I’m So Buff

I am doomed to not be able to sleep past 5AM while on this vacation. The problem that arises is that nothing here opens until 8AM at the earliest. Unless it’s open 24hours. Which, thankfully, the jjimjilbang are.

Ever since my first experience at Sauvie Island’s nude beach I have become a huge proponent of public nudity. It is the great equalizer. You think our current culture is into body shaming? Go to a nude beach. No one there is perfect – with stomach pooches, or skin flaws or saggy bits and bobs – yet everyone there is perfect. I have never felt so comfortable in my own skin. As such, I don’t mind the World Naked Bike Ride (if it’s not too cold), I love going to Sauvie on a warm day, and I often frequent Common Ground for a soak in NE Portland.

The jjimjilbang are community hot tubs (gender separated). Depending on which one you go to they may offer other amenities as well. Some people when traveling here use the jjimjilbang as a well priced hostel. Andrew and I went to Siloam, a five story jjimjilbang and fomentation center it was 10,000₩ ($8.80) per person.

When you enter the locker room, you put your shoes in a locker and bring that key to the attendant who gives you a locker key for your clothes, a couple of towels, and a pair of shorts and a shirt for the community areas. I stripped down, took a shower and went to the baths. There were four different types: Jade, wormwood, charcoal and ice – after all four dips you eat an eye of newt and you are transported into a Shakespearean drama.

I soaked a bit and then took an ice shower then soaked a bit more. I was feeling pretty calm and was about to wander the fomentation center when I saw there was a corner where a sign said something along the lines of “We’ll pamper you more and more.” I went in and learned that the word for massage in Korean is massaji. I decided to go for the VIP treatment which includes a skin buff and a massage.

The woman taking care of me cleaned off the vinyl covered table, told me to lay on it and then put on her bra and undies. She then donned a pair of gloves that can best be described as “40-grit” and started planing me like I was the SS Minnow. There were no worries about any language barrier because she was moving me around like a marionette – I may have smacked myself a few times during this process. She started me on my back then on each side and finally my stomach – and she didn’t miss an inch, twice. At one point I noticed what looked like pumice bits all around my body, then I realized that it was the skin she had sanded off of me.

Fully skinned, it was time for the massaji – it was a healthy mix of massage, chiroprachty and child abuse – slap, knead knead, adjust, knead, slap, slap, knead.  All of this was mixed with moments of pausing to get the towel that was draped over me scalding hot again. This massage was very thorough and included a facial massage the likes of which I have never experienced. It was like my face was a piano and she Franz Liszt. The facial massage ended with a strawberry yogurt and cucumber wrap – I was a summer salad.

While my face macerated, it was baby oil time for my new skin. In my life I have probably used baby oil 4 or 5 times for a total usage amount of one tablespoon – a little goes a long way. Yesterday an entire bottle of baby oil was used on me – again, not a spot was missed. At this point I would like to remind you that I was on a vinyl table with a thorough masseuse – it was an odd combination of slip-and-slide meets tug-of-war with my main concern being not to get cucumber-yogurt juice in my ear.

By the end of this I was exhausted and completely blissed out. I met Andrew on the second floor (after another shower to remove the baby oil that would make walking and sitting dangerous), we wandered around the five floors of the complex, sat in a freezer and then ate some lunch.

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I have never been so happy to sit in cold. Also, look at how new and milky (literally) my skin looks!

That evening we enjoyed a cooking class with Jomin Jun at CooKoreanclass.com. She taught us how to make kimchi stew, glass noodles with pork, and pork and cabbage stir fry. Andrew impressed us all with his knife skills and we had a lovely time learning about Korean culture and food and walking through Mangwon Market.

We learned that Koreans eat live octopus and that they like feeling it moving in their mouth as they eat it. And we learned that eel soup can rejuvenate your power after having a baby. Combined, we mostly learned that Andrew and I have our limits in willingness to experiment. I, for example, will never be able to bring myself to eating a live octopus, and Andrew will never have a baby.

Andrew & Hadas

Our third and final dish of the night. Everything was so delicious and simple to make.

