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The perfect fruit ...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

As I was saying this morning on one of the SparkTeams I belong to, I don't really like many types of fruit. Well, I DO like fruit, but I prefer the tropical variety, bursting with flavour, preferably fresh off a tree, warm from the mid-day sun.

Mostly I go for mangoes and oranges as my go-to fruit, and I'm lucky that I live in a place where these are both available year-round. Yes, I know, I'm NOT being eco-friendly eating them out of season, but hey, I do my bit for the ecology in other ways, so I'm not going to defend that here.

But speaking of fruit does bring back one delicious memory!

Oh, man, my fondest memory is of being on a train in rural Italy, on the island of Sardinia ... my ex and I were the only foreigners on the train (actually, the entire compartment was empty except for us!), and I, the brown girl, was the only one of the two who could sorta communicate in Italian. The conductor came and "chatted" for a while, then went away. I say "chatted", but it was mostly smiles, a few words of Italian that I'd pulled from my guide-books as I struggled to tell him how much I was loving his country and this train ride, him trying to ask us where we were from, what we were doing here. I not sure either of us managed to convey all we wanted to say.

A few minutes later, the train stopped. The two of us looked out of the window, wondering why ... there wasn't anything we could see, no train station or even a little village around. Just the countryside - very lush and green but still, just countryside.

And then I spotted the conductor heading off towards one of the trees. The large, lush, green trees. So, being from India and knowing what men do around trees there, I figured "ah, the call of nature", and we went back to chatting, well away from the window, to give the man a little privacy.

A couple of minutes later, the train started, and we were sitting there, amused, but generally happy - hey, who WOULDN'T be happy on a glorious fall day in sunny Sardinia?

And then the conductor came back to us, beaming all over his face ... and in his outstretched hand sat a fruit. Green.

Lost for words, I looked at him in surprise. My ex was excited - a FIG, he said. Note, until this moment, I'd only seen the dried figs my ex regularly bought (he's middle-eastern, loved those figs!), never seen a REAL, live fig. I didn't at the time care much for the dried figs, so I was a little wary, but what the hey, this was such a wonderful gesture! But it was GREEN. Didn't that mean it wasn't yet ripe? Who'd want to eat an UNRIPE fruit? But then I do love green mangoes and unripe guavas, so maybe it'd be one of those flavours ...

The conductor broke that single fig in half and gave each of us a half. Still suspicious at the look and feel of the thing (green, sticky, looked like the inside was PRICKLY!), I took it, and bit into it.

Sigh. I'm sure that conductor could tell from the look on my face that I immediately decided I'd died and gone to heaven.

It was, in a country where I'd tasted many delicious foods, the BEST thing I'd ever tasted in my life! Warm from the Mediterranean sun, bursting with juice, and offered with so much love for people - how could it taste anything other than perfect? If ever I imagine what ambrosia tastes like, it would be that first taste of that perfect fig!

I've eaten many figs since then - living in California offered me plenty of opportunities for that, and we even planted a fig tree in our back yard, and enjoyed its fruit for a couple of years.

However, no fig I've had since then has reached that state of sublime perfection ... I think it really does make all the difference to know that someone went out of their way (imagine stopping a whole train for you!) to get you that one perfect taste of paradise!

We gushed our broken-Italian "grazies" and "mille grazies" at the conductor, being totally at a loss for words to really express our feelings.

To this day, there's a very warm spot in my heart for Italy ... especially for Sardegna and the trains! :)

Here's wishing each of us "Happy Trails" this year! And many, many, warm, happy memories!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOKYOTESS 1/13/2009 9:00AM

    Hey Maya, No kidding!

This was one of the best blogs I have ever read. I felt as if I were there on the train in Sardinia "godere del primo gusto perfetto dei fichi (enjoying the first taste of perfect figs)!"

Molte grazie il mia bella sorella/amica!

Please let me know if you are going to publish your blog... or any more travel stories!

ttyl tomodachi!
(btw, my mom's family is is originally from Napoli, and my gr-granpa only spoke Italian-it's been years since I've tried... but I'll be glad to help. what CD system are you using? rosetta stone?

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FABAT402009 1/11/2009 11:53AM

    What a delightful story. You've made me want to try a fig. LOL

Something I never thought of eating before.

Wishing you much success in your journey to be healthier~

Comment edited on: 1/11/2009 11:54:14 AM

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BINEMELLES 1/11/2009 7:14AM

    what a wonderful story, maya! i have had quite a few of those "i-have-died-and-gone-to-heaven" revelations during my travels. truffles in italy, dates in morocco, papayas in brazil. i think it's wonderful if you can recall those sweet memories with a bite of something - even if it just seems like a poor imitation of that first glorious encounter.
i think now i will remember your story too, every time i eat a fresh fig!

