Saturday, January 31, 2009


Some things began to make sense after I got home the gym this morning. First, Bick apologized to me for kicking me out of bed last night. In his dreams, I was a badass with an attitude and a broken beer bottle. Perhaps he was right! So, it turns out my anxiety wasn't the only thing that was allowing me good rest.

Secondly, on the borrowing money thing, there's no reason to worry about that right now. During my after workout run, I think I have developed a strategy of dealing with it the next time it happens. I'm still working on understanding the purity of my motives, but this is what I've got so far. The next time this happens, I think that I will say that she doesn't have to pay me back, but instead, repay herself and use the funds to establish an emergency repair fund for the house in WA, as I am no longer comfortable being involved in the financing of the operation up there.

Thirdly, workout was good. Endorphins are things of wonder. And lastly, I convinced Bick that we needed to get out a bit, so we ran over to Grapevine to walk the streets on this lovely, lovely sunny, nearly 70 degree day. We window shopped and grabbed a fabu lunch at a great fishy place. Yummy! Now it's naptime then some afternoon work in the garden. The day is turning out to be much, much better than it started out.

Monkey Mind

A rough night last night. Didn't sleep well, at all. At one point, I fell out of the bed screaming. Lots of anxiety. My guess would be not enough exercise during sick bay to keep my anxiety levels down. I've got to get a grip on this. In the meantime, I'm off to the gym for boxing class number two in my Barbie Boxing Gloves. And I mean that in the most ironic way.

I guess I might as well spill. The acreage in Washington hasn't sold. Mom is keeping the house and 13 acres, along with the renters and the rental income. The value is in the acreage, not the house. I've requested my portion of my inheritance from my dad's estate when she sells the property (it was supposed to close by the end of the year) and she's said that she will not comply. I've considered legal action, but for now, have decided against it. So Wednesday she calls me up to borrow money because she needs to replace the pump. As it turns out, it was just a relay switch and cost a few bucks to repair, but I know this will come up again. And it has me in knots.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. But don't let them walk all over you.


Friday, January 30, 2009


I wish I had this to look forward to! A summer night at our favorite winery with our favorite friends, but alas, tis not to be. Bick's birthday is coming up and I'm trying to think of something fun to do.

Back at work today and feeling a little better. I skipped spin class and just did the dreadmill instead. I'll probably do the same tomorrow, although I do need to go buy my boxing gloves.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Find something to celebrate.


166.5 WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why our bed won't stay made...

Longtime readers know that I am wild in bed - no, not like that, more like this....

Isn't it just beautiful?

Sidelined by Sinuses

Still feeling crappy. I'm taking a sick day today, so this makes three days stuck at home.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Ice Day!

And I feel like crap. Damned sinus headache.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Day!

Work is closed for the pending ice storm. Bick is staying home today, as well. Unfortunately, I'm feeling a bit sickly. Darn it!

This is my 500th post on this blog. I think this may be the third iteration of blogs. I can't remember how many years ago I got started. I do know that I need to see Lyn, who was gracious enough to host me for a time, to see if I can pull my old entries to archive them. God knows I don't want to relive THAT time.

Nothing much to add, other than I am going to hit the mat here shortly. My practice today is dedicated to a weightloss blogger and to a friend IRL, both facing the same cancer diagnosis. My energies go out to them today.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Share your strength.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Failing to Plan

Damned weekend. The weekends always seem to derail my eating plans. And I do have eating plans. Each Saturday morning, Bick and I take a few minutes to come up with this week's menus and prepare a shopping list. He's really good at searching for recipes through the week and if he comes up with something that sounds interesting, he'll forward it my way. I LOVE to cook, but coming up with new menu ideas is the worst part, so anything that he can toss my way is always appreciated.

This week's plan, as posted on the fridge is:

Monday: Stuffed chicken breast valentino
Tuesday: $2 chicken (which is not two dollars, but is a rotisserie chicken) and okra and tomatoes
Wednesday: pork and vegetable stir fry
Thursday: Salmon and brocolli
Friday: On Your Own (I have a meeting and eat dinner in town)

There is usually a fancyish meal on Saturday night. This weekend, however, things were all askew and I didn't get in a real breakfast or lunch on Sunday and by afternoon, I was in full starved mode. By not taking time to sit down and fix myself a proper meal, whether Bick was hungry or not, I derailed my healthy eating plan and I won't even tell you what I ended up eating. Okay, so it was crackers and ice cream. Not together, but what kind of fuel is that? So today I still feel like crap, but it's back on the planned stuff.

By failing to plan for my other meals and make the time to do for me, I had a unhealthful day of eating. So it's back on the mat and back to doing what I KNOW makes me feel energetic and good.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Make yourself a priority.


I did Not step on the scale today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weighing In at blablabla pounds

in the pink boxing gloves is Roxie!

I really enjoyed the boxing class. Of course, I suck at the technique part of it, always forgetting to keep my hands up to guard my face! Good thing I'm just hitting a bag. But it was fun and challenging and I'm glad I went. I've signed up for the series of 6 lessons. My arms/shoulders are pretty tired as we threw hundreds of punches, jabs and uppercuts. I must say that I am the best at uppercuts. The body movement required in that punch seems very natural to me. I need to shorten the other movements in order to perfect the technique - I need to practice that at home. There was quite a bit of cardio in the class, as well. Running and punching drills. Plus, I ran on the treadmill before and after class.

Had a good day yesterday. Bick wanted to take our neighbor out for his birthday, along with his wife and family, so we went to a local bbq joint last night. It was good, but again the salt was too much. I feel like a puffer fish this morning.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Every day is a new day.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

And in this corner.....

I'm off to the gym in a few minutes for my boxing class. I'm looking forward to something different. I'm still pretty sore from boot camp/weirdly athletic yoga class - abs, anyway. Should be fun!

