Thursday, October 30, 2014

Waifs or is it Waives

What I learned from Gilmore Girls
So, as you may know, Gilmore Girls just became available to stream for the first time EVAR and since I missed most of the show when it was on TV and have been in the mood for a massive girly binge and had some time this month, I have already blasted through the entire thing. I know, I know, it's so impressive. I even got it all done before I caught this stupid cold that would've given me the excuse of being home sick to justify the binge to the outside world. I don't bother justifying it to myself; it falls under the category of I DO WHAT I WANT and also PROCRASTINATION IS MY FAVORITE FORM OF RESISTANCE (which is an idea I came across somewhere and have been thinking about a lot lately).

I don't actually need to talk about the show because its wonder and ridiculum are both well, well documented. I very much enjoyed shipping Luke/Lorelai, watching Kelly Bishop be amazing and Melissa McCarthy be adorable, and seeing baby Jon Hamm, Danny Pudi, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, Carole King, Sherilyn Fenn (in two different roles), plus a lot of "hey it's that guy!" kind of appearances by actors we've all seen on other shows. Those things all feel like little in-jokes.

I don't really need to talk about the music either--the music on the show was good!--but what I do want to mention is a song that appears in snippet form in a season 5 episode and with which I'm now a little bit obsessed:



So imagine that you're a dental hygienist living in Topanga Canyon and working in Beverly Hills in 1970, and one of your famous composer patients asks for your demo and then helps you record the songs you've been writing in private, and your record gets released and no one notices, and then record freaks discover it over the years and finally in 2000 you learn that your little record has become this cult hit and has been put out on CD. That's what happened to Linda Perhacs (read that lovely profile please), and "Chimacum Rain" is the first song on her 1970 album, Parallelograms. 

Learning about this artist has been my main takeaway from Gilmore Girls. Thanks, TV!

Waifs or is it Waives
I tend not to be big into wispy folk singing types, but I'd been thinking about making a WAIFS playlist anyway, for chilly gray fall days, and "Chimacum Rain" put me over the edge. Still adding to it and haven't put it in order yet, but here it is:




My least favorite dosage directions
"Take to bowel tolerance." The only way to determine this is to get all the way to "bowel intolerance" and then back up a little.

Numbers, real quick
I am a big old work in progress where strength training is concerned but I hit some personal milestones a couple weeks ago that I haven't bragged about/documented anywhere yet. I finished up one strength training program (Fit Woman Blueprint, just the workouts, which I liked--can't speak to the rest of the program) and before starting the next thing (New Rules of Lifting for Women) I wanted to take a little break and do something different. I mostly didn't do any resistance work for a week but one night I went over to the gym with the goal of finding my 1 rep max (1RM) on bench press, squat, and deadlift. I hadn't really done any of these exact standard lifts since the summer, though there were other types of chest/shoulder presses, squats, and deadlifts in the program I was using. I found some online thing to guide me through warming up to the 1RM and followed that, kind of loosely, but I followed it. Here's what I ended up with:
Bench press: 80 pounds
Squat: 115 pounds
Deadlift: 150 pounds
I'm happy with all of those, though the only one I pushed to "failure" was the bench press (it was 11 PM, I work out solo, and I wanted to be sure I had enough gumption to do both squats and deadlifts). I'm certain I could go higher on both the squat and the deadlift. The next goal is a bodyweight deadlift (that's about another 25 pounds, I think), and after that, a bodyweight squat, which is further off in the future unless I decide to focus on squats for some reason. And I want to get standard push-ups!

Important Winnie update
My cat loves kleenex and will dig in my purse to find it. When she finds it, she holds it down with her paws and chews it very seriously and protects it if you try to take it away. The end.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Grown-ass lady doing grown-ass lady things.

40, y'all. 40. 40. I remember when it was just a theoretical age. And I remember being like 33 and realizing that I would one day be 40 and, for the first time, it seemed real. But I didn't have a single drop of anxiety about my actual big birthday. I just hoped people would show up to my party and have fun, and they did, they did! My sisters threw the party for me and my dad tended the bar and so many people that I wasn't expecting to see showed up and stayed! They brought wine and unnecessary gifties and their moneymakers, which some of them shook, and we sang karaoke, and I finally got to do "The Winner Takes it All" and, more significantly, "Wuthering Heights" (while lying on the couch at about 3:30 in the morning, for an audience of two).