 

Snack Attack

About a month ago I accidentally discovered my new favorite snack. Andrew and I both like beets. They take forever to cook though, even though we quarter them (bake with olive oil and salt and some rosemary). So in the interest of saving time, I sliced up about 4 beets put them in the oven and promptly forgot about them until Andrew asked me what was burning (about an hour and a half- I think).

Turns out, what was burning was the ingenious snack of beet chips. I tossed them with a bit of olive oil and salt and we Hoovered them down like Kobiyashi bolting hot dogs on the Fourth of July. I tried making them once again before we left on our cruise but didn’t manage to forget about them in the same way so they were a little soft. I am attempting them again tonight.

Because of my recent stabbing injury – with my middle and ring fingers taped to each other I look like a reverse Vulcan* which is totally appropriate due to my lack of logic – I am a little knife shy and put the mandolin to use . Unfortunately, it slices too thin and we don’t have the right width extension (about 1/8″). While slicing the beets with the butcher knife I thought how bad it would be to cut myself because I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between blood and beet juice.

On the last beet I found out that was wrong. You can totally tell the difference between blood and beet juice. Not so much in color; beet juice stains, blood runs.

This cut is also on my left hand, just a little nick in my pinkie. In light of this, I have about +3 degree of difficulty in typing and have blog-leveled-up.

I am going to try to make it to the New Year with no more injuries. Wish me luck, a lot can happen in one week.

*Reverse Vulcan also sounds like an incredibly difficult gymnastics move or a sexual position. Wait, I think I just came up with a great game.

Monkey Shines

The pain of the 6AM wake up call was non-existent once I realized that my alarm was monkeys jumping on the metal part of our roof. In fact, if I could have cute animals pouncing on my roof every morning at 6AM I would never be late to work. Not that I am late to work now, but I would definitely get out of bed to watch animals frolic.

Yesterday morning’s early rise was at about the same time as our alarm was going to go off anyway as we had scheduled an early morning tour at a vanilla farm. On the tour with us were three expats from Canada. There was another couple as well – also from Canada. I have met more Canadians on this trip than when I lived in Niagara Falls. Also, I think all we need is to meet someone from The Yukon Territories and we’ll have a full set. Finally, along for the tour was a woman with her very old mom – with whom I hit it off immediately by cracking an Alzheimer’s joke at her. I’m not very good at people.

Villa Vanilla is a biodynamic, biodiverse farm. They grow various plants in order to let nature kind of do it’s thing. They don’t use any pesticides; instead, they have plants that distract the animals from eating the crops they want to maintain. So, to prevent the squirrels (ardilla) from eating the vanilla, cacao, and ceylon cinnamon they distract them with pineapple, birds of paradise and pizzas.

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This is not quite what I imagined a pineapple plant would look like, but it did distract me.

The other interesting thing about the vanilla is the flower has both male and female parts in itself, but it doesn’t much like having sex. The people on the farm have a two hour window of opportunity, when the flowers on the plant open, to go and provide … ahem … manual stimulation … er … with a stick. But, in the end it is worth it. I left the farm with two sticks of vanilla that are as thick as my finger and as long as my ulna. When we got back to our apartment I made pork shoulder with vanilla, ginger, onions and wine. It was delicious.

As the pork cooked, Andrew and I swung in a hammock and watched the sun set.

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I win at hammocks.

Then, because I am still on Pacific Time, I went to bed at 9:30PM CT (that’s how time zones work, right?). I don’t know if it was the walk, or the sun, or the half bottle of wine, but I was zonked.

I awoke at 6 again this morning in preparation for today’s trip. It was a mildly disappointing wake-up as no monkeys were hurling themselves into our building. We ate a light breakfast al fresco and waited for the truck to pick us up at 7:15. By 7:30 Andrew had to call the event place and give them the correct name of our AirBnB (Casa Pargo) as opposed to the name of our bungalow, because apparently The Jungle Villa is an actual hotel in Quepos.

We were on the road with 8 other tourists. Andrew asked the couple in front of us where in Canada they were from.

Couple: Boston.

