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Trend-setter. That’s one word for me.

17 Feb

What’s the word for athletic pants where there’s essentially a pantyliner sewn into the crotch so you can wear them without underwear? You know what I’m talking about, right?

Well, whoever invented those should be shot.

I was half-way through yoga yesterday, doubled-over in a forward fold, when I noticed that the seams on my pants looked odd. “Hmmm…” I wondered, “Did I put my pants on inside-out?”

Normally that’s not cause for alarm because I have three pairs of reversible yoga pants. Unfortunately, it turns out this was a different pair, which I confirmed with a quick reach to feel for a tag. I had not only one but two large tags flapping on my butt, announcing “M” for anyone who wanted to check my size.

I sighed and continued my vinyasa, thinking, “Meh – not a big deal.”

It was about ten minutes later, when our instructor told us to put our feet on the outer edge of the mat, then slowly lower into a yogic squat, that I saw the problem. I was in the front row, facing a mirror, and there – winking back at me – was a bright white triangle of cloth between my legs. I quickly lowered my hands from prayer position so I looked more like a catcher to block the cotton blaze from view.

Of course, I also started quietly snickering, finding the situation awkward but also hilarious. It only got worse when the instructor asked us to sit on our mats, extend our feet in the air in front of us, grab the bottom of each foot and open into a seated “V.”

This is what we were supposed to look like:

Image Source: http://www.betterhealthliving.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/boat-pose-yoga.jpg

Which Alan says is comical regardless of your pants.

At this point, I just muttered a, “Oh hell no…” and flopped back on my mat, silently laughing as I watched everyone else go spread-eagle.

While convulsing, I decided that before I wear those pants again, I am going to take a Sharpie and either draw a big smiley face or write “Namaste” in the center of that real estate. That way, I figure at least it would look like I’d deliberately worn them reversed if it happens again – right?

Actually, I think that’s such a great idea that I’m encouraging everyone to go to their drawers and search out any pants with a while cotton liner, and draw a smiley face on them. Because you never know. And trust me – there will be a day when you thank me. Even if it’s just when you crack yourself up every time you tug your pants down to go to the bathroom.

Image Source: http://jezebel.com/5799608/are-you-wearing-pants-this-chart-will-help-you-answer-that-question

The walking part is actually somewhat important.

15 Feb

Lincoln - pundit.com

I enjoyed my first DC walking tour so much that when we woke up last Saturday, I asked Alan, “Want to do the Lincoln Assassination Tour with me this afternoon?”

Alan, being both indulgent of me and a history lover, promptly pulled out his  phone and reserved two slots on the 4:30pm tour for us. It seemed like a clever plan at the time, but as the day wore on, it dulled a bit.

Alan needed to work for part of the day, so we decided to meet back up at 4pm and walk down to the White House together. As we shoved off from my place, Alan noticed me taking the stairs gingerly, almost sideways, at half my normal speed. “What’s going on?” he asked.

I’d done BodyPump – the intensive full-body lifting workout – at my gym the day before, the first time since Christmas. I felt a bit sore when I woke that morning, but nothing monumental. With each passing hour, however, my muscles contracted. By the time Alan returned in the afternoon, I was a bit crippled.

“Do you think a walking tour is a good idea?” he asked as we set out. I couldn’t even answer. It had seemed like a good idea, but now that I was actually trying to get somewhere on foot – not so much. But we’d RSVP’d, so there was no backing out.

As we walked down 16th Street, Alan kept checking his watch. That’s usually my job, because I’m preoccupied with punctuality. “Are we going to make it on time?” I asked, lumbering along like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man.

Alan looked at me for a moment. “Not if we continue at this pace. Can’t you walk any faster?”

I already thought I was in overdrive, but apparently not. This was a role reversal if ever there’d been one. Usually Alan is nudging me, asking if we can PLEASE slow down so he won’t over-heat.

We eventually arrived at Lafayette Park, where a group of a dozen tourists were gathered around the guide, who was patiently waiting for the late-comers to trickle in. Rather than blend with the back of the group – as I would’ve done – Alan walked directly up to the guide (same guy as last weekend) and announced to the group, “Sorry we’re late.” Then, gesturing to me, he continued, “She did a new workout routine and can’t really walk.”

Awesome. Let’s just put it out there. I gave a feeble wave to everyone as if I were a minor celebrity and loped off to lean against a post. Alan found me and sheepishly said, “Sorry about that. I guess I didn’t need to explain that to everyone.” Um, yeah.

So the tour started – and we stood in one place. As we stared at the White house, the guide set the stage.  And we kept standing – in the same place. The guide told us about the entire cast of characters, the Civil War, the grand assassination plot – and we kept standing right there. At some point, Alan leaned over and whispered, “I thought this was going to be a walking tour?”

