Thursday, December 20, 2012


It's a thing now, the study of scones. Or the theory of scones, which one must have if one is to 1) make scones 2) make other things, and (most importantly, but don't tell the scones) 3) survive baking season.

I was telling someone, someone who also likes to make scones and apparently makes them every weekend, about my difficulty making scones, and she totally misunderstood (maybe I was drunk, I don't know) but she said the answer is the pastry cutter and I needed a pastry cutter, and so I politely agreed because she just didn't understand, and what's the point?

But now, friends, I will attempt to explain to you what I could not explain to her: it's not the butter! The butter, cut into small cubes and refrozen for an appropriate amount of time, the butter you simply dump into the food processor and do the pulsing thing, and then wala, you have the base of the dough, but NO, the problem, friends, is the cream. The cream!

Now, I don't want to say the cream is problematic as if this were a character flaw on the part of cream, because cream is lovely, right? It's soft and delicate and blameless. No, the problem, as it were, is that the cream doesn't really want to make friends with the dough.

The recipe I follow says to make a little mound of the dough and then make a divot in it and then pour the cream and then cupping your hands like tiny shovels, lightly move the dough into the trough of cream and do this without screaming obscenities and don't mix it too much or else it gets gummy and then somehow (the recipe doesn't say how) get it all to stick together (but barely, barely!) and then make it into a circle and then, quick, before one portion cedes, cut them into triangles and get them into the oven where the still slightly frozen butter can work its magic.

Well. You can see my dilemma. The first two times I made scones I was perfectly happy to participate in the charade that cupping the hands and yadda yadda yadda would result in scone magic. But last time, this last time, I just said, you know what? Screw it. I'm just going to pour in enough cream until the dough just has no choice but to stick together because that's what dough does, and then I'm going to make it into a flat disc and I'm going to use the scone cutter that I bought and I'm going to cut circles and then I'm just going to bake them.
And you know what? They were still perfectly delicious and better than 99.99% of the scones I've ever consumed, ever, except the ones made by my friend at that bakery in Bellingham. So that's a win right? Scones 0, Me 1. I win!

But, also, and here's the important part: recipes exist for a reason. I need them. I do. Even when I've made something a million times I look at the recipe for reassurance, like checking in just to make nothing's changed since the last time, even though I know what I'm doing. I do. So what I've learned, my scone-ology, is that you need the recipe, yes. But if you are going to survive baking season, and baking in general, you have to go with the flow. Baking is about nothing if not the current context. Sometimes the temperature in the kitchen is greater or lesser. Sometimes you have hot hands. You just do. Sometimes the butter is better or worse.

But you know what? The scones always taste just fine. In fact, they taste delicious.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Whoa! That movie should come with a warning label. Such as, "Really violent! No, really! And there some children in this movie. You are NOT going to like what happens to them!"
But...but! In spite of that, I liked it quite a bit.
But, like any time travel movie, I left the theater with questions, QUESTIONS!?!
(My questions were not necessarily answered, but were confirmed, here.)
But anyway, you know how it is with time travel narratives, you're all did he come back if....
That said, I did enjoy it.
HOWEVER, I was a little bit sad that Joseph Gordon Levitt did not look like JGL. They made his nose all weird so he would look like a young Bruce Willis, which I think was a mistake, but I guess it's easier to make someone look like they don't have cheekbones then to make them  look like they do.
Also, I did not know Emily Blunt was in it, and she was good.
Also, Jeff Daniels. Enough said.
So, yes, I'd say see it, unless you are my 11 year old son, and then I would say, maybe when you're 18.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Some Birthday Thoughts

Since it is my birthday, I thought I would include some Deep Thoughts here for your edification.

