The 7-Minute Workout

With only an hour to get ready to go out, and without having taken advantage of this beautiful spring day to walk the lake, I decided to try out the Scientific 7-Minute Workout. It's basically 12 30-second high intensity movements with 10-second rests in between. I'd done all of these individually at boxing, personal training, etc., so nothing was a surprise.

I plopped on the Two Door Cinema club and used this helpful timer and it was...chaotic.

My yoga mat was flying all over the place and I finished the workout across the living room, Sammy decided to sit underneath me during the plank so I missed some of the 30-second action scooting her over, and I don't own a chair, so I did burpees in lieu of the chair step-ups, and again with the poor mat.

But my heart rate went up and I feel better than if I'd done nothing.

All in all, I give it an A+ if you need to boost your stamina for a more mature, longer workout, and I may actually try to do this every night, but extend it to a full minute for each workout (and use it on top of normal cardio, etc.). Never hurts to get those knees pumpin'! #twss


It was 10:15 pm, the tipping point between proving my youth with a weak sweet Hurricane and just climbing in between the clean white sheets of my bed back at the hotel. The dogs on Bourbon Street reaffirmed my choice to go home. Every beggar had one, still and small, eyes shut tight as they slept beside their owners on worn, filthy blankets. Despite the bright lights and “big titties” (shouted in my ear), they claimed most of my attention as we attempted to walk onward. The crowd was bloated, with beer, heat, high expectations of a revelry as seen on TV, and just in sheer size blocking our path and catcalling from above. The only punctuation: those sleeping dogs and the patient policemen in twos and threes, hands on their belts, eyes glazed over at the tourists around them. This is obviously why we got into this gig, I could hear them thinking.


But New Orleans isn’t all big ass beers.


In spite of the inebriated attention at all hours of the day (including a fantastic “GIIIIIRL” belched my way during a 9 am stroll in the sunshine to Café du Monde), I could see the city’s attraction. The Mississippi is at its deepest and strongest where it runs through Nola; I stood and watched the morning fog burn off the surface of the water until my fellow tourists biked away and I was left alone with two fine gentlemen who had clearly spent the night swaddled in a drunken haze.


The food was, hands down, superb. Gulf shrimp stuffed with crab, blanketed with prosciutto and sent to my table sleeping on a bed of candied pecans. Fried green tomatoes. Cool mint juleps and strawberry Scootaloos that packed a pink wallop of bitters. Po’boys and cracklin’s. Pralines—pardon moi, praw-leens—and pillowy beignets. I lived it up.


I walked a ton, too, which was a relief. Over the past two months, I’d given myself a get out of jail free card when it came to accountability for making good decisions on so many fronts. One morning I waltzed over to the French Quarter then west to the Garden District, listening to The Civil Wars and walking on the grassy hill between the trolley lines. I ambled through the grid, gaping at the mansions, quietly stepping along the paths of Lafayette cemetery and appreciating the faded faux roses.


It was a good trip. A good conference. Chris Jones, writer at large for Esquire, spoke about his incredible feature on the Zanesville massacre called “Animals.” His humor and realistic day-to-day approach to writing and interviewing and mining those details that make life interesting inspired me to get back to listening. Observing. And blogging again, too.


So, hello.   




Broccoli slaw is huge right now

This week was just plain crummy. Trying to restore my faith in...just about everything, and quit the cycle of eating my feelings, I took today off and headed to Falmouth to bike the Shining Sea Bikeway.

As I was driving down 93, some radio station was listing all of the things that callers had told them made them happy: vacation, "seeing my son grow up," a cold beer, "getting a cancer free diagnosis." I wish I heard programming like that on a daily basis.

I rented a my $400 gem of a bike from Art's Bike Shop and saw via the newest Technicolor 20x30 portrait behind the register that Art's family, including all seven, dressed-to-matched grandchildren, are doing well. The weather forecast called for rain, but the day was blustery in the best possible way, and oh so sunny.

Shining Sea is relatively flat--so flat I sang along to Lone Bellow, Of Monsters and Men, and Chris Thile preeeetty loudly for most of the ride, all of those songs that slay you with harmonies and moments of everything lovely and wonderful and take you back to days where you were having the time of your life.

10 miles down, 10 miles back, the path winds behind bangin' Cape mansions, through sweeping, green marshes, alongside Old Silver beach, where I stopped for a quick dip and cozied up in the sand with Ender's Game, and drops you at the dock to the Vineyard ferry, which I hope to take one of these days.

