Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Almost Too Tired to Post

So I've recently (yesterday) begun training with Frank the Personal Trainer at a small gym in Santa Barbara. Initially, my motivation for going was the upcoming wedding in June, but since I've been looking at gyms and trainers, I have narrowed my focus to smaller goals like my pants fitting better, my flexibility increasing and a better range of motion. I don't have a set weight-goal for June, but I want to be confident and comfortable. (Frank ---->)

Yesterday Frank the Personal Trainer and I completed an assessment which consisted of questions ("What brings you here? What are your goals? Any health issues? What do you eat?") and some exercises to evaluate where I am in my fitness level. Oh yeah, and the ever-awesome weigh-in and body measurements. It turns out my flexibility, posture, and balance are better than perhaps they normally would be for someone in the shape ('shape' being 'round') I'm in. My coordination of course could use some improvement (no surprise there)! So one hour, 12 push-ups, and 20 sit-ups later, I was dismissed with an appointment for 11am the next day (today). Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night - sore stomach muscles had yelped when I rolled over in my sleep and it woke me up! From only those 20 crunches and 12 push-ups. It really hit home (at 3:00am) that my time with Frank was long overdue and remarkably important.

I was pretty excited when I was on my way to the gym this morning because we were beginning the real 'fun'. Frank is a great trainer and has very realistic expectations for me. My hour of power went like this:
We began by introducing me to the treadmill. I had explained to him that I had never been on one mostly because of all those videos where the person stops or trips and flies off and hits the wall behind them....and the walls of the gym are brick!! I thought for sure with my famous lack of coordination I would on the next episode of America's Funniest Gym Security Videos. He started me off slow, increasing the pace as I became stable. It wasn't so bad! For some reason, it was easier for me at higher inclines. After 20 minutes on the treadmill, we did 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 squats, and 20 more lunges followed by something I never would have thought of myself and might be hard to explain. He had me climb onto the bottom weight on a rack of weights, standing on the balls of my feet. Holding onto the top of the rack for balance, I stretched my calves by sinking my heels down, the going up on my toes 20 times.
(<---- Illustration!!)

After that, we went to the machine (that I'm sure has a name) where you sit with your shins behind a padded bar and straighten your legs. 20 reps at 30# (well, 10 at 30# and 10 at 15#). At this point, my legs were beaten to the point of surrender and as I got off the machine they almost gave out. Whee!! Then we did the reverse of that machine where you lie on your stomach and the bar is behind your calves and you bring it up and kick yourself in the butt. 20 at 30# and 20 at 15#. That brought us to the end of legs for the day and we moved on to....back I guess.
I was introduced to the TRX something something something which as far as I can tell is just a ginormous rack with straps and handles. So you go up to it, plant your feet together and hang on to the handles (attached to the straps attached to the rack) and lean back as far as you can with your arms straight out in front. I was at about a 45 degree angle - Frank showed me how far you can go and he was at like, 20 degrees. Then you pull yourself upright, opening your arms in a rowing motion. I think I did 20 of these at perhaps 50 degrees and 20 at 45.
(<---More illustration. This is my actual gym btw)
Frank is so cheerful. Not obnoxious, Richard Simmons-status but encouraging and motivating and very un-Jillian Michaels. That being said, he was VERY excited for me to do some pull-ups which, like the treadmill, was a never-before situation. He showed me how one starts out - a GIIIIAANT rubber band (4 or 5 inches wide) was doohickied around the machine and I stood on that while doing my pull-ups. It takes the edge off your weight - sort of like carrying someone in a pool.....but a little less so. So I did....20 of those, with Frank helping on the last two so I could get my chin to the bar (which is like 7' in the air, btw).
(<----- NOT my actual gym :-p)
Lastly, we did core work which is what I still feel the most two-and-a-half hours later. Laying on my back, I had my legs and arms in the air and touched my hands and feet together (think hog-tied) 20 times. OW! Then I did the same thing but right elbow to left knee, left elbow to right knee 20 more times. Walking out of the gym felt like being drunk, having the flu, and being underwater all at once. Which leads me to say that if you have the flu, stay away from bourbon and swimming pools.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My True First Look at; Vincent Price

