her own among Dancing with the Stars instructors or at a theater production.

As we danced to Pharrell's Happy and I tried to, awkwardly, flow my arms up and down, I thought (while looking in the mirror)  I can do better on the food front but, overall, I left the class happy and singing Floor On Fire.

Best quotes of the night:

This woman is trying to kill me. Classmate (leaning against the wall) during song round two.

There are bound to be moments of hilarity but rock on. Alicia about a new routine that she presented.

And a quote about teachers:

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater. Gail Godwin