Category Archives: fitness

Working Out

I was supposed to get up this morning and workout. The alarm didn’t go off. Here’s a newsflash. I wasn’t that upset about it.  I smiled because my “not working out” was completely guilt free.  It wasn’t my fault I got to see the sunshine from my bed rather than stumble around in the dark looking for running shoes. Ha!

I have noticed, in my sort-of-late-40’s, that I have developed something I haven’t had since my sophomore year in college – a gut.  Yeah, I have a gut.  It is no longer a muffin top. It is a loaf of bread – not even like healthy, wheat bread, but more like a big loaf of Wonderbread.  Squishy, doughy Wonderbread.  I had forgotten what that was like, having a gut.  I forgot what it felt like to wear tight pants.  It’s so not cool, especially after a large lunch full of carbs and sauces.

I don’t like having a gut. Seriously, it is starting to bum me out.  Apparently, “couch sitting” doesn’t burn a whole lot of fat.  Neither does trolling on Facebook.  And you know what?  Vodka actually has calories!  More than I was hoping it would.  Turns out pistachio gelato has calories too.  Harrumph.

In college, I drank a lot of beer. Like, a lot of beer –  hence, the gut.  I didn’t like the gut, but apparently, I liked beer more.  After I developed an unwanted allergy to beer (red nose, sneezing, congestion) I lost said gut.  It stayed away for quite a while.  However, now it’s back and I’m not even drinking any beer. So not fair…

When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I was able to lose weight just by thinking about it. “I need to lose 5 pounds” and a week or two later, I would have lost that weight.  It was as simple as that.  Avoid Dairy Queen or fast food for a week or two and the weight would come off.  I have been trying that method for about a year now, and it hasn’t worked.  Jigs up.

A number of years ago, I worked out religiously. (I know, it was so out of character.)  It was the only time in my life that I was really, truly fit. I was actually sort-of-maybe seeing a 6-pack, or at least the start of one.  This is because I set a goal of doing a Triathlon Sprint. (Don’t let that impress you. It isn’t a “real” triathlon – the sprint part makes it sound peppy and über athletic, but it is kind of the opposite.  It is the training wheels of triathlon.  You swim a ½ a mile, bike 18 and run 2 miles.)

triathalon

But for me, at the time, it was a big deal.  Training for it was really, really hard, and after I met my goal of completing my sprint in less than 2 hours, I never, ever, ever wanted to do it again. (I can’t believe people do them for fun.  Seriously.)  The only reason I got through it was because I had set the goal.  That was it.  Getting fit was a great by-product, but it wasn’t my main motivator.  The abs were cool, but honestly, I just had to cross the finish line.

triathalon 2

Clearly, I’m kind of a goal gal.  I need big goals in my life, otherwise nothing gets accomplished.  Little goals don’t work for me.  I don’t direct cute, little comedies, I tend to go for Shakespeare.  I don’t write a sketch, I write a one-woman show.  I don’t write a song, I write and record an album.  I’m a “go big or go home” kind of gal.  Unfortunately, recently, I have done more of the “go home” part than the “go big” part.

However, this loaf of Wonderbread of mine is getting out of hand.  As insane as it sounds (especially when I say it in my head) I am considering doing another Triathlon sprint, because my gut seems to be suffering from unrequited love.  It loves me, but I don’t love it.  It isn’t taking the hint.  It seems to be sticking around.  It is annoying me. It vexes me.  I know it’s getting bad, when my always polite and awesome daughter says, “Mom, when was the last time you worked out? You need to work out.”

It doesn’t help at all that some women in their 40’s and 50’s write it off as normal aging. That belly fat is somehow part of normal life for a woman 45 and older… I don’t want to buy into that kind of thinking at all, because I would then have to admit that I am actually aging.  Also, I have a group of friends who are my age and in amazing shape, because they manage to get their asses out of bed in the morning; they do this thing called “Kick Butt Boot Camp” which doesn’t sound fun at all.  It sounds really, really hard and sweaty.  Regardless of how sadist it sounds, they blow that “female age” argument out of the water.  They work hard, their bodies look great.  They have this thing called “energy” and “a positive outlook” and “a clearly defined line where the ass ends and the leg begin.”  I really want that too, I just don’t want to sweat.

