If I Could Read, I Wouldn’t Need Help. Also Wine

The winds are blowing heavy today; my brain seems to be melting in the heat and I’m having difficulty concentrating on anything longer than three words.  At least, that’s what I’m saying.  “It’s all of this heat.  I’m not used to it” when really, it’s all of this old age and peri-menopause crap that’s beginning to break down my will to exist with patience and some semblance of logic.  Intelligence has taken a back seat to convenience and I’m having a hard time concentrating.  It’s like I’m four years old all over again and if someone could constantly feed me and keep me entertained, I’m happy.  Piss me off and take away my favourite toy and watch out!

You better have a stick of chocolate in that other hand or I may punch you in the throat.

Coach put out a notice of how the new payment system is going down. I SWEAR TO GAWD I READ IT.  I really did.  I think.  Today, I spoke like I knew what I was talking about, because my erroneous brain decided I DID KNOW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT.  I knew shit.  I got it all wrong.  IF I HAD READ THE ENTIRE PASSAGE I PROBABLY WOULD BE ABLE TO DECIPHER THINGS BETTER.  She may need to post stuff in all caps.  Or be more sarcastic.  Or have a caption that read WINE, and then proceed to print things in clear concise point form without all of the flowery language of using proper grammar

and words like “the” and “and”.  Ugh

Today’s post of PLEASE READ was okay, but she really should have specified it to be PLEASE READ then below that heading, have “AND WINE”.  That would get peoples’ attention.  At least the fifty-somethings like me would have shit to look forward to and not aimlessly read without concentrating on the actual context of the message.  We would be reading to get to the good part about the wine…IS THERE WINE?  Oh, look I have to actually pay her…IN WINE?  THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.  EVERYBODY PAY IN WINE!!!  WHO WAS THE BRILLIANT PERSON WHO CAME UP WITH THAT?!

Nevermind.  That’s how I would decipher the entire message.  YOU HAVE TO PAY COACH AT THE END OF JULY IN WINE.  I READ IT.  ALL OF IT AND THAT’S WHAT IT SAID. NOW, DON’T BOTHER ME I NEED TO EAT MY CHOCOLATE.  DANCE, HEATHEN!   DANCE!

I also have issues with deciding if I should wear pants, so really, I should be excused from answering questions and deciphering texts.

Ps.  Dear Boss, if you want to pay me in wine, I’d be okay with that.  Thanks!  KJ

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Just Breathe

I was in my bootcamp class today, mid-mountain climbers, and realized I was holding my breath.  “Oh, Gawd BREATHE”.

It’s not the first time during exercising I’ve had to remind myself to breathe.  I often find myself holding my breath doing whatever it is, then realize that turning blue in class is probably not a good idea.  Also, being passed out on the floor would likely be frowned upon…not to mention a tad embarrassing.  “HEY COACH, WHY IS SHE LYING DOWN?!  IS THIS A NEW BURPEE MOVE WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT?!”  Then, everyone would be pissed and trying to do the new move that’s really not new, I’m just PASSED OUT THANKS, BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME.  Now, I’ve taken to telling myself to breathe before class starts and whenever I find myself getting too caught up in an exercise.  It’s also a good idea to remind oneself to BREATHE during the day, even when not doing Burpees x 100, or face down doing plank jacks.

It’s not something that one should forget easily, I mean, breathing is as natural as, well, breathing but today I did catch myself NOT breathing.  It got me wondering how many other times I neglect to breathe during simple things and should be more self-aware.  Like, do I forget to breathe when I’m driving?  When I’m sleeping?  When I’m working?  HOW DOES SOMEBODY FORGET TO BREATHE?!  It’s ridiculous, really.  It’s like saying “Oh, I forgot to eat today.”  THAT NEVER HAPPENS TO ME.  Or, I FORGOT TO BUY WINE.  If that happens, I’m sure to be headed for the home.  So how does something so basic, so part of BEING HUMAN, be forgotten?

