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!
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Okay, this story just made me whoop with laughter, so I HAD to share!
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! :)
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: www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_mes
427348 ... _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!
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!
Get An Email Alert Each Time BIGGIRL2082010 Posts