Showing posts from February, 2011

Small Deaths

That last post: sorry about the teaser. I was unable to write more because (a) I had recently been hit in the head a bunch of times (b) I had trouble accepting the fact that being hit is part and parcel of my newly-chosen sport (c) I didn't know what to make of a particular three-minute round. The context: a 7-week boxing class culminating in Fight Night--a reward, of sorts, for having learned our basic punches the previous weeks. Yes, you read that right: we learned how to punch, but nary a defensive move was taught. We punched affable heavy bags or mitts, inanimate objects with no intention of fighting back. The first time I took the class , Fight Night consisted of some light jabs and punches thrown under strict supervision. A very controlled environment. I figured Thursday would be the same. The first round saw a class regular matched up against his brother, a Golden Gloves boxer in his day. They knew what they were doing. A nice, solid three-minute round. Next up: my young fri

Amy Got Beat Up Last Night

Body, mind, spirit and all that

This morning, a workout for the brain. In between everything else around here, I'm prepping for a conference next month. The act of writing a lecture and sessions surprised me with its little post-planning buzz. I think and read and write all the time; especially with a new job in a new field, there's no lack of intellectual stimulation. Yet having my hands solidly in material I enjoy brought on the sculptor's delight. Ah, theatre of the oppressed, sweet Augusto , I've missed you. For you, what brings on the buzz?


Lunch while reading Tea while trying to finish No food at all, for this is a big book belonging to someone else Waiting for this in the mail

Found On My Camera: Hot Dogs Are Mmm Yummy

Lemme Explain

Marty brought up boxing again today. Word had gotten around the gym that this was my new sport, and yesterday, Marty, whom I keep dragging out of the Nautilus room to put weights in his hands, wanted to know something. "You mean you're willing to get hit?" he asked. "Well yes," I said. "Of course." He shook his head and that, I figured, was that. Until today, when he popped his head around the corner and asked, "You ever see Million Dollar Baby ?" I figured he was just making conversation around the topic, so I began a diatribe on the writing and lighting of the film, as well as some faux pas I had picked up on. I recommended another, tougher, female boxing film ( Girlfight ). But it turned out he was more interested in the plotline involving a hospital. "I think what the training does for a boxer's body is fantastic," he said. "But I'm completely against the sport. I think it's brutal and violent."

You: Beautiful

I had to stop the guy. He's young, sporting a perfect v-taper, and going on about needing to cycle his carbs and exercise this and that. "Dude," I said. "You look awesome. Chill out." The woman talking with us--40, gorgeous and doesn't know it--kept grabbing at the fat that necessarily accumulates at the midsection when one sits (otherwise, there wouldn't be any give for standing up). "Meg, you look beautiful," I said. "Relax and keep on keepin' on." That's my new thing: telling people they're beautiful. Because if I've learned anything from working in the fitness field, it's that the body isn't separate from the mind or spirit, and a little encouragement can go a long way--straight from the abs to the psyche. Personal training has the P word in there for a reason. Get someone talking about how they treat their bodies, and the trainer becomes therapist. Have someone adjust their clothing for measurements, and t

Ode to Greg

"Maybe I shouldn't have blogged about the paperboy the day before Valentine's Day," I mused aloud. "Yup," said Greg. "Not the current one," I protested. "I know which one you meant." "How do you know?" "The one you had a thing for," he said, not bothering to look up from the paper, which had been delivered right to our door. "Thing" being a general term, Greg's not worried. We've been together since the day in July 1991 he told me he liked me. Greg knows pretty much every thing going through my busy brain, and yet he sticks around. He wakes up early to herd the kids off to school, because he knows I can't function if I don't sleep past 7. He listens at night when I'm talkative and he's tired. He works hard and makes time for the kids. His music is smart and his jokes are funny. He gets a big grin on his face when we're able to have the rare date. He encourages me to follow the pa

Ode to The Paperboy

He's finding his way through the snow, the orange stripe of his heavy bag crisscrossing his chest. He's carrying the news. He's a You see men delivering the news in my part of town nowadays, not boys. I have to make this clarification when declaring my crush on the guy who used to pull up in his dented white Ford. The world would move in slow-motion the moment his door opened and his blue eyes lit on mine; somewhere in my garage, Take My Breath Away would begin to play, and I would find myself saying things before completely thinking through the implications. On the day he pulled in while my kids and I waited for their playdate to arrive, I told him why we were there and added, "But you can stay and play." And you wonder why my husband is happier when I stay indoors. But my efforts paid off: the paper appeared right on our doorstep without fail. No trudging out in the cold for us! Then one day, a beat-up Cadillac pulled near the base of our driveway

Women Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

SHE: What can I do to work on my grip? I feel like the barbell is slipping out of my hands. ME: You could trim your nails. SHE: I'll tell her to go a little shorter next time. ME: Try lifting without those gloves. See if you get a little more traction. SHE: I don't like calluses. ME: My kids hold my hands during church and count mine.