  1. Birthdays are just another day. But on this day, I feel I set the tone for the coming year. I also feel this way about New Year's Day, so I try to do things I think will bode well for the next 365 days. So today, I worked out (good, right?) and then had breakfast (also good, yes?). With friends. I think this last part is key.
  2. Surround yourself with happy people. (see above)
  3. Set goals you can accomplish. Next year I want to be grateful, to be happy, to enjoy life and appreciate my friends. I also would like to be injury & pain free.
  4. Try to see the good in the bad. I wasn't fond of 2012. But some good things happened. Right? I'm trying to think of them...instead of saying "I had to have surgery in July!" I say, "there were 11 months in 2012 in which I did not have to have surgery." Hurray!
  5. My body is telling me not to do things that are bad for me anyway. I'm going to listen to my body.
  6. But still, I'm going to enjoy life by partaking of wine, chocolate, etc in moderate amounts.
  7. Do more yoga. (this is always a good idea)
  8. Meditate, even if your meditation is to stare out the window into the distance (or the neighbor's house, whatever) and to contemplate your existence.
  9. Be in this isness. A good friend of mine once said this, and I have been coming back to it lately as I try to lessen the stress in my life.
  10. A corollary of number 9 is this gem: Lean into the pain. I saw this on a TED talk. I'm not even sure what the topic of the TED talk was. But I think of this when I am stressing out, or when I'm fighting with Son. Sometimes, the pain or stress comes from the resistance. If you relax, then sometimes the pain goes away. This is what I've found.
I hope these small thoughts help you as you navigate this (sometimes) difficult season. The point of holidays is not to buy stuff or to stress out, but to take a moment to appreciate what we have, and to enjoy the people in our lives. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Consumption Log

Because HTMS said she would not be bored by learning what I have eaten....

  • Rotisserie chicken (standing up in the kitchen, pulling meat off, feeding chicken skin to the Gus)
  • Pear Martini (yes, it was that delicious)
  • Roasted Apple Salad
  • Coffee Spiced Beet Salad
  • Pici with Duck Ragu & Wild Mushrooms (yes! It was that good!)
  • Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Gelato and Citrus Glaze (yum!)
  • Scallops cooked with garlic in white wine and butter
  • Caesar Salad
  • Ahi Tuna
  • Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
  • Chocolate with Hazlenuts
  • Vermont Maple Sausage
  • Hashbrowns
  • Scrambled Eggs
So, that's been my last few days.
Also: coffee. I can't believe it, but here I go: grading! 

Friday, December 07, 2012

Because I can't stand to disappoint...

So Blogger won't let me link in the title, which is disappointing, to say the least.
Listen, HTMS, my only reader, my life is so boring, that I don't want to disappoint you either by not blogging or by blogging in such a boring way you wish, in fact, that I had not blogged.
So, to whit, to continue: This morning as I was reading Anna Karenina (is that pretentious? to announce to the world, hey! I'm reading this 817 page monolith?), I couldn't help but wonder if I could actually make it through the book what with the

            1. Grading
            2. Christmas decorating (tree. wreath? inside lights? plaques which proclaim family rules including admonitions to love more and to say please and thank you? Reindeer antlers for the dog? (yes!))
            3. Planning of Christmas food & cookies & cocktails
            4. Making of above
            5. Movies? Movies!
            6. Reading? I guess...
            7. Planning of classes for next semester? (this is in desperate need of being done, but honestly, eww!)
 things I have to do and think about when I'm not doing...You understand.
In any case, it only took me, like, 4 days to do this, so maybe I can blog more this month, so as to fulfill one of your Christmas wishes.
My pleasure.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I have a blog?

So months pass, apparently, and I don't blog. Because I am busy.
But also, sometimes I get angry, and then I think about venting, but where? So, yeah...the blog.
This semester is harder than others, and I don't want this blog to be my personal journal so I'll just note a few things that make me crazy and (try to) move on.