It’s a lot to give people a two-hour lecture while standing in only six different spots. The information was great, but the tour needed to MOVE more. Especially because it was approximately 20 degrees and windy out. Everyone was rubbing their hands together, snuggling their mates, and generally trying to create a bit of body heat while basically standing still.

And that’s when I realized: I love walking tours, but weather is kind of an important factor for enjoyment. As the sun set and the temperature continued to drop, I started to become mentally surly. Although the guide was sharing good information, I would’ve tipped double if he’d scrapped his script and bottom-lined it so we could get out of there.

Lesson learned: I like walking tours – but only under the right conditions. Like when I can actually walk.

MEOW.

MEOW.

So this is what the 70′s were like…

11 Dec

Image Source: www.someecards.com

I must be a sucker because I’ve continued to explore the class schedule at my new gym. I even went back for a second BodyPump class – once I could walk again.

My biggest adventure from this past week was walking into what I thought was a regular yoga class. I set up my mat and began stretching, anticipating a mildly sweaty, aerobic workout. Then the teacher arrived and – after surveying the room – said, “Is anyone here not familiar with Kundalini?” She was looking at me.

Two of us raised our hands. “Well,” she continued, “If you came expecting a vinyasa class (meaning a lot of a movement and flow) then you need to reset your expectations.”

She wouldn’t define it beyond that. I asked, “If it’s not a vinyasa class, what can we expect?” She looked around and got  a smug smile, then said, “Oh, we call it yoga for stoners.”

Meaning what? I can just lie down on my mat and you’ll bring me brownies?

I soon found out. Here’s the nutshell: Kundalini yoga is all about cultivating energy and awareness, and you do that by breathing “fire breath” while executing various poses for four minutes each. Hint: Fire breath is just code for hyperventilating.

After our second four-minute pose – during which we were curled up in crunches hissing out fire breath – I got a charley horse in my esophagus. I’m not even sure how that’s possible, but it suddenly felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I looked around, mildly panicked, to see if other people were experiencing the same thing. Apparently not – they all were smiling tranquilly.

I will say: when your breathing muscles seize up, you certainly cultivate a new level of awareness. Fortunately, the charley horse passed fairly quickly, so I was able to hop back in for the next poses.

Things were going along smoothly until I realized that my leg was falling asleep. Almost everything is done seated, so it seemed somewhat natural that I’d lost circulation. Since everyone had their eyes shut and was hissing loudly, I straightened out my legs to provide a bit of relief. BIG MISTAKE.

I’m not sure what a pinched nerve feels like, but that’s my best guess of what happened in my leg, because as soon as I straightened it, I had shooting pain up the side, from my ankle to my hip, unlike anything I’d felt before. I began writhing around on my mat, trying everything I could think of to loosen my leg and provide some relief.

My reaction must have been normal for a newbie, because the instructor didn’t skip a beat, despite the fact that I was essentially break-dancing on my mat.

Eventually – two four-minute poses later – I was able to get things under control and rejoin in time for the final few moves.

At some point during the class, it occurred to me that this might be what non-yogis think all yoga actually is. Which made me imagine taking my mom to a Kundalini class, simply to watch her reaction. My mom doesn’t go in for anything remotely “new agey,” so I could picture her looking around the room, sizing up the situation, then declaring, “Well this is just bullshit,” and leaving.

That thought gave me the giggles, which was unfortunate, because apparently it’s traditional to close the class with a song. I was teetering on the edge of laughter, when a more Chipmunky-version of this song started play and everyone sang along:

By the end of class, I had a serious case of giggles and tears streaked my face.

I assume that’s why they call it yoga for stoners?

I might need crutches.

26 Nov

Image Source - www.fun2video.com

About seven years ago, I canceled my gym membership and started using the money on yoga studios instead. I love yoga and believe in its healing benefits, but – no matter how much I sweat or how many push-ups I do – it is NOT a gym workout.

My body has been reminding me of that lately, most frequently when I go to wave goodbye to someone and smack myself in the face with the loose skin wagging under my tricep – something my childhood friend, Ryan, always referred to as a, “Yoo-hoo.” You know what I’m talking about.

So a week ago, I bit the bullet and joined a gym. And I can’t believe how much I’ve missed it. It feels like freedom to go whenever I want. There are three locations within a mile walk of my home, and each has something different I love: a salt-water pool, a robust class schedule, a steam room.

That said, my return has not been painless. Yesterday, for instance, I made a collosol colossol HUGE mistake. I saw that there was a 45 minute “BodyPump” class and thought, “That sounds like a great alternative to just lifting on my own.” FOOL.

Tip: anything that rhymes with “Shoddy Dump” is probably a horrible idea.

