July 17, 2009
Okay. I admit it. I never studied Shakespeare. I’m not sure if I should be relieved or resentful that my Appalachademic education fell short in this major corner of the literature world.
But since you can’t miss what you never had, I don’t feel too awful about it, usually. But this past weekend, I was reminded that, once again, my enthusiasm has a way of carrying me beyond my rank. I went with my daughter and a few friends to watch a local performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was an idyllic setting; in an outdoor seaside amphitheater, over which the sun was setting on a breath-taking summer Sunday. We also brought a picnic supper. How good could life get?
Looking back I see that my main reason for going was mostly based on these past few features but I also hoped that I’d somehow, understand Shakespeare THIS time. I could already hear myself the next day, dropping Shakespeare’s name into any and all conversations. Earlier last week, when I saw the listing for this performance in the newspaper, having seen the movie The Secret one too many times, I guess I thought the Planets were finally aligning so that I could sync up with Shakespeare. This time, I thought to myself, it was Meant To Be (or not be, I quickly discovered).
In a similar fashion, every ten years or so, I taste an olive to confirm that I still hate them, even though my sophisticated friends adore them and I’ve come to accept this about myself, that my tastes run more towards canned mushrooms than Provencal tapenade. I’m okay with that, I really am.
And News Flash-I still don’t get Shakespeare. Nor, if I’m completely honest with you, do I even want to get Shakespeare. In spite of the fact that my favorite fellow spin teacher memorized Hamlet as well as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and can recite them verbatim and despite the other fact that my best email pen-pal George can whip himself into such a frenzied whirly-gig about this poet that his eyes spin in his head like an old-fashioned cartoon character that’s been konked on the head with a sledgehammer. He’s even tried, GodBlesshim, to give me the crash course in Shakespeare for Dummies. But I still.
Didn’t. Get. It.
It gets worse. I realized on our drive home (after we ditched my friend during the intermission when she was at the porta-potties. Alas! This blessed plot. Methinks I dare not stay for mine death draws ever closer!) As I drove home that night I saw myself in the glaring light of what my authentic self truly is at it’s core. A William….. Farrell fan. Yes, folks, Ricky Bobby can make my heart sing! I GET Will Farrell! I’ve never watched a Will Farrell movie yet that I had to lean over to my husband and say, “I don’t get it. What just happened?”
Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr Judith Wright say that we all can benefit from creating a vision of the life we want and this means finding out what really makes our hearts sing and doing it. Rather than spending your time eating olives, we can all benefit from really feeling our feelings and honoring them. This means getting up in the morning and putting on what YOU want to wear. It means being less cool and instead being more REAL, even if it means never seeing another Shakespearean play again.
So! In my attempt to be daringly REAL and present with what authentically rings true for me I’ve compiled a list of
MY IDEA OF WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “When sorrows come, they come not single spies”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT If you lay down with the dogs, you git up with fleas
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “All that glitters is not gold”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT Ya can’t judge a book by it’s cover
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “All the world’s a stage”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT Fake it til you make it
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “To be or not to be, That is the question”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT If you can’t stand the heat, git outta the kitchen
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “The lady doth protest too much me thinks”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT Something smells fishy
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “Ere, he by sickness had been visited”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT Talking to Ralph on the Big White Telephone
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “Lord, What Fools these mortals be”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT He seems a few sandwiches short of a picnic
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “Love look not with the eyes but with the mind”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT I’ve seen better lookin legs on a table
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “These above all, To thine own self be true”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT Go ahead.March to the beat of a different drummer
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “Good Night! Good Night! Parting is such sweet sorrow”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT You take care now. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “Et tu, Brute?”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT Well this is a fine how do you do
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “Adieu! Tears exhibit my tongue. Almost beautiful”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT Here’s your hat. What’s your hurry
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “Take thou thy pound of flesh”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT I’m gonna get my clock cleaned
WHAT SHAKESPEARE SAID “Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again!”
WHAT SHAKESPEARE MEANT Whee Doggies! Outta sight, outta mind.
July 9, 2009
I’m taking a Staycation from my typical rants about achieving life goals, overcoming emotional road blocks and self-defeatist thinking in relation to weight management. In spite of the fact that I’ve been worrying, worrying worrying, about money, as well as about our jobs, our mortgage and our kids’ as yet unsaved college tuition, I’ve instead been thinking about chewing gum. And since we are all in need of some levity, here is the “Much Ado About How We Chew” Edition of my (former)Fitness Newsletter.
