Monday, April 16, 2007

Weekend Update

Friday morning Naoyuki flew to Los Angeles to attend the AACR (American Association of Cancer Research) conference, where he presented a poster Sunday morning. I will be joining him there on Tuesday, then the next day we will head to Palm Springs to spend four nights at INNDulge, our favorite gay resort. (This morning when I left home it was raining and in the low 30s; by the time I made it to the Pembroke / Medina exit it was snowing and I walked into the building with snow in my left ear. I'm REALLY ready for California!)

I wish I could say I had a fabulously productive weekend but that's not the case. On the other hand:

(1) I had another good workout session with Bally Boy Josh.

(2) I got a much needed haircut.

(3) Saturday evening friend Jim and I had dinner at the Sahara Grill on Elmwood, followed by a brief visit to Borders, and then the Regal Cinema (Transit Center) to see 300, the completely over the top movie about the Spartans and the Persians at the battle of Thermopylae.

Sunday I cleaned the bathroom. Well, not ALL of Sunday (although it was pretty damned messy); most of Sunday I spent avoiding cleaning the bathroom (and instead reading the 2nd installment of Kim Stanley Robinsn's Mars trilogy.

No earthly idea what we'll be doing in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, although we have a dinner reservation for Thursday night at Copley's, I have a hankering to check out the Los Angeles Farmers Market, and we'll no doubt wind up hitting the Cabazon outlet malls before it's all over with.

Some time in the pool would be good!


Friday, April 06, 2007

Gym time

Me personal training sessions at Bally's are going remarkably well and I’m very thoroughly pleased.

I’m quite pleased with Josh, and not just because he’s a cutie. He’s one of those never-stops-moving jock types who is all about being active (football, basketball, baseball, golf, cycling, you name it, he does it) and his approach to training is not about how much you can lift or lots of aerobics.

Instead, we focus on things like proper form (in just about everything) and working muscles to the point of failure (as in, I started off doing this shoulder press exercise using dumbbells and now I’m just moving my arms up and down with no weight and I still can’t do it!) Plus lots of emphasis on balance (standing or kneeling on the BOSU, using the big balance ball for flyes rather a flat bench) and coordination (do these curls / presses while standing on one foot) and exercises that address the core (abs, obliques, back muscles.)

For an hour a day, three days a week.

I usually try to make it there half an hour to 45 minutes before our session so that I can (a) do about half an hour’s worth of laps (walking) on the track and (b) do some stretching. By the time Josh is done with me, I’m whupped so afterwards it’s about all I can do to get through a shower and then stagger home.

The great thing about Josh is that he’s very attentive to detail and gives very constructive feedback. He doesn’t just say, “that’s wrong,” he says, “try doing this” and keeps on saying it until – voila, at last! – I finally make the mind body connection and start moving things in the right way. And when I do get it right, “that’s a hundred percent better” or “you’ve nailed it” or “you squat better than I do, I can never keep my feet straight.”

For the first time in my life I feel like I’m being coached, in the very best sense of the word.

I’ve pointed out all of this to the fitness director (Nick), who hooked me up with Josh in the first place, and to Josh as well, who, for his part, says that he enjoys training me because I work hard.

The benefits are obvious to me, even though they’re probably not particularly evident as far as the scale is concerned. My torso is much tighter than it ever has been previously and everything else is firming up nicely, too. I don’t seem to have lost (or gained) any weight and I doubt my measurements have changed any but I can feel the difference and on occasion I can see it in the mirror. I’m inclined to think the goals I set out when I first talked to Nick about hiring a trainer (See 57 Weeks and Counting, March 9, 2007) are completely doable and that I’m well on my way to achieving them.

In some ways it’s sad that I have to pay someone to motivate me to do this kind of work but I keep reminding myself that it’s not just that – I’m getting instruction, not just motivation, and of a sort that I have craved for a very long time.

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Emily's visit

Since David started first grade at Sagamore in 1993, our lives have revolved around the DeKalb County School System's vacation / class schedule; spring break has always been the first week of April, usually coinciding with Janet's (April 2nd) and David's (April 9th) birthdays. After Jeremy and I left Houston (1999), that meant the kids have spent about half of each spring break with me, wherever I was (Houston, Ann Arbor) or some place in between (Pensacola, for example.)

That began to change when we move to Buffalo; our move here coincided with David's freshman year at University of Georgia and, not surprisingly, he has a different spring break schedule. So last year it was just Emily visiting -- and it was again this year, her last year of high school. I think this was probably the last spring break visit, wow!