Andrew: Oh there’s a Boston in Canada? What Provence?

The guy looked at Andrew like he’d just grown a third eye.

Andrew: Oh. You mean Boston, Boston! Sorry. We’ve met a lot of Canadians. We just assume.

Another couple claimed to be from Texas but then kept mentioning all the things that are similar to Costa Rica in Arkansas. I hadn’t realized Texas was an upgrade…

There was a French couple. She weighed about 80 pounds and he wore gingham patterned Daisy Duke’s. They constantly had their camera out and were kind of nerdy and awkward with each other. So, I immediately assumed they were on an elaborate first date a la The Bachelor.

The final couple was our Canadians. Unfortunately, not the Yukon Territories, however.

Our tour that day was zip lining. It was awesome. One of the lines was a mile long. I want to zip line everywhere. I wonder if I can set a zip line course up from my house to work. If I had that, I would never be late to work.

We got back to our place and passed out for a nap.

When we awoke, I reminded Andrew that we live on a very steep hill that it would be super hard to run up. So we got dressed and did a WOD. The hill is maybe a quarter mile long, but it is 180 ft elevation, within that quarter mile. and most of it is at the end. We raced down the hill and back up. Then we took a breath and revisited the WOD I did in Cahuita (this time Andrew joined me). Then we cooled off in the sun-warmed pool. At this point I was thinking the day couldn’t get better, as we watched the sun slowly drift closer to the horizon.

Then all of a sudden the monkeys descended. They played games all around us.  If I had monkeys dancing around me all day, I would never be late to work. They talked to us. They chased each other around the pool. Three of them kept coming up to the pool and drinking from it, while Andrew and I were inside it!!!!! We were like the olives in their pool-martini. This party lasted for what seemed like an hour. Both Andrew and me are still smiling from the encounter.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling of being that close to a monkey. The only thing that comes to mind is, SQUEEEEEEEE!

See Andrew’s version of our travels at andrewberkowitz.com/blog. It’s a she said/he said.

A Sloth In Your Palm…

Sometimes a girl has to weigh her expectations to reality and determine if maybe the disappointment is her own fault.

I mean, I am not really disappointed in Costa Rica from a vacation perspective. It’s warm. The people are lovely. We’ve done some fun things.

The thing is, this is my fourth day here and I kind of expected that by now if I lifted my arms a la Snow White, with a lovely song, that I would suddenly be surrounded by sloths, toucans would alight on my arms to help me dress, iguanas  would scamper about lightly and playfully flicking me with their tails all while howler monkeys came by and fed me fresh cut papaya.

When I type all that out and read it out loud to myself it really doesn’t sound like a big deal to me.  But sometimes, when traveling to foreign countries, the best laid plans go awry. My suggestion, be prepared.

For example, on Tuesday when we got back from dinner we received a letter from the B&B management that the following day there would be no running water because the city was going to shut it off from 7AM to 4PM. Upon waking up the next morning it was clear that water is the Spanish word for electricity. The water was running fine, but there were no lights, no microwave and most importantly no Wifi.

This was a problem in that I was working remotely. No Wifi means little-to-no-work getting done. It also means that as soon as the battery on my computer died, “little” would be out of that equation. I used Andrew’s cell phone to call work and let them know I was going to be unavailable until 4PM CST and would work that evening, and Andrew and I grilled our gracious host for things to do in or near San José.

Immediately Elizabeth grabbed our map and started showing us how to get to Volcán Poás (that’s volcano, not Vulcan – although, I would be interested in seeing either). We headed out for a lovely day trip.

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Apparently we lucked out on the volcano trip. The day before it had erupted mildly – though, in truth, that would have been awesome to see and there was a little part of me hoping it would blow again. Also, it’s situated in the cloud forest, so oftentimes it is not visible due to cloud coverage.

After visiting the volcano we took a hike to the nearby lake. The sign to the lake said the entire lake route was 2.6 kilometers and would take an hour. Andrew and I started up the path scoffing at the time frame – “Heh, that’s for people who don’t exercise.” “No, it’s for the sloths.”