A few of you gum chewing aficianados might’ve noticed that amidst the couple hundred thousands attending Michael Jackson’s Funeral, that his oldest son was chawing away throughout the entire ceremony. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was using this tool to keep himself from crying (see my first chewing gum post).
So here’s my supplemental list of BAD GUM Combos
1.Gum and Hair (do I have to splain this?)
2. Gum and Sleeping (See #1 as this ties in with the gum/hair combo. My mom brainwashed us into thinking we could choke to death if we fell asleep with gum in our mouth but the real truth is that she got tired of cutting the wad out of our bangs the next morning.
3.Gum and Sand. Anyone who’s ever grinded into the chill-inducing sensation of sand in gum knows it only take one grain to ruin a good chew session.Game over.
4. Gum and tin foil. Remember back when we only had Wrigley’s? and it came in a foil wrapper? Well if you, like me, misplaced a pack of gum in the car for the entire summer (or found it in an old purse perhaps), then, since you were feeling lucky,were daring enough to give it a chew, the foil sometimes was reluctant to peel away, thus the God-Awful spike of raw tooth nerve on tinfoil.
5.Gum and Singing. You can try it but don’t be surprised if it goes flying on the high notes.
6. Gum and Hot Tea. Can you say melted mess?
7. Gum and Ice Water. Opposite of melted mess.
8. Gum and Kids Under Ten. It is not that they aren’t responsible chewers. They are just not responsible thrower-awayers. They don’t bother with hiding it under the table or chair or rolling it in the original wrapper like any good mother does. Trust me on this and just make those toddlers spit it right into your hand. It’s better than…well,see #9 and #10.
9.Gum and Hot Sidewalks. This is always from a kid under 10. Damn them.
10.Gum on Car Seats as well as it’s kissing cousin, Gum on your Rear End from sitting in the Gum on the Car Seat. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a kid everytime. It falls out and their mouth doesn’t know it’s gone.
11. Gum and Sex. It just not romantic. Although if you are a prostitute, I think it is probably okay.
And finally my biggest gum combo/pet peeve.
12. Gum and Holy Communion. Often I enjoy a discreet stick if the sermon is making me sleepy but I never remember that I have it in until I’m halfway down the aisle to receive communion. What to do? I cannot hold it in my hand since I must present both palms face up to receive the Body That’s Been Broken For Me, (Me, the loser gum chewer). So I’ve been known to affix it to the center of my forehead, my third eye point, my highest chakra, kind of like a bindi, although I know that’s somewhat anti-Christian of me. What Would Jesus Do? Besides my forehead is usually fairly clean, therefore germ free. So the gum is good to go as soon as I’ve been forgiven of my sins.(Hmm, do you think that counts as one?)
Next I came up with a few GOOD GUM COMBOS
Chewing Gum While The Plane Is Landing (this is the one exception where you can allow kids to chew gum, especially if it keeps them from screaming)
Chewing gum and Driving (preferably a road trip as the chewing alleviates boredom)
Chewing Gum and Baseball (hey, it’s better than the big tobacco chew Sparky Lyle used to pack)
What does this have to do with fitness?
Except that chewing gum does contribute to Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenisis, otherwise known as NEAT, which helps rev up your metabolism.
But to hell with topics like Globesity, dysfunctional appearance investments and how to initiate a weight loss plateau breakthrough..
Next week, I’m talking about Livin’ La Vida Low Dough.
July 7, 2009
We went to see a few tear-jerker movies awhile back. Note to self: chewing gum and crying do NOT go together. Some of you may remember my post about good combos; things like hot yoga and cold water, upward dog and downward dog, hot fudge and vanilla bean ice cream and and I also wrote of bad combos, like texting and driving, cravings and diets, knee problems and running.
Add this to my list of Bad Combos: Chewing gum and crying.One thing I now realize is that you never, ever, ever see someone chewing gum while they are crying. At Michael Jackson’s funeral not one person in that entire colosseum was chewing gum. Except for that one family member, which just proves my point that you shouldn’t chew gum at funerals. Chewing gum is too sassy for sad moments. They just aren’t in sync. I found this out last year when my husband and I went on a date night (well, it wasn’t really “night”-actually it was an 11am matinee, which after 22 years of marriage qualifies as a time when we are both alert and inthemood for a date). We went to see “Up”. Our date-night (or date morning) routine is that my husband gets a medium popcorn and a coke because his movie eyes don’t work unless he has popcorn and a coke even though it it still morning. And the movie theaters are more than happy to sell you popcorn during breakfast hours. And since I am an old fashioned fitness sort who still believes in not having popcorn for breakfast I, have a rule for myself to only have three small handfuls of his popcorn. I eat it one kernel at a time and chew it until it is popcorn mush, enjoying every salty taste bud explosion. Then after my 3 handfuls (which are gone before the movie trailers are, or else my husband would’ve polished off the entire bag) then I get out a piece of Orbit Fresh Mint gum and chew gum to tell my mouth that popcorn time is over. It is a good system and I never feel too deprived. But within the first few minutes of Up, (and I hope I’m not ruining this for any of you slow pokes who’ve not seen it yet but oh well here goes) Ellie dies and here I am blubbering. I had to throw my gum out due to the physical challenge of my mouth being busy wondering what was happening in my throat in this tearful state.