I guess it’s in line with so many other basic nuances of being a person that gets shoved aside during a busy day or week or life.  We forget to appreciate a warm day, a smile from someone we haven’t seen in a while, or a hot cup of coffee.  We forget what being little is like or that being a teen is dramatic and exhausting, and being a young adult can be scary.  We forget that not so long ago, the internet was new and exciting technology and playing hide and seek outside was the ONLY thing we did that was fun.  We forget that the simple act of walking is a gift many of us cannot enjoy and that living and breathing every day, is our greatest joy. We forget the basic simplicity of being human; the basic everyday pleasure of being alive and breathing.

Trying to be mindful and self-aware takes practice; one that I am in need of, obviously.  I read that a simple deep breath can calm your system down and give you the much needed oxygen to your brain to enhance those thinking cells and good vibrations.  It releases bad toxins and gets some much needed space to feel rejuvenated and refreshed.  A simple deep breath can do all of that.  Huh.

So can a bottle of wine, but usually drinking at one’s place of employment is not looked upon favourably.  AND, side plank with a sip-dip, anyone?  Yeah.  New exercise.  BYOB…

I have to try to remember to just breathe through all of that negativity people throw around like, “You’re doing that wrong” or “You should really rethink that shirt” or “Giving people the finger through their office door is not the professional behaviour we expect of you.”

IT WAS ONLY ONE TIME AND I FORGOT I HADN’T HAD A BREATH IN A WHILE.

GAAAWWWWDDDDD.

I’m going to go take a few deep breaths, now and appreciate that I CAN.

And open that wine…

Sip and breathe, and sip and breathe….

Me. After wine.

Is Drinking Considered a Complex Movement?

As I get older, I realize I’m not as adept as I once was.  Not that I was ever a ballerina with grace and balance, but at least I could coordinate walking and talking simultaneously.  Now, I can’t even lift my leg and opposite arm at the same time without falling, or worse, trying not to fall and instead, revert into a spastic-quazi-save-myself-from-further-humiliation-by-propelling-myself-forward kind of move.  Which, by the way, never works and looks a million times more awkward than it sounds.

Bootcamp has always been a challenging experience for me from my first day almost three years ago, right up to today.  Coach has decided the internet is fraught with ‘great interesting complex moves that we all should embrace into our repertoire!’  We think she should be banned from the internet.

‘Complex movements’ is just another phrase for lift-leg-while-standing-backwards-and-pushing-something-really-heavy.  I clearly have issues with ‘complex movements’.  If I could lift my leg whilst lifting a sandbag over my head and twirl around on my tippy toe, do you think I would be nervous about wearing heels and walking on a tile floor?  I CAN’T DO THAT SHIT.   I try.  I fall.  I try again.

Then we all laugh…well, I laugh.  I’m thinking people don’t notice because they’re trying just as hard as I am to stay balanced and semi-dignified looking.  Or maybe they’re actually well-balanced yoga-mamas who CAN stand on one foot and hold a 20pound weight over their heads while closing their eyes.  WE CAN’T BE FRIENDS.  Just so you know.

Until the next class when there’s yet another new move involving weights, the TRX and the Bielman spin thrown in for good measure.  

It’s this while spinning around at 100km an hour.  On skates.  It should come as no surprise, that I can’t stand upright on skates, either. Just sayin’.

I’m practicing the new scissor- kick-from-side-plank-position-then-plank-push-up move.  I’M NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP.  That was merely ONE of today’s new complex movements.

In my case, it totally didn’t happen.  I couldn’t lift my leg, hence the whole need to practice thing.  I did lift the sandbag over my head!  But there was no spinning nor lifting my leg over my head which was probably a good thing, or else I would have looked like Mr. Bean trying to Waltz.  I was just trying to make myself feel better by patting myself on the back for completing an exercise without smashing my face into the ground.

I’m holding my breath for Friday’s class.  If there is any utterance of ‘a new exciting complex movement’ I’m silently protesting by disconnecting her internet.  And hoping sitting against a wall while reciting the Ode to Newfoundland counts as a Complex Movement.

Maybe there’s a new and exciting exercise involving a wine glass balancing on a tray whilst you simultaneously pour the wine from the bottle with the other hand without spilling!

THAT’S A COMPLEX MOVEMENT I CAN GET BEHIND.

And one I’d probably have to practice because of the whole glass-balancing-on-a-tray thing….

It’s a struggle.