It turns out the sign was for us. The route just to the lake was 800 meters, uphill, at elevation. Within 30 steps neither of us was laughing, but mostly because we had no oxygen and we had to conserve our breath.

The path was beautiful. At one point Andrew said it reminded him of The Princess Bride. So I said, “Well, I’m not saying I’d like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.” in my best British accent. And then I had to have a lie-down to regain my breath.

The trees were actually quite lovely. And the canopy over us was nice. The entire time a light breeze was playing through the area. But, despite it being a cloud forest, we did not actually walk in clouds.

The trees were actually quite lovely. And the canopy over us as well. The entire time a light breeze was playing through the area. But, despite it being a cloud forest, we did not actually walk in clouds.

By the end of our walk our necks hurt from attempting to spot sloths and monkeys in the trees. We did however get to see quite a few humming birds and some interesting plants.

On our way back in to town we stopped at a restaurant touting, “comida tipico.” I was kind of excited. We are in the tropics – land of banana, papaya, mango, sloth, coconut, melon! This was going to be a meal to end all meals. Instead it was a meal to end all hope of Costa Rican cuisine excitement. Andrew and I each ordered a different chicken plate – the other options were American-style burgers – and it turned out that they had listed the same item on the menu twice once as pollo a la plancha and once as fajitas. We each had a scoop of white rice a scoop of bland fries and a scoop of chicken fried in onions – also bland.

I did manage to spot some cows on the side of the road. But, the pictures I took of them were less than stellar – imagine a cow picture right here with the caption “Costa Rican wildlife.”

By the time we got back to the hotel the electricity was back on and I got straight to work. I also rescheduled some meetings for the following day because we had decided to head out to the Caribbean Coast first thing in the morning  and work the rest of the week from there.

Andrew did some online research, while I worked, to figure out how long it would take to get to the coast. Research came up with 2-6 hours. With a timespan like that I determined we had to be ready to leave sometime between immediately and 9AM the following morning.

Another lovely breakfast of fresh fruits and scrambled eggs and a fond farewell to our host – including hugs, and promises of future visits (really, if you are going to the San José area – Alajuela to be exact – you must stay at Casa Primo. Absolutely fantastico!) – we hit the road. I was the copilot armed with a map, Andrew the driver armed with a copilot and a sense of familiarity of the area being he’d been lost in it so much picking me up from the airport.

Getting from Casa Primo to the highway to the coast was maybe about 10 miles, or as they say in Costa Rica 1 – 700km; it took us about an hour and several u-turns to finally find the highway out of San José. I think that the signs guiding people onto the highway were on strike that day.

Once on the highway it became apparent that this two lane road was also the truck route to the coast. Some trucks were driving full speed and some at 15kph. What the trucks were carrying seemed to bear no weight as to whether they were willing to risk on-coming traffic to pass the slow trucks. At one point a truck with more “Flammable” signs on it then truck (it may have actually been made of the warning signs) passed a fruit truck driver. It also, quickly, became apparent that Andrew has a real low tolerance for driving and stress. He eventually passed enough trucks to get us to a decent sized town where I grabbed a cup of coffee and the wheel. I asked for the coffee ” sin leche y para llevar” or without milk and to-go and it was given to me in a plastic, recycled coca-cola bottle. I took a sip and it tasted as though they had forgotten to take all the coca-cola out first. Next time I know to ask for my coffee “sin coca-cola.”

I ended up getting us to Cahuita in time for my first meeting of the day. The first thing I noticed was how much more hot and humid the coast was. The second thing I noticed was the hammock.

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I wonder if I can get a hammock installed in my office cube.

The birds were chirping and the dogs were barking in the background of my conference calls, but I get a lot done when working prone.

We went to the town and grabbed some lunch. On our way there I saw a sign for yoga Friday nights.

“Oooh, look Andrew, yoga! You want to go?”

“Yes!”

“OK. Mmm I love hot yoga.”

“Wait, is it hot yoga?”

“All yoga around here is hot yoga.”

