Friday, October 28, 2011

RE: (Humor) Care to take a poll? Pole fitness that is...THE NORTH AND SOUTH POLE

The North and South Pole

I’ll try just about anything (legal) once which is what propelled me into giving pole fitness a whirl. Literally.

The week leading up to the event I gleefully told anyone I came eyeball-to-eyeball with about my impending class. I loved seeing the look on their faces; something akin to horror and curiosity – horriosity maybe.

Eventually it dawned on me I needed to quit fooling around and prepare for the class mentally and physically.

Thus, I commenced with carrying out the equivalent of balloon flight offloading of unnecessary items and applied it to unnecessary calories.

I didn’t just purchase fruits and vegetables, so they could sit prettily in hand-painted bowls, but I actually ate them. All of them. All of the time. Because I was starving.

Then I turned my attention toward mental preparation. I needed to become at one with my not-as-yet-grasped pole. Be the pole.

I envisioned a mini training pole that I would twirl like a middle-aged Ninja, in readiness for the full Monty, so to speak. Then “wa-cha,” (a well-known Ninja sound effect), it would unfurl into full-scale and I would install it as easily as a shower curtain rod, albeit in a different direction.

My pole fitness instructor would be my Miyagi and it would feel as though I had been waiting my entire life for this moment. Okay, then I snapped to, hitting the humbling reality that was my pole. Literally.

As it turns out pole dancing is more pole than dancing.

Though Cirque de Soleil has never come knocking on my door, I have been dancing my whole life, even matriculating toward a dance minor and performing in a dance company. I was amazed at how well all of that did NOT prepare me for this particular foray.

I had fun stretching to the upbeat pop tunes and, initially, I was all sensuality and smiles as I shimmied closer to my pole. I’m on my way, oh, sexy, silent sentry.

As long as I was swinging along as though I was clutching a benign maypole I was in decent shape. Literally.

Arches, hip rolls, galloping horsie kicks. All good. Until we initiated our choreographed routine.

As executed by me, it did not manifest so much as an artistic form of expression, as it did a survivalist’s form of expression illustrating what it looks like to be hanging outside a 40-story building by a pole.

As I watched our teacher demo how the piece was supposed to be performed I realized I was so far out of my league I didn’t have a league.

Additionally, it is not a welcome sight to be standing adjacent to a reed thin pole in comparison to my not-so-reed-thin-like physique.

A few moves sent me into an ice skater death spiral, only I wasn’t on ice or skates and I was spinning on a pole.

The mirrored room that had looked so inviting when I arrived now garishly reflected my moves from the perspective of a fun house mirror. It mocked my every purposeful and not-so-purposeful move with exaggerated reflections of an act gone dreadfully wrong.

(By the way, screaming “Here I go!” does nothing by way of mastering the routine or scoring “pretty points.”)

The solution, and as it turns out the problem, was body weight. Not only was I attempting to launch, hold and swing my Rubenesque lusciousness up and onto a pole, but we were schooled to use our body weight for momentum. Uh-oh.

While our instructor beautifully rocked to and fro, using her pole as a prop that accentuated her lithe stature, flowing flexibility, and athletic prowess I was juxtaposed as the opposite of all that. I had taken my own advice to “be the pole” to heart; stiff, immovable, unable to change my form.

I’ve never been known for my skills at defying gravity as my severe pommel horse flashbacks will attest.

At one point I had the oddest sensation that I was being watched. As I glanced out the window I saw a group of someones standing in the parking lot – no less than 20 of them – watching my one-ring circus act due to my awesome pole positioning.

Pole fitness should encourage the inner vamp in you. For me, instead of a “come hither” look I had more of a “come hither and take me down” look.

While it was all good fun I’m not sure whether I’ll be working pole fitness into my regular exercise schedule.

I’m still undecided. Maybe I need to take a poll?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Re: (Humor) Julia's Child...the cheffing gene skipped a generation, landing firmly on Generation Y-ME?!

Julia’s Child

My kids are often the subject of my columns. Truth be told, so are my pets, my husband, and anyone, (or thing), that crosses my path, really. That’s how it works when you’re an observational comic.

Because of this my friends require assurance whenever they do something even marginally amusing, “Oh, no! That’s not going to be in your column, is it?”

Uh, no, huh-uh. Of course not. Certainly not without a drastic renaming, rewriting, or retelling applied to the whole thing.

Which brings us to this week’s installment spawned by my spawn. I didn’t even have to leave my house for this one, thereby negating the need for a change out of my “house shorts” or a comb-out of my “house hair.”

The topic? Food. Specifically: The cooking of it.

A funny thing happened on the way to my snazzy black and white checkerboard-floored kitchen. I met up with my youngest who was cooking.

Lest I under-present this finding, she wasn’t just cooking, she was cheffing. In fact, it looked like minute number twenty-two in a professionally produced thirty-minute Food Network show.

I stood there motionless and mesmerized in the presence of this culinary whiz, what with the professional chopping, scrumptious smells wafting, and foodstuffs sizzling.

Though I’ve prepared adequate feed-the-machine offerings for my family over the years, (something I’ve detailed in a column or ten), it is not my special gift.

Consequently, my style of cooking can best be described as home cooking with a dash of low fat applied to it: Low Home Cooking.

And speaking of lo, lo these many years I’ve yearned for an in-house chef. Did the universe hear my not-so-silent pleas?

After two decades of serving tolerable meals no one is more amazed than me at the bounty procreation has gifted me with in the form of children who produce gastronomic delights. Perhaps this culinary mutation occurred in self-defense.

It is the youngest, however, who has gone beyond all measure, as she rolls out, often literally, delicacies and delights that confirm my belief in miracles.

