Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Friends With Rock Stars...

It's just how I roll, yo.

So at some point this evening, a very bored Richard Hughes of Keane Tweeted from wherever he is in Mexico (on tour) a picture his wife sent him. The picture shows a 10- or 11-year-old Richard skiing. I couldn't help myself, I had to respond by sending a picture of 7-year-old Meg at her first piano recital:

I didn't expect a response, but within a few minutes, there it was.

We had this interaction yesterday (we don't interact every day, or anything like that...Richard's been particularly Tweety this week):

And this, my friends, is why I love Twitter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rock Star

The universe is funny in that it often delivers just what you need...just when you need it. Due to poor planning on my part, I've been in a state of hormone flux the last couple of weeks (that's what happens when you forget to schedule an appointment to get a refill on your birth control pills) and today it seemed to come to a head--just as I finally got myself to Planned Parenthood for the required blood pressure check (120/70, which is HEALTHY, after months of being a bit elevated. YAY!!).

The nurse at PP advised me to start the pills today to avoid anymore crazy hormone-induced feelings of wanting to cry at nothing, so I took one immediately on arriving home. But still, I couldn't escape that feeling of, "Gah, everything SUCKS today" that sometimes happens.

Imagine my delight when I stepped out to get the mail and found a FedEx package addressed to me on the doorstep. I knew it was most likely a belated birthday gift from one of my duck ladies. Inside, a pair of black "booty" shorts with ROCK STAR printed across the rear end. I've never been one to wear pants with words on the derriere but I will definitely make an exception for these. Because referring to myself as a "rock star" has been a repeated theme since I've been working with M. the Reasonable, and I'm so close to goal weight. I feel like I've earned the right to strut around the gym with ROCK STAR on the booty I've worked so hard to tone and firm.

And I don't care what anyone thinks of that.

Monday, August 27, 2012

By the Numbers

I know I've said before that I don't think I should get too hyped up about the numbers...but when I weighed in this morning and saw that I'm within two-and-a-half pounds of the goal weight I set over three years ago with B. the Sadist, I got really, really excited.

My iPhone weighs about 6 oz., so in reality, I weigh least that's what the scale said before I picked
up the phone to take this picture.

I can't help it. I'm so close to that elusive goal I've been fixated on for so long. I am in the best shape I've ever been in, and I feel incredible.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

To the Moon

I think we all know a thing or two about facing challenges, from the everyday mundane challenges to the life-changing challenges that can change our whole world view.

Thank you, Mr. Armstrong, for showing us--even people like me, who were not yet alive at the time of the lunar landing--that challenges are worthy of us. They make us stronger, smarter, kinder, and better. I hope you're enjoying the view of this crazy little planet of ours from out amongst the stars.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Five Miles

I was delighted this morning to pull into the parking lot at the local college where my running club meets to see my running buddy there. She doesn't make it every week, but when she is there, we run together, as we are both slower than the others who come on Saturday morning. And when I run with her, I run longer.

I told her today that I wanted to push my distance, so we got out on the track, walked a couple laps, then started our slow run. Kathy wears a running watch (on my ever-growing wish list of athletic gear) and she knows better than to tell me how far we've run--and I know better than to keep track in my head how many laps we've completed.

What's fun about running with her is that we keep up a steady stream of chatter about everything from our jobs to how gross runners are (discussed after I wiped my running nose on my tank top). So it's easy to lose track of how many times we've circled the track and just get into a rhythm. My legs felt good today, and cramping was minimal, though I did feel a bit of that in my shoulder at one point.

We finally got to a point where I was starting to need water, and my stomach was feeling a little on the odd side (happens when I push myself more than usual). I mentioned this to Kathy as we completed a lap, and she responded with, "Can you give me two more laps?"

"Sure," I responded. I figured she had her reasons.

"You won't regret it."

We did the two more laps, and I wondered how far we'd gone. My previous best for a long run was 4 miles, and I figured we must have gone further than that. As we came to the final straight on our last lap I asked, " it five miles?"

Though I couldn't see her face, I know Kathy grinned. "Yup!"

"Woohoo!!" Suddenly revitalized, I picked up my pace a little and threw my arms up in a V-for-Victory as we approached some of our fellow club members.

A new personal best: I ran five miles without stopping, walking, complaining or wanting to die. I'm quite pleased with myself. It wasn't fast, and I was completely drenched at the end.