Although I have known Vincent Price to be a king of cinema, I just watched Dragonwyck from 1946 where he stars opposite Gene Tierny as a cold-hearted, eccentric Dutch lord in the late 19th century who kills off his petulant, gluttonous wife in order to marry the governess of his daughter, against whom he holds great resentment. Although gaining a son to carry on the Van Ryn name is ostensibly his goal, the plot (and his character) spiral into a dark, confused maelstrom of rage, drug abuse, and a Henry VIII-like propensity to dispense with wives in the hopes of gaining a son. The undercurrent of family-bred psychosis adds another manic thread in an already Cosby-like sweater of a movie.

What strikes me most about seeing Vincent Price in this earlier movie is one: his HEIGHT! The man was 6' 4" in the 1940's!! His contempt for everything from such a great height, his flashing eyes and drug-addict stubble dressed in such narrow, sweeping dressing gowns is awe inducing. Secondly is the subtlety with which he plays out emotions - pretty unusual for actors of his time who invested heavily in exaggerated gestures and body postures. And although he is a murderer, and although he is a sociopath, and although he is terrifyingly tall, we (I'm pretty sure it's not just me) actually come to feel badly for him towards the end when we see a man struggling with a drug addict's mind to re-claim everything he has known and everything he had been told from boyhood he would have. He has lost control of his tenants, spurned his daughter, lost his infant son, and lost the control and respect due to him as patroon of his land and died indignant, confused, and alone. Just flipping brilliant.

Monday, June 14, 2010

SoCal Bread Experiments - Part One

So since moving here to Santa Barbara, I have had painful pangs of withdrawal from my baking life. So I began a starter from organic raisins which has proved to be just the catharsis I needed. I have since made two different batches of bread from my lovely starter we have named Kavanaugh.
The first batch was dense and...acidic. The intense, almost acidic flavor was obviously due to my very potent starter paired with the standard amount of commercial yeast we used at The Bakery. I talked to Cameron and we agreed that to get a wider, more open crumb (more holes in the bread) I needed to use a wetter dough, and proof (rise) more. This second batch had a perfect crumb, but what unfortunately was under-baked and since I forgot to slash it prior to baking (which leads me to my next point - don't drink and bake) it split down the side and that also probably contributed to how moist and borderline gummy the crumb was, since there wasn't much release for the steam. I also eye-balled the amounts of everything since I was using only my starter this time and not any commercial ADY. As a result, I under-measured the salt because I was afraid of the detrimental effects on my starter-only bread, since salt can kill yeast easily. So my resulting bread loaf was gummy and underflavored - a result of undercooking, not slashing, two little salt, and not letting it proof enough before baking to develop flavor.
I believe that using one tsp of commercial ADY will help my bread develop the CORRECT amount of flavor (neither too strong, nor too plain) as well as walking away from the proofing process and getting out of the house so I'm not so tempted to shape then bake too early and loose crumb and flavor.
SO excited! Am making the Hubby two loaves of Challah tonight - all ADY though; I don't have a Challah w/starter recipe, though I think it would be fun to work on one, since Kavanaugh is so prolific that's he's starting to take over the kitchen.
Can't wait to try again and post Part Two!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Probably Watching Too Much TV

Whew! A lot has happened! I hope to be using the blog a lot more - this and my other one.