After that, not much on the agenda. Weather has turned today after a gorgeous, 80 degree plus day yesterday. I had a nice time with Mom and sister yesterday. Sis is house/horse sitting for a friend and I got to see her new house for the first time yesterday. It's an amazing design - the house is very small and is integrated into a 3 stall horse barn, with tack room, office, wash rack and hay storage and garage and room for a pull through horse trailer/dually combo. Honestly, this is an amazing property. She summers in Colorado and I understand built this plan for the first time up there and refined the plans for her Texas winter home. She's in Costa Rica right now with her beau. Damned interesting woman.

Weight is up this morning - too much salt yesterday. Boy, it will bounce me hard! A few too many nuts, plus a bit of popcorn last night with Bick. But I'm not worrying about it. I'm noting it without judgment and then going on with my healthy living. Eating right, clean and getting plenty of exercise. The weight will take care of itself. My goal weight is 148.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Practice being a knock-out!



Friday, January 23, 2009


After my encounter with The Boxster and coming to some realizations about my reactions, it's become increasingly clear to me how much I actually seek outside validation. Now everyone likes ego biscuits, but to expend so much energy actively seeking that validation probably isn't healthy. So I've begun to question my motives about many things, including this blog.

I guess the good news is that I've reached this level of understanding without the usual amount of head-slapping that usually accompany my shortcomings. This is just a statement of fact, without judgment. For me to treat myself without harsh judgment is a step in the right direction.

I guess the first step is admitting there is a problem. And for me, the second step is to challenge the thoughts and feelings behind the behaviors as soon as I recognize they are happening. Most of the time, it's just a habit. Other times I really need support, encouragement, etc and that's okay - but it's more honest to outright ask for it that to go through the mental gymnastics that I've gone through to try to get it from the intended party.

That's it from the mental/emotional front. On the physical front - OUCH! Angela's boot camp class on Wednesday continues to kick my ass. My abs, and places that I didn't even think counted as abs, are twinging this morning. I thought yesterday's yoga session would ease all that up, but nope. Turns out my beloved Amy is moving away and we will have a new instructor. She (I didn't catch her name) taught yesterday.

The class was much more active for the first half, but there was a good deal more mind/body stuff in her practice. More meditations, energy movements, etc. I heard several people comment after class that they didn't like that part, but I loved it. At the beginning of the class, she asked us to dedicate our practice and our energy to someone whom we felt needed it. I dedicated my practice yesterday to Pebbles, in the hopes that she finds what she's looking for. It really enhanced the experience for me.

Today is an off day for me. I've got my Boxing Togs in the washer this morning and I am getting ready to head out to Reata South to spend the day with my Mom and sister.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Share your strength.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Man and A Woman Walk Into A Bar

Actually, they walk into a bar, strung out from the road. Seems I'm channelling Bob Seger. Anway, we go into this pub to have a pint and a cider and there are two women at the other end of this bar. The pub itself (Can't remember the name of this one, either) is very small - a bar and two tables, plus a fire place. Place hadn't been updated for decades. One of the women is commenting to another woman across the bar about how disappointed she was with her travel agent for booking her into a place that was closed for the holidays. The other woman, Mary, said that she would finish up with the search as soon as her phone charged up a little bit.

I jumped into the conversation, saying that we were without accomodation as well and Mary said that she would give Jim a call to see what he had. So Bick and I went back to our beverages. A few minutes later a man walks in to the pub and Mary says "Well, there's Jim now. Jim, do you have room for a couple more?" And Jim makes a call and we are told to see Liam here. So we finish up and head over to the restaurant/pub with the rooms above and get checked in for the night. Which consisted of going into the bar, asking for Liam, and being told that's he's busy, but "here's the key and we'll settle up in the morning". Cool!

Turns out that this place is a very popular, award winning restaurant, so we decide to park it right here (on the pub side) for dinner. We had a lovely dinner - I had chowder with a starter of mussels and then set out to explore this lovely, lovely city on foot. Charming, crooked, very narrow streets lead down to the harbor front. It really is beautiful.

We went to the grocery store to buy a bag of ice and some more Diet Coke. Ice is sold in one pound bags! We then settled in for the night. Next morning, it was kippers for breakfast (YUMMY), a trip to the Fort and then off on our two hour journey to the Dingle Penninsula. Yea, right.


Not much going on today. Restorative yoga at lunch. YAY! I'm taking tomorrow off to spend with my Mom and sister. The weather is supposed to be beautiful and I'm going to do my best to enjoy them while guarding my boundaries. Big challenge.

It's been difficult for them to deal with the changes that I am making or have made after relating to me the same way for so long. I guess I can expect some resistance. It's been okay, but I always dread it a bit, but usually end up having a good time, if I can remember to keep my hand out of the crazy.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Boundaries - the best gift you can give yourself.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sweating With the Oldies

There is a core group of women of a certain age with whom I work out at lunch. The MerryNewlywed being one of them. I guess, when I think about it, there really are only three of us left - the other being Janet. Today was boot camp with Angela, the shedevil from Water Aerobics last summer. She works us (us three vintage models plus about twenty coeds) pretty damn hard. She runs a fast-paced class that leaves me spent. I'm in need of the Aleve dispenser, I believe. But she's always so encouraging and helpful that it takes away some of the pain. Plus, restorative yoga is tomorrow.

Inauguration Day

Yesterday my wonderful boss stepped into my office and said "Let's get on outta here". So we and another office mate went to his nearby house, watched the inauguration festivities and had some lunch. It was a lovely, lovely afternoon.

It was, however, a day I didn't get to the gym. But there is always today.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Don't be so focused on something that you fail to enjoy the world around you.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Milestone Missed

I quit smoking three years and three days ago. It was my third serious attempt to stop a habit I began thirty years before. I continue to believe that this quit will stick.

I'm damned proud of this one.

This Must Be Belgium

Didn't get to the gym yesterday. Didn't get to the salon, either. Ended up giving myself a home-pedi and then Pebbles called. She was home from work and wanted me to come over and hang out, so I hopped in the car and headed to Dallas.