It's the best feeling.

Later, I stopped at the gym to do my strength training, and I had a chance to brag to my always-supportive friend M. I'm nearing goal weight, upping my training, and kicking some serious booty along the way. And I admit, I love it when M. tells me, "I'm proud of you!"

So yes--goal is in sight. I held steady this week (and felt bloated, ugh) but I've been eating well and exercising. Kathy told me I'm a "skinny bitch" today and when I told M. that, he laughed and said, "Yes. You're part of the Skinny Bitches Club now. And it's permanent."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dominoes Revisited

In March, my very wise friend Shae made a comment about dominoes to me, and it has stuck in my mind ever since:

"You have certain moments where you stand up for yourself or make a tough decision and its the first domino."

Since then, the dominoes have fallen steadily and good things have happened. First, there was the offer of a job with ESL Arts Advantage (an offer that gave me so much joy and relief I spent twenty minutes sobbing like a baby). Having this to look forward to spurred me on in my job search, and it felt good to add to my introduction letter to schools that I would be teaching music at a three-week summer "camp" for visiting Chinese students.

Then came Petite School. The job is part-time, but I have been warmly welcomed and today, I had my first day of teaching. The kids are adorable and so "with-it" that I can't wait to dig into music with them and see how far they can go. The students at this school work about a year ahead of grade level.

So today, I had the total joy of watching a new group of primary students learn the race car song. The first grade teacher told me later that his kids couldn't stop talking about it when they got back to his classroom from music.

The third and fourth graders impressed me with their ability to understand sixteenth notes when we did "Soda Rhythms." The first and second graders took a game of Memory with instrument cards very seriously--and cheered each other on when a match was made. It is heartening to see children who are excited by learning, and to work in a school where that excitement is encouraged through challenging them, but also making the activities they do fun and relevant.

As this all comes together, another opportunity from ESL Arts is developing. Our fearless leader of the Fusion International Arts Center wants to offer at least two, but possibly four, kindergarten music classes each week for home school kids. I've been offered these classes, as well as an "international choir" (an opportunity for local kids and exchange students alike to come out and sing a wide variety of music) one evening a week.

The possibilities are growing, and they are exciting. I look back at the last few months, as these opportunities have come into being, and I see a trail of downed dominoes. I'm both curious and excited about where the standing ones will fall next.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mini Tri

It's been a busy week--if the lack of blogging hasn't given that away--and because of a staff inservice day on Tuesday, I didn't get a workout in. These days I'm pretty much addicted to working out (according to M. the Reasonable, and he's one to talk because hello, look what he does for a living!), so I decided to make up for it on Wednesday by doing a mini triathlon in addition to my strength training.

This is what I do for kicks. When this blog was started, "running" was a dirty word. Things change, eh?

Anyway, I started off with a one-mile run. It was slow-ish, but considering my plans for the rest of the morning, I figured slow is good.

A little while later, I found myself at the gym doing my strength training, which is hardly a walk in the park. I work, and I sweat. But after that, I gamely climbed on the stationary bike* and accomplished 4 miles in thirty minutes. Not bad...and not finished.

Finally, I found myself in the pool, with a giant purple condom swim cap and goggles on my head, pushing out 200 meters of freestyle swimming. My mini (and backwards) triathlon complete, I did some easy stretching, inhaled a protein shake, and headed home.

And then my back started to hurt in the car.

By the time I got home, it was in considerable pain, and the blue streak coming from my mouth would have elicited a shocked, "Megan!!" from my mom, had she been around to hear it. I walked around a little and popped some ibuprofen for pain relief. The good news is, by the time I'd finished my shower, the pain was almost gone, and it hasn't come back.

Still, today, I took it easy and just did some time on the cycle.

The mini-tri served to show me that I can get through all three sports...and that I have a ways to go in my training.

*In case you care, I've raised about half of what I need to buy a bike, helmet, tire repair kit, and a pair of those crazy-looking bike shorts that have fleece in the bottom to cushion during long rides--believe me, they're necessary. The hope is that I will have my bike by the end of September.

Race Car

Funny, I didn't realize just how much I missed singing "Race Car" from Wee Sing and Pretend until today, as I wrote it in as the closing activity for my music lesson plans. I start teaching at Petite School tomorrow. Excited? Yes.

Two years away from teaching...way too long. My heart is happy to be going back. I hope I never get sick of singing the race car song with five year old children. Because that, my friends, is what joy looks like.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What Do You Do?