 

I was super excited because on the menu was pollo en coco (chicken in coconut). Yay! A restaurant using the local flavors for deliciousness. Unfortunately, it was basically the meal I had had the day before, with a little bit of coconut sauce dribbled on the bland chicken. So much for my expectations.

After we finished work, Andrew and I went back to town to grab some food for the apartment and just see what night life there was. Pretty much every restaurant in town is a photo copy of the others. They are all catering to the tourists but don’t seem to realize that travel food has turned an exciting corner since the 1980’s and no one wants bland chicken and white rice for dinner. We grabbed some food from the Mini-Supermar and stopped at a street-food stand with barbecued pork, chicken and beef skewers served in tortilla. We had a few of those then headed back to our B&B to Crossfit and blog a little.

I was changed into as much workout gear as I could muster in the heat and humidity. Andrew was trying not to nap on the couch.

Me: Are you joining me?

Andrew: Are you really doing this?

Me: Yes.

Andrew: Ugh. I need to digest.

So I did a quick warmup of pushups and sit-ups and squats and then did a workout of:

1 squat 1 breath

2 squats 2 breaths

etc., repeat going up to 10 then back down to 1.

I finished and was sweating a storm and breathing heavily.

Andrew: Was that the workout?

Me: Yes…

Andrew: Was that all of it?

Me: Yes. Are you going to do it?

Andrew: Yeah, but I will probably add pushups so that it’s a bit more of a workout.

I sat back in my chair and did a little more work as I watched Andrew struggle to stay awake. Andrew’s was too worn out from the AMRAP Mock Hadas’s WOD that he couldn’t stay awake to do the squats (and the pushups to make it a real WOD).

I sent Andrew to bed and we fell asleep to the sound of a cooling rain, for values of cooling that equal not getting hotter.

In the morning we grabbed some breakfast and headed off to the sloth rescue place right down the road.

(Yes, I know the camera should have been turned the other way. I was too mesmerized by those sloth eyes to think. Also, yes, that is me squeeing in the background.)

Also:

Sloth

These sloths are rescued and live together, which is a bit of an anomaly. Most adult sloths prefer to be solitary – except when mating – kind of like introverts.

And:

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This sloth only has one arm. When he was found the other arm was gangrenous and had to be amputated.

The sloths are so adorable and there was a lot of squeeing. Also, another disappointment – no hugging  the sloths. In fact, no touching the sloths. And apparently no taking them home with you. It was a bittersweet tour.

Andrew and I viewed the sloths before the Pacific West Coast was even awake. Then we drove to the next town over to go to the Super-Mini-Supermar and got food so that I could cook something with flavor for lunch (sigh, food snob).

I ended up making a paella style dish with chicken and papaya. It was pretty good.

We worked, we ate lunch, then it was time for a run.

For me.

Andrew stayed in.

After I got back I worked some more and reminded Andrew that there was yoga to be had at 5:30 in town so we needed to leave at 5:15 (it’s like a block and a half away). About quarter to 5 Andrew went to shut his eyes for a minute (I guess my run had worn him out). At 5:15 I kissed him goodbye and went to yoga without him. At 5:30 I returned home because class had started at 5 and I don’t know how to read signs properly.

Instead I had Andrew take me out to a romantic dinner:

Our view from our table.

Our view from our table. That hammock was dessert.

The dinner I had was a lobster. It was slightly salty and a bit over-cooked, but honestly it was the best restaurant meal I have had in Costa Rica so far.

Tomorrow we are slated for a hike which I am sure I will end up doing alone while Andrew mocks me, from the B&B, while napping. I guess I already have a sloth of my own.

If you would like to read Andrew’s take on this trip we are kind of she said/he said-ing it. Check his blog out here.

That Girl is Poisoned

In honor of Labor Day and my love of pork ribs (but mostly the latter) I decided to grill up some ribs this past Monday. First, I sent Andrew out to get more propane for the grill. Then, I made a delicious rub with ginger, sage, paprika, turmeric, cumin and salt and coated two slabs of ribs. I went outside and turned the gas on and remembered our clicky thing for starting the fire doesn’t work on the grill. So I got some matches and, though I couldn’t see the fire take, I heard it. I put the two slabs on the grill, turned the knobs to medium, shut the lid and went inside to work.

