Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Burning Funk

I love James Taylor’s R-rated version of Steamroller Blues.  He is so in his zone you can taste his ooze as his soul motor rides out those electrifying words in a poem of grunts and hums.  It gets behind my navel and waits to pounce like a cat.james taylor

 Well I’m a cement mixer for you baby, a churning urn of burning funk.

I am such when I:

  • Nail a yoga pose and let the breath lead me.
  • Make it up the hill by Grace Church on the route by the Y.
  • Own my backbone

YogaJournalTalentSearch

  • See this.

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  • Do this

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Today I cried before breakfast.  I ran 4 silly hilly miles at a laughable pace.  No churning or burning funk there.  Just a little throw-up threatening in my throat as I climbed up the hill near Grace Church.  I went to a little music cafĂ© to pick up a latte to drown my sorrows before work.  I waited and watched Keith Urban sing the most beautiful soulful song on the big screen TV in this wonderful little muffin mecca.  The whole thing made me cry.  The words.  His sweat.  His closed eye lids as he chirped out the words we all love to hear.  I don’t even like country music but today it brought me to tears.  I blinked them back as the barista passed my potion to me.  He looked at me funny and I said I was fine there was something wrong with my stomach.

It was the churning urn of burning funk.  Brought on by an Australian hunk with a guitar.  Can happen really anytime, Anywhere.  Let it burn. 

Any funk in your life today?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hangovers are good for you

When I was in college my cousin, Jackie told me to go ahead and drink on school nights because hangovers give you character.  “You know you have to really push to make it through class when you feel so bad.” 

If you think about it, these are words of wisdom.  I used them used them at times during the Health and Fitness Bloggers in Boulder.

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Mostly to make it through the workouts Beth made me perform.  At the start:

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At the finish

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Sometimes there was the haze of a little wine from the night before, other times my East Coast barometric pressure wanted to crush the nice thin air in Boulder leaving me lightheaded and nauseous.  Kia told us to announce we were visiting from sea level and folks might understand the spacey behavior.  That sounded silly to me but whatever.  Regardless of why you might feel a little less than right, you take what’s left and make something happen. Today was tough.

I wasn’t hungover in the traditional sense.  I missed my new friends and the energy from the conference.  I wanted to eat, drink, write, and work out like I had been for days.

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Amanda, me, Beth, Jill and Jason.  Super Five!

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Jason and Beth are very busy here.

I got home last night and was over the top to see my family.  I missed them terribly but I loved the suspended reality of traveling to a faraway place meeting awesome, talented, vibrant people and being open to the possibilities that lie ahead.  This morning I taught a Yoga class and didn’t feel altogether there.  It wasn’t from a hangover, I was traumatized by the man on the plane who asked me if my children were still at home.  Does this look like the face of an empty-nester?

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Can a granny bike 19 miles downhill on a mountain bike?

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My post-conference hangover is building my character to stay focused on my goals with writing, fitness, parenting and living well.  I guess Jackie was right.  I think I’ll call her tomorrow and tell her.

Who’s your Jackie?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Head’s Up: Live Blogging Ahead

So you know I am at this cool health and fitness bloggers conference and now we are ‘Live Blogging’ .  Don’t know what that is, what it means or how to do it.  These are some sort of ‘Product Review’ Marathon.  I’ve run a couple so now I’m going for it as Own Your Backbone.  We are on a timer.  It’s intense and words like ‘ROTATE’ are being shouted by the emcee.  Wish you were here.

The first product involves Tequila… so here goes.

#1 Casa Noble Skinny Margarita.  From Jasisco, Mexico.  Low calorie organic margarita option.  Certified.  Made from blue Agave Nectar.  They let Agave mature 2 to 3 years longer than competition.  3 Casa Noble, Agave Nectar and lime.  48 calories per ounce.  Tequila is Aged in French Oak Barrels – maybe I will be too.  Now we are taste testing.  Happy.  Delicious taste.  We are ‘cheersing’ our fellow bloggers and loving up on this delicious, organic certified margarita.  Tastes pure and real.  It’s Whole Foods meets Carlos and Charlie’s.

Margarita-ingredients[1]

#2 Jovial Pasta-Pasta Product.  It’s what cave men used to eat.  Rise in popularity of ancient grains.  High vitamin E, protein, and fiber.  Has the unique nutritional composition of einkorn which has less starch, more protein and a very pleasing flavor.  Available for $4.99 at Whole Foods which is a high price point but you eat less and you get better nutritional value than less expensive pasta options.  We got cool samples but no taste test.  Can’t comment on that.  www.jovial.com.