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Filed under fitness, Humor

I am a Soccer Mom; I Have Arrived

I am not an athlete, nor have I ever been one.  I got in shape once to see if I could do it.  My parents were more athletic than their children.  My dad got a scholarship to the U.W. for track and field, and played racquetball and swam his whole life.  My parents also “jogged.”  Remember jogging?  That’s what “the Greatest Generation” did.  They jogged.  They were humble about it; they jogged without fanfare, without fancy shoes and usually in a grey sweatshirt.  “Liz, your mom and I are going for a jog.”  They would go for 2 miles and were back in half an hour. Gen Xer’s don’t jog.  They run.  They go out for runs, in spite of the fact it may take them 30 minutes to move their bodies one mile.  And they make a big deal about it.  “What did you do this morning?”  “Went for a run…then got an iced coffee.”  God, we’re arrogant.

So yeah, I wasn’t athletic.  I was more into music and drama.  The whole team sport thing eluded me.  The reason I am explaining my ignorance and bewilderment with team sports is because I am now caught smack dab in the middle of it.  Much to my shock and dismay, I have become a soccer mom.

Our daughter Emily started soccer when she was 5.  I don’t know what led me to sign her up.  I guess I thought it would be cute.  And it was!  Those little post-toddlers chasing a tiny soccer ball, trying not to use their hands, drawing in the dirt, picking dandelions, now that was my kind of sport!

Then there was this phenomenon called “British Soccer Camp.”  These adorable and charming boys from England come over during the summer and coach soccer camps for kids.  I swear to God, the first year I did it because I am such an anglophile, I figured it would be cool to hear their accents.  And it was!  They played silly games with the kids, and worked on foot control, etc. etc. fish and chips, bloody hell, bangers and mash and all that lot.

You know what happens when a kid does a sport for 5 years in a row?  They get good at it.  You know what happens when you send that kid to British soccer camp for a few years?  They get really good.  This was not in the plan.  What the hell was I thinking?  What the hell did I sign up for?

Now, Emily loves soccer.  A lot.  She plays offense and is usually the top goal scorer of the game.  Her foot skills are quite good.  And this isn’t just her mom talking either.  She’s currently being scouted by Manchester United.  (Just the fact I can make that joke makes me cringe.  I should be listening to show tunes, not wasting time knowing who Mia Hamm is.  Honestly, David Beckham should only be Posh’s husband in my world.  Period.  Look what I have become!)

My daughter plays for the Bayfield U-10 girl’s soccer team.  Let me fill you in on Bayfield soccer.  We don’t have uniforms, we don’t have matching socks, we don’t have bleachers or clubs or anything like that.  We sometimes have grass on the field.  We’re scrappy.  If we’re lucky, our kids play in matching t-shirts.  The coach hopes they show up in black shorts and not jean cut-offs.  Bayfield is a town of little over 300 people.  Some of the girls on the team are from Red Cliff Indian Reservation just outside of town, but even so, it’s a small team.  Really small.  We’re lucky if we play a game with a sub, let alone two.  When we play a team from Ashland, it feels a bit like David and Goliath.   Ashland has uniforms, bleachers, larger teams, grass fields, parent booster clubs and even a traveling team – for U-10 girls.  I am completely serious.