  1. Students who are so apathetic they can barely put together a (spoken) sentence. I'm not joking. I keep trying to tell this student to drop, but she keeps responding with "Yeah...I'll have to....yeah...I'll check the...." Seriously. I'm trying to help you, I want to scream, but she's....still...breathlessly... talking.....sort of.....
  2. Disagreements which are stupid, basically, but which still make me angry, which makes me angry (don't even try to understand this one, but suffice it to say when people say things meant to make you angry, and then you get angry, and then other people wonder why you are angry, and then other people wonder say that disagreement is the same as shutting down the conversation....oh my!)
  3. How the internet is a self-perpetuating machine. So I get angry, and then what do I do? I look for stupid videos to make me feel better....Oh, internet, you have eaten my brain.
  4. Why is there no TV?
  5. I need a drink.
In conclusion, I may not make it through this semester alive/sane/sober. 

Monday, July 02, 2012

New World Order

Today a new world order is being instated (is that the right word?). We are all up early. We have all left the house early (except for Son, who is doing something on his computer that he claims is "educational."). Some of us have come back to the house early after working out, again, early.
This new regime has come about because Husband (aka Middlebrow) has started a New Job. The New Job is the same place as the Old Job, but the New Job has what We (in this house) would call "Banker's Hours" meaning he has to be there early and he has to stay just as long as everyone else (I'm assuming this is 4:30 or 5, but we'll see).
What will this New World Order mean for Son and Dr. Write? Well, so far it means I have to workout very early, or when Son is doing some of his Summer Son things. It means I have to figure out what to do with Son during the class I teach. It means I will have to figure out how to get Son to be docile for at least an hour a day while I write. It means it will be very hard for me to have coffee dates and movie dates, except when Son is in camp.
It also means, apparently, that I will be asking Middlebrow to "pick things up on the way home." It may also mean that I have to keep the fridge well stocked with cold beer and that maybe I should teach Gus (the GSP) how to bring him his slippers, pipe, and smoking jacket when he appears at the front door after five saying, "Honey! I'm home!"
I hope it doesn't mean that I have to cook dinner 7 days a week. Middlebrow has perfected quite a few recipes and I don't want him to forget!
I hope it doesn't mean that I have to do all the laundry. (Wait! I already do!)
I hope it doesn't mean that I will have to figure out how to do anything gross in the bathroom, because I tend to gag easily.
I also hope it doesn't mean that I forget what Middlebrow looks like because I never see him.
On the plus side, I'm already planning a fantastic vacation for next summer.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The End of the Semester

The end of the semester brings with it the anticipated sighs of relief and the exclamations of despair and frustration (those students! so annoying with their email excuses and non-turning in of things). But the end of the semester also brings with it a wee bit of sadness at the departure of some friendly faces and smarty-smarterstons whom one might never see again.
One student even remarked (in a welcome email, not one of those excuse ones...)...and I quote:  "i guess the "hard part of community college" isn't just that the students come and go but also in our perspective the teachers (professors, doctors?) who inspire us are involved in such a small slice of our lives, and then are gone."
Sweet, huh? That particular student was in two of my classes. Some of my students, especially ones who take creative writing, become friends, if I can keep them around long enough. 
So it is with a sigh that I bid the good students, the pleasant presences, farewell for now with the hope that I will randomly see them somewhere and somehow keep up with their successes in the universe. 
Good-bye, little birds, spread your wings and fly!! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Solutions for Monday

This may have been (quite possibly) the Best Monday of My Life.
Why, you ask? Well, thanks for asking!

  1.  I got up at the first alarm (no multiple snoozes).
  2. I drank coffee with heavy cream (left over from my scone baking). Do not let anyone tell you that there is no difference between half and half (half cream, half milk) and heavy cream, because, there is, there is, there is. Just do it. (Do not worry that heavy cream will make you fat. If you don't eat Doritos, you'll be fine.)
  3. I took the dog for a walk in the morning when the air was so crisp and the neighborhood was so quiet. My dog loved it, I saw the neighbor at the dog park, and I felt so good. I also told myself that I was jump starting my metabolism.
  4. I ate one of the leftover ginger scones. Delicious!! 
  5. I took the opportunity between student conferences to walk outside, around the block, in the sunshine.
  6. When student conferences were over, I ate my lunch outside. In the sunshine.
  7. I didn't really grade any papers. (Well, maybe a few. But not a lot).
  8. I did the NYTimes Monday crossword. In pen. (That's right, bitches!)
  9. I did my Yoga Teacher Training final presentation. On the handstand. I took 5 minutes to talk about Mountain Pose. My teacher said "So awesome!" and that I have an amazing presence. So I guess that means I passed.
  10. I did not get pulled over on the way home for being "high on Yoga." Though I did think it was a possibility.
  11. I had a delicious salad when I got home (arugula, super greens, olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper, avocado). So good!
  12. Seriously, I feel so good. Today was awesome.
  13. Namaste. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ten Things I Want to Tell My Son