A few nights ago, my new boss hosted a potluck dinner at her place for the small group of teachers at my new school (which, henceforth, shall be referred to as Petite School because it is very small in numbers--but large on awesomeness). My new colleagues seem excited to meet me, and there were lots of questions about what my role will be--the previous music person did things differently and my coming into the school has given the admins a chance to bring music to all grade levels. As a devoted music educator, I am so on board with this.

There were also the inevitable questions about where I come from, what I've been up to in my career thus far, and, seeing as how I'll only be teaching one day a week this year, what I do with the rest of my time.

I was a little nervous meeting all these people, and one of the school's owners was standing there (previously I'd only spoken to her on the phone), so I smiled and said, "Oh, I teach private music lessons, as well, and sing with Sacramento Choral Society." I felt awkward in the pause after this statement--as though there should be more to my answer--so I blurted, "And I'm training for a triathlon."

There she goes...there she goes again.

A few weeks ago, I told M. the Reasonable that I keep telling people I'm training for a triathlon--and the biggest reason I tell anyone who will listen is because my considerable Leo pride will not let me back down once the whole world knows I've decided to go for it. There is no backing out, chickening out, or otherwise finding reasons not to do a triathlon next year. I'm in this, no matter how slowly I swim, or how little I know about shifting on a racing bike.

After I blurted this bit of info out, I wondered if, perhaps, that didn't sound a little sad. Partially-employed woman spending tons of time running, swimming, saving money for a bike she doesn't yet have (so close!!) and strength training? Then I thought, "Oh, nonsense." Training for a tri is damned awesome, and if this is how I spend this period of my life, well, that's incredible. I could be sitting on the couch watching soap operas--instead, I'm making my body faster and stronger, while working towards a goal that most people don't even take on to begin with.

There's no shame in that.


Since I've become a more serious athlete, I've followed a lot of fellow athletic types on Twitter, and I've started noticing a trend.

Every few months, a new fad comes along, whether food-related or fitness-related. Suddenly, my Twitter feed explodes with articles, questions, blog posts, and opinions, and it seems like everyone I follow is now on board with the trend while I quietly shuffle along, losing weight, getting stronger, and getting faster.

First it was #plankaday, a hash tag devoted to showing off how strong our cores are by doing at least one plank every day. I was on board for a while but then realized that there are more than one awesome core exercise, and I don't want to do the same ole boring plank every day. Next came CrossFit, an extreme strength training program that is a lot like what M. the Reasonable has had me doing for months and months, only with less extreme effort.

I watch the trends come and go, much as they do at, say, a middle school. One day you wake up and no one is wearing skinny jeans anymore and life moves on while you sit there wondering what all the fuss was about. So I just keep doing my thing, as I learned from Mr. Reasonable, and it works for me.

The latest thing--right now--seems to be Paleo, a diet fad that essentially rules out anything cavepeople wouldn't eat: all dairy, all beans, and all grains.

I just shake my head as I see Paleo this, Paleo that flash across Twitter. Look, I'm all for a healthier diet, and I completely agree with the Paleo thought that cutting processed crap and the toxins many of us regularly ingest is a great plan of action. But legumes?! Is the 1/4 cup of black beans I put in my eggs really going to hurt me, just because some Paleolithic woman didn't eat them way back a few millennia?

That's just absurd. Yes, our diets changed, and in some ways, not for the better. That doesn't mean that all of those changes were inherently bad, or that we haven't adapted to them.

So I watch the word Paleo splash across my feed, and giggle quietly when recipes for cheese- and noodle-free lasagna come up...because yes, the cavehousewives were definitely baking lasagna using zucchini as noodles.

I guess what bothers me isn't the diet itself (and I call it a diet because looking at it, I believe it is completely and totally unsustainable in the long-term, and therefore, not a lifestyle choice but a fad diet) so much as the endless "I've gone Paleo, therefore I AM!" posts I see from certain fellow fitness junkies.

Now, if you need me, I'll be eating chocolate for dessert. : )

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gotta Tri

In the interest of not boring the readers I still have with endless angst about triathlons, I've refrained, of late, from posting my continuing self-doubts and "what-am-I-thinkings" in the interest of just running, swimming, and saving the last few hundred I need for my bike.