Then soon after, my 15 year old daughter for the first time in six months said yes to my offer to go see a movie. What do you want to see I asked. My Mother’s Keeper, she says. Who’s in it I ask. Cameron Diaz she says. Ok, I say, thrilled that she wants to sit next to me out in public somewhere. Well, I have not cried this much since as long as I can remember and definitely not at a movie since Brian’s Song. It was worse and more continually heart wrenching than The Way We Were, It’s a Wonderful Life and Forrest Gump all put together. Again, chewing my gum while sobbing was impossible. But I did lose my appetite.
Anyway, since everything in life (including this) reminds me of a metaphor for fitness, the bad crying/popcorn combo thought reminded me that chewing gum is also a very bad combo with eating! And cooking! If you are a cook who tastes your way through the meal prep and sits down to dinner already full, get yourself some Orbit Fresh Mint. Keep it in the kitchen cupboard and when you start to cook, pop a piece in and notice how difficult tasting and eating becomes.Decide in advance when you will discard your gum. Do not let yourself take it out for anything, especially little tastes.. You must be firm with yourself for this one rule. No temporary gum removal. And I guess that means no onions since if you start crying you will run into gum difficulties.
And don’t rent My Sister’s Keeper. Trust me on this.
July 7, 2009
I’ve been into making lists lately. Lists are good. They help you accomplish your goals. Write ‘em down, check ‘em off.
Sometimes, I find myself making other lists, silly lists, lists that don’t help get things crossed off my calendar any more than twindling my thumbs does.
But they do keep me off my husband’s case and out of my childrens’ FaceBook pages and hopefully the mental distraction will contribute in some future way towards the delay of my Alzheimer’s that will surely set in after all the non-organic produce that I’ve consumed in the past four decades.
See if you like my lists.
Like the following list of things that go well together, which led to a list of things that do not go well together which then led to a list of things that are unlikely good combos and then finally a list of trios of things that go well together.(Was that a list of my lists?)
Anyway here goes:
Things That Go Well Together
*Ice cream and hot fudge
*Men & women
*Patrick & Spongebob
*Porn & masturbation
*Rainy days & naps
*Sunny days & beaches
*Hammers & nails
*Piss & vinegar
and for my fitness matches-
*Upward dog and downward dog
*Push-ups & tricep dips
*Hot yoga & cold water
*Sprints & recoveries
*Pregnant ladies & aqua classes
*Sweaty men on fitness equipment & towels
*Obesity & Exercise
*High blood pressure & exercise
*Diabetes & exercise
*All other age-related illnesses & exercise
(Exercise WELL goes with more things than all the other individual things listed here on all my lists put together)
List of Things That Do NOT Go Well Together
*Drinking & driving
*Texting & driving
*Cravings & Losing weight
*Macs & PCs
*Yoga & hangovers
*Pregnancy & bedrest
*Knee problems and running
*ADHD & yoga
*Binging & exercise
List of Unlikely Yet Good Combos
*Forest Gump & Jenny
*Clay Aiken & fatherhood
*Ex-lovers & restraining orders
*Biting & spanking
*Spinning & hangovers
*Depression & exercise
List of Good Trios
*Sex, drugs & Rock n Roll
*Father, Son & Holy Ghost
*Ask, believe & receive
*Mind, Body & Spirit(Ideally)
*shower, sh__, shave
*Abs, buns & thighs
*The words”3 more!2 more! Last one!”
*warm-up, workout, cool-down
*lose 5 ell-bees, gain 1 ell-bee, lose 2 ellbees
When I think of how exercise is the one thing that we can all do to stay younger for longer, it gets me very revved up. Exercise is free, it makes you feel better, it is good for your lungs, your heart, your brain (and your mind).It’s good for your sex life and your productivity and your patience and your dog.
All of the age-related illnesses that we read so much about, many of which are considered to be long-latency illnesses that come on over many years, can all be reduced through regular exercise over time.