If you’re not familiar with BodyPump (clearly I wasn’t!) it’s 45 minutes of lifting/squatting/pressing free weights and barbells to techno music. The music is key because it makes you do it quickly, which means that not only are you stressing your muscles, but you’re also getting all sweaty and out of breath.

It looked harmless when I walked in, though in hindsight, I should’ve realized that there was not a single YooHoo! in sight. I arrived close to the start time, so I looked around and tried to copy the props of the women around me. A step, a yoga mat, a bar with some weights clamped on, some free weight discs…

Notice how vague I was about how much weight was clamped on to the bars? Yeah, probably should’ve paid more attention. In my rushed attempt to mirror what was going on, I didn’t actually think about how much weight I’d be lifting – or the fact that the other people in the class probably weren’t brand spankin’ new.

Let’s just agree: Bad idea. About twenty minutes into class, my mouth started salivating like I was going to vomit. Since I’m competitive, I kept powering through. Finally, at the thirty minute mark, I started stripping plates off my bar, tossing them to the floor like frisbees, ego be damned. And I STILL almost fell down the stairs when class was over.

Today I’m hobbling, which doesn’t bode well for tomorrow, since everyone knows that full soreness sets in 48 hours after the activity. I’m just hoping the worst of it is behind me by Thursday so I can do arm curls with a turkey.

I would make a really bad Boy Scout. Even if I were a boy.

2 Sep

Image Source: http://neenjames.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Boy-Scout-Be-Prepared-Emblem.jpgAlan and I celebrated Labor Day weekend by attending the “Sing-Along Sound of Music” at WolfTrap with our friends Seth and Johnny. (Alan would probably like me to clarify that this was NOT his idea, and he only purchased the tickets as a demonstration of his love for me. Seth and Johnny would probably like to note that they were mainly there for the outdoor picnic.)

More on the event itself in a separate blog entry. I’d simply like to focus on the adventure that was GETTING there.

WolfTrap is an outdoor venue in Virginia, about 15 miles outside DC. Because Alan and I planned to crash at his place after the show, we decided it would make sense for Seth, Johnny and me to drive separately and meet him there. As it turns out, this was a bad idea.

I mean, from an efficiency standpoint, it was brilliant. It reduced the total number of miles driven by everyone. But it is generally a bad idea to take three urbanites and send them into Virginia without a native guide.

Oh, we did a fine job navigating to the venue. The problem was that we hadn’t realized the route required a toll road. And really, that shouldn’t have been a huge deal. But as we sat in the line of cars approaching the toll booth, we realized the error of our ways. “Crap!” I said. “I totally forgot there was a toll booth involved. Do you guys have quarters?”

Image Source: http://www2.fitforpublicconsumption.com/TollBoothPayment.jpg“No,” Seth informed me. “I don’t have ANY cash.”

“No cash?” I asked. “Not even bills?”

“None,” he confirmed, looking to Johnny, who was digging through the glove compartment, looking a bit panicked. “We have no cash.”

I was emptying my backpack on to the seat next to me, realizing with a sinking sensation that I’d left my entire wallet at home. “I have fifty cents.”

We all looked at each other. SERIOUSLY? Three adults and we only have fifty cents on us. I knew Alan – who makes a point of always having cash on him – would face-palm just thinking about it.

“What are we going to do?” Seth asked as we creeped closer toward the toll both.

“Go in the ‘Full Service’ lane,” I instructed. “Surely we’re not the first people to come through without any cash. They have to have a credit card reader in there.”

It turns out they do not. We pulled up to the booth and Seth tried to explain our plight. “Do you accept credit cards? We only have fifty cents on us.”

The guy was neither amused nor understanding. “No. No credit cards. Cash only.”

We all looked around, as if making eye contact would miraculously mint coins. “So how can we work this out?” Seth asked. “If we don’t have any cash?”

The guy leaned forward and looked around the car. “You don’t have $1.75? Among the three of you?”

Seth confirmed that we did not, but that we had a credit card we’d be happy to run. The guy looked at us as if we were a car full of liars.

Seth asked again, “So what should we do?”

The guy said, “Get a ticket mailed to your house.”

Seth asked, “How much is the ticket?”

The guy said, “$1.75,” and we began to murmur our approval of that solution. Then after a pause, he added, “Plus $25.”

Seth was aghast. “Wait. So even though I’m telling you we WANT to pay you, because we don’t have cash and you don’t have a credit card reader I’m going to have to pay an additional $25?”

The guy nodded. “You need to pull forward,” he added. “You’re holding up the line.”

“Thanks,” Seth said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “You’ve been unbelievably helpful.”

I’m just sad we weren’t dressed in costume for the show. Somehow I think there would’ve been a different outcome if he had been talking to a car full of nuns. Next year…

Image Source: http://img.wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/nun-bumper-cars.jpg

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