* Author’s note: Coach has corrected me in saying these movements are in fact termed Compound not Complex as I have repeatedly stated. Ma bad. THEY ARE COMPOUND COMPLEX MOVEMENTS now. We changed it. You. Are. Welcome.

My Fitness Journey

By the time this post is published, I will be standing at the foot of the starting line of a 10 mile road race. This starting line isn’t just any starting line. It is the culmination of two years of work. I also will be turning 51. Yes, I’m running a race on my 51st birthday with 5,000 of my closest friends. Yay!  I decided to do the race, not because I was bored, but because it will mean something. The past year has been a roller coaster of health issues, growing pains and disappointments, and by starting this race and finishing it, I’m hoping to continue the journey of health and fitness into the coming year.

Two years ago, I was doing the same thing. Standing at the same starting line, wanting to do the same race, having the same idea to be healthy and fit. Then something happened. I did the race, but barely. I didn’t feel I did my best. I didn’t have the ability to bounce back from it the same way. I struggled. I was missing something. Hubby, suggested I join a bootcamp. I guffawed. I protested. Reluctantly, I joined.  

A great decision as it turns out. I hate it when Hubby is right. Ugh.  

BUT, it wasn’t always easy.

Getting up at 5am SEEMS like a great idea. All the excitement and novelty of starting a new path to a healthier you wears off at exactly 5:05am that first morning. Then you suddenly hear a voice screaming at you in your head to STAY IN BED!!! DAFUQ WERE YOU THINKING, LADY?!! YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET UP TODAY!! YOU DESERVE A BREAK!!  

WRONG.  

That voice in your head is wrong. All kinds of wrong. Your break is the exercise. Your break is the bootcamp class that gets you moving. Your break is the coffee after class, after you’ve worked your butt off doing Burpees and push ups and sprints and high knees…

You DO deserve better. You deserve being a better you. A healthy version of you. And getting up at 5am is what it takes.

That’s how I changed my thinking. I deserve a better me. So does my family.  

So the journey began. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 5am without stopping, without quitting (which was a regular thought at 5:05am every Friday morning) without verbal complaints, in snowfall, high winds, rain and sunshine.

I. Went. To. Class.

I showed up. I worked. I learned.

The entire first YEAR of bootcamp was about learning. I walked in to my first class not being able to do one single push up. I couldn’t jump. I couldn’t do a chin up, a burpee…nothing. I watched. I learned. Then I watched and learned some more. I practiced. I fell down. I got back up and tried again.

I kept telling myself to just get through class. Just try again. It will come.

I also had the task of quieting that voice in my head that said ‘People will laugh at you. People are looking at you’. That voice? That voice is an asshole. Tell her to shut the fuck up and move on. NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I work out with women who are supportive of each other. NOBODY JUDGES. BEST. Find that. Go where that is!

TWO YEARS. Two years of work. That’s what it took. Not six weeks. Not six days. Not six months. Years. If I read one more time on some magazine how you can change your body in only six weeks or less, I WILL SCREAM.  

WRONG. ALL KINDS OF WRONG. Don’t listen to that.

Years of showing up and practicing. No one is perfect right away. Or ever.  

Two years later I can do 25 push ups in a row. I know because I counted. I can do box jumps (which are the bane of my existence, but I force myself to do them. I just turn off that voice that scares the shit out of me by saying that I’ll fall), I can do battling ropes, I can lift weights, I can squat and I can do Burpees.


Don’t listen to the naysayers who keep telling you it’s not worth it. Or you can’t do it. Or just walk more.  

Do what’s right for you. Show up. Go to class. Do the work. And eat right.  

But don’t expect to change everything overnight. Or in six weeks. It may take less time than two years, or it may take more. That’s up to you, but staying committed is the key.

So, here I am today. At the starting line of the ten mile race on my 51st birthday. Stronger than two years ago. Thirty pounds lighter. A little achier (thanks, 95year old hip) but so much more appreciative of how I got here and still on the journey to a healthier me.

I may fall down and I’m still learning. But I show up. And I practice.  

Cheers, Peeps! The finish line may seem so far away, but really it’s where you need it to be. Ten miles or two years. It’s all what you put in. Enjoy your journey. I still am.  

 

*EmpowHer is my bootcamp. You can find my Coach here. She’s awesome. One of my cheerleaders that keeps me going.   