I'd been waiting for several years to say "I spit on the grave of my thirties," to be honest (I thought I was misquoting Dorothy Parker, but it might have been H.L. Mencken who said "I spit on the grave of my twenties"--we share a birthday, coincidentally--and I also see it attributed to T.S. Eliot, which made me laugh out loud). Let's say it was a learning decade. It was full of rich, deep relationships and was often extremely fun. It was also emotionally painful and difficult. I got married and divorced. I worked for 6 years in a job that slurped up my will to do anything artistic and productive. I finished my doctorate. I paid off my student loans. I had a fair amount of adventures. I started blogging, back on rickety old Diaryland, 10 years ago! and also pretty much finished blogging, I suppose. I gathered a community around me through blogging that I would never have gained otherwise, though. Some of you are even still reading!

I never knew what the fuck I was doing. I still don't really.

Here are some things I know now, though. Lifting weights makes you feel as awesome as everyone always says. I've been doing it for about 6 months, after literal years of thinking about how I would probably like it and should really do it. (This is how I make decisions: I simmer on it forever, and then one day I snap.) I'm trying to be slow and steady with it, but even so, the nice thing about starting from like zero with strength training is that you make noticeable progress pretty quickly, and progress is a very good motivator. And so now I have little goals in my head, like "next time I do this workout I'm going to use the next dumbbell up." I have never loved my thighs more than when I get to the top of a squat, and let me tell you, that is a huge gift, because I have lamented the aesthetics of my legs my entire life. When I'm at the gym I am constantly yelling "HELL YEAH GET IT GET IT" to myself, silently. Let it be known that in my 40th year I saw, for the first time, muscles rippling in my arms. Don't get me wrong, you'd have to look closely and my arms still jiggle like whoa, but now they jiggle with both fat and MUSCLES that can LIFT THINGS. I also made friends with the power rack and stopped being intimidated by barbells. I like them now. I still feel like a big dummy when I try something new but that's good for me.

Another thing I know is that my mattress had to go. A new mattress wasn't exactly in the budget but again, I've been thinking about it for ages and about 10 days ago I finally snapped. I went to exactly one place and said "show me stuff" and I publicly laid on mattresses for 45 minutes and then I bought one and financed it at 0% for 12 months like a good American. My previous mattress--which I somehow already managed to sell off to a friend of a friend, hallelujah--had been wrecking my back every night for like a year. Just major mid-back stiffness that sometimes wraps around to the front of my ribs. Early in the summer it was bad enough that I'd wake up at 6 and just move to the couch for the rest of my sleep cycle. Or I'd hit my back with some Icy Hot before bed! I'm sure you'll agree that this is totally bogus. I AM A GROWN-ASS LADY. I am a grown-ass single internet-dependent cat lady and I need my sleep, god damn it. This is an investment in my well-being. My new mattress is being delivered on Friday and I can't wait. I hope it fits up the stairs, though, hahaha, gulp.

I know that mung bean pasta is filling my noodle hole. 25 grams of protein per serving, no weird noodle crash 20 minutes after eating it! You can make the whole bag at the beginning of the week and the leftovers do not suffer from sitting in the fridge! They cook up al dente and taste neutrally delicious! Oh naturally it looks like they're being discontinued, or just changed to include edamame, but I bet they will still be good! This has mixed up my culinary life a bit without complicating it at all, since hardly anything could be easier to prepare than NOODLES.

I know that I'm a thousand percent happier freelancing than I ever was in my office job, even though I now live with constant low-level anxiety about money, and I have to be making like 10 grand more a year, minimum, than I am currently, and I need students to take lessons every week, but I can't crack down on that right now because I will lose people I really like working with. Related: so far I've done one wedding and one funeral accompanying myself on the ukulele, which is not something that would've happened if I were still working that job, I'm guessing.

I know that right on cue, as I headed into 40, my skin started doing weird shit, because of general oldness, I'm assuming. I get dry, irritated patches on my face, which I've never had before. Cool.

I know that I'm finally wearing the correct bra size. I know that I'm not going to stop wearing hammer pants. I know that I need to use today to initiate the Great Wardrobe Switchout, which can be a melancholy process.

I know that Gilmore Girls streaming on Netflix for the first time means that my ass is going to be welded to the couch every chance I get.

It's not exactly Wisdom of the Ages stuff, is it? I'm guessing this next decade will offer a bit more of that.