But the doubts are still there. I went back to swimming this week after about three weeks off, and it kicked my butt. M. the Reasonable said this is normal, but it doesn't make me any happier with being so fatigued (we can probably also blame two weeks' worth of 100+ degree days).

A few days ago, I came across this story. Someone I follow on Facebook shared it, and said, "It's worth the 10 minutes of your time." And indeed, it was. It also served to remind me that if an 8-year-old can pull his little brother along in a triathlon, I can certainly make it through my own.

Cayden Long is a little boy with cerebral palsey. His big brother, Connor, is a little boy wise beyond his years. Together, they have completed several youth triathlons, Connor pulling and pushing his brother through the course. They mostly finish at the back of the pack, but that's not what matters to them. To Connor, it's seeing his little brother's happy smile, and being able to give him a way to participate with the able-bodied children.

I don't mind admitting that I cried and cried watching the video. Go ahead, spend the 10 minutes. You won't be sorry.

Monday, August 13, 2012

You Are What You Hear

My Twitter and blogging buddy, Jules, posted this on her own blog tonight--it's the Six Songs of Me projects. Well, we all know I'm all about the music. Here are the categories:

  • What was the first song you ever bought?
  • What song always gets you dancing?
  • What song takes you back to your childhood?
  • What is your perfect love song?
  • What song would you want at your funeral?
  • Time for an encore. One last song that makes you, you.
So without further ado...

The first song I ever bought:

Oy vey, that's asking me to go back further than I possibly can. I know I listened to a TON of Madonna (Like a Virgin album in particular), Cyndi Lauper, Irene Cara (Flashdance, baby!), and Air Supply as a child. But those were tapes my parents got me or that I nicked from their collection. As for what I personally bought, I can remember the first CD I purchased, U2's The Joshua Tree. My favorite song off that album is "In God's Country," so let's go with that for this category.

What song always gets you dancing?

This is a tough one! The first song that springs to mind is "I'm In the Mood For Dancing" by The Nolans. It was more popular in the UK than here, I believe (I was three in 1981, so you know, how would I remember?) I know I never heard it stateside but heard it every single time I went clubbing in England in 2004-2005. It's pure disco: light, fluffy, good beat, makes you want to move a little. So much better than that THUMP THUMP THUMP stuff that is modern dance music. *sigh*

What song takes you back to your childhood?

I don't know how many times I stood on my stage bed, with my toy microphone, passionately lip-singing Madonna's "Crazy For You." I even did it for my third grade class talent show. I still love this song at the grown-up age of 34. I'm notoriously hard on other female singers--I mean, really, Madonna is a crap singer but I forgive her because of this song.

What is your perfect love song?

Okay, this one may be a little strange, but damn, this song is sexy as hell to me.

What song would you want for your funeral?

Hmmm...something happy. I don't want weeping strings. Play something joyful to remember that I tried to be positive, happy, and joyful. How about some "California Girls?"

One last song that makes you, you.

Pick just one? Seriously?! 

I guess I just have to pick the song that has the most plays on iTunes, a song I fell for in 2004, but waited another five years to fall for the band. The song that makes me smile when I'm sad, gives me hope when I'm feeling challenged. The song that pushed me to a PR in a 5K race in February...duh, if you've followed me very long, you know which song (and which band) I speak of!

And just because this song is even better live (listen to everyone singing along! I was at this gig, but this video is not mine. I assure, you, I was singing like a fool):

So, what are your six songs? If you do this, leave the link to your blog post in my comments so others can see!

Random Awesomeness

I have a few pictures and stories to share from the last few days; none of them really make a great blog post on their own, so here's a random little post to share what's going on.

Getting Older, But Also Lighter

Well, how nice was it to weigh in today, the day after my birthday, to find that I was down three pounds from last week? The scale originally said less but I picked up my iPhone (which weighs a whopping six ounces, according to my kitchen scale) to snap this pic.

M. the Reasonable wasn't around the gym this morning (that I could see, anyway, and believe me, I looked because I wanted to brag to him!) so I texted him this picture. He is quite pleased.

Summer Sing Success!

On Thursday night, I drove to Sacramento to attend SCSO's Summer Sing. We sang Faure's Requiem (and we will be singing it in concert in October). Our organization's president, Jim, asked me to take a few pictures with his camera, so I got to run around through the back hallways of St. John's Lutheran, a marvelous old church on 17th and L Streets. Meanwhile, the guy who photographs our concerts, Ronnie Johnson, was there, too, and he got a couple with ME in them. : )

Caught taking a picture...