One Year Later

It's coming on a year since I left work at the homeless shelter. As I read the notes from my time there (in preparation for this ), I see names of women I haven't thought of for awhile. Mostly I remember what I wrote about here in this blog , but through my notes I'm reminded of other times. Pat--Pat!--asking if we could play a CD of hers when we were done with our theatre games. Poison's "Ain't Nothin' But A Good Time" had everybody on their feet. "New woman with no teeth, keeps talking about gravity. Hesitate to call on her, but she wants to participate and does pretty well." Arriving to find a worker lying spread-eagle on the ground. She was acting out a crime scene; the sister of another worker was found murdered earlier that morning. Calling it off when attendance was low, only to have Kim have a fit on me. Kim, who never missed, and who never, ever participated. "But you came all this way!" she said, fuming. Good work was done

Help Wanted

Last week, West Michigan experienced what a local meteorologist called one of the top storms in our history. 6.1 inches of snow fell on Tuesday, 11.1 on Wednesday. My kids had both days off of school, plus a two-hour delay on Thursday. By Friday, I was outta here, opting to work by laptop at Panera rather than stay home. At a table nearby sat a mom of one of Theo's classmates. "Can you believe this week?" she asked. "I know ," I said. "And tomorrow's Saturday ," she said, rolling her eyes. "Another full day ." "I know ." Though we love our children, we need time away. Or rather, I need time away, and it was nice to have confirmation that I'm not crazy. Just that little commiserating gave me the boost I needed to get back on the mom track. It's why there are message boards, internet forums, Facebook pages devoted to any known cause. We need to know we're not alone. And yet. Diabetes. Lots o' stuff to read on the

And You Thought I Couldn't Connect Celibacy With Cooking

An invitation to teach at The Institute for Arts in Transformation in Philadelphia came my way recently; I turned it down, but was reminded of the time before last that I taught for them, when the institute was held in a building that was half dormitory, half nunnery. The event kicked off with a welcome from Sister Something or Other, an austere woman not unlike the nuns who taught me 1st through 6th grade. Her stern, unsmiling greeting was more rules than reassurance, a stark contrast from the artsy types that had gathered. Her henchwomen were no different; find yourself late for lunch, as I did one day, and turn the corner to find a nun blocking the hallway before you. Aren't you supposed to be somewhere right now? she asked. Yessister , came my deeply-ingrained reply. Lunch, unfortunately, was not something to rush off to. God-awful food lined the nuns' buffet. Aesthetically-displeasing lumps that left us guessing, Jell-O salads made with pairings more ill-matched than a d

Just For A Time

Could you please knock me off my feet for a while? asks Beth Orton in her song, Galaxy of Emptiness . It's some kind of romantic reference, I assume, though a melancholic one, and tempered by the please and for a while . But immediately I connected it to boxing, and then back to romance, and here we are . Because that's what we want, isn't it, to be blown away, knocked down and out of the daily routine. For a while. The other day, a man who had endured a grueling workout with a trainer I shadowed said to me later, Thanks for kicking my butt. Some days I head out the door on what should be a day of rest for my muscles, yelling over my shoulder that I need to get to the gym to have my butt kicked. Where else can you sweat, yell and grunt in public? Sports and fitness allow us this acceptable form of release, among their other benefits. And where else are you allowed--required, even--to punch someone? Yet that's not the primary draw, hopefully, for most boxers; instead, i

Just In Time For Valentine's Day

Now that I've tackled the mating habits of sloths , it's time to move on--slowly--to other equally inspiring topics. Here are some that have come to mind recently. --Boxing --Romance and Boxing --"Nakedness, like death, is democratic" --Cooking --Celibacy --Cooking and Celibacy Vote on your favorite, and cupid will take a stab at the winner.