So it’s been so long since I updated that my browser forgot my saved WordPress login. That’s not a good sign.

I guess I’m still getting into this whole blogging thing. There have been so many interesting things going on lately, but I find myself without anything too insightful to say about them–I reader other writers’ work and I agree, or I disagree in a minor way, but I don’t find myself inspired to write a whole post about it. That will come, I suppose, with time and practice. In the meantime, my apologies to anyone who’s clicked over here.

In other news, I am DONE with spring semester. I had my last final on Friday. I’m almost done with my pilates instructor training, too. I’ve also recently started commuting to work by bicycle, along a very busy road (I know this is unsafe and kind of stupid, and yet, I intend to keep doing it). I’m sure there will be stories about that before too long.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!

I have an adorable kitten named Nadia. She is made of love; she purrs, she makes muffins, she never meows. She loves to cuddle. She is insanely sweet.

But then, her obviously deluded owner tried to take her picture one too many times.

I’m thinking this second picture needs to become the new blog mascot somehow. She is awesome and she is cute and she is pissed.

This morning I went for a run outside.

This isn’t something I’ve done for a long time. I know, I know–how am I supposed to run the half marathon in October? How am I supposed to train or my triathlon? How am I supposed to do anything if I don’t get away from the treadmill and hit the actual pavement?

Running outside makes me very nervous. I’m an awkward runner at best–my body isn’t really built for it, and it’s a struggle pretty much from start to finish every time. I get injured a lot, minor injuries, but still. It makes me nervous to find myself 2 1/2 miles from my apartment with no way to get back but my own feet. I like the safety of the treadmill, the proximity. If something goes wrong, I can just hop off the thing and go upstairs. There’s even an elevator, for goodnessake.

Today, though, I woke up early. Some friend were staying here for the night, and I didn’t want to disturb them with my ridiculous early-itude, so I didn’t feel like I could just hang around the apartment. It hit like a ton of bricks: run outside!

It was awesome. By which I mean, it was hard as hell, but I pushed through it anyway.

I’ve been in a training slump lately–I think I just wore myself out. I’ve been eating like it’s my goddamn JOB, too. My body needs something, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it was.

I think it might have been fresh air.

After I got back from my run, my friends wanted to go for a walk around a reservoir nearby. I took pictures!

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I have a spiffy digital Nikon that I’m still kind of learning how to use. I’ll warn you now, there may be some cat pictures in the near future.

So, in sum, I’m excited to have had a chance to get outside. I feel recharged. I feel resolved to make sure it becomes a pattern.

I saw this video on The Daily Show Tuesday night, and I laughed and laughed… and then I realized that the actual MSM is doing pretty much the exact same thing, and it isn’t a parody at all.

And then I was sad.

But anyway, here’s the video, well worth a watch.

(note: I seem to be having trouble embedding the video. Until I figure it out, you can watch it on the TDS website here.)

Something else I found interesting was when Samantha Bee, well, pretty much assaulted that one girl with the microphone. If she had been a man I would be completely skeeved out by that whole situation, but obviously she isn’t, so I’m kind of okay with it. I’m not really sure what that says about me, though.

Right the fuck on, Kate.

Nothing to add, except:

Thank you.

An image demonstrating exactly how peaceful I didn’t feel. Via nirvanaisnow.com.

(warning: shortly-post-yoga, slightly fuzzy-headed stream of consciousness post coming up)

Right now I’m in the middle of a serious exercise phase.

It’s been going on for a while now, of course. I mentioned a few posts down that I’m training to be a pilates instructor. I’m also training for a triathlon (sprint distance) and a half-marathon.

At the moment, though, my concern is this yoga workshop I’m involved in. Every morning at 6 a.m. for two weeks, I go to the local studio where I jump around and sweat and generally have the least relaxing yoga sessions of my life, but leave feeling awesome. They’re calling it boot camp, which seems very anti-yoga to me, but I love it, so who am I to complain?

Today, though, it was rough. Part of it is that I haven’t been getting much sleep–grad school has been wearing me down a bit lately–and I was having a lot of trouble with my balance. I also had a serious carb craving right before bed last night and ate some roasted potatoes, so I think maybe they were still hanging out in my stomach and throwing me off a bit.

My biggest problem was lactic acid in my quads. It was actually pretty silly; I’m fairly flexible, and can do just about all the yoga poses we’re asked to do, but I couldn’t hold anything this morning. I had to keep coming out of the poses because it felt like everything was on fire. I’m generally fairly comfortable with mild physical discomfort. Usually I’m all about challenging myself. I love seeing how long I can hold a pose at the shaking point, or even try to pull it a bit deeper when it feels like the teacher is about to move on. This morning I just couldn’t stand it.

