Monday, June 30, 2014

The Lighter They Are or Month-End Review, June

Bicycling was my main mode of exercise this weekend and I feel really good about getting on my bicycle more often this year but it's not all glamorous. My hands, hip (right), hamstrings, quads and shoulders took a hit. I need to make time to go by the bike store and get a more comfortable seat.

Yesterday, joined Alison and her friend, Juliette, for a ride on Grant's Trail. Juliette pulled her bike minus a tire out of the backseat of her car and put the tire back on in less than five minutes. I wanted to know how she'd chosen her lavender bike. Juliette said that it was all very confusing as she combed Craigslist for used bikes and, finally, her brother told her that any of the bikes that she had put on her list would be a good.

I agreed with Juliette that, yes, choosing a bike can be confusing and that all I knew was that I wanted a lighter one. And the lighter they are, the more expensive they are, Juliette said. True, there are times when I think that I should have deliberated longer but I might still be looking for a bike. Plus, I'm pretty satisfied with my Globe Vienna -- with the exception of my really loud brakes which I need to also ask the folks about at my friendly neighborhood bike shop...

After work, put Kenpo X in the DVD player and kicked and punched my way to the end, ate dinner then headed to the Missouri Botanical Garden which is having special evening/early a.m. hours because the Amorphophallus titanum is blooming...

It takes seven to ten years for the Amorphophallus titanum to bloom for the first time. I'm in, I think, the eighth year of my fitness journey so I fit right into the blooming time frame.

Here's how I rolled this month:

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

Bicycling, 4 x's

"Love" Graffiti @ Grant's Trail

Climbing, 1 x

Kettlebell, 2 x's

*Kenpo X, 4 x's

Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training
*15-Minute Upper Body Circuit

Swimming, 6 x's

Walking, 15 x's

Yoga, 9 x's

Yoga @ Ballpark Village

Zumba, 4 x's

Staff Member About to Measure Titan
Arum Bloom
Little One Peaking Out Window

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Miles Between

Love The Subtle Descent Toward The River
Challenging week and I could feel how tight my jaw was by Friday so I looked forward to hitting the Riverfront Trail this morning.

Went a different route because I thought that I would run into Pride Fest street closures. Didn't encounter any closures and it was nice to take a different route because I got to see the Old Courthouse up close which reminded me that I need to stop by to see the Dred and Harriet Scott statue.

With the Mississippi River on one side and Alison on the other, I was able to put miles between stuff that had been bothering me.

At some point, Alison said that she felt like Zumba was making her legs stronger and I realized that we were really rolling along at a nice pace. Switched my left gear to three for a while to add resistance. Can't believe how long I kept it on two...

Mile tally for the day: approximately 17.

Old Courthouse

Riverfront Graffiti

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Look, Up In The Sky...
Are you going to take a selfie? Because if you are, I want to be in it Patti joked to me as as I pulled out my iPod before yoga started yesterday. Had not planned to take a selfie but why not?

I'm totally digging practicing yoga at St. Louis landmarks like the Arch, Botanical Garden and Busch Stadium. Visited the new Ballpark Village for the first time for the Summer Yoga Series. Danielle Tridenti guided us and, even though we were outside and there was a large group, she was able to really hold space for us -- just like she held us in chair pose. I also thought we were going to set a record for the most downward facing dogs in one session.

Checked out the Ballpark Village Twitter feed and, of course, they posted a picture on Instagram with everyone in downward facing dog which is why I didn't do happy baby pose. Felt too exposed.

I'm kind of a lazy photographer of late. Took my "real" camera and never pulled it out of the bag. I have way too many pictures on my iPod and need to do something about it.

My Leg

Leg of Crystal, A Bicycling Wonder

Cold Rally Towel Came In Handy

Headed to my aunt Al's after work to wish her a happy birthday then I crossed the river again to catch Zumba class. Think Shawny must have had an energy drink before class because she was very animated.

Found the perfect card for my aunt. Wasn't crazy about the colors but love the message.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

If You Go To The Deep End

Got to the pool about seven minutes before open swim time and I was surprised that so many people decided to swim indoors. There were so many people there, in fact, that it had the feel of a triathlon.

Swam 13 laps then headed to the 'Fugees where I exchanged niceties, put groceries away then headed to the pool. As I got close to entrance, saw a group of youngins smack dab in the middle playing volleyball. It was a group of Bosnian kids speaking English and listening to explicit rap music.

If you go to the deep end, you can get your laps in. They've been pretty much staying in the middle. They're probably playing the music a little bit louder than they should but... said the woman who thinks that I live there.