I spent a lovely afternoon drinking hot tea and visiting with the kiddo. She seems to be doing much better since embarking on a lifestyle change. She's gone gluten-free and has taken up yoga. I can see a difference since Christmas - she just looks a bit healthier. I hope it continues to brighten her.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Find something that works.


Monday, January 19, 2009


Ah, home alone. Bick has to work today, so I am home alone doing a bit of clean up after the brunch we hosted yesterday. We invited the Poolville Pagans over to see the slide show of Ireland pics. We had a lovely time. It's such a shame that we live so far apart, as we both really like both halves of that pair.

I ate too much yesterday, so my weight is spiking today and I don't feel "on top of the world". It's funny, I don't find it at all difficult to think of the after-effects when drinking and will stop, even when slightly, pleasantly buzzed, because I know and remember how I will feel tomorrow if I don't. Wish I would exercise the same restraint with food. Oh well. It's not lasting damage and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, I just ate more carby stuff than I am used to.

I went to the Jesus Gym on Saturday morning to get my run in. I hadn't talked with The Boxster, as she didn't call me as she said she would. When she saw me, she apologized for not calling, then said if she saw me at the gym more often, she would have remembered(wtf!) and I told her not to worry about it. She actually waited around until I finished my run and we talked about the situation. I didn't say anything about how I reacted to her comments the previous week (nor the shot about if she saw me at the gym more often), but just asked what was she looking for in the evaluation. She responded that many people were frustrated with the boxing class if they weren't able to keep up. And I said that not keeping up wouldn't bother me, that I modified anything that I did to suit my needs, and if that didn't bother her or disrupt her other students, then we would be fine. I was just looking for a something different to do. So, I was admitted into the class and I start next Saturday. I hope it was the right decision. My job isn't to teach anybody any lessons. My job is to get and stay fit. So we'll see.

I'm going to head off for the gym here in a little bit and get in another run and possibly some weights. Then I may try to get in a pedicure. I got some pretty serious blisters doing the half back in December and my feet are still trying to recover. I could use a serious rasping, I do believe.

I also purchased a couple of fig bushes/trees this weekend and I need to get them in the ground before our next cold snap. Yummy - I love figs and I hope the do well here.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. File off the rough edges.



Friday, January 16, 2009

Kinsale, Here We Come.

Kinsale is a gorgeous, seaside town on Ireland's southern coast. It is also one of the "foodie" capitols of Ireland. My dear friend Reena led me to want to go to Kinsale - she said it was always her first night stop out of Dublin and it was doable in about four hours.

I guess she didn't do the drive in the winter, when it got dark sooner or in the rain. It was a nerve-wracking experience. Here the drive was the absolute worst. It was dark, it was raining and the roads were narrow with serious bends and the speed limit was 100 kmph and I had drivers bearing down on my back, with no place to pull off/over. I was a wreck.

We didn't have a place to stay on this night, as I couldn't get anyone to respond to email, so as we were winding our way through the very narrow streets, I saw a B and B with the shamrock sign (where our pre-paid vouchers were good) and a woman standing at the door. Bick said he would go ask her if she was open/had room and so he popped out. He came back to the car saying that her B and B was closed, but her friend Mary, back up at the top of the hill, was open, our vouchers were accepted, and she had room for us. We continued to drive further into the beautiful, medievel city center and finally stopped the car beside a pretty non-descript little pub. As we got out of the car, Bick said to me:

"I don't care what it costs to stay down here, I don't have big enough balls enough to make that trip back up to the top of the hill. Roxie, I think I may have crimped a crease in the passenger seat and I hope we don't have to pay rental car damages".

So we wandered into the pub for a pint and a lady's glass of cider. Serendipity soon intervened.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yoga Class: A Love Story

Attended a restorative yoga class today at lunch. It was lead by a substitute for my beloved Amy, so I was prepared to be both disappointed and unimpressed. But I was wrong. She led a wonderful class, albeit at a different pace, and it was very good to be back taking a class from someone, rather than practicing on my own.

To be clear (and hopefully encouraging to anyone reading this), I SUCK at yoga. I am not flexible. I cannot touch my toes. And it doesn't matter at all. I can do yoga in the worst way and still enjoy it and make progress and that's what is important. I'm the worst at yoga than I am at any thing that I do because I can't bulldog my way through yoga. I can't "gut out" yoga class. I don't pop in my Ipod Turq, turn up Nugent and just get through it. No, with yoga, I just do my best and hope that I begin that euphoric sink into the pose. There is no forcefulness in yoga, there is only me and my breath. There is no forcefulness in yoga, but there is amazing power.

Fitness Schedule for this semester: M-Saturday? I'm still undecided about Saturdays.

M Tone and Tighten
T Spin
W Bootcamp
T Restorative Yoga
F Spin
S 5K or 2 hour walk?
S off day

plus some time each morning practicing qigong and yoga.

Weight not cooperating, but I'm still adjusting or readjusting to travel gut, so things are all over the board. I am confident that I will find the balance I seek.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Namaste.


Day Three: It's A Long Way to Tipperary

We left the castle in a frantic search for a restroom and headed into Cashel, proper. We went down a side street and pulled into a car park. We figured out how to work the meter - you buy your ticket from the meter and then display it in the window of your vehicle. The picture you see of Bick and the Silver Bullet is him putting the parking sticker on display in Cashel.

As I'm standing there, I see this tractor coming up the street in the opposite direction of that we used. It popped into the car park (parking lot) and this man got out and headed across the street into one of about three pubs on this particular side street. I told Bick that I wanted to go where the farmer went. So, I snapped a couple of pictures of the tractor in the car park and we headed across the street.

I wish I'd taken a picture of the pub, but I didn't and I don't even remember the name of it, but I could probably figure it out. Anyway, we went in and the bar was full of what appeared to be locals. We sat at a table near the bar. All eyes and ears were turned to the big screen TV watching the pre-race prep for a horserace - a long, long steeplechase race that I believe was being held somewhere in Ireland. Soon the race started and from all appearances, everyone in the bar, save us, had stopped by the local book shop and had money on the race. Such whooping and hollering I'd never heard. At one point, a couple of locals took off their hats and took to the stick - began whipping themselves as if they were in the irons! What fun! A chorus of loud cheers and dejections went up as the long race finished. We weren't that far from The Curraugh, so I wondered if these lads had spent some time in the business.