Comment edited on: 1/11/2009 7:16:43 AM

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TREEZIA 1/8/2009 10:11PM

    Awesome! My family is from Sicily and they all grow figs. It's like a competition. In fact my brother-in-law, who is Polish, grew some in his backyard and it was crazy coz nobody else's were growing as good as his were at that time! Ha. They were all scratchin' their heads about it. But they enjoyed them nevertheless. LOL. The other's are right about your writing, you brought me with you and it was fun! Thank you... emoticon

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OBMD4JC 1/7/2009 4:36PM

    wow...what an amazing story! I've never had a plain fig before... you are such a great writer, i felt like i was tasting it just reading your account! oh man, do my hubby and I ever wanna go to Italy, too, his grandparents are from there.

Hope your new year is off to a great one!!!!

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MRSHONEYC 1/7/2009 2:32PM

    Ah, a day of reflections for you? It was a WONDERFUL memory and you brought me right there with you in your writing!

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GODZDESIGN95 1/7/2009 11:13AM


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I couldn't resist!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Okay, this story just made me whoop with laughter, so I HAD to share!



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOKYOTESS 1/13/2009 9:12AM


luckily they didn't know how to use and their mum's credit #.
too bad they only made it to the Police Station, where's the honeymoon...?

bailbondsman's office???

thx Maya!

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BINEMELLES 1/11/2009 7:10AM

    haha, i posted the same story (but different article i think) on my "members motivating members" team. i thought it was just lovable! i'm sure they'll try again!

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GODZDESIGN95 1/7/2009 11:11AM


Comment edited on: 1/7/2009 11:11:49 AM

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JUST_BEACHY! 1/6/2009 7:26PM

    Too cute! That would make a great story if they ended up married later in life.

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QKDEBB 1/6/2009 7:09PM

    Thanks for sharing, too funny !!

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MRSHONEYC 1/6/2009 12:26PM

    LOL! I liked the part where the kids didn't think they'd be gone for very long! Seems things are so SIMPLE when you're a kid!!!

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HEIDI252 1/6/2009 9:38AM

    That was just too cute! I loved the part of the policeman noticing all the swimming gear!

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On commitment

Sunday, January 04, 2009

There have been many, many times in my life when I've delayed (or weaseled out of) doing something because I was scared of it. And an equal number of times when I was convinced I was committed to something just because I'd thought it up, thought it through, and/or talked about it.

Now, I realise something. Commitment isn't reading about your activity or planning for it or preparing for it. It's actually doing what you say you want to do.

These days, every time I hesitate, not wanting to do something I'm scared of, I remember deciding to go sky-diving. It's something I've always known I would do. Not wondered about, not hoped to do. Just something I knew I WOULD do. Like every parent knows his kid will walk and talk (barring unforeseen complications, of course), or most of us know that a meal at McDonald's will probably mean blowing the diet for the day.

I _thought_ I was committed when I was planning on doing it.

I _thought_ I was committed when I paid for the 6-hours of instruction and the solo jump.

I _thought_ I was committed when I woke up at 5 in the morning to get dressed and drive an hour to the airfield.

I _thought_ I was committed while I was in class, learning all the cues, learning how to check that my 'chute had opened, as well as how to untangle the chords if they'd got tangled up.

I _thought_ I was committed when I was practising (on the ground) the posture, the wait, the jump, the counting down, the arm positions for steering the chute down, the landing.

I _thought_ I was committed once I'd suited up, put on my helmet, and was busy watching others take off in the little planes and jump out, even recording several beautiful jumps on my phone.

I _thought_ I was committed when I squeezed into a little plane, with two other students, the instructor/cameraman, and the pilot, all males each of whom weighed LESS than I did!

I _thought_ I was committed when the plane took to the air and we watched the runway and the hangar become small specks in the distance.

I knew I OUGHT to have _been_ committed when the instructor opened the door, and told me, as the heaviest person, that I'd be jumping first - only the air rushing in gave me the coldest feet I've EVER had!

I _thought_ I was committed when I told them I'd changed my mind, I wasn't going to jump.

I _thought_ I was committed when I changed my mind again and said I _would_, as they circled the jump area again.

I _thought_ I was committed when I took up the jumping stance, one foot on the wing strut, one in the doorway.

