Gratitude, love, strength.

I was just reflecting on how deeply I appreciate all of you who read what I post in this space, and how much you all mean to me. No matter what we may think or say, we are a collection of hearts on this earth. Heart energy is love, and love is never a more magnificent force than when it’s recognized as strength. There are millions and millions of us on earth with love and strength to share. We can get through anything together! Keeping each other safe by staying home as much as possible is the most powerful way we can express our love right now, and I’m feeling it. It’s overwhelming in the best of ways.

 

Nenette loves her sparkly toys, but she loves you more.

 

 

Happy Friday Eve, my dear friends.

 

 

The End.

Ropes and Cardio? No. (Spring 2020 Fitness Updates, Part 2: COVID-19 edition.)

This was supposed to be my “Spring 2020 Fitness Updates, Part 2: Ropes & Cardio edition” post, wherein I’d review my cardio workout experience from my first Ropes class to the fifth, which would’ve been yesterday’s class. I was going to take a post-workout selfie and everything!

Only I didn’t go to the class or to the gym at all yesterday. After feeling conflicted going to Saturday’s Pump class, I decided at the last minute that staying away from the gym was the obviously correct thing to do for the greater good in these times of COVID-19.

Plan B, then, was to write about how I’ve decided to stay away from the gym indefinitely, and what I was going to do for fitness instead.

Only when I woke up this morning, my decision was no longer a decision, because my gym (thankfully) announced that it was closing all of its locations from today until at least March 31st.

So this fitness update is just to say that I’ll be working out at home for the next few weeks/indefinitely. I re-subscribed to Les Mills On Demand so I can continue with Body Pump out in the garage. The weather is perfect, and we have all the dumbbells!

For the cardio half of my fitness equation? WELL, having Les Mills On Demand means that I can do Body Combat workouts again. I’m going to BODY COMBAT for the first time in almost a year, and I’m stoked.

There are always silver linings, even to the dark clouds of the viral apocalypse.

I’m so glad that my gym closed in the interest of slowing the COVID-19 spread.

I have to admit that I’ve been confused listening to the folks who remark that COVID-19 is “like the flu,” and that it’s not even as bad as the flu because “more people die from the flu and people don’t freak out or care about that.” This basic lack of understanding of what’s going on is scary. Hasn’t everyone noticed that the borders between countries in continental Europe have been slammed shut, and Italy is locked down completely? COVID-19 cannot be underestimated.

This virus is not “like the flu.” COVID-19’s mortality rate is higher than the flu’s, and it’s more contagious than the flu. COVID-19 is new, so there’s no vaccine for it, no immunity to it. It’s a fast-moving unknown, is what it is, and people are dying. Until we understand it, we can’t be too careful. I’d rather “overreact” to this thing now than live life as if nothing is happening and then look back with regret. Let’s learn from the Italians, who learned it the hard way.

The only way to avoid being a part of the problem is to minimize our footprints by removing ourselves from the mix. The only way to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19’s trajectory – necessary for biochemists to catch up with the virus so they can create a vaccine – is to practice social-distancing to the utmost possible.

Think of it this way, since everyone loves a twist on an idiom in a run-on sentence: There’s a kitchen full of cooks who are merrily cooking away, laughing and talking and gesticulating and unknowingly flinging around microscopic particles of flour and droplets of vinegar and whatnot, and in the midst of all this activity, there’s a devious, deadly bug that the exterminators can’t catch because it’s also microscopic, and it’s able to jump around quickly and stealthily from cook to cook, and not only that, but it’s a shape-shifting bug that can change its appearance, so the exterminators have to re-learn it every time they think they have it before they can resume the hunt. We need to get the cooks out of the kitchen so the exterminators can catch the bug that’s contaminating everyone and everything in there, you know?

 

I went to Target on Saturday.

 

I’m happy to get back into the garage. Next time I post a fitness update, it’ll be a garage gym post!

 

 

 

Meme I stole from a friend, because frivolity.

I don’t usually mention current events in this space, but these are some particularly sinister times. It’s hard to know what else to think about, much less write about.

Some of us are higher-risk than others, but COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. We have healthy, young, world-class athletes diagnosed with it now (R.I.P. 2020 NBA season), so no one under the age of 60 should allow their age to lull them into complacency. No one should wave off the virus because “most cases are mild.” It’s great that most cases are mild, but that’s not the point. A mildly infected person could infect someone else, and that person may not be as lucky. An infected individual feeling “okay” is yet a hazard to others.