At Woods Hole, I wandered to the aquarium and saw some sleepy seals loll and roll around with their eyes closed, their mouths settled into smiles. How I longed to tug on their whiskers and rub their cheeks! Then it was on to Mecca: Quicks Hole, home of lobster tacos (of which they were out) and sweet Baja shrimp tacos (of which they had many and they were delicious) and perfectly light and fluffy grilled cod tacos and just everything fucking fresh and fantastic.

Overheard at Quicks Hole today:

Boy, probably aged 7: "There isn't a South Korean I've ever met that I liked."
Mom: "When have you ever met a South Korean?"
Boy: "Never. But I don't think I would like them."
Mom: "You're a piece of work."

Nevertheless, it was on to the beach and then Dave and Erin's for sunset at the Sandwich Boardwalk and silly conversation (broccoli slaw is huge right now, this place is where swingers meet, etc.) and "loaded" Arnold Palmers. On the way home, I turned on Mumford only to burst out laughing as I hit the tunnel.

Because...just...Jason Bateman. Jason Bateman is now, for me, the face of Marcus Mumford.

Today was pretty great. Just logging this for posterity.


Molasses cookies and the Bad News Bears

As some of you may know, over the past six months I've lost 15 pounds--give or take a few vacation rolls (or 4th of July hot dog rolls). It's been a slow and arduous process. I ain't sixteen anymore, and even when I was, my metabolism was a thing of thickness, clotted and chugging. Amazingly this year, thanks to boxing and Greek salad (who knew? wait--everyone!?) and a new outlook on what it actually means to be healthy and happy, I think I've gotten the hang of being "balanced."

But with the summer, comes molasses cookies. And ice cream. And steaks and eggs benedict and flatbread pizza and everything consumable in cool air conditioning or on the back patio when the sweltering heat's dissipated. Just home from the Cape, I slapped myself onto the scale this morning to see I'd gone up three pounds. Three pounds on a five foot barely two inch frame with a penchant to "run heavy," as my grandpa would say, makes a difference.

I told myself, no worries (an old French horn teacher's mantra I mocked in middle school and now say at least ten times daily in and out of email). So simple to get back on the wagon; just take it slow.

Or slowly unravel.

Today, I said I'd walk the dreaded lake (after training for the half around that bastard body of water, I am so out of love with him) and do some writing. Then I got home and came across a bag of molasses cookies I "won" at a recent company outing. I sat on the bed, turned on the laptop. Suddenly Toby Ziegler was telling the junior staffers that they were still his team, Bartlet for America, despite them ratting him out to a reporter, and my mouth was FULL OF COOKIES. Just over and over again cookies to the point where I reasoned, well, if I eat them all now, there won't be any for me to eat tomorrow and I'll just go to boxing then and oh, I forgot to pick up that book at the library anyway and now I'm prostrate on the carpet at the Beebe surrounded by Hemingway trying to decide which to take home because I'm not actually liking the first pages of any of them, though I didn't love his double-pawed cats, and wow, I'm outside and it's so nice out I think I'll pick up some chicken cordon bleu from the diner and throw myself on the couch and wait, but the Bad News Bears is on and I haven't seen this in years, holy crows, those are some racial slurs and tiny, mighty fists but this is AMAZING and it's now 9 o'clock and dark outside and no, I didn't really want to do that light yoga alternative exercise anyway, not with the closed closet door between me and the mat, I guess I'll just go to bed with the sequel to Austenland.

And then start blogging. So I guess I did get one foot on the wagon today.

With a clichéd heavy sigh I sit. I type. And I remind myself, tomorrow is another day full of salad and cardio.

And the cookies are all, deliciously gone.



My Haitian masseuse might actually be an old school British nanny

Two things happened today: I got to eat lunch in Chinatown and I've decided that Groupon is a sneaky scheister. The first was delightful and delicious, the second was a "no der" moment that happened while I was being tugged, slapped, and pounded into submission by my Haitian masseuse.

Now, I understand what that phrase conjures:

 "Oh, my Haitian masseeeeuuuuuse..."

No. Stop that. The "my" only comes up because this is my second of three times seeing her per my Groupon deal of 3 one-hour massages for the price of 1. Huzzah, what a deal pulled me into its deceptive spell! Little did I know that I would be walking into an office, yes, a literal office with a desktop, masquerading as a massage studio. The bubbling brook is parked next to the filing cabinet. But hey, I've been through worse. (I'm thinking Dublin, early spring of 2004, in the midst of a Welsh stag party or Bangkok, summer of 2002, trapped in a hotel room between flights watching a documentary on the Nuremberg trials, the only program in English.) First world problems, folks. I totally get it.

The first time I saw my Haitian masseuse, I thought, Shasta. My good friend Shasta. I love Shasta.

My brown bear connection!