Anyway, great fun! I don't know if this race was special or if it was an ordinary afternoon during racing season, but I loved the idea of driving the tractor into town to watch the race.

Next up: Our descent into hell. I mean Kinsale.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day Three, continued.

We continued wandering through hill and dale, bally and burg, sheep and trekkers. At some point, we came to some sort of fenced compound that Bick announced was a UN facility, so we turned around and made our way back towards the sheep field. It was on this leg of the journey that I met my first car on an Irish road. The very narrow Irish road.

"Roxie, I think you going to clean out every bar ditch in Ireland."

"Bick, I need you to be encouraging and supportive."

"Roxie, I'd like to encourage you to be a better driver."

Perhaps the funniest thing I'd every heard - all delivered in typical Bick deadpan style. He was an amazing navigator and more importantly, very, very patient. I cannot say that I could have been as good if I'd been in the passenger seat. I think we made the right decision here.

We backtracked, went through several roundabouts and found a gas station/quick pack store that would sell me a Diet Coke. All was well.

We headed on, without incident towards Cashel. Suddenly, coming fast were two cars in the right-hand lane (the fast lane). I had just enough time to tell Bick to look as a classic Shelby Mustang was leading a classic Porshe in a balls-to-the-wall race to who knows where. I don't have a clue how fast they were going, but they were whipping all the horses to get there quick.

We drove on, nearing Cashel. I kept looking around to see this magnificent castle on the rock, but I didn't see a thing. Then we rounded a corner and up ahead was this monolith - huge intimidating castle that appeared as a natural extention on the rock itself. One of the most impressive things I've seen. I've also heard that it an amazing sight at night, when lit up.

Anyway, we pulled into the parking lot (in need of the bathroom - yet another theme - our pursuit of an available potty) and started the trek up the hill. We toured the sight, froze nearly to death as the wind up on the crag was whipping around with amazing speed. We listened to a very church-based audio/visual presentation and then knocked around the cemetary, looking at the celtic-knot grave stones. Beautiful, in a very stark way.

Next up - Horseraces, tractors and pubs, oh my.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sparring With Myself

I've reached some uncomfortable conclusions about the whole boxing deal. Thanks to C for her insight and some discussions with Bick, I've come to the conclusion that my reaction was really that I was worried/ashamed of what she thought of me. And my (over)reaction points up the fact that I still let what other people think of me hold too much sway. That is operating from a position of weakness, not a position of inner-strength and confidence. Ouch. I thought I was a bit further down the path than that, but there it is.

Bick's statement was something about how this whole thing being kind of ruined for me now. And he's right. I would have been fine going through the class for all the reasons I mentioned (save the petty one!), but now that this has happened, I'll think I'll find another fitness outlet. It's not because I've been intimidated into this option, it's because until I can get my mind around exactly what's going on with this situation and my reaction to it, going through with this, even if only a small part of my motivation for doing so is to "prove to her she's wrong", then I'm not living a life that authentic and true to me. I would actually be trying to manipulate or control someone else's feelings and continuing to assume that I KNOW what her motivations were/are. Those are the very behaviors that I am trying to eradicate from my life. I am trying to give my inner-Drama-Queen the boot. The instructor has the right to feel however she feels, to exercise whatever control she wishes on her class. She's a subcontractor at the gym. This is her livelihood, or at least part of it.

I don't think I could go through the boxing classes without some sort of residual feelings about this and so I think I'll sit this one out. It's not as though I've harbored some lifelong dream to be the next "Million Dollar Menopausal Baby", I was just looking for something different. And I have lots of other options, including just going to the Jesus Gym and doing my own thing. There are other classes. I'm not going to drink the poisoin and hope she gets sick. I hold the power.

Today's agenda includes a spin class at lunch. I spent some wonderful time this morning practicing my new qigong stuff, plus a little yoga, mediation and paper journaling. I think I'm going to have to get a gong/timer for the yoga room. I find that I'm spending more and more time there each morning, which, while lovely, makes me late for work! Perhaps I need to get up earlier?

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Knock out your inner-Drama-Queen.



Monday, January 12, 2009

Chi Tea or is it Tai Chi?

Actually, it was Qigong. I went to a lunch session on qigong. Very interesting. Especially interesting was the emphasis on the mind/body oneness. What the instructor was describing as a wholeness or feeling of completeness was exactly what I've been feeling when on the mat. Interesting stuff.

What's your theme?

Reader/poster/friend Meg is a licensed, practicing life coach, in addition to her other exciting career. (Email me if you are interested in such services and I'll pass on her contact info). While I am not a client, she has encouraged me and a group of her other friends to create a theme for the year. It's always an interesting exercise that requires thinking about what you really want to concentrate on for the year to come. Meg believes (and I agree) that themes are more productive than resolutions.

So I've been spending some journaling time trying to condense my thoughts into a theme for the year. Where do I want to place my thoughts and energies this year?

I know that I want to focus on the positives, but in a way that's different from gratitude. I want to practice extreme self-care, but somehow that feels too ego-centric and can lead me into obsessing about this or that. I do know that I want to stop the beatings until my morale improves. Actually, I'm doing pretty good with this now and I'd like the trend to continue.

I know that I am tired, Madeline Kahn tired of being at war with my body, but that feels too focused and too prone to thought-churning. Mostly I just want to do good things to nurture myself in all ways and be present and accounted for each day of the year. How do you brand that?

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Cue the theme music.



Day Three: On the Road to Cashel

Dublin has a loop, the M50, that allows you to bypass city traffic and just pick up the spoke you want to take you in the general direction. We took The South exit, M7, if I recall. May have been M8. Anyway, the roads were wide and beautifully maintained. Only took a few roundabouts to get us on our way. The airport comes in at M1, so we rode the loop for about 6 exits until it was time to get off. Easy Peasy. Signage was most excellent and our narrative maps were spot on. Off and running.