Gourmet Girl can magician together three seemingly ordinary ingredients she excavates from my understocked larder and – wha-la – the creation of an exquisitely memorable repast.

At first I’m sure folks thought I was bragging in that parental Lake Woebegone, “all the children are above average” way, but then Julia’s Child proffered her homemade fare to the masses. All that’s left now is the shouting – for more!

And her inspiration? Well, it’s a Dean, but it’s not her Mama Dean. It’s Paula Deen. Therefore her not-so-secret ingredient for everything is about two sticks of luscious butter.

Oh, the rivers of beautiful, sunny, delicious butter that flow through these sumptuous meals. We’re talking down-home biscuits and gravy, the best hamburgers I have ever chowed down and mouthwatering casseroles, cobblers, and candies, oh my!

At any moment I’m expecting Guy from that “Dine and Dash” program to show up at our house touting our dining room as an unknown gem of an eatery in the Gold Country.

The cuisine my culinarian produces would make a fitness trainer weep. This is both due to its innate ability to tip the scales unfavorably in the Battle of the Bulge as well as for the sheer beauty of the bounty that lies waiting to be forked in at record speed.

I’ve even instituted a little game I like to play that marginally amuses our chef-in-residence called, “Surprise me!”

I tell her, “I’m thinking basil, apples, and chicken for a meal. Surprise me!” Just thinking about the results always sets my tail to wagging.

The only problem is that I’ve noticed lately it’s getting a wee bit more difficult to lift the aforementioned tail, but oh, how it’s worth it.

Hum, worth. Mrs. Butterworth. Gosh, I could really go for some of those homemade banana nut pancakes Chef girlardee makes.

Do you think her teacher would mind if I texted her while she’s in her math class?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

RE: (Humor)...ere's (ears) a little column about fitness "Sometimes It's Just Too EAR-LY"

Sometimes It’s Just Too EAR-LY

I “treat myself” to daily exercise and, oddly enough, I really do enjoy it, never considering it torture or anything negative. Until I attach technology to it.

At this juncture let us start the clock.

8:01 a.m.

I head over to the fitness center.

8:02 a.m.
But, alas, poor Yorick, this particular morning it got ugly immediately. Essentially, because my keen observational skills led me to note a couple of integral items absent from their usual spot in my rolling locker, known as a car.

Not only was my water bottle missing in action, but so were the ear buds that go with my iPod. I absolutely cannot gallop on the treadmill sans music.

8:22 a.m.
Being a somewhat resourceful woman, with cash in her change tray, off I went to purchase my auditory accessory.

8:32 a.m.
Arriving at my health club, new headphones at the ready, I hop onto the treadmill. With my keen investigational skills I notice straight away that something is awry.
The wires are quite tangled up. No problem. I can take care of that in under three minutes, leaving plenty of time before my looming 10:00 a.m. dental appointment.

8:42 a.m.
All right, so that wasn’t my personal untangling best. I’m ready now. I’ve even tucked a tissue into my pants, just in case. (It’s best not to ask, “Just in case what?”)
I swig down some water to quench the thirst I’ve developed as a result of my exhausting trek from the parking lot. Here we go.

8:50 a.m.
I’m into the zone for about eight minutes, burning enough calories to enable me to eat a lemon juice enhanced green salad for dinner. Now it’s time to access that motivational music. Let’s insert those ear buds.

8:51 a.m.
This is when I notice that one of those black cover thingies is missing in action. No biggie. I’ll just wear them anyway. (In about a minute it will become clear why these items are crucial.)

8:52 a.m.
I cannot get the danged things in, but I doggedly attempt to retain some semblance of a fast walk. I have now logged in approximately 8 minutes of exercise time.

8:59 a.m.
I am convinced I have punctured my left ear drum as I repeatedly insert and re-insert the ear bud without the cover. Contrary to what the manufacturer may have claimed, shoving the equivalent of a rubber Q-tip into the ear is not well-received by the ear.

9:06 a.m.
I spend the next 7 minutes playing around with these minuscule instruments of torture as I attempt to remember the reason I’m here; to work out my body, not my ear canals.

9:22 a.m.
“Viola!” They’re in! I am 16 minutes into the apex of this session when I realize I’ve got music pumping into my cranium at an insanity-inducing volume. The tunes are reverberating around the walls of my mind, the resultant effect being a tad bit disorienting. I need to adjust the volume or my ear canal is going to invert itself and jump out of my head.

9:23 a.m.
I struggle to maintain my stride, noting that I am almost out of time as I am perilously close to the 30-minute limit imposed by the club.

9:30 a.m.
I’m so nervous about getting kicked off the machine that I accidentally hit the cool down button. I act as though I meant to do it and bellow, “Whew!” just in case anyone is watching and rating my level of work-out intensity.

9:31 a.m.
Knowing I have barely enough time to get my heart rate up, I hit “quick work-out,” but for some reason I get diverted. That’s when I make a rookie error and bend over to take a look at my shoelaces.

9:35 a.m.
I knock the buds right out of my ear sockets and in trying to catch them I come close to pulling my knee out of its socket.

9:37 a.m.
Another couple of minutes elapse as I assess my patella for potential damage, sidling through the rest of what is now my second cool down. Dismounting I feel the white hot glare of waiting members upon me which causes me to finally break into a sweat.

9:38 a.m.
I limp over to the free weights where others are hard at work grunting, sweating, straining, and flexing. The more talented patrons accomplish this all at the same time.
As I belly up to the weight bar I overhear a woman saying she wished she had music because it makes the time go by so much faster.

They really should sell headphones in six-packs.