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#3 Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread.  Product sample.  Tasting PBJ on Rudi’s Bread right now.  YUM!  (It’s not the margarita, I’m still sipping)  Does NOT taste like card board.  Wholesome nutritious bread.  No artificial ANYTHING.  Even my picky children would like it.  No preservatives so they recommend storing in the freezer.  $5.99 per loaf but the slices are quite thick.  Available at Safeway, Kroger, Costco and Whole Foods.  We got a coupon for a free whole loaf.  SCORE!  Spread the Bread, sister!

RudisOrganicHarvestSeededBread[1]

#4 Pop Chips Air popped potato chips!  Not baked, not fried.  Very delicious.  No oils in popping process.  Lighter chip, more chips per serving.  8 flavors available.  I tasted the Cheddar and it was GOOD.  Available at Whole Foods, Target, King Soopers.  Gluten Free, All Natural and amazingly good.  It’s STILL NOT the margarita.

#5 Recharge Natural Sports Beverage Hydration for all out performance.  10 calories, sweetened with truvia.  All natural of version of traditional Sports drink.  8 pouches in a box for $3.99.  I tasted the Tropical flavor and it reminded me of Kool Aid.   Uses vegetable dies for coloring.  Now that’s cool.

#6 Detour Peanut Butter Bar Lower Sugar Protein Bar.  State-of-art Protein bar  Marries test and science.  Tastes like candy bar and almost no sugar.  Sweetener is sucralose.  Supports active, healthy lifestyle and sports performance.  Whey protein is the main ingredient.  Whey is a co-product of dairy.  Great way to efficiently get protein into our body.  Absorbs quickly.  Here goes the taste test…  IT REALLY DOES TASTE MUCH MORE LIKE A TRADITIONAL CANDY BAR.  Price Point:  $1.45.  Available in GNC, Costco 7-11 and some others.

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#7 Larabar The original Fruit and Nut Bar.  2 to 9 ingredients in each flavor.  Kosher, vegan, gluten and dairy free. 

#8 Cascadian Farm Granola:  Been around since 1972.  Makes frozen fruits, frozen veggies, granola cereal and granola bars.  Very delicious.

And now to finish the margarita.  Live Blogging Done.  Out.

Did you have fun?  I did.

Yoga - mile high!

While attending a health and fitness conference in Boulder, CO my hostess and boot camp sergeant – Beth - made me run 9 miles without adjusting the altitude.  Here’s the aftermath:

I passed out and got Lucky (the dog):

After long run

Here are my new friends before our conference started:

Blogger Conference

Fabulous Amanda, Jill, Beth, Jason and moi prepare to learn how to kick it wide open in the blogging world.

I felt a bit intimidated because I have struggled with the whole blogging thing.  I blog because I love to write and those of you who know me realize I love to express myself whenever I have a chance.  I do not ever want to appear overly self-involved or self-promoting.   I desire to share my experiences with health, wellness, fitness and spirituality and hope others may be inspired to look at those areas of their life as well.  Blogging is also a coming-of-age media platform for all kinds of communication and commerce potential.  So I am figuring out my direction.  And here in Boulder it’s easy because the Rocky Mountains are to the West.  It might get hard if we spent all of our breaks like this:

Blogger Conference Onbreak

But what the heck?  Bloggers are cool and fun.  We thought we had stumbled onto the Wine Bloggers conference which is next month in Charlottesville – a lot closer to home for me.

And now for the YOGA MILE HIGH part.  Beth, Jason and I participated in the Yoga class this morning at 7.  One of us broke wind during the transition from three legged-dog to pigeon.  I’m not sayin’ a word.  Virginia Yogi’s are polite.

Having fun, learning a lot, missing my family.  Time for a little pigeon or was that pinot grigio?  Which way are the mountains again? 

Meditating early in the morning facing King Rocky.  Life is tough.  Having a good weekend?  Do you like bloggers?  Do you break wind in Yoga?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I ran into my past - literally!