Then my Haitian masseuse yelled at me for not filling out my paperwork properly, gave me 15 minutes to undress by which time I was freezing under the thin blanket as I gazed at a hotel room poster of the Sahara and dreamed of going home to watch Freaks and Geeks reruns, and when it was all over, didn't have change so I could tip her.

So today I tipped her twice. Karma, as we know, is a literally crazy bitch who throws coffee and chases you down the street after you've watched Cabin the Woods, so I tiptoe around her. Even if she tugs on your arms, winding them around your back, tossing them over your head like she's digging for change in your pits. Even if she yanks and stuffs a blanket into the crevices of your body so she can reach parts uncharted to pummel and slap until you're clenched tighter than a possum. Even if she sticks her thumbs in your ears under the pretense of massage therapy.

Thumbs in your ears.

As I lay there, mentally curling into myself, I couldn't help but think of Mary Poppins--and not Julie Andrews. If you've ever read the actual book, Mary Poppins, you'll know that that nanny was a no-nonsense mofo. As Liz's mom would say, "You get what you get and you don't complain," lest you're tucked in like a sardine and have thumbs shoved in your ears.


I. And Love. And You.

Wow. Just settling in and saying farewell to my 20s after four solid days of FUN. (Ugh, that "We Are Young" band has totally killed that sentiment, but I persevere.)

So many unbelievable moments with friends I hadn't seen/danced with/sung with in ages--holding onto Dave's shirt every time he leaned over the State Street railing to catch a fly ball, praying he wouldn't die so Erin wouldn't lose a husband and Liam wouldn't grow up with a vendetta to end me; then later double high-fiving Dave and that super chatty guy after Papi won it for us in the 9th with a three-run homer; posing for prom photos and later floating head shots with Shasta and Susie against the most amazingly chic birthday backdrop; dim sum with favorite cousins and creepy waiters; hopping madly in the muddy grass at Meadow Brook to the Avett Brothers and Old Crow with Liz and the roomies (ahh, that cover of "Wild Horses"); belting Styx with Mike and, inevitably, everyone else at the house because they were locked in the room with us, forced to party our way; eggs benedict and years of catching up with Kristy and Jules, just in for the weekend from Hong Kong; hours and hours in the warm sand and freezing water at Plum Island, skin patched with salt, soul warm with love; an epic game of Cards Against Humanity where once again I wasted gems that I shall not mention but made Lindsey laugh; cracking up at Mexico Lindo...hugging almost everyone I love who braved the rain multiple times.

It was all alternately very sentimental, very raucous, head in the stars, stomach on the mend, Mexican cake on the brain bliss. Even the folks I didn't get to see, I got to talk to, or got cards from that I'm not allowed to open until the morning and so the happy surprises continue and I am reminded of just how lucky I am to be in this world, at this place, in this time, with these people.

And, oh yeah, Brigid and Brian had a baby. Welcome to world, Lillian. Future All American!

Pretty much shoots to the top of the list as The Best Weekend Ever. And it's not even my birthday yet. Thanks, everyone. You are the fucking bees knees.

Lis and Molls in NH gettin' ready for the party

View from our incredible seats, thanks to Lis


"Ohhhh, nononono. Bieber."

Poor Patty.


Best photobomber on the planet.

Just...about right. :)
(Thanks to Shasta, Dave, and Lis for the photos!)


See my vest!

Woke up bright and early this morning thanks to Sammy alternately digging her claws into the box spring and snorkeling around in her water bowl. When the little lady wants her wet food, she wants her wet food, and she makes sure everyone knows it. That beautiful little bitch.

Anyway, it was already a beautiful day at 7:30, so I hopped out of bed and headed to Walden Pond for the first swim of the season. Flipping cold at 8:15, but warmed up gloriously. Beach was calm and quiet with just us early risers, some more motivated than others (as in, wearing scuba gear--should have brought the cat after all). And there's nothing like clear lake water. Anyone want to try adult summer camp one of these days? Capture the flag, archery, berry-picking, e.g. a non-Battle Royale-type Hunger Games?

Best part of summer, though? Rolling down the windows and belting along to whatever's closest to your heart at the moment. This morning I was rocking out to Pearl and the Beard's "Donny and Johnny" when I realized: I've been listening to this song for years and I still have no idea what they're saying in the chorus.

What Kristin Sings:

Bastardo, rainy day
In Sancho's bonzai
Reflecting on the waves
This ape's old armor

Looks completely insane, yes? Well, ACTUALLY...my crazy brain is not that far off! According to the interwebs:

Bastardo rainy day!
Eh, Sancho Panza?
Reflecting on the way
This ape's old armor

You know, when I was thinking about this in the car, I imagined Mr. Burns in his vest "made of real gorilla's chest"... and looky here! The more you know.