Went to the deep end and stayed there and the young ones stayed in the middle. The music didn't seem so loud after I got into a rhythm. It's been hot and humid for days but it cooled off tonight. The water felt chilly when I entered the pool but my body quickly adapted.

Went back to the 'Fugee's and she fed me watermelon. Yummy...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Hammer and A Yoga Mat

Really full Saturday.

Worked for a couple of hours, ate lunch then headed to the indoor pool so that I wouldn't feel like I was in a fishbowl. 

As I was about to complete my 10th lap, saw a familiar elderly woman climbing into my lane. Slowed my pace so that she could descend and thought about how Gloria reminds us in yoga practice about effortless effort.

Got out of the indoor pool and headed to the 'Fugee's pool. Rang her doorbell but forgot that she had an acupuncture appointment. Although I love swimming outdoors, I didn't stay too long but I did enjoy every single moment that I got to glance up at the sky.

Alison's "boys" are away so she invited friends over for yoga and a craft project. Told Alison that I think this was the first time that a friend has asked me to bring a hammer to their house. Felt funny walking up to her house with a hammer in tow and hoped that no one would call the police.

Kathy's Feet & Marge
Gloria Reviews Yoga Journal (June 2014) Sequence
One Of My Fave Poses, Gate
About 15 minutes into yoga, the sky became menacing and the wind picked up significantly. Can't say that I was unhappy with the breeze because, at one point, I didn't know if I'd be able to stay on my mat since I was so toasty. 

Janie, one of Alison's friends, had me cracking up when I lost my balance. Man down, she yelled...

We gathered the blankets, mats and blocks and finished practicing on the deck. 

Seated Spinal Twist

We had a post-yoga meal then headed to Alison's woman cave and, let me tell you, Alison has amazing woman cave. Every woman should aspire to have such a cave. We were all thrilled to see Alison in her element and for her to share some of her jewelry making expertise with us. 

Yum Yum

Alison Showing Us How To Make Designs for A Pendant Etc.
Gloria's Cool Earrings (They Look Better in Person)
I'm not very crafty. In fact, I think my mother wanted to pummel me in high school because I had good grades except for an F in arts and crafts. 

Still, I enjoyed myself and it was extremely nice to hang out with such a good group of women. 

My Design Was All Over The Place

Friday, June 20, 2014

To Take On Swinging

One of my former climbing partners was a kettlebeller. I admired him for being willing to take on swinging all by his lonesome. Knew that I couldn't trust myself since, if there's a way to do something awkwardly, I'll find it but it's been six months since I stopped going to kettlebell class and the heavy orb stares at me.

I've been going to Zumba on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. so I have plenty of time to do strength training before class. Looked online for routines and liked this beginner one:

Warm Up -- 3 Minutes

(Did a hodgepodge of jumping jacks, speed skaters, trunk twists etc.)

Around The World, 20 Reps, Each Direction

Figure 8's, 14 Reps, Each Direction

Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing, 20 Reps

Cleans, 14 Reps, Each Side

Halos, 10 Each Direction

Straight Leg Dead Lifts, 20 Reps

Squat Curls, 14 Reps

Bent Over Rows, 14, Each Side

It was supposed to be a 30 minute workout but it took me about 17 minutes. I also added a few snatches and presses...

Zumba, on Thursday, is kind of a "bad" move (pun intended) because it does feel like a party that should mark the culmination of the work week.

Woke up hard this morning and could barely manage to stand. Had a dream that I was in a crowded store with someone else but couldn't identify the person. As we waited to jump into the flow of traffic, I noticed a miniature Buddha with a rather large head sitting on a shelf. I wanted to purchase the Buddha statue but couldn't for some reason...

There's a song from Zumba class that won't get out of my head. It's Pitbull's Alright.
It's alright, it's okay
We gon' party all night and drink all day...
The refrain that's most dominant -- It's alright, it's okay...Probably blocked out the drink all day because I am not a consumer of alcohol unless I, on occasion, cook with it.

From Dream Moods Dictionary:
To see Buddha in your dream symbolizes wisdom, insight, compassion, and inner spirituality. You need to find calmness and peace within your own Self.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

If You Could Just Learn To Be Still

Had a tough time deciding whether to do yoga and swim OR climb and swim. At the last minute, decided on the latter because of the proximity to the climbing gym.

Couldn't see my climbing bag and realized that I had foolishly left my gear in the car. At least my shoes, complete with a hole in the toe box, are on the way out. My shoes were so toasty that it felt like a spa treatment to my bare feet and the shoes also didn't feel as cramped. Too bad heat is bad for climbing shoes...