Inspired by this, I wrote these:

  1.  Be Yourself. So many teenagers look around them for how they are supposed to be acting. In the process, they lose an essential part of themselves, what makes them the amazing individuals they are. Don’t be afraid to be who you are, because who you are is perfect.
  2. Talk About Your Feelings. Many men in our culture are messed up because they don’t know how to express the crazy complex things they are feeling, and many of them are unhappy. In order to be happy, you have to feel the feelings you feel, good and bad.
  3.  Keep drawing. At some point, most kids stop drawing, either because they think what they draw is not realistic or they don’t like the way things look, or they just think it’s not cool. C’mon. Picasso was cool, da Vinci was cool. Drawing is cool. Keep drawing.
  4. For a model of how to be a man, look to your father. There are many examples of how to be a man, not all of them good. But your own father is the best example you can have: he is smart and silly, athletic and intelligent, sometimes impatient, sometimes impulsive, always kind. If you want to know what you should do, ask him.
  5.  Decide what you believe in and stick to it. As you grow up, you will try on different beliefs and ideas. This is natural. But in your heart of hearts, you know what is right and what is wrong. Don’t be persuaded by someone else to do something you don’t believe in. You will know if this is happening because your heart will hurt. Listen to your intuition.
  6.  Drinking and smoking and drugs are stupid, and can screw up the rest of your life. I’m your mother, and you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.
  7. Respect women. You are a man, but you came from a woman. All people come from women. Remember that. Along the way, you may be tempted to treat a woman as less than you, and many messages in our culture will tell you that’s okay. Many images in our culture will tell you that girls and women are just a collection of beautiful parts for you to oogle. We aren’t. Always remember, first, that your mother is a woman. And second, ask yourself, what would my mother want me to do? Look women in the eye and make them laugh. That’s all we want. (Remember also that, no matter how big you are, I am still doing Crossfit, so I can still take you.)
  8. Never lose your sense of humor. Among the many life skills, the ability to laugh at yourself is the most important. Seriously.
  9.  Play sports. This will keep you fit and healthy and, most importantly, keep you out of trouble.
  10. Love your mother. No matter how big you get, you’re still my son. Don’t forget that. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Today, one smart woman I like asked another smart woman I like (no, none of these is me!) about cooking and cook books, which leads me, now, to reflect on cookbooks and things I cook that have formed me into the mediocre cook I am. (Also, I like to think I'm mediocre at a lot of things like: Crossfit, running, swimming, writing, baking, walking backwards, laundry. I would say cleaning, but I know I am terrible at that. In fact, I should be cleaning now.)
Anyway, here are some cookbooks that I think about when I think about cookbooks:

