Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marian the librarian

I went to Portland this weekend, and before the baby shower I attended Saturday afternoon (it was, perhaps, the girliest weekend ever: baby shower, wedding planning, and ice skating), I decided to take a yoga class to kill some time. I poked around on line until I found a class at the time I was looking for.

When I unrolled my mat, I had no idea I'd just stepped into the worst yoga class ever. No, really. The worst. I'm not exaggerating even a little tiny wee bit. No hyperbole here. It was the worst. You know how I know it was the worst yoga class ever? We spent about 10 minutes on mountain pose.

Let me repeat. We spent about 10 minutes talking about and practicing for mountain pose. If you've never done yoga, let me explain what mountain pose is: You stand there. Both feet on the ground. Both arms at your sides. That's it. It looks like this:

(I made that drawing myself, in Word. Because apparently my macbook pro didn't come with a drawing program. What up with dat, Apple?)

See, I've taken beginner yoga classes before. At the Bikram studio (which I do not recommend, though that's a separate rant) and at the local park and rec yoga studio. You tell them you're new, and they tell you to watch what everyone else is doing, then they get going. But this? This was a real beginner's class.

But it wasn't just the slow pace (I counted 6 poses in 90 minutes) that made the class so maddening. It was the instructor. Marian. "Marian the librarian," as I heard her say to two of the people in class.

"Oh, are you a librarian?" One woman asked.

"No," Marian answered, giving her throaty, Erkelish "he he" laugh, "No, I'm a fiction writer."

I think it's appropriate that Marian writes fiction, actually, because I swear the woman stepped out of a Woody Allen movie. She had thick black glasses, shoulder-length, wiry hair, and she pulled her red workout tights up nearly to her bra strap. The tights gave us all a good view of the outlines of her, um, support garments. Not that Marian had a belly, she was fit, but it was kind of hard to tell with her T-shirt was stuffed into the top of the tights.

In the first five minutes of class, while Marian was explaining the intricacies of toe-heel placement, a woman squatted down.

"Are you OK? He he. Does your back hurt?" Marian asked.

"Oh, no, it's just, menstrual cramps," the woman said in a stage whisper.

After that, every five minutes, Marian would leave us all standing around waiting while she demonstrated a new menstrual-positive pose for the woman in the corner.

But the laugh. The laugh will haunt my dreams. Every "he" sounded like she was about to choke, and her shoulders would hitch up as she bared her tiny teeth.

"Okay, so, take a strap, and pull it like this. He he. And, oh, oh my. That's not long enough. I guess, he he, I guess, yeah, maybe get an extra strap, he he. And, yeah, connect the two straps, he he."

Because I was a drop-in, I paid $16 for the class. $16! Do you know what I could buy for $16? Five bottles of Three Buck Chuck. Five! That's a lot of bottom-shelf red wine. Plus I'd have a dollar left over to give to the homeless lady down the street.

I'm sure there's a lesson in this experience somewhere.

Then this occurred to me: What if I discover a short story some day written by Marian, in which she criticizes my mountain pose?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


My physical therapist dumped me.

"I'm really starting to see the frustration you feel with your body," she said, shaking her head. "Cause I'm starting to feel it, too."

This after three months of physical therapy for the plantar fasciitis, the bum hamstring (and the bum neck, though I never expected she could fix that) that has only resulted in putting out my lower back, too.

So she sent me to another therapist. A tiny, older woman who likes to yank my ankles over her head and apply tape and ultrasound to parts of my body, all the while chattering about my pelvis. Apparently, it's all because of my pelvis.

So I'm agreeing to another couple of months with the new therapist. I'm also taking the advice of and on my new doctor, a charming hippie M.D., (she sometimes gives homeopathic remedies, in addition to her prescriptions.), and I'm trying a new diet that's supposed to be anti-inflammatory.

The diet consists of lean meat, rice, beans, fruit and vegetables. No sugar. No dairy. No caffeine. No butter. No wheat.

I'm only on day four. Generally, in a day, I'm eating a bowl of oats (agave instead of sugar), fish, a salad, a couple of apples, some brown rice, and heaps of veggies. It's not much fun. Especially since I have to cut out other potential allergens, like eggs and everything in the nightshade family (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes). Try making a decent brown rice pasta sauce without butter or tomatoes. I dare ya.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


So this has nothing to do with running or dogs, but, everyone in the world simply must go and read this profile of Roger Ebert at It's Uh-May-Zing.

I mean, just the photo's enough to get you hooked. Everyone in my office was glued to their computers reading this story this morning -- even the boss.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I went to the gym this morning, really just a ploy so I won't feel quite as guilty as I shovel fried wings, mozzarella and perhaps even ice cream into my cake hole at the What-Else-Can-We-Possibly-Batter-And-Deep-Fry Party that I'm going to this afternoon. Really. R bought a burner that hooks up to a large propane tank for the purposes of beer brewing (his new obsession -- I mean, hobby), and it came with a cast iron pot, fryer and thermometer. The first two days he had it, I gained five pounds.

Oh, there will also be some football game on.

So as I walked up to the gym, iPod loaded with This American Life podcasts and Hemmingway's "A Moveable Feast" under my arm, I noticed how packed the parking lot was. Apparently I wasn't the only one planning to overindulge.

Ahead of me, a 60s-ish woman in a sporty jacket with a short-cropped, dyed orange hair was walking out of the gym.

"Getting in better shape!" She chirped at me approvingly. "It's a good thing!"

Um, what? Was it that obvious that I haven't been a regular at the gym? Do people really look at the people walking into the gym in running pants that appear to be a little tighter than they need to be, and say, "Good for you, fattie!"

Of course, thinking on it now, I realize she could have been referring to herself, not me.

Whatever. As long as I earn those wings and beer.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mile four

The other night over dinner (slates of baguette and garlicky olive tapenade followed by eggplanty ratatouille and herbed couscous alongside, safely more glasses of red wine than I should have drunk on a Tuesday) with a couple of friends, we got to talking about working out.

One friend likes swimming, but she’s as blind as I am (batlike, but without the hearing) and has a tendency to run into folks we know at the local community pool. Unable to make an identification, she’s then forced to get into their faces to know who they are. Me, if I’m in a bathing suit, I’d rather keep my distance. Really. I vote pretend you know who it is, wave, move along.

We also talked about running. And I got nearly misty-eyed when talking about how much I love mile four. By mile four, I'm warmed up, my lungs are no longer on fire, and I feel like my legs are really under me. It was always my favorite mile--well, it was my favorite mile once I was in shape enough to run four miles without throwing up on the side of the trail.

I walked home from the friend’s house (I knew there would be too much wine going in to the event, and planned accordingly) and was so excited thinking about running, I let out a little trot at one point. But when I got out of bed the next morning, my heel, stupid, stupid heel, ached. The friend's house is only five blocks from mine.

I iced this morning. Stretching. Orthopedic boot. I'll get there. I'll get back to mile four again.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Oh, orthopedic boot. I want to write a sonnet for you. If only I remembered how to write sonnets. Maybe Google can assist me … I think iambic pentameter is involved.