If words could propel someone up a wall, Emily would have gotten to the top of the "purple" route really fast. I know Emily's name because her friend kept talking to her.

Lean into the wall. 

Don't sit back. 

Don't bend your knees...

If you could just learn to be still...

After climbing, headed out to the Fugee's for a pool nightcap. The 'Fugee, however, did not join me.

The water was great and no one else was in it. I swear, there is nothing better than swimming out in the open. Actually, I had a peaceful time at the indoor pool yesterday.

I've been thinking about Amy Van Dyken-Rouen's accident but also thinking about how positive she's been...

Monday, June 16, 2014


Went to my aunt Al's to watch game five of the NBA finals and I only saw my cousin Chiquita's head in the upright position a few times. Her eyes were fixed on her Samsung phone. She chose to read about the players instead of watch the game. Stuff Chiquita conveyed to us:
Tim Duncan is from the Virgin Islands. His mother died when he was a teenager and Duncan promised her that he would finish college. Duncan is a divorced father of two kids and his wife claims he's bisexual.
 Lebron James is, reportedly, 30 million dollars richer from the Beats-Apple deal.
Shane Battier is retiring,* he's biracial, went to some Country Day school and was asked to run for governor or mayor but he's not interested... 
Had to remind myself of how great the weekend had been and to not let Monday angst get the best of me. Monday is just another day and, in general, I enjoy my days...

Even though it had been pretty hot mid-day, it didn't feel stifling when I got home so I went for a walk and listened to bits of Pop Culture Happy Hour, Aloud, StoryCorps and Ask Me Another.

Ate dinner followed by watermelon and watched Last Comic Standing. I could have eaten half of the watermelon.

So Good...
Monroe Martin, who grew up in foster care, cracks me up:
My school was so bad that it was documentary material. Do you know how bad your school has to be to make the movies?
Checked to see what time the sun was going to set (8:27) and headed out for another lap around the block. There was such a nice breeze.

Decided to listen to the first segment of The Moth episode Snakes, Electric Shock and Afghanistan for my encore walk.

Snakes begins with Dave Kennedy making fun of some woman in a bar who says that she's trying to be more in the moment. I thought Oh God, I'm that woman now. I feel like such a dork at times...

When Kennedy is encouraged to hold a snake (as part of an assignment), he knows that he looks like a nine-year-old about to cry but something happens -- the snakes settles down and takes a deep breath which makes Kennedy settle down and he realizes that the snake is just another living being trying to make it through Tuesday. It's even better when Kennedy realizes what the woman in the bar meant by being in the moment... I needed to hear about Snakes... today.

*Didn't know that...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Faux Pas

As I stepped into the "Fugee's home last night, spotted a stationary bike. You would think that I've never seen a bike before. I was so excited that I took off in the direction of the bike but it was quickly brought to my attention that I still had my shoes on -- a no-no in a Muslim's house -- even if they are secular.

Following the advice of her surgeon, the 'Fugee bought herself a bike so that she can continue to rehab her foot... The 'Fugee is all about stretching and exercising now and it has paid off. I can no longer call her Hopalong...

Got on my own bike today. Wanted to go to the Riverfront Trail but the Race for the Cure was happening downtown. Between the street closures for the City Arch Project and the race, I knew better than to venture downtown.

I missed the muddy Mississippi but still enjoyed Grant's Trail and the superb weather...

Intrigued By Rocks Next to Fake Acorn


The Cool Before...
Changed my mind, for now, about the ask me another podcast which I downloaded because I couldn't find anything else interesting. During the segment, Trivia Is The New Black, they replayed an interview with Piper Kerman who tried her hand at prison cuisine trivia:
What do you get when you mix Ramen {noodles, I presume}, peanut butter and hot sauce?
 What Starbucks drink do you get if you melt a Milkyway into a cup of coffee?
Can't wait to download some of the podcasts that Gingerzingi recommended. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Best Accident

iPod Thinks I've Downloaded 345 Podcasts
Find myself looking forward to Zumba. Still can't dance but I do like the music. And Thursday? It's a good day since I'm ready to shake off a few things but also not the best day because I'm starting to drag.

Shawny strayed from the usual one rule of Zumba -- to have fun. Tonight's edict -- smile and shake it. Although Shawny, at some point, tends to ask us what's wrong because we are subdued with our smiles. Come on, smile; it's Thursday, she says. Yes, Thursday -- the double-edged sword.

I do think that I'm drawn to Zumba because it is fun after you get over the whole not-knowing-the-routine-going-in-the-wrong-direction thing...

Took a short walk before Zumba and listened to the end of The Freedom in Failure.