  1. Moosewood: I was a vegetarian working at a fish market and a woman bought me this cookbook, but I may have paid her back. Anyway, my go to recipes from this were Tabouli (I swear, I could live on that stuff!), the Indonesian rice salad, certain varieties of yogurt sauce with cucumbers, spanakopita (I had forgotten that!),the pumpkin pie recipe where you actually bake down the pumpkin, banana bread that has coffee in it, a cheesecake (I think I made this once & once my boyfriend made it for me), the brownies I made a few times. I made pita bread once and it even worked! 
  2. No Cook Pasta Sauces: Someone gave us this for our wedding. Maybe? I can't remember. But I made the Puttanesca a lot. And the clam sauce. I was sort of addicted to both of those until I gave up pasta and got rid of the cookbook. 
  3. Complete Vegetarian Kitchen: A friend gave this to me. From it I got two of my stand bys, a roasted veggie soup w/pesto and a delicious broccoli dish that I used to make with tofu and now I just use broccoli (and which I haven't actually made in a long time).
  4. Seductions of rice: I got this when I worked at a bookstore and it's as much travel book as it is cookbook. I got it because I had been to Thailand and I wanted to make Thai food. I can now make a curry without it. But I also make the Indian curries from this book. And it helped me to solidify a recipe for another favorite soup: African peanut stew. And because of this book at one point in my life I had about six different kinds of rice in the house. And I made sushi. Once or twice. And this is where I got the recipe for the delicious rice salad that I sometimes make and will make this summer.
  5. The Surreal Gourmet: This cookbook made me the Caesar Salad guru that I am. It's a staple and one of Middlebrow's favorite meals (salad + meat = meal).
  6. Cafe Flora: I got this because it has great recipes. I made these amazing burgers from quinoa and split peas and they had a fantastic tomato salsa on them. I made them once. (I think it took me three days but I may be exaggerating). Also: great salad recipes and great dressings. This is where the amazing strawberry and arugula salad comes from.
  7. The Food You Crave: this is a great book with healthy recipes. I've made a few of the recipes, such as the Spinach Salad with Bacon dressing (bacon!). I also got the idea for the Breakfast Salad from this book. I made her energy bars (good), and also the meatballs (but not the spaghetti).
  8. So many recipes that have stuck with me, I actually got on-line or from magazines. Some of my stand bys: Coq au Vin in the crock pot (Whole Foods magazine), Curry soup with noodles (some foodie mag), stuffed peppers (a re imagining of my mom's recipe), tacos (same), my favorite potato sausage soup (I got the recipe from Liberty Heights!).
  9. Mark Bittman: I have two of his cookbooks, and yes, he is God. Everything I make from his cookbooks work and even Middlebrow uses his cookbooks! (and tonight made a delicious chicken stir fry with cashews!)
  10. etc.
What, friends, are your go to cookbooks?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Certain Kind of Sadness

There's a kind of nostalgia/sadness brought about by music. It doesn't necessarily have to do with the music itself. It's almost like the music induces a state, which may or may not be similar to a state you have experienced in the past, but which the music replicates, without transition, and seemingly instantaneously. I only mention this because

  1. The song "Somebody That I Used to Know" transports me there in one note. BOOM! I'm there. See this.   
  2. How to even describe this "there"? Well. It's a post-college angst. It's an "I'm in love with this person who may or may not often mistake me for a lamppost."  It's an "I'm reading or have read Alan Watts The Wisdom of Insecurity and I may be taking his ideas to heart" kind of angst. 
  3. There is a very specific person with whom this angst/feeling is associated. But I don't want you to mistake this feeling for the idea that I am still in love with him/was ever in love with him/am still not over him, because that's not it.
  4. Also, this idea of a person I was in love with and a feeling associated with a very specific time in my life (with which I also associate 40 oz. beers and mazurka cookies), it's more a whole mood, tone, as if that time in my life was a fog that enveloped me, which it did. Also it involved beer, and our local, which was called Targy's Tavern. Also, I should tell you about the night I played pool with my friend Patty and played every Beatles song on the juke box until I found the one I really, actually, seriously wanted it and it was "Norwegian Wood."
  5. Somewhere, right at that very moment, the one where I was at the bar, drinking cheap beer and wanting so much to be in love with the guy who just couldn't, for whatever reason, love me the way I needed to be loved, right at that moment, Kurt Cobain was radically unhappy, and he, too, felt this kind of angst, and though he dealt with it in a different way, you will never convince me that the angst we felt was not of the same species.
  6. And when I hear "Come As You Are" I think of walking down Broadway and getting Pizza at Pagliacci's, and a car passes by, and Nirvana streams out the window. We are young and so, so sad. It's sunny in Seattle and we don't seem to notice. Do you remember how it feels when you just want a person to hold your hand and you think that the world would break apart?
  7. That's the place a song can transport you to. The space between your breasts, beneath your rib cage, at the end of the bar, in front of a pint of beer, at the corner in a cloud of smoke, in the distance of a drunken sprint to the end of the block.
  8. Oh, Kurt Cobain. Oh, nameless lost love. Oh, sad singer-songwriter.
  9. There are so many Washington, rain, music related near misses that I cannot relate them all to you here. Nor would I want to.
  10. Suffice it say: a song can transport me there. There. Yes, here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Should I Feel Guilty for Liking "The Help"?