We were about an hour into our journey when I declared it was time for a Diet Coke. Bick managed to interpret a road sign off the motorway that would lead us to sustenance. He instructed me to take the next exit and when we reached the roundy, I asked which exit and the said to just take the next one. And so I did.

The outdoor temperature read 0c and there was a heavy, heavy frost all over. Since we were about an hour outside of Dublin, my guess is that we were in/going through the Wicklow Mountains. Anyway, I took that exit off the roundabout, a mere few hundred feed from one of the main roads through Ireland and suddenly we are in the middle of a sheep pasture. There are several hundred sheep just milling about. Not on any particular journey, nope, they, in all their brightly colored spraypainted fur coats were at home. It was us who somehow had wandered into their front parlor

It was a beautiful sight, but neither of us thought to take a picture. We just delicately and gingerly tried not to kill any sheep.

Next Up: I am struck dumb by the Carlsberg Beer salesman.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

Lovely weekend. Fabulous weather today. I took Sadie out for a walk, then dropped her off at home and went out by myself. Weather like today's shouldn't be wasted.

I've done a lot of cooking this weekend. While I've eaten very appropriately, I probably won't show a loss for the weekend. Lesson learned: do not watch a bunch of cooking shows and then go to the grocery story. We will be dining fine this week.

We watched the Cook's Country show on how to make a fluffy, diner style omelet and declared that would be breakfast this morning. That was sort of a flop. I've never had an omelet of that ilk, so I don't know if it was dead-on or not. Whatever the situation, it was too much work for the reward.

Same with the oysters on Saturday night. They were good, but I'll leave the cooking to someone else next time. Today's entry in the not worth it category - Middle Eastern Lamb stew. It was good, but lamb is pretty spendy. Again, I'll leave the lamb to someone else.

As weekends go, this was a good one. Got in a run on Saturday morning. Did yoga, meditated and walked today. Cleaned house, with Bick's able assistance. All in all, I'll take it.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Don't shop if hungry.


Celebrity Skin

Or not-so-celebrity skin. More precisely, how to feel good in the skin you are in. It comes as no surprise to anyone who pokes around here that I'd like to drop a few pounds. It's also not news that I've struggled with it. But I've been thinking alot about how I actually feel about it.

As Mel over at Diet Naked says the size of her ass takes up too much room in her head and that's certainly been true for me. I've spent considerable brain waves and emotional energy berating myself for my failures. Hell, if that strategy worked we'd all be pixie sticks. The problem with this strategy is that it's really a "when" strategy. When I'm this size, I'll be comfortable in my own skin. When I weight this much, all my body image issues will disappear. Well, I don't think so. As little as two years ago I weighed twenty pounds less than I do now and my body issues were still with me.

Long time sufferers aka readers will remember the hateful parting shot of a former lover about "my flabby ass". God knows I still do. But that is wrong. Dwelling in the lack is no way to live. It's all about reframing things - to feel good in the skin that I'm in. And I feel the most comfortable in this stretch marked skin when I'm on the yoga mat. I just came to realize that this morning - when I'm practicing yoga that I feel like my body and I are in this together, rather than at battle which is where I've been for decades.

There's got to be something cosmically right about that feeling of oneness and wholeness. It resonates with me and it feels good and I want more of that feeling. I want that feeling to extend into the rest of the day, into the rest of my life.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Get whole.



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Where I am

Well, that was uncomfortable. I got up bright and early to go to the Jesus Gym this morning to try to catch her before the class began. I've come to know her over the past few months as I walked to train for the half. Perhaps know is a stretch, but we chatted back and forth early each Saturday morning. She came in early to get in a run before her boxing students arrived. My treadmill, the one on the end, always allowed a view of her classes while I was logging hours and miles.

So this morning, as she was getting off the treadmill after her run, I asked her if it would be possible for me to join her boxing class today. I said that I hadn't been able to get by the gym during staffed hours to sign up and pay (it's $15 per session - less if you buy a group of six), but that I would like to join the class. She stuttered and stammered and finally said that it would work best if we did an individual evaluation (free) before joining the class, that she needed to see "where I was".

So next Friday morning at 5:30 am, I'll meet her up at the gym to see "where I am".

Where I am is an old, but fitter-than-I-look woman who has the stamina to last through the damn class. Where I am is a woman who has adopted fitness as an integral part of my life - maybe not the kind of hardbody fitness that she's used to - and she's young enough to be my kiddo - let's see her at 48. Where I am is a woman who is willing to modify any class to fit MY fitness needs. I'm not there for a grade, I'm there for me. Where I am is the non-athlete who is looking for another interesting challenge to keep the boredom of dreadmilling at bay. Where I am is fucking pissed off. Oh sweetie baby honey darlin', I've had nearly fifty years to practice the petty and I'm good at it. Don't tell me I can't. Jesus Christ on a pogo stick - it's not like this is Angelo Dundee's fucking gym. I'm not asking to be on the Olympic Boxing team. Pissssssedddddd.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Even if you want to punch them in the nose.



Friday, January 9, 2009

Day Three: May The Road Rise To Meet You

Again with the off-timing. We were late getting up so we skipped the FIB and went with The Bread and coffee instead. Don't really love the coffee very much. I was afraid that I would lose my car with the automatic tranny, so I had the desk clerk at the Temple Bar Hotel call the Europcar people to tell them we would be a bit late. Couldn't get through. We snarfed down our food and headed for the busstop.

The public transportion in Dublin was wonderful - or at least it was from our location. Just down the block was Westmoreland street and on Westmoreland you could catch a bus to nearly anywhere, I do believe. The airport, Cork, Gallway, Limerick and other lovely destinations were all there for the choosing. We chose the airport and were on our way.