COVID-19 is a runaway virus that no one’s caught up with yet, and that’s the damn thing of it. Until we get ahead of it, it’s a disaster, and no words can sugar-coat it.

“But it’s such a cute little disaster!” Nah.

I don’t even know, man.

Anyway, here’s a silly meme I stole from a friend on another site. Learn some frivolous trivia about Yours Truly, if you’re so inclined:

1. What was the last food you ate?
I’m eating crunchy, toasted chickpeas with sea salt as we speak.

2. Do you sleep w socks?
Yes! Always! I wouldn’t want to jump into combat boots with bare feet.

3. Worst physical pain you’ve ever been in?
Waking up from major abdominal surgery feeling everything. I thought I was going to die. Two days of hell crawled by before the official medical conclusion was reached, which is that I “don’t have the receptors for morphine.” Red-heads are notoriously difficult to anesthetize, apparently. [::shakes fist at ginger biological father and his genes::]

4. Favorite places you have been?
Besides Arizona:
Stuttgart (Germany)
London (England)
Casablanca (Morocco)

5. How late did you stay up last night?
Until around 1:45am.

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be?
Nowhere. I don’t want to move ever again. My whole heart is rooted here in Arizona, now more than ever! This is where I belong.

7. Which of your Facebook friends lives closest to you?
Caroline!

8. When was the last time you cried?
Whatever day it was that I watched The Pharmacist. That Netflix docuseries got to me.

9. Who took your profile pic?
I did. Most pics of me are selfies.

10. Two of your favorite movies?
Those of you who know me well or who’ve been here awhile probably know that Tombstone (1993) and The Big Lebowski (1998) are my two favorite movies, so I’ll throw in two more favorites:
Tank Girl (1995)
Candyman (1992)

The 90’s is my favorite movie decade. Most of my favorite movies are from the 90’s.

11. What’s your favorite season?
Spring! And fall. The equinoxes.

12. If you could have any career, what would it be?
Writing poetry and novels.

13. What was the last book you read?
Lee Child’s Blue Moon. It’s a Jack Reacher novel… Lee Child’s last, at that.

14. If you could talk to ANYONE right now, who would it be?
Tochinoshin, my favorite Sumo wrestler. His native tongues are the two languages spoken in Georgia, Georgian and Abkhazian, so we’d have to speak through a translator.

15. Are you a good influence?
I’ve been told that I am, mostly by Callaghan. Does that count?

16. Does pineapple belong on a pizza?
Hawaiian pizza exists, therefore pineapple belongs on a pizza. Do I like it? Yes, though I never ask for pineapple on my pizza.

17. You have the remote, what show are you watching right now?
Black-ish. It’s the show that makes us laugh the most, and now is a good time for that.

18. Last concert you attended?
Def Leppard. 2014. Ak-Chin pavilion. Amazing show.

19. Favorite type of cuisine?
Don’t make me choose! I love Thai (green curry!), Italian (pasta with garlic and olive oil!), Mexican (street tacos with black beans, rice, pico de gallo, and guac!), and Mom’s fried tofu. “Mom” is a cuisine, isn’t it? If it’s not, then it should be.

 

Spring 2020 Fitness Updates, Part 1. (Weight-training/Les Mills Body Pump edition!)

Before I share my fitness updates, I want to note here that the March Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, Japan will start this Sunday, as planned… but without spectators. The arena will be closed. This development makes sense under the threat of the coronavirus, of course, but it’ll be strange to watch an audience-less Sumo tournament. There will be no fans cheering and yelling and applauding and throwing their seat cushions into the air with delight when a rank-and-filer beats a Yokozuna and groaning when the judges make a controversial decision.

Honestly, as the Sumo Association deliberated on what to do considering the coronavirus, I was hoping that they’d go with the option of canceling the tournament altogether. Wouldn’t it be cool if the wrestlers could actually heal and recover from their injuries for once? I mean, without fear of penalty? This reminds me that I want to write a post about why Sumo is more dangerous than MMA.

For now, though, fitness updates!

It’s difficult, but I’m sticking to my plan to continue lifting super light weights in Body Pump. At this point, the urge to lift my normal weights is like a deep itch I’m refusing to scratch, but at the same time, I’m marveling at the benefits of my self-restraint.

