We interrupt this 31 Days of Movement to bring you a guest post at Mary Beth Pavlik’s blog. I wrote about my undying devotion to goat cheese. It’s my favorite thing (aside from coffee – and possibly Chianti – of course).
This week is crazy. I am finishing up my 31 Days series. I am getting the next installment of Fishbowl ready to send to Andi for editing. I am also doing all the NaNoPrep that I didn’t do this weekend, because I was busy learning crochet and Italian, eating soup, and buying books. That involves completing my outline (I’m going to try to be a planner instead of a pantser this year…we’ll see how that goes), meal planning, and delegating some tasks that would use the time I need to spend writing.
Oh, and I also have two other jobs.
So this week, the movement will happen, but it will have to be fast.
I can do ten minutes of ballet, kickboxing, boot camp, yoga, or Pilates, and then I can move on to one of the other ten million things on my to-do list. I’m going to do the ballet part today.
If you are strapped for time, I recommend this video.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go conquer my week.
During my Smallville fandom days, I received a recommendation from one of the people whose fanfiction I read for Why Girls Are Weird by Pamela Ribon.* If you have ever participated in online community, blogging, etc. (hint: you are participating in it right now), you might like this book. I love it. I read it in one day, and it is still one of my favorite books. It’s one of the books I take off the shelf when I’m tipsy and read to people (because at a certain level of tipsy, I become convinced that this is what the people want).
One of my favorite chapters gives a script for the main character’s experience with Billy Blanks’s Tae Bo workout.* It closely resembles my own experience with Tao Bo. She talks back to it (as do I – he asks questions!). She muses about what the downstairs neighbor must be thinking (I thought about it…then I decided I probably don’t want to know). She stumbles and steps on the cat (I relate to the stumbling part, and if I had a cat, it would have to learn to stay out of the way).
Billy Blanks entered my life back when I had cable and insomnia and thus watched infomercials a lot. After seeing the commercial eleventy dozen times and jumping up to work out with the people on the TV, I finally caved and ordered the videos.
After they arrived, I became obsessed. I probably went through the basic routine every day for the first month. Then it was every other day. Then I moved on to the accelerated video. I got pretty good at it. The don’t-hurt-yourself principles were basically the same as the ones learned in dance, and the moves are pretty simple, so I caught on quickly.
I also may or may not have started acting a little more physically aggressive in other areas of life. I would practice on people – not in a mean way, but in a way that helped me with my placement (you know…like you do in self-defense classes). I have taken self defense classes, but it was Billy Blanks who taught me to find the strength in the movement and to control where my foot goes when I kick.
I still have the VHS tapes. The tape is worn thin in places, but that did not stop me from popping that bad boy in and seeing how far I could get into the video yesterday. I got almost all the way through the half hour one. I even did the jumping jabs part.
You’re welcome, guy downstairs. I bet he’ll be glad when this 31 Days series is over and NaNoWriMo begins.
Yesterday, my sister and I met Margat at Ol’ South for (late) breakfast before hitting the Fort Worth Friends of the Library Book Sale. I enjoy book sales at the Denton Library, but the one in Fort Worth is massive, so I like to make it to that one at least once a year if I can. I especially like to make it on $15-a-box day, which is what yesterday was. Happy.
Step 1: Carb loading at Ol’ South (mmm…Belgian waffle…).
Step 2: Drive to the FW Friends of the Library Bookstore. Follow the crowd to either of the large surplus rooms near the store.
Step 3: Put your name on one of the empty boxes in the corner.
Step 4: Get a handheld basket.
Step 5: Go a little crazy.
I made out like a bandit:
Those two boxes represent several hours of collecting a basket of books and hauling them over to my little corner of the room where the treasures I found were being held. It was a lot of work. I sweat a lot. My arms and legs are sore today.
Then I came home and hauled all of them up the stairs. Then I took a nap.
I made some great finds. Lots of Isabel Allende that I didn’t have before. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Many books to fuel my Feast course (including a copy of The Joy of Cooking, which I’ve always wanted and just never got around to buying).
But I think my favorite find was this one:
I feel that the person who came up with that title could be my friend.
So that was my movement for Sunday. Now to find a place on the shelves for my new books…
Most Saturdays are spent at home, but today was a busy day. Our church hosted its annual Empty Bowls Luncheon. Basically people make bowls all year long – paint, glaze, fire, the whole bit – and people volunteer to make soup or donate an item they’ve made for the silent auction in order to raise money for a local soup kitchen and a local food pantry. Tickets are $20 apiece, and you get to choose a bowl to take home. This is the one I chose:
Normally, October 25 would be a grand day to hold this event. As we are in Texas, however, the weather does what it wants. Today, it wanted to be 90 degrees outside.
Not exactly soup weather, but there seemed to be a nice turnout all the same.
This afternoon, I took a beginning crochet class. It was a hot walk to class and back to my car, which I intentionally parked a few blocks farther away than necessary so I could add a little extra activity. I did a whole lot of hanging out in front of the fan when I got home.