July 3, 2009
If I could wave my magic fitness wand and sprinkle my make-believe diet dust and change one of your behaviors this weekend, having you eat only when you are seated at a table would have far reaching benefits beyond the final firecracker. You see, having to sit down to eat puts an end to much of the mindless munching that makes picnics notorious for overeating.
This is because a circuit panel in your brain has buttons that stimulate “feel good” feelings and the more we push them (through eating fat, sugar and salt) the more we want to push them. I could go into more detail, but that pretty much sums it all up. When we push buttons in circuit panels, whether it is mental buttons or buttons on the breaker panel in your basement, it is always a good idea to be aware that you are actually pushing them. Can you remember the last time you blew a circuit in your house and how you reset it? Did you go down and start randomly pushing buttons? Probably not.
So sitting down, rather than standing next to the 9 layer dip is a good way to take more conscious control of what goes into your mouth and in the trickle-down theory, what ends up on your tush.
It is such a struggle already to control what we eat. It would be so easy to blame the food industry (or your mom for being such a great Italian cook maybe) because grocery stores, not to mention food manufacturers, do everything imaginable to make foods look, taste, smell and feel melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It occurred to me the other day that there is an inverse relationship between how good a food looks and tastes and how healthy it is for you. The worse it is for you, the harder stores, restaurants and food companies try to make it irresistible. So with such a sensory overload, how do we stop overeating?
We have to have a plan. In technical terms it is called a countermanding action. So especially for risky eating situations like 4th of July Picnics, parties, visiting your mother or being home alone with half of a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, you have to plan in advance how you will deal with yourself so that you don’t wake up Monday morning with that familiar sense of self-loathing and bloat.
Start by standing away from the food table. Have a healthy snack before. Drink 2 glasses of water before you have anything else to drink. Sit sown to eat. Chew each bite 20 to 30 times. Do all the talking while everyone else eats. Throw out what is on your plate that you don’t want to eat immediately. Don’t drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks and know exactly what non-alcoholic drink you will switch to. Don’t just plan to do these things in your mind. Tell your spouse or whoever you are going to the picnic with your plan. Out loud. So they hear you. Ask them to kindly remind you of your goals.
These tips all bore me to tears from hearing myself say them over and over but there’s a reason I keep saying them over and over. They WORK. But you have to actually implement them. Imagine waking up Monday morning feeling like jumping on the scales and looking forward to seeing what you weigh. Now that’s a star spangled idea.
July 2, 2009
“The governor is hiking along the Appalachian Trail.”-quote from Governor Mark Sanford’s office, June 22
“The Group Exercise Director is relaxing with her family in Ohio.”-quote from Penny Hoff’s Sportsplex cubicle, June 30
I suppose you’ve all been wondering where I’ve been these last several days. I’ve got to say it wasn’t until I just got home today that I realized that my gym members and spinners and yoga students had been left scrambling to locate my whereabouts.
Ok. I’ll tell you the honest truth. But it really was an innocent visit with my family. In Ohio. I decided quite at the last minute that my weekly 10 classes have been tapping my usually high energy and it dawned on me that I needed to relax. To slow down. To chill. To get away with my family. Well, not exactly with all my family. I sort of surprised my husband with the idea. He didn’t know I was going until the last minute. Nor did I bring my 14 year old twins. But I did mention on my last Twitter status post that my 16 year old son was with me. I implied at the time that he was with me. But truthfully, I’m not sure that anyone besides my 16 year old nephew in Ohio could actually vouch for my son’s whereabout during the time that you all’ve been searching for me. But he was there with me. Sort of. I swear.
Anyway, back to my story. My job is the best job in the world but it is physically exhausting. You try spending half your work day in your target heart rate zone and see how energized you feel by happy hour. So I was looking forward to not doing a-n-y thing for four days. As in no exercise-e-moi. Nada.
So when I got to my sisters I was so happy to kick back. Did I miss the tingle in my muscles post-workout or feel the urge to hit the gym pre-dinner? NO.WAY.
So we had dinner at 5 o’clock if I am remembering clearly. And afterwards I thought I’d call my old friend Lindsay Fitzlett. Only by accident I misdialed and called LifeTime Fitness which to my shock, had a facility just down the block! So I hated to be rude when the front desk gal, her name- Lindsay! if you believe in coincidences, well that was one right there, and she offered me a free trial visit while I was visiting in town. Of course I said No Thank You Ma’am, I am taking a few well-earned days of RE laxation! But. You know those health club sales people, they are RE lentless so after five minutes, just to shut her up, I told her I’d stop by and check out their gym. I’d consider it a professional reconnaissance mission, I told myself. At the time, that was my line of reasoning.