Shapely Soprano caught watching the conductor. Woohoo!

Sign Pics!

Before our evening got started, I wandered a couple of blocks and got two new sign pics. The flying pig sign is ten shades of awesome.

Emails From China

One of my Chinese students sent me these pics. He went by the American name Joe while he was here, so his email subject lines always say "Joe," which makes me smile. His real name is Xiaohan. Anyway, many of the kids were running around with their cameras on the last day, asking for pictures of us and with us. After taking a regular photo, Joe asked for a silly one, too. I was happy to oblige.

New Job

I stopped by my new school today; I start next week and I'm getting very excited. I've been working on lesson ideas and I have a budget, so we've ordered recorders, some classroom instruments, and other goodies. The principal is super-supportive and I'm looking forward to being part of her team. Good things are coming!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


The number 34 gets very little love, it seems.

I never hear anyone get all excited at turning 34. It's "mid-thirties," and as it's not a multiple of five or ten, it's not celebrated as a landmark birthday. There's no special privilege afforded to a person at age 34. I've been a legal adult, able to vote, and drinking legal margaritas for years now.

However, 34 is part of the Fibonacci sequence (and also, therefore, the Golden Spiral). It is not a prime number. (Silly Meg Quirk #542: I hate prime numbers greater than 10--that is, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 don't bother me--and avoid using lockers at the gym if they are numbered with a prime number. No idea why I do this.)

It is the periodic number of selenium, was the jersey number for Nolan Ryan, and a miracle once happened on 34th Street (haha). It is divisible by two and seventeen.

And I am 34 years old today. Twice the age I was on this day in 1995, facing my senior year of high school.

Thirty-four may not seem remarkable, but I feel blessed to reach it. Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Running Fool

I had a rough time running this morning, so of course, I immediately started playing the Frustration Game. "Ugh, I should be able to run longer. Ugh, why only one mile? UGH, my calves are cramping! Ugh, ugh, UGH!!!"

It's not a very entertaining game.

But here's the thing: I've been learning, slowly but surely, that this game is pointless and not at all helpful. I looked around at my fellow runners from the running club, and everyone was struggling. By 8:00 this morning, temps were already climbing (towards today's projected high of a mind-bogglingly awful 108), and every one of us was sweating, moaning, and whining about how awful we felt.

This is what's great about being in a group--I often come to realize that it's not just me.

I muddled through. I had hoped to do three or even four miles today, but settled for one. A combination of heat and fatigue were enough to make running very difficult today, and our de facto coach, Mark, assured me that taking it easy was the best course of action. After all, this was my sixth straight day of running (on the 7th day, I sleep in and REST) and I did three really hardcore strength training workouts this week. Not exactly lazy...but also, not exactly meeting my goal of 12 miles for the week. It's a fine line to walk, especially in a week like this, with one 100+ degree day after the other and a very narrow window of time to get out there and get the run in without melting.

Still, a lady can't help but wish for Fall to arrive, with its sweater-friendly temperatures. I long for days when I don't have to get up at 5:30 on a Saturday to get my run in before the mercury rises. I even kind of miss my running leggings, though  my new running skirt is doing a marvelous job of being comfortable and cool while still keeping things that need to be covered...covered.

The good news, however, is that despite the heat and the calves acting up today, overall, my running is getting stronger and faster. I don't mind doing it and I love how I feel when I get in my groove and can just zone out. My body feels good when it runs, and even better afterwards. I did a nine-minute mile last weekend, which once seemed impossible. It's not an everyday occurrence, and I was pushing myself, but I did it.

It's amazing how it goes once you break through the wall.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


There are mornings I get up and the last thing--the very last thing--I want to do is run. I'm tired. It's hot. My knee is twinging. I'm bloated. Whine, whine, whine, don't wanna.

But I do it, because I feel better when I run. I feel sluggish when I don't. I do it because it helps me lose weight, keep the weight off. I do it because it's good for my heart, but also good for my soul.

And I do it because I can.

On various feminist blogs I follow, I've heard of the women from various Muslim countries who have been finally granted the right to compete in the Olympics--women from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Afghanistan, and other countries that previously balked at allowing women to participate in sports. This year, every country represented at the Olympics has at least one woman on its team--a first in modern Olympic history.