Here’s why this is important.  Currently, Bayfield’s U-10 girls are undefeated.  Last year, this scrappy, little team from Bayfield didn’t win a game all regular season; it was brutal. But this year, watch out, they are on fire!  Because of this, I have turned into the most obnoxious, loud, insane soccer mom EVER.  Turns out, I love this game.  I am usually hoarse the morning after a game.  I love all the girls on the team!  I know their names and know their positions and I love each and every one of them.  There is Greta, the tiniest girl on the team, and by far the most aggressive.  She got her 2nd bloody nose of the season last night and wore that blood with a big grin.  “Put me in, coach!  I’m fine.”  She said after she got head butted.  I love that kid.  She never gives up.  Then there is Andrea, the tallest 9-year-old on the planet, who never seems to get excited about anything, unless there is a ball coming toward her.  She is so tall, all the opponents are intimidated by her.  It’s awesome.  Then there is Brianne, who can kick that ball farther than any adult I know.  Harley smiles when she runs, it’s absolutely glorious.  I love these girls.  Brianne’s grandma, Greta’s mom and I have gotten shouted down from the parents of other teams; that’s how obnoxious we are.  “Hey ladies, calm down, it’s just a goal!”  I want to smack those parents.  They should be cheering as much for their kids.  I don’t chastise them for not cheering enough.  Live and let live, dude.

Tonight is their last regular season game.   I really hope they win.  (This coming from the girl who feels that football serves as the pre and post-show for the marching band.)  Then there is the “jamboree” on Saturday.  Personally, I think the jamboree should actually be renamed “hell.”  Even insane soccer moms like myself hate the soccer jamboree.  4 to 6 games in a day, every u-15 team in the area swarms to the fields and parking is horrendous.  Oh yeah, it’s also supposed to rain.  The whole day will be filled with waiting, cheering, porta-poties, wet clothes and hot chocolate sans peppermint schnapps.   Wish me luck.  Maybe beforehand, I should get out some of my anxiety, and go for a run.  Go Trollers!

*Sidenote – Yes, Bayfield’s actual mascot is a troller.  Pretty intimidating, right?  A guy, slowly moving his motorboat, waiting to catch a defenseless little fish in an inland lake.  Strikes fear into the hearts of opposing teams.

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Filed under Bayfield, Feminism, fitness, Humor, Soccer

Traveling with a Vegan

Traveling with a vegan has its disadvantages.  Sure, it’s getting easier.  You can go online and read menus in advance, or even check ingredients.  Did you know that Burger King has an all vegan sandwich?   It’s true.  Even the bun is dairy-free.  Between the internet and phone aps, it’s much easier than it was 10 years ago.  But even cool little aps like “urban spoon” can sometimes spin you wrong. That Indian place, that was so good? Well, 2 months ago it turned into a Cuban place that doesn’t understand what “vegan” means.

“Like vegetarian?”

“No, like vegan.”

“What does that mean?”

“No animal products.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“No animal products, like eggs, or cheese, dairy… like that.”

“This is a restaurant, not a hardware store.  We serve food here.”

There are two vegan meals that most restaurants will make a big deal about and yet, they are not necessarily “deal” worthy. They are the 1) humus plate/platter (usually served with pita and kalamata olives) and the 2) portabella mushroom sandwich.

Now for those of you who eat dairy and meat regularly, you might be thinking “that doesn’t sound so bad.” Well, try that for every meal for fourten days straight.  That was our trip to Canada. Thank God for Taco John’s.

If you want some variety in your meals, you need to get creative.  You try to do more than “hold the cheese.”  Sometimes restaurants, if given enough time, will make special meals.  We are lucky enough to live in an area where we have amazing restaurants, and since folks know Kriner, they make an effort to “step up” and be open to entree items that take a chance and step away from a humus platter and a portabella mushroom sandwich. In fact, when we’re in really good hands, we just make a call and say “Kriner and I are coming in tomorrow” and the chef makes whatever he/she wants. Sadly, you can’t take your favorite restaurants with you when you travel.  Sometimes, when you travel, you kind of have to make “a deal” out of ordering, which is incredibly difficult for my husband.  My husband is incredibly averse to being the center of attention for anything.  He doesn’t like it when people look at him, he doesn’t like to be embarrassed and he doesn’t like special treatment and yet, he married me.