Anyhoo, I told my sis I’d be back in a few. Which is why there was some family miscommunication because she thought I meant in a few minutes when I thought she knew I meant a few hours. It really was an honest mistake. Which is why I hustled so much and got back four hours later. Honest.
Where’d I go next? The pool in my sister’s backyard, of course. Where better to kick back than poolside. But the weather, don’t ya just know it, the dang weather was NOT cooperating and so, to pass the time I was just browsing the internet and after only two hours I stumbled upon a yoga studio that, if I hadn’t promised myself to take some time off, I would’ve loved to check out. Plus my muscles could use some yoga, what with the plane flight and all that sitting around the pool for 20 minutes. So I texted my sister-even though she was in the next room, because I thought she was in the shower and I didn’t want to interrupt her. She deserves some peace too. I texted her and said I was going to Starbucks, did she want me to bring her anything. Although in all honesty I don’t know why I offered her coffee, nor do I actually remember this offer. Although there is that text in my “sent” box proving otherwise. Jeez, am I supposed to keep track of every little thing? I’ve been known to forget worse things.
Anyway, back to my whereabouts. Saying I was at Starbucks was an unfortunate ommission. I meant to say that I was at the Yoga Studio NEXT to Starbucks. Turns out I got to Starbucks and remembered I don’t do caffeine after noon and as I didn’t want to waste the gas, when I saw that the Yoga Studio was just next door I felt it was Divine Guidance. God wanted me to stretch.
So when my cell phone rang (which I forgot to turn off, just shoot me) near the end of yoga class but in the middle of relaxation savasana and I had to hiss at my sister, I really didn’t intend to yell. It wasn’t technically yelling although to all of my yoga classmates in corpse pose I suppose it sounded like I was possibly yelling. So yes, those in attendance might have a different impression of me than what is the truth which is that I am one chilled out RE laxed yogini. Ask anyone who knows me. Although they may not be returning your calls right now.
Where did I go next? Of course after the coffee incident, my sister, who I know for a fact did not mean any of the cruel things she said in tags on my Facebook yoga pictures, needed some time to “think about our relationship” as she jokingly (I think) put it. She really is a kidder, that sista-friend sista girl. My sister I mean.
So my only option as I saw it, was to go back the next day to LifeTime Fitness where I knew my new friend Lindsay would let me chill in their lobby because by then I really did need to rest both my mind and my body. Turns out Lindsay misunderstood what I wanted to do, which I tried to explain to my sister later, but I accidentally ended up on the Stairmaster, which I know sounds crazy. But in Ohio, the Stairmasters look quite a bit different. See I thought I was on a really long set of stairs that were leading me to the 2nd floor meditation room and you know me, I wasn’t looking where I was going. An honest mistake, I think. I really do.
So after the stairs (which I now realize was a StairMASTER. The TV monitor should’ve gave it away come to think of it) somehow I ended up not in the Meditation room but in a Zumba dance class. How did I end up dancing when I was said I was going to rest, you ask?
Well, I’d been so distraught about Michael Jackson’s passing and the woman next to me on the stairs (Master!), we got to talking as we watched CNN’s up-to-the-second coverage of MJ’s 911 call, and this woman brought up his killer(no pun intended) dance moves and this made my arms twitch and my legs quiver with the desire to manifest my Inner Michael Jackson. So happens, she told me, there’s a Latin Dance class starting in a few minutes.
So the next part is kind of blurry but you can imagine my own surprise when I found myself in the front row of not the meditation room but can you believe it, the Dance Studio! And even though my typical dance moves are not technically LATIN dance moves, I felt moved to honor the white gloved man in the only way I knew how. By raising the roof (ooo-ah ooo-ah), Donkey kicking( for you dancing idiots out there this is sort of like a cha-cha. Arms are waving in the air while alternating horse hoof kicks. You know, 1-2-3 kick a hoof, 1-2-3 kick the other hoof ) and by of course, Moon Walking.
Ohio girls have no business Moon Walking EVER but by this point I was, well….really even I could feel it, spiraling out of control. The music stopped and for just a beat, I couldn’t stop dancing. Which made me that girl who is just plain nuts.
Well let me just tell you that I was as surprised as my family to realize that I’d accidentally spent most of my time in Ohio exercising rather than relaxing and although this may seem like TMI at least I’m not volunteering this info to The Associated Press.
No matter how revolting you find my behavior, please refrain from calling me a bad relaxer to my face. I’m getting professional help for it. And I’m back at my home gym now. Not really refreshed. But home