For instance, I’ve never been able to drop so low in my squats and maintain that exact depth throughout all the bottom-halves and pulses. I’ve never actually held my elbow up as high as it should be doing triceps kick-backs, or kept it as high during kick-back pulses, or lowered the weight no further down than my hip. I’ve never used my legs so mindfully doing clean-and-presses. I’ve never focused so intently on keeping my elbows pinned to the sides of my rib cage doing biceps curls. And so on. Lifting light weights frees my mind, and with my mind fully engaged in the workout, my form is now as perfect as I can possibly make it.

I’m happy to have found that lifting light weights in Body Pump translates to achievement of sustained good form with maximized mind/body connection and full range of motion.

It’s because of this that I still experience post-workout soreness in my muscles in the 48 hours after a workout, and I’m enjoying results in the form of increased strength and muscle definition. It’s true that you don’t need to lift a lot of weight in order to see results from Les Mills Body Pump! Instructors who proclaim this aren’t saying it just to say it.

That being said, I do plan to increase my weight-load to some extent after I recover from my April surgery and return to the gym in May… not across the board, though. I’ll probably mix light and heavy weights. Now that I know what it is to have good form with full range of motion, I’ll be able to easily recognize when a weight increase takes away from that, and I’ll drop the weight back down.

I was going to talk about my Ropes and Cardio class in this post, too, but I’ve already blathered on long enough about Body Pump. Look for “Spring Fitness Updates, Part Two” in the near-ish future!

 

 

[23 February 2020]

 

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

 

It’s about time! (Gym updates! First of 2020.)

I’ve been on a mission to get back into a fitness routine. It’s happening. Here are the changes:

1). No more Monday morning Body Pump. I’m doing a class called “Ropes and Cardio” on Mondays, instead. I did it for the first time this week, and it kicked my ass, which is going to happen when your ass hasn’t done cardio in almost a year and you’ve never picked up a battle rope in your life. This class is insane. I love it. I’ll go into further detail in an actual class review, maybe, after another two-three classes.

2). Now that I’m solidly back in Body Pump, I could pick up my regular weights again, but I’m sticking with the super light weights I used the first day I got back a week ago Saturday. Why? Because it’s different, and because I’m fascinated by the fact that I feel a slight post-workout burn in my muscles even after using the ridiculously light weights. It’s a new year, and this is my new gym thing, apparently. Do not increase my weights! Talk about a plot twist.

3). I’m walking two-six miles on whatever non-gym day fits my week (and not on a treadmill). I’m using the Accupedo app on my phone instead of a fitbit or other some such. Accupedo shows me everything I need to know. I tell it when I’m starting my walk, and it tracks my pace, steps, miles, calories burned, date, place, time, active time, and total time, and it shows a graph of my workout and also a map of where I walked! It takes from Google maps. It’s kind of creepy, but I’m kind of really digging it.

I’m happy with this new schedule and plan starting out the new year. It feels good doing cardio twice a week and light weights twice a week, as opposed to most of last year’s three heavier-weight Body Pump classes with no cardio.

I’m seriously jonsing for Body Combat, though. If I can find a way back into a Combat class….

Eight splendiferous weeks of workouts lie before me, and then I’ll be out for a month again. I’m having my second gum-grafting surgery (bottom row this time) on April 13. That surgery will be more invasive than the last one, I’ve been told. I’ll have a stent in my mouth post-op and likely even more bruises on my face, and, yeah, no one will be seeing me for a while. Once I’ve recovered from that, though, it’s going to be hard to keep me away from the gym.

For those who requested it, today’s selfie was taken yesterday in my car after my Body Pump workout.

 

My hair is amused.

 

Happy Friday Eve!

 

Favorites of 2019! (Late, but I’m a month behind on the new year.)

Hi, this is me outdoing myself on being late. I’m finally getting around to posting the “Favorites of My Favorite Little Things in 2019” list I’d planned on doing since December. Since 2020 just began for me when I made it back to the gym at the beginning of February, I’m finally here with the list!

The biggest part of the list is the products section, because I discovered quite a few holy grail, ride-or-die products in 2019. You’ll find that at the bottom of the list; I’m presenting these favorites in the same order I always do in my “favorites” lists: movies, series, food, products.

If you’re interested, take a look at my favorite “little things” of 2019!

Top three favorite theater movies: 
Parasite (October)
Joker (October)
Ford v. Ferrari (November)

In total, I saw nine movies in theaters in 2019. My top three favorites were the three I went to see in the fall.