Find your cheerleaders. Everybody needs some. I’m lucky to have quite a few behind me!  

Good luck!  

 

  

  

The Universe Is Being Trumpy


 

Whenever an issue arises that seems too all-encompassing or beyond any conscious reckoning, I throw it on out to the Universe to take care of. That way, if it all goes to shit, I can throw my fist into the air and curse the Universe for being obstinate or even a little too self-important and not blame myself for being lazy or forgetful. I mean really, you couldn’t spare five minutes to take care of that little thing I asked for? YOU HAD ONE JOB, UNIVERSE.  

Meanwhile, I’m stuck reveling in the mundane and eking out a bit of fun where I can muster the energy. This life thing is tedious sometimes and I must admit to being just a bit tired. I get tired thinking of getting up in the morning, I get tired of going to work, I get tired of doing household crap and I get tired of getting tired. I sound old. And like I’ve just given up on life all together, but really I haven’t. Honest.  

I still get to sit by the fireplace on my quiet nights when I’m alone and write in my journal. I still get to get out with friends and be obnoxious. I still get to bother my kids and ask annoying questions like ‘what are you doing?’ and say the ever popular ‘CRACK IS WHACK’ That pretty much sums up my discussion on drugs. That and ‘JUST SAY NO’. Lame slogans I can get behind. My point in there somewhere is that even when life seems very dull or overly annoying to the point of downright ridiculous, I can still find things to make me feel a little myself again. Like spew annoying clichés at the kids about drugs. Write about my dullness in my journal that is non-judgy and even kinda enjoys my boring run-on sentences. At least, that’s how I like to think of it. I get to exercise. SOME people may roll their eyes or say ‘oh, yeah. What a privilege’ but when I look forward to getting to the studio and a having someone yell at me that ‘YOU CAN DO ANYTHING FOR TEN SECONDS’ and ‘YAY BURPEES!’ then maybe, it’s become a part of me. Maybe I can’t have a good day without moving and feeling stronger. Or maybe, deep down I’m a masochist and I like all the yelling and sweating and swearing…like a Trump rally, only without all the hate.

Either way, there are other things to do and feel good about when life gets dull or ridiculous or too Trumpy. (Trumpy – Adj. word that describes life when it gets judgy, hateful, sweaty and utterly ridiculous to the point of giving the world the middle finger. Eg. He was to the point of swinging from the balcony after his girlfriend dumped him. He wanted to give up. He felt his life had become too Trumpy without her presence. ) Feel free to use this new word. I expect Webster’s will indoctrinate it soon enough.

Get outside, find a hobby, write in a journal, or do some burpees…whatever makes it better.  

Leaving shit up to the Universe to take care of may work some of the time, but it seems to me if I can tackle it myself, it will work out better. This way, I might get all of the blame but I just may get all of the credit, too! And of course, the cake in the end.  

THERE IS ALWAYS CAKE IN THE END…

 

Right! Best. Quote. Ever.

 

 

An Open Letter To The Bootcamp Newbie

Dear Bootcamp Newbie,

I was you seven months ago.  I know how it is that first day.  You walk in not knowing anyone, not knowing quite what to expect.  You feel awkward and stumble through exercises that are unfamiliar.  You trip up on a Burpee and think everyone saw you and is secretly criticizing.  You forget how to do a dumbbell sit up and you berate yourself for being so idiotic about forgetting such a simple exercise.  Stop it.  Stop thinking we are all watching and criticizing.  Stop thinking we are rating you on your performance.  Stop thinking you are awkward.  Just stop thinking, at all.  Just do.

I was you seven months ago and trust me, NOBODY in that class gives a rat’s ass how you do a Burpee, or how you miss a step when you skip or how jumping makes you nervous…seriously.  I’ve fallen over a box jump, forgotten how to do all the exercises at any given time and DID YOU SEE ME TODAY?!!  FORGOT HOW TO DO A KETTLE BELL SWING.  IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS?!   Nobody laughed or yelled or called me dumb.  Nobody rolled their eyes or said anything.  I was reminded, in a nice way, how to do the exercise BECAUSE COACH KNOWS I FORGET SHIT ALL OF THE TIME.  It’s okay.    NOBODY is watching you.  We are all concentrating on our own shit to care if you did your kettle bell swing right.  That’s for a Coach to worry about.  Oh, sure we are there to assist if you drop a weight or to laugh with you if you do the wrong order of exercises (been there done everything wrong at least twice), but we are non-judgy.  That’s how it works.