We just returned from my newly anointed teenager's birthday extravaganza.  Nick, now 13, is a baseball player and fan so we took him to a Washington Nationals baseball game on Thursday.  Totally great experience.  We stayed in a hotel in the middle of Downtown DC - two blocks from Chinatown.  Here's our view:

Kids rode the Metro for the first time, a big event as we are from a (fairly) rural but up-and-coming county just West of Richmond.  I love the tranquility of our country-like setting at home but I was a wild woman dancing on the heart beat of our Nation's Capital.  So much action, so much to see, so much moving and shaking nearby.

So, of course I needed to go on a run.  We banished the children (all good swimmers, BTW) to the hotel pool and my husband and I laced up and hit the pulsating pavement.  I just followed letting him navigate traffic lights and Columbus Circle.  We ran through the Capitol grounds (saw Obama's hybrid Suburban sitting out front).

I am hoofing along at a faster clip than usual and saw this:

The Reserve Officer's Association.  BFD, you say.  But I did my internship here 22 summers ago and haven't seen it since.  This internship experience, the summer I lived in DC was hugely significant.  I lived on the campus of American University and Metroed everyday here to perform whatever task Colonel Hart and his staff desired.  Though I've been to DC numerous times, I hadn't really noticed it or looked at it or remembered the summer of 1989 with such clarity until now.  I was lost in the remembering...

That summer I turned 21 and my parents drove all the way from Richmond just to bring me a cake.  They have each since died - way too young - and I miss them so terribly.  I have a million sweet stories about them.  They are the best teachers I will ever have.  (No offense, Col. Hart).  Memories of that summer swam through my veins and I am so grateful  I remembered a young student on the cusp of womanhood ready to blaze trails.  I became inspired that it's NEVER TOO LATE.  Here I am today.
Still wanting to walk (or run or bike) new paths.  Things are different now .  A lot of Life happens in 22 years but we can navigate our current landscape as long as we believe we can. 
I ran into my past and it made me excited about my future.
I hope that happens for you.
Here's my new teenager:
My (almost) 8 year old who shares my birthday.

My 11-year-old was at a softball tournament.  We missed you Kathleen!

My lesson:
Run to your past.  Make peace.
Look ahead.  It's never too late!
BTW, the Nationals won.
What did you do this week?



Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Blueberry Experiment

Early Tuesday morning I started my Yoga class with communal chewing - of blueberries.  I was exposed to a wonderful exercise in mindfulness that involved eating chocolate slowly at Healthy Life Yoga.  We experienced the mindful pleasure of the food and it was better than....  (You know what they say about chocolate?)  Moaning happened.

I didn't think the blueberries would hold the same promise, but I thought my students might get the mindfulness thing.  So I passed out this:

I asked them to hold hold their little blue balls in their hands until we were all ready to eat.  As we did we experienced the texture, taste and change from a solid to masticated pulp.  The explosion of tart/sweet was glorious.  With that mindfulness of not missing one moment, not missing one breath, we approached our practice.  It is about experiencing every moment - not missing any savory explosion to get from one thing to another.
Transitioning from this:

(excuse the backfat - more blueberries, less cobbler)
To this:
Is just as important as this:

I want to take this lesson everywhere.  All day.  Not missing one moment.

Welcome the heat of the work of your work out.  You will explode!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My hair touched my foot

On Saturday morning I went to my (almost) weekly Bikram Yoga class.  I had a new experience.  I explored the notion of relaxing into the challenging poses.  After your body's alignment is correct - and this is critical to safe Yoga then you can let the pose come to you.  With clear intention of accepting it.  Working with the energy of the pose instead of fighting it.

With that mindset I nailed this one:

I have struggled with this because it requires both balance and strength.  Some days I'd have one and not the other.  On Saturday, my elbows finally went below my knees and I looked at my new navel ring while chewing on this delicious pose.  Happy.  Prana flowing.  The dialogue of the teacher became music and I let it sing me.  I relaxed enough not to fight with the experience just to achieve the end.  The means became the moment and it was enough.

Then my hair touched my foot in this:


I have been working on strengthening and lengthening my back while opening my hamstrings for sometime.  For the first time I melted into this and felt the arch of my foot touch my forehead.  It's strange and glorious what happens when our body does something new.  We become wide open in every way.  Spiritually and to life's possibilities.  A legal, joyous high.  I did not beg my hamstrings or back to let me feel this.  I opened the door and let it come to me.  That was enough.

So on Sunday the day was ending and I had not yet taken my run.  I sat at my computer willing myself to be motivated to write or run.  I was tired and struggled and froze in front of the screen.  I am surprised I didn't drool.  Then I remembered the beautiful young lady I saw at Mass that morning in a wheelchair.  She couldn't run.  I could.  That was enough

4 miles.  38:22.  That was enough too. 