Over Easter, we went to the Twin Cities, and we spent Good Friday as most good Christians should, by shopping at Mall of America.  We were all really hungry, tired and crabby; I decided rather than the food court, we should get a proper, sit-down meal and treat ourselves, something I am particularly good at. Kriner mentioned something about Noodles and Company, but I cut him off.  We made our way over to this “upper crust” restaurant with hip and trendy decor.   It looked like it “should” have been able to feed a vegan.  We got a table, and I said to the server “You can feed a vegan, right?” I was met with a blank stare and a moment as the wheels spun.  ”You know, no meat, no dairy, no eggs?”

“Vegetarian?” he asked.

Kriner stepped in “No animal products. I see you have a portabella mushroom sandwich. Just hold the mozzarella and I’ll have fries too.” The guy left, clearly unsure of what happened, and Kriner shot me an evil look for coming dangerously close to “making-a-big-deal-out-of-it.”

Five minutes went by, and the server came back and said, “OK, we got you covered. There’s no cheese on the bun,” and I said, “and hold the cheese on the sandwich, right?” This poor guy shot me another look that screamed, “I’m confused but will try my best to look cool.”

Now it’s easy to make fun of servers and that’s wrong. I worked too many years as a waitress to understand how awful it is to not know what your costumer is talking about. For years, I thought “Egg Beaters” was a fun and unique way to say “Scrambled” only because no one told me what Egg Beaters were. Seriously.  “You Figure it Out” should have been the title of the training manual at Country Kitchen, only if there were a training manual.  Neither the manager nor the head waitress ever said anything about it; I just went on keeping on until some woman with in a wheelchair and a respirator complained that her eggs tasted too good. (Proving my point education never hurt anyone…but fatty, buttery eggs can.)

So, Kriner admonished me with his eyes, I turned to my cocktail (and yes, it was lunch) and Em was reading her book. What’s a girl to do but pull out her Kindle and read the latest mommy-porn best-seller? Within two minutes, the waiter, the head chef, and the hostess came to the table. It was like a little parade for “The Clean Linen Wearers of America.”  I heard Kriner whisper “shit” and I girded my loins.
The chef was all smiles.  “Hey, heard you were a vegan.  We have this portabella sandwich…” Kriner started to wave them away with his hands and said, “Yeah, yeah, we’ve been over this. That’s fine, just please hold the cheese.” The hostess beamed, “Well, our chef has something really great in mind, he wants to create something special just for you.”  She was like a cheerleader at that point, very perky and happy.

The hostess was working some happy-magic on me, so when I heard that this chef wanted to make something special for my husband, I blurted, ”YES!  That would be awesome!”   Again, Kriner shot me a look.  For me, special = special.  For Kriner, special = very bad.

At this point he was so mortified he just wanted them to go away. He was perfectly OK with the portabella mushroom sandwich and fries, but apparently it got mucked up for him.  I reminded him that maybe it will be worth it, maybe he will eat something fabulous.

Just moments after Emily and my goat cheese and basil pizza was delivered (which, by the way, was fabulous) they brought out this crazy looking mortification on a tray.  The hostess and the waiter both delivered it (people are now staring at us as if we were important, or, at the very least food critics.  Kriner was halfway under the table.) On this long rectangular tray, sat three pieces of lettuce, with a mushroom on each, a healthy dollop of salsa on the side, and on top, the pièce de résistance, a teaspoon of humus. The chef called it “a deconstructed portabella sandwich” and the hostess beamed. No bread, no fries, no carbs at all, which are very, very necessary for a hungry vegan.  Just three little piles of fancy crap on lettuce.  (Actually, come to think of it, he did get a bowl of “root chips.”)

You know that look that Walter Matheau gives Jack Lemon in pretty much every movie they ever did together? Well, that’s how Kriner was looking at me. I wiped pizza sauce off my chin.  At that point, he was so hungry he would have downed dirt, so he ate it, but I could tell he was pissed. I made sure to pay the bill and not let him see the total.

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Filed under Family, fitness, Humor, Vegan