While working, I snacked on my newly discovered treat: bacon jerky (thanks Mary Ann). Andrew and I had bought the package the day before and left it on the kitchen table. It was slightly warm, but delicious.

After about 30 minutes of work I started getting a headache. I laid down on the sofa. 10 more minutes passed and I started getting nauseated. I am not sure if it was the overly warm bacon jerky or if I had not washed my hands well enough handling the pork, but somehow, somewhere in the day  – pig did me in. I had some severe food poisoning. I know this because shortly after feeling horrible I proceeded to, as Andrew said, “Vomit all over the place” (for values of all over the place that equal in the bathroom toilet). I was basically sitting on the bathroom floor reliving my first year and a half in college only without red wine or American Beer (it’s an actual brand that was less than $8.00 for a case when I attended Niagara University).

After I finished de-poisoning myself I went back to the couch and just whined. Suddenly, I remembered the ribs on the grill. I went out to look at them and the grill was swarming with bees and flies. I am allergic to bee stings. The last thing I needed was a bee sting, but I also recognized that for having been cooking for two hours there was a distinct lack of roasting flesh smell in the air. I swatted the bees away with the grill brush and opened the grill to find no fire and uncooked warm ribs.

Apparently when I heard fire take but didn’t see it, that should have been a sign that I had not lit the grill properly. The ribs went straight into the trash. I suppose that was better than sending them down the plumbing which is where they would have, no doubt, ended up.

Today, it took me until about an hour ago to feel myself again. I think my American Beer hangovers didn’t even last that long.

The Rumors of My Demise Have Been Mostly Accurate

What I learned from my trip to Jacksonville, Florida is that when you take a vacation in the winter, when you come home you might die.

It all started on my flight back to Portland. My sister Tamar and me had stayed up all night and she drove me to the airport early. I slept (read: napped with waking up every ten minutes to make sure no one was stealing my bags that I had wrapped my body around) in a rocking chair for an hour and a half waiting for the security gate to open. When it did open I noticed that there were mini-couches right next to the rocking chairs that would have been more comfortable.

I went through security and dug into the bag of snacks Tamar had packed for me. After eating a couple of eggs I went back to the napatory position until the gate opened. While staying up all night was probably not the best idea in the world, when I realized I was on a little puddle jumper into Houston I was so glad that I was too tired to be upset by the turbulence. Once in Houston, I ate some tuna-egg salad Tamar had made with homemade mayo and found a corner to nap in.

That was the end.

From the moment I boarded the plane all I could do was pray to get to Portland without vomiting.

Apparently, homemade mayo has to remain refrigerated in order to not poison you. Luckily, the prayer worked, but only just. As soon as we got to Portland I found the bathroom and without getting too graphic, I was turned inside out.

I got home and lay down on the floor for the next 36 hours getting up only to use the bathroom. I thought I would die and at some points wished it.

My stomach settled, I settled into the weekend and my amazingly doubled-in-size boobs. That’s right, I was getting close to my semi-annual period. I can tell you that while my weekend was voluptuous it was also mildly cranky (you take the good you take the bad you take them both…).

Monday night I went to improv rehearsal and after a resounding samurai warmup, I never quite gained back my voice. At work the next day I kept getting a scratchy throat. That night on my way home from The Moth I realized that yes. I was sick. Again. For the ninth time. Since September.

Wednesday morning I woke up, drove to work, grabbed my laptop and went home to die.I made it to my meetings and slept the rest of the day through fevers that ranged from 101 – 103. Mind you, I normally run at 96.8 – 97.2 (whereas 98.6 is considered normal). So, these were some pretty high fevers for me. Andrew, who has had a surprising amount of practice at it this year, nursed me well. Although I was sick as a dog (read: watching HGTV) I had an insatiable appetite. They say, “feed a cold, starve a fever.” For me it was feed a flu and a fever and hope that death will soon appear.