Midsommar’s  artistic merits deem it top-three worthy, but Midsommar being Midsommar, its excellence made it unbearable for me. A cheesier, less deftly handled production may have made it more watchable. As it is, even the trailer still sends me into a panic. Why do I keep going back to watch the trailer?! There are scenes in the trailer that don’t even appear in the movie! Also, the trailer gives nothing away; one is in no way prepared for Midsommar’s atrocities after watching the trailer. I think it’s the music, the sound of the string instruments in the trailer that freak me out. Why am I rambling on about Midsommar when it’s not on my list? Ugh.

Moving on…

Favorite of the few movies I watched at home:
Train to Busan (Netflix). It’s now my favorite zombie film.

Favorite streaming T.V. series:
From Netflix: You, Dead to Me, Love, Death + Robots, After Life, After Life, and La Casa De Papel
From Hulu: Reprisal
From Amazon Prime Video: Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Favorite athletic event:
The May 2019 Grand Sumo Tournament (Natsu Basho) Grand Sumo Highlights. This was the tournament in which Tochinoshin, my favorite wrestler, earned back his Ozeki rank.

 

World-class sumo wrestler Tochinoshin (Levan Gorgadze of Georgia)

 

Favorite miscellaneous project to watch:
Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show (Amazon Prime Video)

Favorite processed food discoveries:
Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix
Crunchy/toasted chickpeas with sea salt
Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes (especially the chocolate one)

Favorite skincare/cosmetic product discoveries*:
Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser A-D-E
Acure brightening facial scrub
Nourish Organic Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion
Schmidt’s Bergamot and Lime Natural Deodorant**
e.l.f. Radiant Gel Lip Stains
e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer
NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil
Jason Powersmile Anti-Cavity and Whitening Gel

*All vegan and cruelty-free

**I’d put a different deodorant as a favorite on December’s list, and it was my new favorite… until I developed an allergic reaction to it. I had to toss it. I picked up another of the Schmidt’s, and I’m glad to be using it again. It works fine, and I love its bergamot and lime scent! I probably won’t deviate from it again.

Favorite random little thing:
Bat birthday card (by Brace)

 

Bat birthday card by Brace

 

I don’t know what it is about this card. No one gave it to me. I came across it and I had to have it in my life and so I got it and it still makes me inexplicably happy. The front reads, “It’s when you can’t hear the bats, that’s when the bats are coming.” The inside reads, “Other than that, I have no birthday advice.”

On that note, I’ll bid you a happy rest of your day or night. I hope 2020 is off to a great start for you!

 

 

Anecdotally, (+ I went back to the gym!)

I’ve been feeling better little by little, and I’ve been released to roam around outside of the house.  Outside of the house rocks my world. Outside of the house this morning meant that I finally took my car, Dysis, out for the spa day I’ve been promising her. That is, I took her to the car wash. And I took myself to get my bangs trimmed. And I took myself to the V.A. for my annual DEXA scan. The guy behind the radiology counter said, “Miss Kristi! We might as well get you a desk back here!” Because today was my fifth visit to radiology in the last month. Haha!

Outside of the house happened on Saturday, and also on Sunday. I took backyard selfies on Sunday afternoon after I got home.

 

Facing the shade with February aloe vera.

 

Let me tell you about Saturday, though. It was the first day of February, and I went back to the gym for the first time since December. Body Pump! I kept five-pound plates on my barbell as my heaviest weight because five weeks is a long time to be sedentary. It was a good call – I started feeling the post-workout pain that evening. Glorious, finallygotoffmyass post-workout pain.

Yesterday was Monday, and I did not go to the gym again as I’d planned. I woke up in the morning and cancelled my booking for Body Pump because the act of opening my eyes riled up my cough immediately, which was good, because…

I suddenly realized that my gym regimen could do with a change. Having finally set foot in a gym, 2020 is just now starting as far as I’m concerned, so it’s a good time for a change, and… why not?

After reviewing my options online, I decided that I’ll ditch Monday morning Body Pump for Monday morning Ropes and Cardio, a class that allegedly works you out with battle ropes and cardio segments thrown into the hour. You know I’ll be reporting on my experience with it, because it’ll be something totally new to me.

Morning Body Combat classes are scarce despite all of my gym’s locations. I miss it. In any case, though, it’s time to get back into cardio. I haven’t done it in over six months.

See you on Thursday with my list of January Favorites!