I have NO idea what I was thinking when I jumped - only, instead of a clean jump, I apparently jumped just far enough to be holding on to that little wing strut (the guys on the ground were probably laughing themselves silly by this point!) By the way - don't EVER do this: it's dangerous - your chute could get tangled in the wheels or something else - I was EXTREMELY lucky that I nothing went wrong.

It was only maybe a couple of seconds that I clung to that strut, but that was the point where I had to really make the choice - was I or was I not going to let go?

I discovered that I truly only WAS committed when I finally just took a deep breath and let go.

You know, you're never really committed until you're doing it! All the cliches ("just DO it", "Do-or-not-do, there is no try", etc.) are absolutely TRUE!

I just need to apply that to weight loss as well! :)

And, in case you're wondering, yes, it was a fabulous jump! :)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOKYOTESS 1/13/2009 9:06AM

    Holy Shiitake emoticon!!!

The only way to be fearless is to conquer fear.

wo-aaaah, i am sincerely impressed!

I am speechless, because I am really afraid of heights and falling from them.

thoroughly impressed,


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QKDEBB 1/6/2009 7:12PM

    I am so impressed. I've always thought it would take someone to actually push me out to get me to do it, good for you. Brava, brava !!

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MONTANAANNA 1/6/2009 5:52PM

    Seriously amazing!

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ELLIE_G 1/5/2009 10:57PM

    WOW! Good for you! Your are brave!

I know just what you mean about being _thinking_ that I'm committed this time....

I'm DOING it ...... you will too!

2009 will be our year!


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JUST_BEACHY! 1/5/2009 4:55AM

    I _KNOW_ that someday I will do this too! I am somewhat of a thrillseeker. Wanna do it again? You can go with me, HAHA.

I know you have that commitment Maya. You will do it girl. Just keep hooping and dancing and make it happen for you.

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A-STRONGER-ME 1/4/2009 7:12PM

    You are one crazy woman - and more power to you!!!

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DEBDUV 1/4/2009 5:05PM

    Great blog Maya. You should write short stories for a living!


P.S. How was the weigh in this morning?

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COLLIEMOM1 1/4/2009 4:58PM

    What a truely inspirational post! Thank you so much for sharing it!

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AVONWITHJENN 1/4/2009 4:49PM

    WOW! Maya, That was truly inspiring. I loved this blog entry! I give you much needed props for jumping because I know that is where I would falter. Once I was suited up and over looking the ground below, I would have said "Ok, nevermind". Applying that moment by moment commitment is so much like this weight loss journey. Its' not the "big leap" until you have jumped.

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MRSHONEYC 1/4/2009 3:48PM

    WOW! I _THOUGHT_ I'd like to try skydiving JUST ONCE before I die, but then the little voice inside my head says, "Yeah, that WILL be the death of you, you nut!!!" See, I'm terrified of falling. Not so much being high up, but of falling. Would I really like to do something like that? YES, I would, but NOT _THAT_ much!!! You are a VERY brave chickie!

And now that you've done the self-talk, tell me ... why aren't you _doing_? WHAT is your obstacle??? Find it, face it, overcome it! YOU CAN be the slim, trim chickie babe that you desire! I KNOW IT!

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NATTSO78 1/4/2009 1:03PM

  this was awesome!

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A new round of the Biggest Loser Challenge - on SP!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I've enjoyed being on the BLC-8 ... and I just learned that the BLC-9 is now taking sign-ups.

These are 12-week challenges, with the focus on losing the weight - lots of weekly and weekend challenges between the teams on there. In round 8, there were enough new members that they had to create 2 new teams ... I wound up on one of them, the Onyx Outlaws! :)

It's been loads of fun ... just thought I'd put the word out that the next round is open for sign-ups. If you're interested, go to:
... _please_ read the first post to figure out what information they want you to provide, as well as the rules (yes, there ARE rules!) of the challenge.

If you sign up, be prepared for some kick-butt challenges! We've been doing either exercise minute challenges, or some combination of cardio/strength almost every weekend for the past 12 weeks - weekends no longer feel like a time to goof off! :)

The sign-up is open now, but given the usual New Year's resolutions, they expect the team to fill up very fast ... the challenge itself starts on Wednesday, Jan. 14th, but if you are interested in joining, you might prefer to be the early bird rather than have to wait another 3 months!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KENCARNACION 1/6/2009 11:08AM

    Hey, a fellow BLC-8 member :)! I am currently on the Teal Team, but I'm looking for a bit of a change for the next round. I've been with them since the beginning and need to do something to get my butt in gear :).

Can't wait to see ya in the next round! Keep up the great work!