Some of these women have to have bodyguards when they train. Some of them could be assassinated for daring to be a runner. But they do it anyway, because they want to make a change in their countries, to ensure that the girls who come after them will have more opportunities.

My hat is off to them.

Tonight, I saw this article linked on Twitter--it brought tears to my eyes. The author, Stephen Hume, is right on the money. These women are some of the truest heroes of the Olympic games...and they are finishing dead last. While the fastest and the strongest get the glory of medals and photo ops and anthems ringing out, these incredible women are quietly and courageously making history.

Tomorrow morning, I have to get up early to run before the heat sets in on another 100+ degree day. No doubt I'll moan when the alarm goes off, wish for more sleep, whine a little as my calves ache at the very thought of hitting the pavement.

But I will get out there and run, because I can, and because I owe it to these women to do my part to make this world safer and easier for women who want to run.

To quote Mr. Hume: "Not all Olympic champions stand on the podium. Some finish last."

Almost There

So here I am, almost at goal weight, staring it down and vowing to be there by September, if I can just stay away from temptation.

I took this picture tonight because a friend on Facebook wanted to see how I look right-this-minute. It's not the greatest pic of me, but it shows how dramatic the changes in me are. Here I am...weight: 137. Jeans: size 4.

Like my runner's tan? : P

P.S. Right after I posted this I went back over to Facebook and saw that one G. the Meanie clicked "like" on this picture. He hasn't seen me in a year...and believe me, the difference is huge. I hope he's proud, because he really got me started. : )

Wait, When Did I Become the Expert?

Ahh, Facebook. That wonderful online social networking community where you get to read all about the minute details of your friends' lives. Some of them, I'd rather not know--I really don't care to think about your child's poo-poos in the potty, for example--and I do have the odd friend or two who post every detail of their day: "I'm at Starbucks!" followed by "I'm stuck in traffic!" followed by "Ugh, at work!" etc. etc. etc.

I admit to posting on Facebook a lot, probably more than most people do. I enjoy keeping up with my friends (poo-poos notwithstanding) and interacting with people I care about on a daily basis. Face it, without Facebook, I wouldn't be able to keep in touch with a lot of people as much as I do. We're so scattered all over the country and planet.

Anyway, this post isn't about Facebook so much, but rather my own endless posting about my Odyssey that has happened on Facebook...and how it has led to friends telling me they have been inspired by me to go to the gym, or to think about their eating habits...a few have even felt inspired to strap on the running shoes and hit the road. God knows that's not an easy thing to get into. And lately, I've been getting the odd message here and there, asking me for advice. What do you eat? How did you get into running? Should I strength train?

Of course, I'm flattered. I loved receiving a private message from a high school friend telling me she'd gone to the gym recently, inspired by me. "I felt like an alien," she said. I had to laugh as I replied, "So did I, at first!"  Every time I get a message like this, I respond with the same positive, you-can-do-this tone that I try to always use on Facebook (I could write a whole post about the Negative Nellies, believe me).

It's the messages asking for advice that leave me feeling both flattered and a little out of my element. I am, obviously, not a certified personal trainer or nutritionist. I have acquired some knowledge of these things through my own personal journey, and I know exactly what works...for me. So I feel a little odd, sometimes, offering diet or exercise advice to friends, because no matter how well-intentioned I am, I do not know the physical and/or mental limitations towards exercise these friends may or may not have. An exercise that is easy for me may cause strain on someone else. A dietary trick that works for me may wreak havoc on another. I just don't know.

That said, I enjoy giving people little bits of advice--general things like, "What's worked for me is..." My friends are smart enough to know that I'm not pushing a program or agenda on them (and most of them, if they saw my workout plans, would run screaming for the hills--some of the exercises I do, after three years of learning this stuff, are hard).

When it comes to running, I always tell people to start where they are. You can't force speed or endurance, you have to build them. And you have to listen to your body and figure out that fine line between giving up because of a little bit of pain and, "Oh, crap, that's an injury!" You have to know you're healthy enough to exercise (talk to your doctors, people!) and all that jazz. So when people ask me how they might get into running, I generally point out Couch to 5K (which I did not have the luxury of using, as one G. the Meanie threw me into the deep end with a mile-and-a-half non-stop run one day and then expected me to do this all the time forever and ever amen).

