Tag: exercise

Sunday Chatter

In four days I’m going to get on an airplane and have a solo adventure.  If we get to keep our house, this may be the last time I go on a vacation until two or three years into my novel writing career when some royalty checks make their way to me.  (Like how I am visualizing the life I want rather than cowering under the weight of a parade of “if”s?)  So, no pressure to self, but I sure as hell better enjoy myself.  I have a plan: I’m going to eat only Mexican, Middle-eastern, and Chinese food while I’m down there.  Maybe some Greek thrown in.  I don’t eat Chinese food in Oregon.  There is no Greek food here in McMinnville nor is there a Middle-eastern restaurant in sight.  I know Portland is said to have some great Chinese and Mexican restaurants but the Mexican ones have been (at best) just decent.  I had a good burrito there with a friend but not what I’m used to.  NOT what I crave.  To offset the horrible commitment to caloric hell I will eat yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast every day and WALK WALK WALK.

I did not lose weight.  I mean, I lost 7 lbs and then I’m pretty sure I gained it back.  I’m not even willing to check.  My stress management has been crap this summer.  I was exercising a lot but then my back went out and I ate a lot of fattening food.  Dammit.  When I come back we will be in a two and a half week count down to the beginning of the school year and my plan is to kick off with a brand fresh effort at cleaning up my health all over again.  Max has decided to quit taking Kung Fu and so for now we have a little extra available money and I’m going to rejoin the regular Kung Fu classes while still taking forms.  If push comes to shove (and when doesn’t it in my life?) I will drop the classes again and stick with forms for the long term.  But for as long as I can I’m going to do both.  That’s three and a half hour’s worth of Kung Fu classes a week and I get PUSHED in those classes more than I can ever push myself at home so that will be an incredible boost of exercise.  Then I’ll have to practice.  I am NOT going to worry about practicing the material from the regular classes as much as the forms.

I just hope I won’t hurt myself much.  That constantly sends me backwards.  I know I will get where I want and need to get but I also know it isn’t going to happen even remotely as fast as I’d like it too.  I think it’s important for me to remember that I’ve kept off the top 15 pounds of my heaviest ever weight for over a year.  That’s definitely something.

Meanwhile… my ten year old has been letting loose with the teenage attitude lately and it’s been beyond annoying and tiring what with having to constantly reaffirm his boundaries.  Nine was such a sweeter year for him.  He’s so contrary and combative I really want to duct tape his mouth shut most of the day.  The only problem with that is that then I’d miss the really funny things he says in between making me want to head butt him.  It’s also a little weird that just when he’s becoming so horrid with the button pushing he also starts being more routinely helpful.  We don’t ask much of him.  This isn’t because I don’t believe children should be lazy asses.  It’s because trying to get a kid like him to help out is nearly always twice as much work for me as when I just do it myself.  He has to be closely supervised.  Usually.  Suddenly though he’s volunteering to feed the dog.  I mean he’s randomly piping up with “Has Chick been fed yet?” I say no and he goes and does it.  I say yes and he expresses disappointment.  I don’t get it.  I asked him if he’d get me more coffee yesterday morning and he did.  I ask him to go get something from the freezer outside and he does it.  So I’m wondering if this is a self defense mechanism in him- an instinctual counterpoint to the attitude so that just when I want to lock him in his room he does something completely helpful without the least bit of argument making me happy.  I don’t know.  I do know that this year has been one of the most challenging of them all as a parent.

I also can’t wait for the school year to begin again.  I have only one month to wait.  Once again I will have to say that it isn’t my goal to get rid of my child but he is so much healthier with all the structure of the school year.  Something I can’t give him in the summer.  I WORK quite a few hours of the day and don’t have time to go adventuring or managing his activities.  He loathes summer camp so we didn’t make him go this year.  His attitude is usually much better when his activities are directed all day long.

Time to go get another cup of coffee and find something to watch while sewing.  I don’t listen to music while sewing, as most people who know me know.  I like to watch familiar movies and programs.  I need the visual relief, something to rest my eyes on that isn’t my project.  Not sure what I’ll watch but I must figure it out before the heat paralyzes all of my grey cells.