I finally saw "The Help." It was on a day when I was not feeling well and I needed a little entertainment. I read the book (and blogged about it). And I wanted to see the movie, because, you know, Emma Stone. But then the movie came out. And then the firestorm. You know, white woman, black women, inaccuracies about Civil Rights. I don't want to belittle those concerns. Those are legitimate concerns. I want to talk about those things. I do. And I have.
But here's the thing: I liked the movie. I enjoyed it. It was hard to watch. I thought Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis were both amazing. And Emma Stone was good. And it made me cry.
After I returned the movie, I sat on the couch and wondered if I was a bad person for liking this movie. Am I ignorant? Unfeeling? Stupid?
My guilt over enjoying this movie made me think about when I saw "The Last Temptation of Christ." I was a student at the University of Oregon in 1988 (good lord, I am old!) and when I went to see it, at a little theater, there were a bunch of well-meaning Christians and their children with signs about how the movie was bad and I shouldn't see it. I remember thinking, "Rambo III is playing across town. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to protest that?"
I have somewhat the same response to objections to "The Help." On the one hand, I understand the objections. Yes, it is inaccurate in some aspects. Yes, it's not right that a book by a white women about black women gets more attention then the numerous books by black women about black women.  I get that.
But, if the book and the movie, get us (as a culture) talking about race, and how messed up we still are about race in 2012, isn't that a good thing?
I mean, many, many, many movies come out and they are good, but they don't cause us to think about who we are as Americans.
So, I guess my question is, how is that a bad thing?
And also, I just want to like it. Okay?

Friday, February 24, 2012

In Which Son and I Unite over Sport

I have blogged before, not too long ago, about how Son and I need to find areas where we can do stuff together and have fun instead of just fighting over his spelling homework.
The workout for the Crossfit Open was announced Wednesday and I was happy that it was just burpees, that's all. Yeah! A workout that in my post-injury-recovery mode I could do.
Recently, Son and I have been fighting over his wanting to play video games 24/7. I often try to bribe him to exercise by saying he can have video game time.
So, since the Open Workout was only 7 minutes, I told him if he did the workout ("It's only 7 minutes!"), he could have another hour of video game time. I know, this seems like a classic bad mother move, but he had to go with me to the workout, since Middlebrow had a basketball game and wouldn't be home.
On the way to the gym, I was giving him a kind of pep talk. "Unless you figure out how to roll with life," I said, "you're going to end up very unhappy."
"Like you?" he replied.
Youch! I told him that he had hurt my feelings, and that I needed a time out from him. So we rode in the car, silently.
On the way to the gym, he said that they had started square dancing at school and that he liked it. I told him I had done Greek dancing in sixth grade (with all the Papapavlos kids who were in my class). Then I asked him how many burpees he could do in 7 minutes. He was pretty optimistic and said maybe he could do 70 (10 per minute). I said it might be hard to keep up that pace. By the time we got to the gym, we were friends again.
He actually got a little excited to do the workout with everyone, with the big timer counting down and everything. I counted for him and urged him on. Some other people at the gym shouted out "good job!" to him during the workout. He really pushed himself in the last minute and got 59 burpees total. He was proud but, like a true Crossfitter, said, "Darn. I was hoping for 60." But he asked me to put his name up on the whiteboard with other athletes. "Look," he said. "I beat a few people."
Then he counted for me (with the help of an older, more experienced Crossfitter). He was pretty impressed with me when I reached 50 burpees, and he urged me to get more.
By the time we left the gym, he was pretty exhausted. We stopped by the store and I let him get some cookies for the next day.
Then, when we got home, we ate together and started a new book, The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater. He snuggled up next to me.
I'm trying to live in the moment and just be with him. But it's hard for me not to be constantly reminding myself "cherish the moment! cherish the moment!" because so many moments are so difficult this year. But he's a wonderful son, with the soul of the poet athlete.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Body Image: Where does it come from?