Has one of your body parts touched another in a new way?

Friday, June 10, 2011

4 miles - hotter than shiznit

Last night was the Sportsbackers Corporate 4-miler, a big 'office party' that commences with running and ends with beer.  Yesterday, in Virginia we tied a heat record - 98 degrees.  It was 94 at 7 PM when the race started.  For those of us that like  distance, 4 miles isn't that far but last night I begged to differ. 

I convinced the people I work with (engineers) to participate in this healthy networking and wellness activity.  We formed a small team and showed up guns blazin'.  One of these brilliant minds drinks red bull all day and isn't shy in front of nicotene, another called it a 'marathon' and still another wanted to know why we only get one free beer ticket with registration.  "I thought it was going to be 'all-you-can-drink' afterwards" he says.  Julie McCoy (aka Clair Norman), crusise director, had her work cut out for her. 

Something happens to Julie at a race.  The energy takes over.  I suddenly I think I am a Kenyan - a 43- year - old bad ass and my worries about my cool (albeit quirky) co-workers vanished.  We found each other at the start - me with baggie of safety pins (once a mother, always a mother) for the bibs and my  new belly ring exposed.  I would've run naked if it was legal.  It was stinkin' hot!

And so we did it.  We had great fun.  All of us.  I work with some of the most amazing thinkers on the planet and last night their minds went in motion and they were runners too (walkers, a few).  I'm not nearly as brilliant upstairs as theses folks  but I did kick out a 9:12 pace in oppressive heat.  Not quite a Kenyan but not quite all that bad for me. 

The beer was cold and very good and I know 6 people worked their hearts last night because of me an I feel dang good about it. 

We'll be back next year. 

What did you do last night?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wine. Laps. More wine.

So today was about 107 humid Virginia degrees.  I was in and out of my car all day.  Hot.  Hot.  Hot.  I had not run or worked out and it's approaching happy hour.  Wine? - Work out?- Wine? - Work out?  Dilemna.  How about both?  Today I tried it and it was superb.  I was grilling burgers for my peeps and my Chardonnay begged me to open her.  Nice, crisp, dry white.  Lovely.  After dinner I took my 2 daughters, my son and a friend to the pool for nice wholesome fun.  I decided it was a perfect chance to kick out a few laps and get a little workout in.  I don't love to swim but I tell you it's a lot better slightly buzzed.  Very slightly.  I don't condone water and alcohol even though Jesus did it but with 5 feet depth at the YMCA to my 5' 7" frame seemed innocent enough.  And so it was.  22 laps without panic.  I tend to panic during swim workouts since I have no form, no training, and no sense of breathing while stroking.  I felt long and lean and so proud of myself for finding the moments between to exercise.  There really is no excuse not to work out.  We are NOT too busy and today I was NOT too sober or too hot to jump right in.  Next time after a real work out my wine/pool combo will look like this:


And I will look like this:


Because, I don't have to be sober to work out.  Do you?
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Because, I'm funny I said something clever.  (Maybe my mojo is coming back)  About 2 people I know, I said to a friend:  "It's really not just one of them, there is 'mutual up-the-buttedness' going on." Reciprocal amounts of ass-kissing.

You know we never really leave middle school.  I am 43 (almost) and still gossiping about how other people behave.  Bad habit.  Trying to break it.  At least I have matured enough not to use names.  Recently, I observed 2 people I know so far up each other's rear-ends, it's a wonder they can see daylight.  I noticed because perhaps I was jealous - I can admit that - jealous that I have no one kissing my ass in my world.  Jealous because if I am in the company of one of these people and the other walks nearby, I become invisible.  What is it that makes us crawl up another's butt?  Were Jennifer Lopez sitting with me I'd be so up hers I'd wallow in her lunch but come on people, I'm human and we all love celebrities.  Why do our associates become so alluring to us that we behave like starstruck middle-schoolers in their presence?  We are all human with the same light inside and the same potential and the same desire to shine.  I vow now not to worry about other's hang ups or obsessions or strange allegiances (when they aren't me, of course).  I will have wine and work out and have more wine and work out more and be the best I can be at whatever I do and at the end of the day get my head out of my own butt so I can offer you love and help and support because that's how I roll. 