It was a good one, I'm happy to report.

Emily arrived without incident late Saturday afternoon. That evening we picked up our friend Jim and went to dinner at The Anchor Bar, the place they invented barbecue chicken wings, our first ever visit. Lots of atmosphere, very crowded, and I'm sure the wings are great (if you like wings!) My lasagne was so-so and I gather Naoyuki's seafood pasta was the same. After that we headed to Sweet Tooth, a dessert restaurant at the corner of Elmwood and Allen, for really nice yummies! I had a multi-layer chocolate cake that was, as advertised, "decadence" itself. I'm surprised we didn't have to be wheeled out of the place.

Sunday morning I went to the gym for a make-up work out session with my personal trainer but he didn't show, first time I'd been stood up since we started a month ago. I was a bit bummed -- I've gotten to the point where I really crave my gym time -- but I didn't let it spoil my day. (More about the personal trainer experience in another posting.)

We'd thought about going to Niagara-on-the-Lake Sunday afternoon but the weather was pretty blah (rained all day) so instead we went to see Blades of Glory, the new Will Farrell movie. Quite entertaining in that totally idiotic, Talladega Nights sort of way. No doubt some people are offended by the built-in homophobia but I took it as poking fun at homophobia, not playing it up. Besides, sequins and satin and feathers and glitter, oh my!

That evening we went to Studio Arena, the only live theatre in Buffalo we ever seem to visit, to see The Mystery of Irma Vep, which was quite a hoot! Two guys playing at least six characters, half of them women, with manic costume changes. I was very pleased. Afterwards we stopped by Butterwood and had dessert again, this time their grilled Danish (yum yum yum!) for me. Butterwood's menu isn't nearly as out there as it was when we first visited (November 2004) but it's still quite good. I think it took them a while to find the right balance between novelty and what the Buffalo palate finds acceptable. Fortunately, there's still enough novelty to make it worthwhile.

I knew from the beginning that I would be working on Monday (at the time I made Emily's flight plans there was no one I could trade with) so I suggested early on that she hang out with Anita, our across-the-street bestest stay-at-home-mom neighbor, and Brennan, Anita's four-year-old, and it turned out that was good planning. Anita conveniently broke her thumb (!!) the day before so Emily wound up taking her to the orthopedist to get it fixed, followed by lunch at Panera Bread. Apparently much girl talk ensued, which is always a good thing! As it turned out I managed to leave work 2 hours early, getting home about 3 p.m. (just 45 minutes after Emily returned from her day with Anita.) We went grocery shopping and bought a birthday card for David.

Tuesday morning I had my work out session at Bally's again and offered to take Emily along but she decided to sleep in instead. That afternoon we went to the outlet mall in Niagara Falls but there really wasn't anything in our price range. I'm still kind of agog that I have a 17 year old daughter who is perfectly happy to walk out of a mall without having bought something!

Emily was scheduled to fly home Wednesday morning but never made it, owing largely (I think) to the ongoing disintegration of the American airline industry. The line for security at the Buffalo airport was three times longer than I'd ever seen it before (and, golly gee, it was 10 a.m. on Wednesday, for heaven's sake!) Emily waited in line for 20 minutes before she could check in and then waited for another 10 minutes before she could get anyone behind the counter at US Airways to notice that she had a bag that needed tagging -- even then the woman (how many vicodins had she taken?) didn't ask for ID and wouldn't have given Emily her baggage claim sticker if Emily hadn't prompted her to do so. By the time she caught up to me in the security line there were at least a hundred people behind us.

She made it to the plane with plenty of time to spare but the plane never took off the ground, despite the fact that it make it to the runway and started down it -- before slowing to a stop! "Uh, we have a little engine problem, we're going back to the gate..." Emily and fellow passengers deplaned -- and three hours later US Airways finally got around to cancelling the flight, just as I was beginning my work out session (no cell phone) with Josh. By the time I picked Emily up she'd been in the Buffalo airport for more than six hours!

So yesterday I drove her to the Rochester airport to catch an (hour late) flight from there to Charlotte, where she had 9 minutes to (successfully!) get to make her Atlanta connection (not that her suitcase did.) I'm assuming it showed up, finally, considering the number of US Airways flights between Charlotte and Atlanta each day.

Still, I'm not all that thrilled with the prospect of flying out to California (on US Airways, of course) on April 17. Maybe I should to get a vicodin prescription? Oy!

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