Renting a car in Ireland is far different from anything that I'd ever experienced. First of all, I read somewhere that the Republic of Ireland has more car accidents per capita than any other country. US credit card companies who normally provide the extra deductible coverage specifically exclude Ireland. I carry a policy billed through my AMEX that with a flat-fee handles all the extras. Ireland? Excluded. Bick and I looked through all of our cards and no one would cover the deductible, so with further encouragement from my boss (a multiple Irish tripper) we opted for all the extra coverage. As I picked up the car, I was thinking of the scene with Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes where she talks about being older and better insured. I was loaded for bear!

My boss had also warned me that he always reserved an automatic and then never, ever got one, so to be prepared for that scenario. That didn't happen. Our little silver bullet, a Nissan Micra with an automatic transmission was there awaiting our arrival. It appeared to me to be much easier to pick up a rental in Ireland than say, Seattle, for example. It always seems to take forever to initial this and sign that and waive that. I guess in Ireland I was getting soaked for every option, but what the hell.

I'd also read that most accidents happened on airport property! Which would be one's first exposure to driving on the opposite side of the road, sitting on the opposite side of the car and trying to navigate the ever-present roundabouts. I think Bick and I were lucky in that we rode the bus to and from the airport so we at least had some exposure as to what to expect. We seen a roundabout if not actually driven on one. Well, we had, but not with all the other opposing stuff thrown in.

We had opted not to bring Sandy's GPS over with us and pay the $100 US it would have cost to load it with Europe. We bought good maps instead. And I managed to stumble onto the Irish version of AAA website and downloaded some really good maps that gave directions in the narrative. Those proved invaluable as we started off. They would say - approaching roundabout - you will take the third exit marked The South, for example. Everything was very clearly marked. So with our maps in hand, and my left hand on the shifter, off we went.

Slackertown, population: me

I went straight home, well after a stop at the BBQ restaurant for some extra-lean sliced brisket. I read a bit, tried to watch a bit of TV and promptly fell asleep on the couch with Sadie Lu. I think it was 7:30. I didn't do much else, just stumbled around a bit and then hopped into bed at about 8:30. Glam bachlorette life I lead.

I'm heading off for the gym here in a few to do battle with the elliptical. I did spend some wonderful time on the mat this morning. It was glorious! I didn't break a sweat, but it was a stretchy, bendy way to start the day.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Eat clean and exercise.



Day Two - Dublin, continued.

We walked around a bit more, trying to make a decision on dinner. I remembered a Moroccan restaurant I'd seen during one of our earlier jaunts on a sidestreet in the Temple Bar area and I managed to find it again. It turned out to be one of the best meals we've ever had. Lovely experience.

I'll have to look up the name of the restaurant- I think it was Timgod, or something like that. The entrance was on a sidestreet off of Fleet Street in the Temple Bar area and it fronted the Liffey River. It was a small, narrow place, with maybe six tables and a long bench with stations for two set along the wall. It was understated, but tastefully decorated with an elaborate hookah in the corner. Pillows and gorgeous rugs adorned the room. There was just one waitress, a beautiful woman wrapped in a couple of hip scarves. She didn't appear to be arabic, more likely eastern European, as Ireland has experienced a wave of immigration from former eastern bloc nations.

We had the restaurant pretty much to ourselves, after all, it was early by Irish standards. Bick and I never could get in tuned with the Irish timetable. I ordered tabuleh for us to share as a starter. Bick turned up his nose when I ordered it, but dove right in when it appeared, complete with some lovely flat bread and dipping oil. I did something I said I was never going to do again and that was order sea bass. I've always been disappointed, but this time it was glorious. It had capers and spices and a lighter-than-air sauce, served alongside some eggplant and some other vegetable side dish that was equally good. It was just a lovely, flavorful plate. Bick ordered the lamb which came with couscous and vegetables cooked in a terra cotta cooker/steamer thing. It was brought to the table in separate vessels and then mixed at the table. I had a bite of the lamb - it was the best ever.

It was not an expensive meal by Dublin standards, but it was a wonderful experience. Good service, interesting ambiance and lovely, flavorful, well-presented dishes.

As I write this, I'm beginning to sense a theme - walking around and eating seem to be the theme of this vacation. While in Dublin, we say few, dare I say none of the traditional tourist spots, other than by wandering past them. I can't say that we paid admission to any site (although we did try) while in Dublin. We just tried to act as if we lived there for a couple of days. Oh, and I guess I haven't mentioned my passion for going in grocery stores - no wonder my ass is what it is! I love going into grocery stores and just wandering the aisles looking at what's the same and what's different. Picking up tins of unfamiliar products just to see what they really are. I enjoyed perusing the canned food aisle and purchasing nothing (no space, alas) just as much as I did looking and buying some Waterford crystal. So on all our outings, we walked through every grocery store we passed.

We stopped in a listened to some more trad (traditional Irish music) went to The Alamo restaurant, because, well, it was The Alamo and how could we not, for a dessert coffee and called it a night.

Next up - The Clown Car.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On balance

On balance, my life is wonderful. I'm happier, more at peace than I've ever been. I feel so good about what I've learned about me, both good and bad, over the past few years. Even with the expanding ass, the wrinkles, the creaky bones - this is the good stuff. I wish I could have gotten smarter earlier, but I didn't. So it is what it is.

I've been following Oprah's best like week and last night's episode was on spirituality. One of the guests spoke of spirituality as a letting go. That statement really resonated with me. The more I let go of external trappings, status, things, the happier or should I say more peaceful I am able to become. God knows I've still got a long way to go, but letting go and not seeing myself only through the lens of posessions, status, relationship, career or clothing size makes it much easier to focus on what's really important. Letting go. Letting go and becoming confident in the essential me.

I'm still struggling to get the Jesus Gym after work. Last night I stopped by, only to find that I had only one sock. So I went right home and packed the travel gym back completely. No more reason for skipping the weight training.

I'm enjoying my yoga/meditation time in the mornings. I've decided to not make it into a big hairy deal. I'm just going to spend some time on the mat, doing whatever poses come to mind and feel good. No time limit, no set routines as of yet. Followed by some meditation/focused breathing. There are worse ways to start the day.