Are there any tricks to help eliminate this feeling? I don’t like it when my body gets frantic, and I don’t think it’s a safe or healthy thing for me to ignore that feeling. Ideally, circumvention would be the way to go. Tips, anyone?

I think I’m inclined toward Obama at this point. At any rate, the primary in my home state is long past, so it doesn’t matter a whole lot which candidate I support. I had my chance to vote, and now it’s out of my hands until the general, when you better bet I’d voting for whoever’s on the Dem ticket.

That being said, this made me cry.

She gets so. much. shit. It’s so unfair, and it’s hurting the female population of this country. The little girl with the sign? Had me bawling.

I saw Kate’s post about her excessively chatty fitness instructor yesterday, and I became instantly nervous.

I’m in the process of training to be a pilates instructor (Stott variety). I also taught middle school for a year, where that talk-to-fill-in-gaps method of moving things along was actually very useful; those kids can be darn awkward, and sometimes what they need more than anything is someone to keep the room from going silent so they don’t have a chance to let their awkwardness overwhelm them.

Anyway, as of now, I pledge NOT to let that training slip over into my life as a pilates teacher. I promise!

I’ve been working on this one for a while, ever since Obama’s comment to a crowd of mainly African-American families to “shape up, turn off the TV, help their kids with their homework and stop letting them grow fat eating Popeye’s chicken for breakfast.”

Of course, I’ve been musing on this for so long it’s way past its expiration date, but it’s still a personal issue for me, so I’d like to get it out there.

Obama’s comment immediately made me think of a situation I witnessed when I mentored a girl through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I mentored this girl, J, for four years, beginning when she was seven years old.

She lived in a single-parent home, with her mother and her two sisters. Her oldest sister was in middle school when I started mentoring J; from what I understand, her mother had not worked since the oldest was born, since it wasn’t economically feasible for her to put the kids kids in any kind of decent childcare while she was at work. The family got support from the state, but the mother obviously had some serious issues with authority (I’ll post sometime about J’s problems at school), so as a family they didn’t get as much as they probably could have had the mother been a more effective advocate.

Now, the mother in this situation was absolutely devoted to her daughters. Their apartment had two bedrooms: the oldest girl got her own room, the youngest two shared, and the mom slept on the couch. Every single night.

The one thing that was a little frightening to me was the lack of organization and follow-through in that house. I’m not talking about Clean House-style organization, but things like… actual meals. I would frequently pick up J for our time together at 2 o’clock in the afternoon or later, and the mom would tell me on my way out the door that she didn’t think J had eaten anything.

It’s likely that this was in part because the family was hurting for cash (obviously), and I was a resource the mom could use to feed one of her kids. And, you know, that was fine by me – I never felt taken advantage of, and providing a small child a couple of meals a week didn’t hurt my budget in any way that mattered.

The other part of it was, I’m pretty sure those meals were the only real meals J ever got. The mother and older sisters would just feed themselves when they were hungry, but it drove me absolutely up the wall that J’s mother never seemed to realize that you had to make a conscious effort to FEED your 7-year-old, not just assume she’ll take care of herself. J exhibited a lot of signs of early malnutrition: she was tiny for her age, much smaller than her peers, had huge circles under eyes, was frequently spacey, and didn’t seem to be able to concentrate very well at school.

Now, the point of this very long post is not that Obama is RIGHT in chastising families for feeding their kids fast food when it may be the only food available. It’s just a jumping-off point for this story; the issue for J was so wide and so deep that I don’t know where anyone would even start with fixing it, other than providing the mother with some serious education and financial resources, neither of which I’d be confident she would accept willingly. It’s just a nasty situation all the way around.

Sometimes I think people with easy answers need to understand just how UN-easy the real-life situations really are.

I’m just going to start this all off with a post about the joys of kale.

I just recently discovered kale as a food. I’ve never really been a fan of vegetables you have to cook–things you can throw into other stuff, like omelets, great. But a big pan of dark greens? It just never seemed appealing to me.

I tried to give blood a week or two ago, though, and was rejected for low iron. Now, I was a vegetarian for six years, and although I’ve added meat back into my diet slowly (first fish, then chicken, and finally red meat about a year ago), I still don’t like red meat all that much. That’s what people always tell you to eat when you have low iron, though, so I left the Red Cross tent feeling resigned to several evenings of burgers or something.

Then I happened to mention this at yoga, and one of the instructors told me what to do with kale–put it in a pan, throw some olive oil and sea salt and pepper on it, and voila, deliciousness. And she was right! It was amazing.

I ate a bunch of it for dinner (probably about four cups, pre-cooking. although it shrinks down, obviously), and then immediately made another batch to take to work with me today for lunch. I don’t know how it’ll be, reheated but hopefully it’ll be all right.

Anyway, I was happy.

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