Friday Night Wushu Forms

Doing forms is quiet at first.  You move through your counts carefully, ticking off each part as you do it, counting them down, moving yourself through them.  It’s casual at first.  Like you could do this in a field full of butterflies and California poppies spreading open sleepily and your muscles are relaxed and maybe a little arrogant, as though you’ve just asked them to do nothing more strenuous than a breezy morning stretch.

Then it deepens and grows weighty.  Your muscles aren’t laughing anymore because while they were making fun of your light demands they are caught off guard by how deeply you’re sinking into each move, your knees bending more, your back getting straighter, and to keep doing the moves your head must now focus on what it’s asking your muscles to do.  They must coordinate, something they do all day every day but now it’s different.  It’s different because you’re asking your body to become equine in strength.

It isn’t enough to coordinate your mind to your muscles and bring your focus into your core, you have to breathe.  Something you do every single day all day long without cessation and you might think you’re pretty good at it.  But you’re not.  So you have to focus on your breathing being even and deep and in a rhythm with your movements which are beginning to make you sweat and you will find you need more oxygen than you thought.

Then you become a body of water held together tenuously by your skin and the water is rushing and fighting to break the tension that holds it in.  Maybe it’s because you start to feel your own blood pumping through your body, like a roar in your ears, and you push it and push it and push it some more.  You have to keep it as directed as possible while pushing it.  It feels like you have become a mad river heading for your origin.  The burning you feel as your muscles try to follow the water is like light.  Everything is connected.  Everything is fluid.

That’s when you stop fighting.  You become bones, blood, oxygen, and muscle moving together in a shared language.  It’s power choreographed to look like water.


I was electrocuted yesterday.  I didn’t see it coming.  There were signs.  For one thing, Armageddon failed to impress, so obviously something else bad needed to happen to the sinners like myself, and what better than a little sudden frying of flesh?

This guy saw it coming and was actually trying to send me a warning message telepathically which, afterwords, I translated as “Don’t touch that fence.  Seriously, lady, that wire is charged.  Are you a fucking idiot to not listen to me?  Stop- don’t- yeah.  You’re dumber than a pile of pellets.”  It HURT.  It was startling and weird.  I’ve had little shocks a couple of times before but this went THROUGH me, buzzing.  It was also embarrassing.  Naturally I immediately had to tell someone.  So I told my mother, who was waiting at some distance from the goats with her salivating dog, that I’m as dumb as a pile of pellets.  I patted her on the back and told her not to sob too hard over all her shattered hopes and dreams for me.  There are still group homes and rousing games of Go Fish for people like me.

All those farmers who say their fences aren’t charged strongly enough to hurt their animals are lying.  I realize that those fences are effective, but don’t tell me they don’t hurt cause they do.  All this excitement took place at Max’s charter school.  These windows you see above are his school building which is located on some church property behind which is goat pasture.  He goes to school in the real countryside in an old decrepit gymnasium.  It’s not for everyone but as Max pointed out, we’re a funky family.  School ends for him in three days.  He’s been going for two and a half months and he claims not to have had a single bad day at school.  I’m a realist and know he’ll have them at some point, but it’s looking like he might not have his first bad day there until next year.  Is it weird that I’m not sure if he’s graduating as a fifth or a sixth grader?  Yes.  We’re hardly living a usual life and this kind of stuff happens in irregular lives all the time.  He’s been doing some high school math, apparently.  And he may be ten years old entering seventh grade.  I was 12 years old entering 7th grade.  The kid will do alright.

A little suddenly, we’ve decided that we can just afford for me to go to Blogher 2011 in San Diego.  I wasn’t going to push to go, originally, because I am allergic to southern California.  It’s the land of eternal and purgatorially perpetual sunshine.  It’s bright as HELL down there unless the smog is especially thick and then you can’t even go outside unless you want to get instant cancer.  They have this thing called Santa Ana winds which blow 120° gusts of wind at you and fry your skin until it feels like cracklins.  I know whereof I speak.  I have been to southern California many many times.  I have family down there and consequently, most summers, we took a family trip down to LA hitting La Costa, Carlsbad, and San Diego.    I have many poignant memories of our Ford Van crawling up the grapevine, me counting the number of smoking cars on the roadside that broke down because their radiators couldn’t take the crazy pounding heat, me imagining us breaking down and a week later the highway patrol finds our vulture picked sun-bleached bones.  When we reached the top and saw Los Angeles sprawling like a malignant sore across the landscape we saw it through visible waves of heat rolling across the road.