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ELLIE_G 1/5/2009 7:05PM

    I signed up to BLC-9 because you mentioned it...should be fun and motivating!



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QKDEBB 1/4/2009 1:25PM

    Ok lady, I signed. I hope you are enjoying the new year so far.....

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MRSHONEYC 1/3/2009 9:33PM

    Hey - put that on the team page. I don't want to do a HARD challenge, nor do I want a LONG one as I'm not sure if/when we'll be moving! and I think we need to get some people on that BLC9 challenge! Put it on the CHALLENGES forum and make it the 1st sticky.
Aren't I BOSSY!?!?!

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Pushin' through it!

Friday, January 02, 2009

It apparently makes a BIG difference if you decide to just push through it, rather than waiting out a funk sitting on your rear end.

Yesterday's post said how blah I was feeling. But then I got it in gear (thanks, everyone for the PUSH!), and went to the gym and got in a fabulous High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session, followed by a half hour of walking up some nice inclines on the treadmill.

Got back, and decided to wind up with a little hooping.

Well, get this.

I DID it!

5 and a half minutes straight of non-stop hooping in ONE direction, no grabbing desperately for the hoop ... YES! I've met that goal that I was aiming for by Jan 14th - I can now officially keep my hula hoop in motion, in ONE direction (clockwise for now), without dropping it or having it slip too low - for OVER 5 minutes.

That was my noon-ish hooping session. At night, I was watching a movie on the laptop, and about half-way through, I wondered why I was doing it sitting on a swivel chair. So I pulled out the hula hoop again ... did another rockin' 45-minutes of FUN hooping! And yes, there was ANOTHER 5-minute-non-stop session clockwise in there, PLUS 2-and-a-half minutes counter-clockwise.

The fun thing about hooping is that it's apparently an all-body workout, which I wouldn't have guessed. It works my core, for sure, but I've now got rock-hard quads, firmer glutes, biceps-and-triceps (who'd'a'thunk THAT?), and I can really feel my shoulders changing, as well as my upper back. Seriously ... I think the only part that doesn't feel this workout is my calves - the shins, though? They do protest! :)

Okay, I'm nowhere NEAR that good. But it's good to dream, right? :) And that body - she's gotta be in TOP physical condition to look that good and do all that hooping!

This morning, I did the entire Level 1 of Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred (I _love_ that people put EVERYTHING up on Youtube!) ... I've been waiting to get a copy from the library, just to try it out before I buy, but I think I'll pass on buying it now and just do it off the web. Yep, I'm too lazy to go shopping. :)

Today's gonna be great - I've got plans for more hooping, more dancing, maybe even another HIIT session this evening! Wheeeee! :)

Oh, yeah, the reason I was extra jazzed - the weight (which was UP a couple of pounds yesterday) is back to 202 today, with hints that it might want to go lower - I will actually BE at 200 by Sunday, I'm thinking. That will be fabulous, leaving me just 5 more to lose by Jan 14th.

Focus, focus, focus ... I can GET that bod! And so can YOU!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TREEZIA 1/8/2009 10:18PM

    Wow, I'm so glad I just read that. It is 8 days into the new year and I haven't put any effort into exercising at all. I just don't want to, but you are saying do it anyway. I love the energy with which you are telling me your story. I want that. So, Hoola Hooping??? I would have never guessed you could get a good workout from that. Does it help to flatten the belly?

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ELLIE_G 1/3/2009 11:16PM

    Don't you hate it when the weight is inexplicably up ..... my scale does that to me too! And I know what you mean about having a feeling when the scale is supposed to be going down soon.... any day now..... emoticon

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DEBDUV 1/3/2009 8:30PM

    Let us know what the dreaded scale says on Sunday morning? Good luck.


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MAJORMOM7 1/3/2009 12:18PM

    way to keep it up. I just could not even find the strength to even get on here. but you did and that is GREAT! Good job.

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SNEAKYGREG 1/2/2009 11:30AM

    You keep working like that and you will hit your goal in no time flat. Keep it up

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JUST_BEACHY! 1/2/2009 10:31AM

    See, it's just a matter of getting started then it feels so good you can't stop.
Hey did you see Miss Fitness World 2009 was on yesterday? Maybe I just caught the replay, not sure. Anyway, the winner was a lady from Canada. Man, the flexibility and tone those girls have.
Keep it up Maya, keep that possitive attitude.

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MRSHONEYC 1/2/2009 10:28AM

    I can feel your ENERGY today! TERRIFIC!
Have a GREAT DAY!!!

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