But I walked, and that counts.
In many ways, this month is going exactly as I had planned. I am finding workable ways to become less sedentary. I am having fun with it. I even had a good time at the grocery store. Dance is a regular part of my life again.
In some ways, though, it’s been hard. Of course, it’s always a challenge to change a habit or add a new one. It’s been more humbling than I expected. It’s disheartening to experience how out-of-shape I am when I try to reintroduce things that I used to do all the time.
Friday was all of those things.
The theme of the dance party this week was music from my childhood. I put on my Girl Child of the 80s mix on Spotify, and I prepared to be transported back to the days when my sister, our neighbor Ginger, and I would choreograph dances to our favorite songs. We would even videotape ourselves and force our parents to watch them (you’re welcome, Mom and Dad). We had a few routines, but mostly, it was freestyle.
Friday’s dance party lasted about ten minutes. 80s music is exhausting, particularly when a person tries to do the same routine for Material Girl she used to do when she was in junior high as if she’s still that skinny and energetic.
Now, I don’t expect at 39 to have the same energy that I had at 13. I did expect to make it through the song, though.
Most of the time, I find these moments motivating. Recognizing my current limit just gives me a starting point for gauging progress.
But this week was rough. I wasn’t looking for a starting point. I was looking to have a little fun and then go on with my evening. Instead, I got exhausted, frustrated and pouty. I quit, stretched a little, had a glass of wine, and went to bed early. I regret nothing.
Well, except maybe the cultivation of a lifestyle that makes it impossible for me to get through a simple dance routine. Maybe I regret that a little. I’m sure in a few months, when I’m in better shape and I am able to make it through multiple songs, or maybe even in a few days when I am surprised to find something less difficult than I thought it would be, I will look back on this day and be able to extend grace to myself.
Right now, though, I’m just discouraged.
Traditionally known as that awkward dance you do when you are trying to pass someone in a busy aisle at the grocery store, the Supermarket Shuffle is my name for adding movement to a necessary errand. It will add a little extra time to this errand, so if you are a person who would rather gnaw your own arm off than spend an extra second in the grocery store, skip it. For the rest of you, read on.
Supermarket Shuffle looks like this:
1. Leave all children at home with your co-parent, a friend, or a babysitter. If you cannot do this, I do not suggest this activity unless you make them an integral part of it. This requires planning. For small children, something like “find all the green things” works. Older children can actually help you price-check and practice their practical math skills by doing so. If, however, there are children involved and you have no plan, I recommend getting shopping done as quickly and with as few spills and tears as possible. One must survive to thrive.
2. Walk into your grocery store of choice. Pick up a handheld basket. The reason for the handheld basket is twofold:
- Carrying your groceries burns more calories than wheeling them around.
- Carrying your groceries makes you think twice about whether what you put in the basket is something you really want to buy or not. For example, are those pastries really worth the trouble of carrying them around? Probably not (not to me, anyway). Wine, however, I will carry to Canada and back. Carrying a basket can tell you a lot about your priorities.
Some of you might be saying, “I can’t fit all my groceries in a basket! That’s madness! I have a family of five, and I only go to the store once a month!”
To these people, I say, “You are probably right. You have more mouths to feed and probably more storage room in your kitchen than I do. Our shopping needs are different. You have permission to skip this step.”
3. Do a lap. Walk down every aisle. Put nothing in your basket during this step. This is the information-gathering portion of the trip. This adds movement to your day, but it also gives you the opportunity to notice all the deals and specials that were on the mailer that got tossed into the recycling bin too early.
4. Do a second lap, this time filling your basket with the things on your list, as well as things you noticed on the first walk around the store that you need or want badly enough to carry them around. Go down every aisle again, even if you don’t need something on the aisle.
[I never said this activity was efficient. And yes, you will feel weird the first time you do this. Your feelings are valid. It's a weird thing to do. Embrace the weirdness.]
5. Check out. There’s no way to add movement to this, unless you march in place or something while doing it. Yes, you do look silly, and yes, I do applaud you. I probably won’t be joining you, though.
6. If you are in one of those places where store employees still ferry your groceries to the car for you, offer to do it yourself. They will probably argue (politely, of course) with you, but stand firm. Remember – carrying things burns more calories than not carrying things.
[If you are not in one of those places where this is still a thing, then just proceed as normal and forget I said anything. Store employees don't do that. I don't know where you heard that from.]
7. Once at home, unload all the groceries yourself. This, of course, is a given if you live alone. But if you don’t, fight the urge to
plead with instruct your people to help. This is more impressive if you are a buy-all-the-things person who brazenly skipped the first step. In fact, I so despise unloading the car after a big shopping trip, you get extra points if you do so.
[If you really want to add extra activity to your life, let's coordinate shopping schedules. You can help me unload my car and drag everything upstairs. I would sacrifice my extra movement for you. What can I say? I'm a giver.]
Although this will take more time than you usually allot for grocery shopping, the extra time pays you back in bargains found, better choices made, and calories burned. So really, it’s the more efficient than it seems.