I think a lot about body image. Partly because I work out a lot and am a trainer at a Crossfit gym, and because of that I often watch other people work out a lot. Also, recently, I started a Yoga Teacher Training class, and we sometimes talk about why people do or teach yoga, and body image/how we look comes up fairly frequently.
Body image is a weird topic, especially as it relates to both Crossfit and Yoga, but for different reasons, though some of the reasons are the same.
What they have in common is that people who do a lot of any one sport, people who go in for the cult-like aspects of a fitness program tend to like to workout for sanity. And they care about how they look. Sure, in yoga it's not cool to talk about how you look because Yoga is supposed to be internal, about how you feel and who you are. But it's 2012, and any fitness program is going to involve feeling good about how you look.
Crossfit is somewhat the same, in that it's supposed to be about how you feel and, more often, how much you can lift or how many reps you can do. But that translates into "my abs are totally ripped" and "my ass looks hot!" So I would say Crossfitters are a little more up front about wanting to look good.
But in both cases, Yoga and Crossfit, the industry, that is, the promotional machine that tries to sell you bras and short shorts and shoes does so by promoting a super tiny and flexible (Yoga) or super strong and hot (Crossfit) aesthetic.
I have been doing yoga for a long time (10+ years) and Crossfit for a shorter time (almost 3 years), and I don't think my body image reflects the reality of my body.
I think body image, for many women, especially women my age, is a photograph of yourself (a false photograph, one built entirely of memory) at a time where what you cared about most was what people who didn't know you (read: other junior high girls) said about you. Or, for me, what the dominant aesthetic was where you grew up. For me, it was skinny blonde girls with boobs and nice legs who smiled a lot and had good teeth. It was not girls like me who had brown hair, no boobs, big quads, and a gap between her front teeth.
So that's who I am, still, physically, in my mind. Which is why it's always so jarring when I see myself in the mirror. My response is always, "that's me?"
One of the reasons I like Crossfit and Yoga is that there are no mirrors. This helps the practitioner, I think, to focus on the inner experience, what the workout feels like, rather than what it looks like.
But it also leads to, perhaps, an inaccurate body image.
This weekend I worked out with a friend at a county facility. The weight room was lined on one side by mirrors. I saw myself, for the first time in years, doing a push press.
"What," I gasped, "are these freaky muscles?"
It was a little on the body builder side for my tastes. I tried to figure out how, exactly, my body had come to look this way. And it made me realize that the picture we carry in our minds bears no relation to the way the body is, actually, in the world.
For me, this is good news. I know I'm stronger than I've ever been, I know I can get stronger, and be more flexible, more balanced.
But it's good to remind ourselves to open our eyes once in awhile and actually look at ourselves and to try to see what's there, apart from our outdated mental images.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Which Injury Brings Me Closer to My True Self