On the other hand, my sister has made her home in Los Angeles (she refuses to live her life according to the comfort of my skin) and that’s only a couple of hours from San Diego.  I couldn’t possibly go down to the mouth of hell just for a Blogher conference, but the chance to see my sister was enough to tip the balance.  So I’m going.  Even though I promised I would never travel again as a fat person.  Nor see all those cute pretty women looking chic and getting drunk while my stomach protrudes farther out than my boobs.  Being fat in hot weather is definitely the worst, the humidity in New York definitely made me look like a really creepy sausage person with a sheen, but I had so much fun anyway.  So I caved to my desire to take part in the panels and to see my workmates and bosses.  I caved to the overwhelming desire to have a week away from my family, all to myself, with my camera, walking until my shoes fill with blood and I wash them in beer (or maybe the Pacific Ocean).

I’m going.  I’ve already been doing things to take better care of myself in general and this trip has given me the push I need to make greater strides.  Before this sudden decision to go, I weighed myself.  I haven’t done so in months because I know what I’ve been eating and drinking and I wasn’t eager to find an excuse to hate myself.  Kindness seemed like not knowing too much and working blind to improve my self discipline.  I was surprised to find that I had not reached my highest weight again, or if I did (who can say what truth the scale may have revealed in January?) my recent efforts have kept me 13 lbs under that depressing top weight.  This was pleasing.  But what’s better is that in the past 5 days I’ve lost more weight.  Exercise + less cheese + less beer = less weight.  That’s an equation that nearly always works.  But do any of you remember all those years when I was plugging in the factors and coming up with this: exercise + less cheese + less beer = 20 lbs weight gain?  When I gained weight no matter what I did I seemed to constantly spiral downwards emotionally and upwards weight-wise.  So regardless of whether or not I maintain the self discipline necessary to lose weight, what is uplifting is that my body is working like it should again.  I have not forgotten (and if I’m being honest, I am still traumatized) all those years of frustration when my body wasn’t doing what it should have been doing.  Paxil did me many great services (sleeping at night even though an earthquake could happen at any time is a luxury I didn’t have before paxil) but that weight gain was evil and has damaged my self esteem severely.  I’m recovering.  Things are behaving the way they should scientifically behave.  I’m making effort and seeing results.  This gives me hope.  It is a world I understand.

After so many times I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and put the boxing gloves back on here in public only to fall flat on my face again, I’m reluctant to discuss it over-much.  I’ll probably be fat the rest of my life.  I’m not going to record the minutiae of my efforts here with regards to food and weight.  Not unless there’s some philosophical angle I’m thinking about.  I just thought I owed it to long time readers and friends to report that there really was something working against me all those years that was out of my control and if I do stay fat now, it’s definitely my own doing, and I can live with that.  But all those times I complained, railed, cried, and pounded the walls in frustration and gave up and resumed poor habits because- why not?, that wasn’t because I was failing myself.  I think I spend enough time taking responsibility for myself, for my life, for my mishaps, that it’s a relief, for once, to know that something WASN’T MY FAULT.

I’m amazingly sore today from practicing forms and walking distances.  It’s good to be sore from physical efforts that my body craves.  I love walking more than any other exercise.  I walk fast, in case you don’t know that from the personal experience of walking with me.

I need a striped sun hat.  The kind you can crush in your luggage and reconstitute.

I am really happy that the death penalty is now administered by lethal injection in most places.  Not that I’m a big fan of capital punishment, in general.  I am a fan of it in very very limited circumstances which I’m not going to explain right now.  Electrocution is truly ghastly.  Farm animals everywhere think we humans suck.  Oh, for so much more than the electric fences.  Our crimes are huge, but that one, that one is such an insult.  I get it.  I’m with the goats.  I’ve always loved goats.  I now think they may be smarter than humans.