I've been looking for more podcasts and heard about StoryCorps while listening to yet another podcast. Well, I accidentally downloaded Sarah Lewis' The Freedom in Failure, a We The People (National Constitution Center) podcast. That was one of the best accidents ever. Can't say the same thing for Sex and Death which I accidentally downloaded instead of Death, Sex and Money.

I like so much of what Lewis talked about:
The benefits of the near miss...
She brings up Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee and how, in 1984, she lost the heptathlon by 1/3 of a second. Next time around, Joyner-Kersee set a record that still hasn't been broken.
Play is the opposite of depression...
Grit as a portable skill...
Lewis also discusses Samuel Morse who wanted to be a Rembrandt but was, of course, known for the telegraph. I was totally fascinated by Lewis' thoughts on Frederick Douglass and can't wait to read her book The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure and the Search for Mastery.

Now, if I could only find my Ruby Dee book...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

An Inconvenient Pool

It was nice to get back to the pool. Kind of.

Standing between me and the door -- a group of boys (scouts) and a few men.

All in all, it was a packed house.

Some of the Boy Scouts jumped off the diving board into the makeshift lap lane that I was in. While I waited on the boys to jump off, I would get slammed by a wall of water as the aggressive swimmer next to me did a flip turn.

Other Boy Scouts took turns throwing a lifesaver into the pool. The swimmer to my right said It's like dodging landmines.

I got in 18 laps before I called it a night.

Ordered a new swimming suit -- the exact same one that I have now. I let the package sit for days before I finally tried it on. I was pretty confident that it would fit and I guess that was my mistake. I managed to order a long swimming suit so even though it's the same size and model, it's snug. However, I like it that the top covers more than the short swimming suit so I might keep it but I'll try it on again to make sure that I can live with the snugness.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Enjoy The Ride

If you bicycle along the St. Louis Riverfront Trail, someone will surely tell you some variation of Enjoy your ride.

Missing one weekend of bicycling felt like a much longer span of time so it was nice to get back into the groove of things. After yoga, Alison I headed to the riverfront and enjoyed perfect weather.

There's so much debris in the Mississippi River after yesterday's storms that it reminds me of the Great Pacific garbage patch.

Alison and I met a couple with kids around the eight mile marker. The couple was on a trial run to see if they can do part of the Katy Trail with their kids in tow. The woman conceded that it was really her trial as her husband is an avid cyclist.

We started talking seats as the woman mentioned that she would definitely need to find another one. Alison looked for a seat for a long time until she found a match; she describes hers as couch-like. The avid cyclist chimed in Butts are finicky. I have a $30 foam cushion that works for me. 

Minimalist Ode to Dr. Seuss

New Artwork at Start of Trail
Side View

The Mighty Muddy One
One More Look At The Archy One

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Engaging People

It's hard to tell who's a relative and who's a customer in my barber's shop. A daycare dropped my barber's 1-year-old granddaughter off and a customer, Sharon?, started holding her and she fell asleep. Sharon put her in an easy chair and my barber said She's not going to last long and in less than a minute, the 1-year-old started crying.

Sharon picked the baby up and she happily went off to sleep. She likes that heartbeat my barber said.

I was back in the barber shop after a month and a half hiatus. My hair had grown beyond the borders of the lining and my eyebrows were bushy but I felt that I didn't have time to squeeze in a haircut.

It was kind of funny when Sharon, sporting really short hair for the first time, walked over and rubbed my hair. It's so soft she commented. My hair looks a lot like hers...

Haven't been to the Missouri Botanical Garden in ages and headed there this morning to practice yoga -- the first item on the agenda at the Green Homes Festival. My mother went with me and, for a minute, I thought she might practice yoga. Instead, she visited booths and went to the Climatron while I practiced.

Elle guided us. I've had the pleasure of taking several classes from Elle and what I've noticed is that when she greets you, she really greets you. Kind of hard to explain but she looks at you really intensely -- not in a way that would make you feel comfortable but in a way that lets you know she is fully present -- even if it's for two minutes. I know a few superb huggers and Elle is superb at engaging people.

As we practiced, there were two photographers with rather sizable cameras present -- the only downside to outdoor yoga.

Once, my cousin (Chiquita's son) told her not to fret over an event that she went to. You'll never see those people again he told Chiquita which is not so true anymore because people document just about every minute of the day and, still, I'm drawn to outdoor yoga.

After practicing yoga, went to the Climatron to check out the Nature Connects 2.0, Art with LEGO and walked around the grounds a bit. Yoga at the Garden was a great way to start the day.

Linnean House

Greek Goddess Amphitrite as Merbaby, Linnean House

That yellow bloom moves me...