First, the title implies that I even have a true self (which, if we are FB friends, you now know is a manatee).
Second, yes, yes, God yes, I am a sarcastic motherfucker (also, I like to swear). So there's that.
But...  but...
I have recently injured myself. Well, who knows what happened. Let's just say "Injuries occurred" and leave it at that.
So, I find myself injured AND...(and) the same time in a Yoga Teacher Training class (folks call that YTT). And doing yoga, and some (minimal) swimming and no (NO!) crossfit and so I am going crazeeeee (with so many e's!).
And then I went to yoga tonight, and it was fine, but also my hip hurt and I can't do Pigeon the way I like to (as in, usually?, I could, like, fall asleep in Pigeon. I LOVE pigeon). Tonight, Pigeon made me want to cry.
It is difficult, one finds, to confront one's limitations. (I've heard this. I don't really experience it firsthand...)
Also, I have not gone running in SO! LONG! It's really pitiful.
So, I find that being injured, that is, having an injury, leads one to contemplate the horizons of one's limitations and one begins to inquire as to the quality of one's existence in this compromised self and one meditates on the meaning of words like "rest" and "recovery."
What do they mean?
Apparently they mean that coffee tastes so much better with chocolate in it and that cookies are good and also wine.
Apparently they mean that when injury occurs, that is, when one is injured, one must embrace the exhale (so! yoga!) and one must try to Learn from the Injury.
So what can my injured hip teach me?
Well, so far?
(I mean, I told you I swear a lot in the second point, way up there, so you can't act surprised now...)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yoga Teacher Training

Last night my yoga teacher training began. It's weird to be a student again, surrounded by mostly twenty-somethings who want to share their love of the healing effects of yoga. We went around in a circle and said how long we had been doing yoga, five years, two years, three years. Until it got to me. I've been doing yoga, off and on, for more than 20 years. For longer than some of those people have been alive. Crazy!
But I'm looking forward to the experience. My interest is really from a sports background, rather than feeling the spiritual effects of yoga, though of course there can be those too. Mostly I think people who do Crossfit or lift weights can benefit from a little focus on balance and flexibility, to counteract all the strength and power. I'm excited to do my "homework" which is to try new yoga classes, different teachers, etc.
And it will be interesting to try to be less cynical when the teacher talks about chakras and energy. I hope she doesn't talk about crystals...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Crossword Puzzle

I've been a little bummed out lately that Son and Middlebrow share so much (a love of fantasy books, d and d, chess, they have a few TV shows they watch together), but Son and I don't have that. I read him some books, sometimes, and we like to play cards. I've tried to get him interested in running, or swimming, or tennis, to no avail.
But tonight, I was doing a crossword puzzle and he sat down next to me and wanted to help. We worked on it for awhile, then I reminded him that his grandmother bought him his own puzzle book for Christmas. So he got that and did the first puzzle while I sat next to him. He said he wanted to sit next to me because I was warm.
So I guess he's not out of my reach yet. Or too grown up to sit close to Mom.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Today's Post

Well, HightouchMegaStore said she was going to post every day. Every! Day! That is daunting. But maybe I can post more this year, so there's that.
After watching an action-adventure movie which was exactly what it was supposed to be (except maybe a bit too long), I took Dog for a walk up to the Hollow.
Being with a Dog is good for remembering what it is to be alive. He leaps like a deer and runs up hills as if he were a mountain goat, which he, decidedly, is not. He also stands in the freezing stream and looks at rocks as if they were about to turn into fish or maybe birds.
He is crazy, but he is good at being alive.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Resolutions for 2012

Well, I'm so full of success over accomplishing all of last year's goals (aim low!), that now I think it's a good idea to write down this year's goals/resolutions. So, here goes:

  1. First, self-inflict no injury. As a post-40 person who likes to work out and wants to continue to work out until she dies (hopefully being crushed under a barbell), this is first. FIRST!
  2. Yoga at least once a week (Thursdays at CCY with my yoga wife, Susan)
  3. Run at least twice a week (Tues. morning and one weekend run)
  4. Swim Tuesday nights (with the gays. they sure are fun to swim with)
  5. Roll out my aching parts/stretch every day. Every day, dammit!
  6. Eat paleo 80% of the time
  7. Work on my pullups (10 after every workout)
  8. Work on my freestanding handstand and handstand walk (this is fun!)
  9. Do a triathlon in 2012
  10. Work on a book (stories? novel? essays?)
And that's it, my pretties. Seems doable. See, I can't say things like "write every day" because then I feel bad when I don't. So "work on writing" that seems doable to me.