I love you and your butt, but I am NOT going up it. 
I love it when I nail it.  What have you nailed lately?  Out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Missing my mojo but I'm funny

Some days I'm all that and a bag of chips.  Good hair day.  Clever conversation.  Checking things off my mile-long to do list.  Life and I are open to each other like a flower petal blooming

(Shoutin' out to my Bikram homey's - Ardha Chandrasana)

Some days - like many lately - I've lost it.  No mojo.  Nothing charming or cool or captivating about me.  I am so not in my skin.  Everything is upside down.


The Urban Dictionary says mojo originally means a charm or a spell. But now its more commonly said meaning sex appeal or talent.  A head stand on a rug with dog hair takes talent, people.  Just like this clever email exchange.  (Hope you don't mind:  Jason and Beth)

Set up:  So I am going to this health and fitness writer's conference in Boulder later this month.  I know, wahh, 'poor me' right?!  Just so happens my soul sister, Beth from ShutUpandRun! is going too.  (Did I mention I've known her for 20 years and we both like wine.  Look out.)  Lots of cool bloggers with tons of mojo will be there - like Jason.  (I hope some of it rubs off on me.)  Yesterday the conference contact sent out an email about choosing free extra-cirriculars (all clean and legal) during the event.  Here's a snippet of that e-conversation:
Conference Guy:
This email is going out to the 75 people currently registered for the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference running June 24-26 in Boulder, Colorado. We will send you a Pre-Conference Information Packet later this week via email with complete information about the conference. In the meantime, we would like to know whether you plan to participate in any or all of the following free events. All are activities you don't normally find at any conference and are great opportunities! Please hit Reply to this email and let me know if you wish to participate in any of these. All the events meet or take place at the Marriott. Some have limits but if you reply to us, you'll be registered unless we tell you it is already full. Significant others can participate IF we have room - please note that in your reply if you wish to have someone else attend an activity.
I wish to participate in:
__ Guided Hike (Friday 8:00 AM)
__ Kangoo Class (Saturday 7:00 AM) (shoe size______)
__ Yoga Class (Saturday 7:00 AM)
_ Newton Running Form Clinic (Sunday 7:00 AM) (shoe size______)
__ Ignite Fitness (Sunday during conference)
__ Martial Arts Fitness Class (Sunday 2:00 PM)
__ Guided Mountain Biking (Sunday 2:00 PM) (your height_______)

Jason:
Kangoo Class? They teach us how to act like LL Cool J and say shiznit? I am so in for that one..... OK is was really Kangol but a guy can dream can't he?
On a more serious note are you guys interested in any of these classes? I was thinking the Newton one would be interesting as well as Yoga.

Beth:
Damn I was hoping it had to do with learning to be a kangaroo - like jumping and holding babies in pouches and saying "good day mate." I'm thinking maybe yoga. I already went to the Newton thing, it's quite good though. Jason if you fart during yoga I will never forgive you. Where's the sit-on-your-ass-and-shoot-the-shit-with-friends class?

Jason:
Oh there will be farting for sure. That I have no worries about.
So get this. I have a sticker on my car that says: I PEE on the bike.
So today I am driving and I get pulled over for doing 43 in a 30 (not the funny part) but as the officer approached me he says: 'so it says you pee on your bike. and do you?'
I respond: 'yes I do'
he says: 'well to each his own I guess'
I say: 'it saves me time on my competition and I will do anything within the rules to my advantage'
he says: 'do you clean your bike?'
I say: 'yes, I do'
We then discuss triathlon and the such and it was a funny conversation. He ends with 'keep cleaning that bike ok?'Still gave me a ticket. So the sticker draws attention but won't get you out of traffic violations.

Beth:
I LOVE that story. Smiling reading it. I can just see him lifting his eyebrow, thinking "this dude is intense, pees on the bike." Imagine if the sticker was I CRAP on the bike. Real conversation starter.
If you had an SUAR sticker on there I'm pretty sure you would have gotten out of the ticket.

ME:
I am dragging my Virginia butt to Boulder I want to partay like a shiznit. I love LL Cool J I love wine, peeing in my saddle and grabbing my pouch when I hop. So as long as I am with my Beth I am happier than shiznit.

Jason:
OMG.....I just snorted in this board meeting trying to contain my laughter.
Good this it was a snort and not out the other end.

****
I'm funny.  (At least Jason thinks so.)  No mojo but I can rock some emails. 
Are you funny?
Got any mojo?