Everybody goes to Bootcamp for their own reasons.  Everybody has a story that you know nothing about.  We all are trying to do the best we can with what we have and make the most out of a great morning class.  Sure, we are a little special for wanting to get up at 5am to exercise, but it works for the most of us.  That’s why we’re there.

I see you eyeing the others and trying to keep up.  Don’t do that.  Keep your eyes on yourself.  This journey is about YOU…not the other fifteen of us trying to keep up with ourselves.  You do what’s right for you…let us worry about us.

We don’t think you’re awkward, or silly or dumb.  We don’t think you need extra help or judge how your technique on that calf raise could use some pointers.  We don’t think about any of that.   We think you are awesome for taking up the challenge of getting up at an ungodly hour of the morning to sweat it out with a bunch of ladies and do squats until you fall down.  In our books, you rock!

So, stop thinking.  Stop thinking about us.  Think about how great you feel after completing a workout.  How the music got you through that last set of squats.  How Coach urged you on after you felt ready to fall over, or how we smiled when it was done and we got through it.  Take a break and pat yourself on the back.  Your journey is just beginning.  Take it and go with it as long as you like.  This is YOUR journey and you can do it.

We have already gone through what you are now.  We already know the journey is worth it.  Keep going.  We believe in you.

Signed,

The Girl On the Other Side of The Room

Chalkboard Burpees

 

Gawd, Mary You’re Such a – What Is a Side Lateral Raise With a Garlic Press?!

burpees-2-1024x683

Yeah!  Kinda, sorta…

I think as I’m getting older, my patience is tending to wane.  I’m also getting more and more incapable of remaining in an upright position…in any situation.  See this.   AND, my ability to stay attentive and focused on something any longer than sixty seconds is careening into near dementia-like capacity.  Seriously.

I’ve noticed lately, that when directions are given (like in bootcamp class) I listen for all of five whole seconds and then my mind wanders… ‘gee, I wonder how long I can hold my breath under water these days.  I wonder if the weather is going to get any better by the time I leave.  Has the U.S totally gone bonkers?  Trump is a royal asshole.  What?  Bicep curl, got it.   Gee, did I turn off the stove this morning?  I DON’T USE THE STOVE AT 5AM.   Gawd, pay attention.  What did she say?  What the hell does French Press mean?  Like, Garlic press but better because it’s French and so… wine?   I don’t think there’s wine here.  Did I buy wine?  Do I need some for tonight?  Who’s coming over for wine?  I love wine.’

Then, by the time the actual workout station is upon me, I have totally forgotten/not noticed/no fucking clue what the hell ‘lateral row with elastic’ means, so I invariably make it up.  Yep, I’m there doing some shit I totally invented thinking, ‘Gawd, this must be it’ and ‘I’m totally killing this shit’.  Then coach eyes me suspiciously and comes over to show me the opposite of what I’m doing…so, I’m wrong? How did THAT happen?  I think my new exercise rocks….or not.

Is it sunny out yet?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN?!

So it goes for daily work, family stuff…writing time…driving…I really shouldn’t drive with children or impressionable youth in my car.  I tend to be, um, what’s the word…annoyed?  Hmm….INTOLERANT is probably a better description.  It’s my inability to comprehend the logic behind many, many drivers on the roads which sends me into classic tirades on considerate driving habits, rules of the road, WHY NO ONE KNOWS WHAT MERGE REALLY MEANS.  Struggles.

So, getting back to the original topic I’m turning fifty, I’m losing my mind, I can’t walk on ice or rain soaked pavement, I hate drivers, I love dogs and I love wine.

The End.

  1. Downton Abbey totally gets the “This Shit is Awesome” Award for Edith’s epic rant of simply “YOU’RE A BITCH, MARY!!”

And so she is, Edith.  So. She. Is.

Lady Mary

“Gawd, Mary…get a sense of humour.”

I think I fist pumped the dog after that one.