Normally, when I am sick I require a little bit of medicine and not much else. I will go for runs to prove I am not actually sick and do a bunch of other things that drive Andrew crazy. This time, however, I didn’t even have the energy to fight Andrew about how sick I “wasn’t” and, every time I tried I broke into fever tears. I was able to parlay those into forcing Andrew to watch the movie Clue with me. It was his first time watching it (ridiculous, I know – when I found out I was so upset, flames, flames on the side of my face…)

Also normally, when I am sick Andrew is soon to follow. But this time it was the flu. Andrew had a flu shot in December. He did not get sick. As such, his attention and pity towards me would have almost been sweet if it wasn’t tinged with smugness once he realized he would not get sick.

It is now Sunday. I have been sick since Tuesday evening. I am finally feeling like I can do a 10k (though I shouldn’t), but first – I need an intervention. I don’t know how I am going to manage to pull myself away from Canadians doing home improvement on HGTV.

Eat Your Heart Out Pet Shop Boys

I have the brains and the brawn!

Speaking of Opportunities* …

Ever since Curious Comedy had Night Flight come do aerial art during the holiday show of Flying Fruitcakes 2011, I have been wanting to take classes. I couldn’t though because my ACL was still torn then and has only recently felt healed-ish from the repair. Now that it is healed-ish, I signed up! Tonight was my first class.

It started at 6:30. As is my nature I showed up 2 hours early to make sure I knew how to get to the place. Once there I tried to find somewhere to eat that was close by so that I would still have an hour and a half to find a parking spot, hunker down in my car, hope that no one from the would class walk by and call me out later for getting there too early. An amazing place to eat nearby is Michael’s Italian Beef and Sausage Company.

OH. MY. GOD.

I ordered a Chicago Style sausage on salad instead of bread. It was so good. I got their card and am going to order some sausages (made in house) to pick up next Tuesday. The place is kind of dinky, but don’t pass it by!

Once it was a more reasonable time of early (15 minutes), I went inside to the class. I filled out the waiver, took off my socks and shoes and headed to the warm-up room. There were 11 other students there. We were all stretching. Some of the other students were trying to be friendly before class started but I was too mesmerized by the chipped polish on my un-pedicured naked feet. I couldn’t bring myself to speak because I knew I would just mention how horrible my feet look, and how sorry I was about it.

We did group warm-ups which got my mind off my feet and onto my lack of flexibility. It’s not as bad as some**, but, I am glad I am in this class to try to get back to what I used to be like.

Once we were all stretched out John split us into two groups and took half of us to the silks. He showed us how to climb. Inside I was laughing at him because he is obviously quite the fool if he thought that after a quick demonstration I would be able to climb. I have been attempting rope climbs at CrossFit on and off for a couple of years with no luck.

John got off the silks. I got on. I followed the instructions he gave, and what do you know, I can FINALLY climb a rope, er… silks… but really the technique is the same and I finally understand it. Sometimes, I guess you just need to laugh at your instructor in order to get something.

John then taught us how to do a foot lock on silks and kind of hang down while holding on the rope with one hand. It looks really cool. This time I thought he was just demonstrating some of the things we would eventually learn in class. Instead, after he showed us, he had us do it. I didn’t take any pictures while hanging down from the silks*** – but imagine the stuff you see at Cirque du Soleil, I am that good already!
I found a picture of it online. I just showed this to Andrew and he said “Good Heavens.” He is in Colorado and it was by instant message; so, I am going to assume the tone he was attempting to convey was “Wow that is pretty awesome and I bet you looked adorable doing it! I wish I was that cool.” Instead of, “I am surprised you are not chatting me from the emergency room****.”

Halfway through class we switched with the group that started on trapeze. I am a flying monkey!

That was the brawn.

The Brain

Today, after seeing my cousin post on her FB wall that she signed up to take the Jeopardy! online test, I did too. My test is Thursday. More blogging to come I am sure…

 

 

* Wow that is a weird video – Lite-Brite was high-tech in the 80’s

** Read: Andrew Knees-at-Chest-Level-Lotus-Pose Berkowitz

***My hands were busy

*** As if that were even possible! He knows the VA doesn’t have wifi in the emergency room.