Recently, Mom and Dad suggested I look into training to be a trainer. The idea sounds appealing, but I know that there are a lot of trainers out there and it would be hard to find my own niche in the industry. Sometimes I think of going back to school and getting some courses in fitness and nutrition so I could get a credential or authorization to teach these subjects in school...even as our schools cut these subjects (along with the subject I'm already credentialed in--music). As fitness and health have become larger focuses in my life, my desire to help people makes me want to learn more and get in a position to possibly help them in the same way G. the Meanie and M. the Reasonable have helped me.

(Speaking of M.--he liked my recent article on Divine Caroline so much he wants to share it on our gym's Facebook page. Flattered, indeed!)

At this point, all of this is just musing on my part. I'm starting a music teaching position in two weeks--it's very part-time but it's a start. I have a lot of possible opportunities coming my way, so the very idea of pursuing another career path is on the back burner, simmering.

But it's there.

Monday, August 06, 2012


I've been trying to write something--anything--every day for the last few months. A blog post, or an article. Even a silly haiku shared with a few friends counts, as long as I'm using my words and getting the creative juices flowing. I've written some little essays that aren't for anyone but me, letters to myself, all kinds of things.

On Friday, I got an idea and ran with it--the result was this article, posted on a site called Divine Caroline, where one can self-publish their writing and hopefully find an audience for it. I felt this particular article was better-suited for Divine Caroline than this blog.

Today, I received email notification that my article was being featured on the front page!

Needless to say, I'm quite pleased with myself.

Please give it a read and leave feedback!

Monday Music: Queen

The theme for August is BICYCLE. I want to ride my bicycle. In order to do this, I need to actually own a bicycle. I'm getting close to having the funds raised, but due to expenses, may have to wait 'til I get my first paycheck from the new teaching gig...we'll see. I am itching to get out there and do some addition to the running and swimming and strength training, you know.

Anyway, in honor of this being the whole theme for the month, here's one of many awesome Queen songs.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

And They're Off...

So I've ended my three-week stint with ESL Arts Advantage, the exchange program for which I taught sixty Chinese teenagers music. It was a fantastic experience and I'll never forget it...and the great news is that they want me to stay on for future programs and other opportunities at the brand-new Fusion International Arts Center here in Sacramento--perhaps running a weekly choir and some weekly music classes for home school students.

But before we could discuss any of that, we had to rehearse and finish things off with our current group. Thursday was a long day, ending with a great performance by our kids, and lots of happy smiles and sad tears as we said our goodbyes. I took some pictures throughout the day, and compiled them in a short video.

I am very proud of these kids; they started camp shy and uncomfortable performing and ended with a great performance full of confidence. They were having fun on stage. I hope the friendships and memories they made will stay with them forever. I know I won't forget them any time soon.

Ab Fab Gabby

One reason I haven't been blogging a lot in the last several days (aside from being busy wrapping things up with ESL Arts) is that I've been up too late most nights watching the Olympics coverage on NBC. Even though a few stupid people spoiled it for me on Facebook and Twitter, I had to stay up to watch the US Women's gymnastics team win gold, and a few days later, I had to watch Gabby Douglas win the all-around gold.

These girls are incredible. The strength and grace, not to mention the maturity (they're all teenagers!) is beautiful. But there is something really special about Gabby Douglas, and I've thoroughly enjoyed watching her compete and learning her story.

So congrats to Gabby Douglas. I'll let the pictures (all belonging to Reuters) speak for themselves. Power, grace, and huge focus. She earned that gold. Go USA!!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Busy Bee

I have SO MUCH to blog about time, no energy. It's been a busy week, keeping up with work, work prep for the new job, teaching private lessons, and working out. Lots of work! But it keeps me busy and busy is good.

I may or may not have stayed up too late last night watching the Fab Five take gold in women's gymnastics (and may or may not have shed a tear...or twelve...of joy). As I write this, I really ought to be in bed.

But I just wanted to mark the first day of August with the following...

This month, I will:

  • Smash goal weight. I'm hovering at 137. While 130 is technically "goal," I will celebrate at 132 because that is an even 90 pounds.
  • Buy a bike (budget willing!). I'm almost there. I have some expenses but I've got money coming in and high hopes. If not this month, definitely in September. But I really want it this month.
  • Start a new job. I'm busy prepping for that and making plans. It's going to be wonderful to work with classes again (I'm thoroughly enjoying my private lessons, too). 
  • Turn 34. And eat a cupcake in my own honor. 
It's going to be a GREAT month.