Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sometimes I Write On Subjects Other Than Weightlifting

It was fun interviewing a 90-year-old philanthropist for this article and an inspiring young woman for this one (scroll down a few).

Opposable Thumbnail Sketches of Goals

If, if I do this next bench press competition, on a beach in a singlet, I will go about it all wrong.

Last time: hit chest, tris hard. Kept other muscles just above maintenance. Hit the protein. Rarely did cardio.

Outcome? Was bored and stressed. Announced retirement.

This time: Working everything hard. Joining a "Boot Camp" plyometric/calisthenic class to keep up the conditioning. Am eating a mostly raw foods diet, aided by my ten-dollar juicer/major garage sale find.

Why be contradictory? I don't want to be bored and stressed. I want to stay conditioned. I want to eat a healthier diet because it makes me feel better. I'll work at the bench all the while, and what will be will be. Not as much invested this time, which is ironic, because this competition is more formal and official--the pause at the chest kind, wear a singlet, qualify for state record competitions if you do well competition.

If, if I do this, I'm doing it for fun. I'm doing it to compete alongside my friends, who will probably best me.

On a beach. In a singlet.

I wonder if Spanx are legal attire?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gue$$ing Game

Let's play Guess The Hairdresser!

One boy's haircut took place at a Cosmetology School, where he received a peppermint oil scalp massage; a haircut by a woman who has studied the trade since February; multiple do-overs by her teacher, a trained professional. The one-hour appointment would have cost $18 had we not had a coupon that made it free.

The other boy's haircut took place on our side deck in a green plastic chair. In a fifteen-minute span his mother, dodging mosquitoes and with no formal education in cosmetology, spruced him up using crappy scissors and dull clippers. No charge.

Please note the asymmetry in Theo's neckline while making your guesses.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fashionable Concerns

So let me get this straight. I'm supposed to wear this

...with a t-shirt tucked inside.


The upcoming competition has attire requirements, whereas the meets at the Y never did. At the last one, I wore a cute little black tank dress over yoga pants. And I zipped up a fleece jacket over the whole affair for added protection. Because I didn't want to be doing this

...while highlighting my ribcage and the outline of my underpants. Which is exactly what will happen if I have to wear this

...awhich I do. If, if, I'm going to go through with this.

There Is Now No Stagnation

Turns out it's not fun to bench press without a goal. Those sets at 100: boring.

Today I went higher and found I'm not as fluffy as I look. Before long I was online trying to determine where to buy a "non-supportive singlet."

Beach competition in 3 weeks. Why the heck not?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Know It's Not Much

Diana's the one who celebrated a triumphant victory on Easter: a night in a shelter instead of a jail cell. She had spent this holiday locked up the last several years running.

Diana's the one with the low, husky voice. And I mean low; when her demons shouted curses from the shower, I was sure a man had snuck in there to pick a fight.

Diana is a fighter. She fights the drug addiction that took her kids from her, and while in rehab, she fought another woman and broke several of her cds.

Diana battled back her demons. She acknowledged that the rehab stay was making her violent, and she took her leave--but not before paying for the damage she caused. Recovery was still the goal, but she knew she must forge her own path.

On Easter, she announced the length of her sobriety in that very specific way recovering addicts do; in her case, however, there were no years and months to list, just days. 42, I think it was.

On Easter, Diana dressed in a fitted sunny yellow dress and heels. Her short hair was neatly feathered back. Diana is gentle and graceful. She struggles. She fights to keep the spirits at bay. These attributes are not contradictory.

I saw Diana a few weeks ago. She sat on a church's steps. No food pantry line there, nothing going on, Diana simply sat and watched the traffic halting my trip home. A quick yell out the window might confuse her after all this time, I figured, so I didn't make myself known. I watched as she stared vacantly ahead, lips moving.

Today, Diana came to mind in that way people sometimes do, blocking your line of vision 'til you take note and decide what to do. Write, I decided. A meditation, an offered prayer.

I drove my kids back from the beach and mulled over the words I should use. I drove through downtown and there was Diana, one street over.

You could say this wasn't a coincidence. Homeless people rarely leave downtown. Yet I've hardly seen a soul from the shelter since I left in April. Maybe three sightings of women I knew, including that first one of Diana.

On the radio was Elton John's Your Song. "I know it's not much but it's the best I can do/My gift is my song and this one's for you."

This one's for Diana.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

On the Third Day

At a writing conference this past April, I joined a discussion group for bloggers.

Participants were mostly men and women with self-published novels, who blogged to promote them. An air of earnestness surrounded their debates on this technological "necessity."

"I heard you should blog every three days, so I try to do that," said one.
"I do, too, but it's hard to think of things to write," said another with a sigh.
"What's a blog?" asked another. I think she had the wrong room.

At one point I interrupted to offer an impassioned speech. "We write because we desire it, not because it's the thing to do!"

A woman, who earlier had referred to me as "the wrestler," nodded in agreement. The others looked back down at their handouts, I suppose to continue reading "Top Ten Things Every Writer Should Do."

Every three days or so I write a blog post, but not because anybody's telling me to. When a little mini-essay begins to form itself in my head, I sit down with it; not every passing thought of mine gets to appear online, though at times it may appear that way.

Lately, I've written a lot about weightlifting, with occasional forays into boxing. Those were thoughts that needed to get out, but I must say I feel as if I'm turning into a big meathead. Like, I used to have interesting things to say, but now I'm all about lactic acid and whether a heavy bag filled with sand, water, or air would be the best purchase.

The experience of exercise is a full-bodied one, activating the mental as well as the physical. At times, the physical can reset the mental: You feel more alive.

And yet...there is still work to be done after you've pumped extra endorphins through your brain.

On a few occasions I've played personal trainer: went to a friend's house, carried in some weights, taught some exercises. Teaching exercise is quite similar to leading theatre games, and yet I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. The "aha moment" of exercise--feeling a muscle contraction--is nothing like what I'd get with my Theatre of the Oppressed exercises, which provoke heavy discussions on important matters.

But summer is breezy, light, and sunny, you're saying to yourself. Summer reads should match this vibe. No need for heavy stuff to weigh us down.

And yet...

All these hot dogs on the grill, and I'd like a steak, please. With onions.

Summer here is full with the quotidian details of family life. Parenting is full-time work, especially during these months, and I have not tended to the essay that an online publication wants me to rewrite. I have ignored the piles of papers comprising the guts of my book manuscript, which an agent would like to see in finished form. Hence my empty-headed feeling.

I haven't stopped reading; books have kept me grounded, on the beach and out of the water, as it were. But I'm still in the beach chair, and feeling the need to fold that baby up, sit somewhere solid, and discuss things that matter.

Anybody up for that, three days hence?