Bick is off to Kansas today after work to attend the funeral of his father-in-law - or former FIL, to be precise. It's been a rough few days awaiting the inevitable. Sandy and her Mom had just returned from Christmas in KS, when the call came in for them to return late last week. From what I've been able to observe, while the situation is sad and unfortunate but not completely unexpected, Bick and the EX have had some good, supportive moments while on the phone. Sandy, it appears is reverting to some of her more unbecoming behaviors regarding Bick.

So while the situation is unfortunate, I've got the house to myself tonight and am planning a fish for dinner, followed by more Oprah. Without commentary from Bick. I don't think that Oprah is the second-coming or anything, but I do enjoy her show now and again. Or maybe I'll just have a pajama party with Sadie. I wonder how she would look in maribu?

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Smile, breathe, go slowly.



Day 2 Dublin

Day two found us still askew from jetlag. We went downstairs at the appointed hour for our "full Irish breakfast". And there I met my own true love - Irish Soda Bread. I'm capitalizing it, as it became my Erie Deity. Yummy, yummy stuff. Oh and butter wasn't bad either. Don't know what it is about those Irish cows, but the butter is better in Ireland. Or perhaps it's just really The Bread.

Along with my heavenly b and b, I had the eggs, bacon, sausage, baked tomato and black pudding, which as you may or may not know, appears to be a heavily spiced blood sausage. It wasn't too bad, taken in small doses. I wouldn't go out of my way to order it again, but I didn't hate it. It did add a bit of flavor to an otherwise (save The Bread) bland meal. But again, the whole eating thing drove us to take a nap. It was Sunday morning, afterall. Nothing was open. So back to bed for a 2 hour nap.

When I awoke, I decided it was time to pursue some replacement readers. I was tired of having to share Bifocal Boy's glasses. So while Bick continued to adjust (or not) to jetlag, I headed out to search for glasses.

Since in all of our travels the day before, I hadn't seen a thing that resembled a CVS, I decided to start with the optometry shops that I had seen the day before. I headed to the beautifully decorated Grafton Street shopping area to look for some eyeballs. At the first shop I went into, I hit paydirt. They do have readers in Ireland. For only 50 Euro, a nondescript pair of readers can be yours. OUCHY! I decided that I would pass on those.

I did hang around Grafton Street a bit more to listen to the street musicians gathered at the entrance to St. Stephen's Green. Wonderful, talented and funny people. The sun was shining so brightly that it actually hurt your eyes to look up. I guess it had to do with the angle of the sun in the sky, but I don't know what I've ever been in a brighter sun. It was warm and lovely.

Still in pursuit of readers, I backtracked, headed back to Temple Bar, stopped in to see if Bick was ready to join the fray. He wasn't, so I headed back down O'Connell street - the "main drag" of the city center - to go to the Jarvis shopping area. Bick and I had been all through this area and farther out toward the more residential, less tony area of Dublin, in our travels the day before, so I sort of knew the lay off the land. I stopped in a opt shop in Jarvis, and while the prices were coming down, it was hard for me to throw down 30 Euro to replace something I'd paid $4.99 for at the Justin Pharmacy. Of course, you get what you pay for. Somehow, I'd broken the top piece of the frame and the lens had fallen out of my glasses.

So, I headed back across O'Connell toward the more residential area and after ambling and window shopping and just enjoying a glorious sunshiny day with other Dubliners, I found another opt shop and happily plopped down 13 Euro for a new pair. No one plans for this kind of outing, but for me, it turned out to be pure bliss. I feel like I got to see another part of the city in a more much real way. I moved away from the "city center" a little bit and shopped where I assume the locals shop. I got a truer insight into what life in Dublin can be like, rather than just joustling amongst the tourist listening to traditional Irish music at Gogarty's. So, I don't begrudge this experiment at all.

Since I was already out and about and wanted to get all my gift shopping done before leaving Dublin, I headed back to the all Irish store I'd seen the day before. My Mom had requested a Waterford Christmas ornament to decorate one the seven trees she puts up every year, so I headed to that area of the store. I purchased some lovely goblet for Pebbles and Guy in appreciation for their dogsitting duties, plus a few other small items and then had it all shipped back to USA. It still hasn't arrived, but I was told it would be slow. Shipping was a much better solution that having me wag that stuff all over hell and half of Ireland.

Lunch had come and gone, but I'd managed to fall in love with something that I'd come to call my meal replacement bar - Toffee Crisp. Turns out we seldom (maybe once) actually ate lunch while there, but I would pick up a Toffee Crisp candy bar around 2 in the afternoon which would hold me until dinner. Also yummy.

I wandered through the grounds of Trinity College again on my way home. I cannot imagine what it must be like to attend university there. It is such a grand and beautiful place. It's hard to beat the beauty of old.

Headed back to the hotel, met up with Bick and we set out on another walkabout.

To Be Continued.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day One - Dublin - continued

Hunger and fatigue soon struck and we popped into a pub for some fish and chips. Upon review, that may have been a mistake. After eating, we were exhausted and headed back to the hotel for a quick nap. We napped for a couple of hours and then were out and about again. We strolled through Temple Bar area looking for a recommended pub that played traditional Irish music and found it.

I also found my new love, cider. I've never been a beer drinker and even though I was promised that a pint of Guiness served in it's homeland would be a near orgasmic experience, I.just.don' So, a ladies' glass of cider for me. Yummy!

We listened to the jam sessions, along with all the other foreign visitors to Dublin for holiday. Dublin has quite a cosmopolitan feel to it and the parts we saw were beautiful.

The upside of sites being closed for the holidays meant that the city was still decked out for the Season and it was out gorgeous. Made for a beautiful experience - the old city decorated in holiday dress. Lots of hustle and bustle, for sure.

