I think I would have liked Dorothy Parker
First of all, I’d like to wish my mother good health. She has been in the hospital for the past couple days getting tests on her lungs. She has been nursing a persistent chest cough for a few months now (likely brought on by a combination of a weakened immune system from the radiation therapy for her breast cancer last year plus exposure to all manner of germs on the cruise ship she and my father vacationed on a while back), and her outpatient care wasn’t particularly effective. So she requested to be admitted to the hospital so the tests she needed could be run all at once instead of being spread out over several more weeks.
Since Friday, then, she has been getting some good drugs, some pokes and prods, and the star treatment from Stan, our family friend who volunteers at the hospital—I think he’s making sure she gets her share of Salisbury steak and jello. And she’s feeling much better, I’m happy to report. And my father is doing well too; he’s being his usual stalwart self and their friends are making sure he gets his share of dinner and cocktails.
So Mom, continue to feel better! And Dad, continue to take care of yourself too. If you’re not feeling your best, who’s going to drive Mom back and forth from the hospital and tease her about, well, everything? Last I heard, liberation day is tomorrow, which means just in time for a long weekend. Oh, wait. Every day for my parents is the weekend. As my father says, he vaguely knows it’s Sunday because there’s no mail and the comic strips in the newspaper are in color. Otherwise, there’s no need for these retirees to know what day it is.
In other news, Natasha turned 30 last Fri, June 1st. Happy belated birthday, my friend! I was going to fly to Chicago to attend her birthday party, but I begged off because I have some travel coming up this month and decided I needed time to prepare for the FILA tournament in Las Vegas this weekend (more on that eventually). She was gracious about it even though I think we were both sad I wasn’t there. But it sounds like it was a fantastic time, and I was there in spirit. I will make it up to her by coming to Chicago some time this summer or early fall.
And meantime, she is kicking ass and taking names: she won her division at the latest NAGA (North American Grappling Association) tournament in Milwaukee (congratulations~!!), and is getting to train with Hannette Stack, a black belt under a Carlson Gracie, Sr. black belt who is visiting Chicago for a while. Hannette won her division AND the open division at the Abu Dhabi competition I attended in early May. According to Natasha, she is an incredible grappler and a very sweet person. I have no doubts about either thing. I just hope Natasha doesn’t decide she likes Hannette better than me.
There must be something in the air. What I mean is, everyone I know seems to be going through some big changes: in marital and parental status, deaths in the family, illness, soul searching/philosophizing. And they are dealing with the attendant fallout of those things, even the joyful ones. So here’s a message to all the people I love who are facing some trying times right now: I think about you often and am eager to support you in whatever ways you need. I know how challenging change can be, having written a chapter in that book myself this past year (and I’m still editing and adding to that chapter, to continue the metaphor, cheesy though it may be), and I know that you will get through it and that increased tranquility, self-awareness, and contentment is waiting for you on the other side.
Until the next friggin’ change, of course. But I have faith in all of you, not to mention lots of love and affection, and I can remind you of how great you are and how well-equipped you are to deal with your changes until you can do it yourself. Just let me know.
Last week was fine. No celeb sightings at the store, but IT happened. Remember how I told you that people will try to return items they have obviously worn, and that one of the ways we determine whether that’s the case is to smell them? Well, up till the other day, I had only ever smelled things that had obviously been washed. So instead of the new smell, there was springtime fresh smell. Last Thurs, I think it was, was the first time I had to smell BO. It was disgusting. Someone sent back an item and claimed to have only tried it on. If that’s the case, then that person must have run a marathon or bathed in pig shit immediately before trying on the item, because the chain of events goes something like this: I open the return package. I unfold the return. I innocently and cautiously sniff the item. At first I smell nothing untoward, so then I get cocky and shove my nose right in there. Instantaneously, my knees buckle, I get a headache and I literally dry heave. I NEVER dry heave. Just like I rarely cry at movies. Gross things rarely upset my stomach. My sensibilities, sure, but never my stomach. So that tells you something about the smell.
I am still reeling.
I am also still in the speculation/introspection mode I was in when I wrote my last long post, but it has moved from being painful introspection to calmer introspection. Part of the thoughtfulness has to do with the fact that I'm coming up on a year since I left Chicago, which boggles my mind. And I still have things I want to accomplish that I haven’t yet, and I still struggle with the fact that I live in LA (and it seems to be a difficult thing for my friends to wrap their minds around too; when I talked to my friend Jennifer recently, she said it didn't really compute that I ended up here. Her mind and mine. And the minds of most of the other people who know me). But I’m doing my best to take care of the business that’s in front of me and trust that I’ll take care of the rest when it’s time.
In that vein I have been working on just letting go of the need to lose weight and being okay with that. It seems to be working. I’m feeling good, my cardio seems to be good, and my core strength is improving. And as I said to Chrissy, it’s much nicer to eat and feel satisfied than it is to beat myself up for being fat.
I will say that paying attention to what I eat and when has been helpful. I’ve decided to continue to count calories, mostly so I can see how the nutrient distribution goes. And reintroducing refined sugar and flour into my diet after I decided to stay at the weight I am naturally was a real eye-opener. The other day I had a chocolate chip cookie, and it was like the floodgates opened. I wanted more and more sugar and started thinking obsessively about it in a way I hadn’t since I had limited my intake of that stuff. And yesterday I had a bagel with cream cheese (which in my book = heaven on earth), and while I took in more calories with it than I had been at breakfast (which recently had been peanut butter on rice cakes or even a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread), I felt far less satisfied.
So all that is good food for thought, pun intended.
The conditioning class has been going well too. The other day I almost started to cry, but not for the reason most people do (which is that they are exhausted or about ready to throw up because they have pushed themselves to their physical limits). No, the reason I was about to cry is because I still can’t squat very well. My teacher Andy thinks they are looking better, but that doesn’t stop him from correcting my form when it sucks, which seems to be often.
I think I’ve mentioned the conditioning class—CrossFit (http://www.crossfit.com) by Andy Petranek (http://www.petranekfitness.com), which works on building your core strength and cardio. Part of the way they work on that is mixing up the workout every day. So you never know what you’re going to be doing until you get to the gym, and you also rarely do the same workout twice in 6 weeks or so. Add to that the fact that I get up at 5:15am on the days I go there to make it in time for the 7am class, and you won’t be surprised that every time I walk in, I mutter to myself, “What fresh hell is this?”
(Aside to my brother-in-law: Remember we were thinking that phrase might be Shakespearean? I looked it up and it’s actually attributable to Dorothy Parker, who used it once when she was writing and interrupted by the telephone. And if you believe Wikipedia, she started saying that instead of “hello” every time the phone rang.)
There’s more to report! But I’ll post this for now and work on the rest of it today, tomorrow, and Friday, before I leave for the FILA tournament. (And that is what’s known as “foreshadowing.”)