SO! Chris and I have moved to Santa Barbara - 390 miles from my sleepy hippy farming town. I miss my friends and my family and my perfect pastry job but I'm adapting fairly well. I JUST got a job after about a month and a half but I haven't started working yet. I'm hoping that when I do, I'll be less apathetic about everything and that I'll watch a LOT less TV (Cats 101 just having finished at Big Cat Diary just beginning).
We cleaned the apartment very nicely today as my Dad and my little brother John are coming for a visit tomorrow on their way to see Dad's parents who are vacationing in Palm Desert. I'm really excited to see them but I wish I could see my mom too. Hopefully I'm going home the weekend of the 28th and I'll see Mom and Grandma and Cameron and Yaya then. I have multiple Dr's appointments to do then and I wish I had started working sooner so I could ask for a three-day weekend. I have to get some blood work done but maybe I can ask my dr to delay it for two weeks. It would be hard to put off going home, but I might rather go home when I have time to see everyone I want to see.
Hopefully I start working soon and we don't have have to choose between food and laundry!! :-p

Thursday, July 2, 2009



(Where the frak did I get that phrase!?)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Job 1 & Job 2

I don't know what I was thinking, really. A full-time job + a part-time job + part-time school + attempts at a relationship... = insanity.

Oh yeah - Chris and I are dating again...wish me luck. :-)
Yesterday I went on a big, four-mile hike on my property...some really beautiful pictures came of it. And one very tired 'me'. I was glad to have done it though - exercise is good...I think I'm going to need it to clear my head and keep me healthy with this second job. My first night was five hours. three of which were on my own :-p
I'm working reception at a swanky hotel here in town - beautiful rooms with fireplaces and hand-sewn quilts. I love that hotel, but it can be deadly boring. At least at the bakery I can have the radio on to a volume where it distracts me...at the hotel, that's exactly what's NOT desired. But in addition to checking in the three rooms 'on the books' for tonight, I rented two other rooms to passers-by. One at the full, weekend rate (shhh... poor customers only know what I tell them. In this case - the room was $130. :-p) and the other at the sad, week-day rate PLUS his AA discount, which came to $90. The first guy was AAA too, so he was $117. All total I made the hotel $207, and she pays me $85 so it's alright. Plus the other $310 from the already-made bookings brings it to $422 in profits. Tomorrow I'm at the bakery all day - Wednesdays have been going more quickly with Cameron and Paige there. I'll miss Lindsay, though. She left this past Sunday to begin her new life as a freshman at Uof O. Tear! :'-( She was a great employee...and we'll lose our other great, young employee to Northridge College later in July... I guess they DO have to grow up, but I DON'T have to like it. *pout!
Posted is the view of my small town from the highest point on my property..and I'm pretty sure the highest point in town.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Darling You Send Me

So I was on Prednisone for awhile for my asthma, excema, and allergies and while I was on it, everything was great - I had a little bit of allergy issues but the rest was GONE! And now I've been off for about a week and my life is shot to shit again. The inside of my elbow is currently broken out into big, angry hives as my face was earlier. My most persistent patch of excema is back on my hand and my allergies have me tired and worn out. I really hated Prednisone and I SO don't want to go back onto that stuff. I was hoping my Dr had some new ideas. I guess the only way to find out is to email him, but I'd hate to get a response that that's my only hope.

My friend Wesley's wedding was Sunday she (yes, she) looked so beautiful and everything went off without a hitch! I can't WAIT to see the photos! I wish I could remember the photographer's last name!!! I just did a few searches online and can't seem to find it.

My ex is in Norway and largely, I'm happy about that; I want him to be able to see his family etc but I definitely wish I could be there!! Plus he's being ambiguous enough to suit him while being direct enough to placate me as to what choice he's making regarding the purchase of a certain cow vs. getting the milk for free. So we have a date set up for when he gets back. I think a lot of things hinge on the next three weeks...

A guy I thought was into me was apparently being polite... the second I mention to somebody that a guy I like is emailing me and planning to come see me, I see neither hide nor email from him. I always seem to jinx myself like that. Oh well. I should really get thin again before I try any rondezvouz with anyone new.

God even my scalp has hives. I should probably get that taken care of before I meet someone new, too. Foreplay: "Rub this cortisone all over my body" Erm...no thanks.

Besides (Mella might kill me here) I don't actually WANT anybody new......