We grabbed a takeaway kabob for our late dinner and settled in for the night. Or at least I did. Bick couldn't sleep. Time difference, jet-lag. Whatever. Fitful night for him that led to a lost day for him on Sunday.

Day One - Dublin

Our flights to Dublin on Continental went off without a hitch. I'd requested an early flight into Newark to ensure we could make our overseas plane. It made for a long day, but given it was wintertime, I didn't feel confident we could make an hour and a half plane change. So we spent a little time in the Newark Airport.

All legs of the flight were booked solid. Not an empty seat on any of the four legs of this entire journey. And due to holiday travel, flights were loaded with kids who were mostly quietish. Only one screamer on the way to Dublin. And for the record, I thought the service (including meals!) on Continental was very good. I've become accustomed to flying AA and this was a much more pleasant experience.

I managed to sleep about three hours and Bick a bit more, but we were both pretty wide awake when we landed in Dublin. Quick trip through the airport and we were out on the curb. Bick was able to have his first cig in hours. Glad I don't have to suffer with that anymore. Then came the cab versus bus discussion.

I love public transportation and will chose it whenever possible. So I was opting for the bus into the city (which as an added bonus, was much cheaper) and Bick just assumed we would cab it. I managed to convince him to take the bus and it was a double-decker! Yee haw. I found what I thought was the proper bus, we bought our tickets and clamored up to the front seat on the upper deck. Good thing we packed light!

Wow - what a ride! Taking roundabouts on the second story is, according to Bick, the $15 dollar ride at Six Flags. Whee! It was glorious and a nice way to see a bit of the city. We got off the bus (too early we later found out) on O'Connell street, pretty much across from the famous Post Office and set out to find our bearings.

I knew where we were on the map, but couldn't figure out which way to go and Bick offered to step into a Spar's (7-11-like) and grab us a coffee and ask for directions. He came out telling me he was very glad to find an Asian women with English as her second language, because he could understand her. We both had trouble understanding the Irish.

We headed off towards the Temple Bar area, which was just a flew blocks away. We found our hotel and they let us check in, even though it was still early in the morning. We ditched our bags, washed our faces and headed out to walk around and look at stuff. It was still too early to do any formal sightseeing, as things were closed for several more hours. Oh, and this was Bick's first exposure to non-US chain hotels abroad. He's been to Oslo several times on business, but always stay at the Marriott/Westin/whatever. He told me that he felt like we were in a display room at Ikea. Our room was small (I've been in smaller) but quite comfortable. We did however, have to ask at the front desk for "face cloths" as evidently they are not normally used in Ireland.

We headed for the Liffey River and just walked around for about three hours until the hunt for a public toilet (there are NONE!) led us back to the hotel at a very fast clip. We regrouped and headed off to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells - my number one sight in Dublin. Closed. Ouch.

We headed down Grafton Street to St. Stephen's Green to walk through the park and regroup. We decided upon a trip to the Museum of Natural History to see the bog people, but were stymied on that attempt as well. We found several museums, but not the one we were looking for. We did, however, pass a store specializing in Irish-made items, so I popped in for a quick peek.

On our bathroom break in the hotel room, I managed to break my glasses and thus became unable to read a map.

More later.

On the mat

I've been spending some time each morning in the yoga room, doing a little meditation and a bit of yoga to start each day. It's a lovely way to begin the morning. I hope to make it a habit.

Had a nice workout yesterday, but forgot my gym shoes for my traveling gym bag, so I didn't get in any weight work at the Jesus Gym. I already have my shoes set out for today, so I'll hit some iron this afternoon.

We are having a luncheon today at work to celebrate three birthdays. I made Mexican cornbread to share at the fiesta, but I will not have any. I'll stay around just long enough to convey my well-wishes, then it's off to the gym.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Do what's good for you, even if it's just a few minutes.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Challenge at the Jesus Gym

Tim, the owner of the Jesus Gym, has thrown down the gauntlet. He has challenged each of us to a thirty day challenge to kick start our year and if we lose more weight as a percentage than he does, then we don't have to pay dues for a year. His wife is pretty scared. It was a ten dollar donation to a charity that digs wells in India to enter, so last night on my way home, I stopped by, ponied up and had a trainer weigh me. Yikes!

We'll see if I'm motivated by money, as this would be a payoff of almost $500.00 dollars in gym membership fees.

I don't like fad diets, so I'm just going to try to do my regular stuff, eat clean, get some cardio and lift some weights. I've been meaning to add some weight training back into the mix. I'm also thinking of adding a boxing class at the Jesus Gym on Saturday mornings. I've come to know the trainer for that and like her. God forbid we have yoga at the Jesus gym, because that wouldn't be Christian, but we can take classes in beating the crap out of each other.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Find a challenge.



Saturday, January 3, 2009

Like a Rock

The trip was fabulous. We had good trip karma the whole way through. Bick was an awesome navigator and really was good at talking me through the hairy parts, and there were some seriously hairy parts. But it's those hairy driving "serious bends" that we'll both remember most.

Ireland is gorgeous. Beautiful every place you look. I cannot wait to return. My favorite place was Dingle. If I had it to do over again, I would spend the first couple of days in Dublin and then head straight to Dingle and spend the remainder of my time in one place - taking day trips from there. Wonderful people and stunning scenery. We met up with some wonderful locals and Bick learned to play/shoot snooker. We heard lots of great music (other than 80's music on the radio - it was like being in a "where are they now VH1 highlight reel"). And I fell in LOVE with soda bread and Irish butter! I had kippers for breakfast, tried black pudding and didn't hate it and had one of my most memorable meals in Dublin at a Moroccan restaurant.

There were some disappointments - many sights were closed, without having posted such info on their websites. We'd show up at a place - a serious, national tourist site, only to find a paper note taped to the door/entrance/whatever announcing they would be closed until after the New Year. Oh well, we still had a good time. Great time.

Friday, January 2, 2009



"Roxie, you are cleaning out every bar ditch in Ireland."

"Bick, I need you to be encouraging and supportive."

"Roxie, I'd like to encourage you to be a better driver."