Fitfy 49:45

Well, it’s getting on to tic-toc time, eh?

The last 7 weeks of this journey toward my big 5-oh.

It’s been interesting.  I started out convincing myself that I was doing similar things but with a different mindset I called intent.

Yeah, that was bullshit.

I was doing the same things and expecting a different outcome because I was being honest with myself about my actions.

Turns out, motivation is quite the bitch.  If you don’t have motivation, you get no results.  If you’re motivated toward the wrong goals or for the wrong reasons, you end up failing.  

I wasn’t looking for a pre-fifty phyrric victory.

I was looking to find a balance between my self care – diet, exercise – and the reality of living in an aging vessel.  In an effort to change my mindset around what constituted successfully defining a healthy lifestyle, I had to extract the mental vision I had of a 30-something robust male physique as the definition of success.  

That mental imagery was holding me back and shaping my decisions as well as informing my actions.

No bueno.

A guy pushing 50 shouldn’t be chasing that reality.  Well, maybe in pursuit of a bedmate, but not in a reflection from the mirror.  With that realization, I admitted that I was really at square one in my journey.  I’d made strides toward eating better and exercising differently, but all with the picture of myself with a ripped torso laughing as he drank as much as he wanted.

How depressing.

So I dialed it back.  I began working out at home, no one to compare myself to except that reflection I hated.  That helped.  

Suddenly, I was finding motivation to not get home with a drinking plan in place:  run in, feed the Mistress, change, run out to meet friends.  Now I was selectively coordinating my detox drinking with the Silver Fox, who’s much more disciplined than I am.  He’ll have one beer, two when he’s getting crazy, and then stop.  I needed that example and company to reign me in.  So, we’d have three beers or a bottle of wine between us when we met up, I’d stop occasionally on the way home and get a six pack that would last me close to a week and eat something, have one or two more and Bob was indeed my dietary uncle.

Getting my drinking consumption-to-frequency ratio in line was helpful.

The Filipina Fox was also helpful.  She gets me to a spin class occasionally, but at $18/class, less than she’d like.  

Less than I’d like, too.  

I appreciate that she forwards me deals from ClassPass, but I found a studio I like with equipment that is good for my body and that’s the studio I want to go to.  I’ll go when I can, but at this point I don’t want to compromise and end up on equipment that hurts my body.  It’s just as delititerious to my goal as surrounding myself with people who are at an age where they can achieve results that I can’t while living the lifestyle I want to.

So there it was.  The challenge to accept that I can socially live like an urban 30-something, but I had to forgive myself for looking like a middle-aged man in the process.

Being left with the option of working out in isolation has helped.

Tremendously.

My gut is tightening up, but I’m not looking for signs of abs.  I know they are there, I can feel them…I have to forget that other people may judge me on their personal inability to verify their existence.

Their problem, not mine.  If there were visible abs in my future, those same people would find something else on which to judge me negatively.

I gotta do me.

So, I’ve embraced my FUPA – Fat Upper Penis Area.  See, now I’m gonna be in trouble with the big girls for stealing their acronym.  

Middle-Aged White Guys ruin everything.

Now, instead of catching myself absent-mindedly juggling my chesticles I catch myself poking or bouncing my little belly.

And chuckling at myself when I catch it happening.  I’ve changed my belly perception from rejection to acceptance.  

It’s here, queer, get used to it.

That said, I’ve got to get some remedies in place for lower body exercises at home.

Right now, my belly fat detente is in a physical stalemate that I can appreciate:  it’s there but it’s not too heavy so that it pushes my pants down. 

Some of my shorter torso shirts raise up when I put on a coat or lift my arms past shoulder height, exposing my little “butt in front”.  That has gotten to…not a comfortable space, but a conscious space.  I’m mindful of it and move accordingly to prevent showing it off in public, but I don’t run past the mirror to avoid seeing it.

If I’m gonna drink, I’m gonna have a butt in front.  Instead of denying that reality, I’m looking for ways to alter the reality of the butt in back.  Shifting the focus to something I not only can change, but want to change.

Taking the stairs whenever practical is one thing, but not enough.  I think I’m ready to cautiously add squats into the home workout mix.

This shift to working out at home has taken me back to my days of participating on the Golf Team in High School – yeah, I fucking lettered in golf!  Golf is a solo sport, much like running.  

You compete against yourself.  

Focusing on – dwelling, really – on my inability to run any longer had lent itself to my disabled mental state and contributed to my lack of physical motivation.  Comparing my home workout results to my past performance like I did with prior golfing performances has allowed me to find a balance between efforts versus results while also factoring out my habit of comparing myself to others.  That behavior fuels the unhealthy motivations that led to excessive use of metabolic enhancers in my 30s and early 40s.  It also led to exercising too frequently and not allowing my body enough time to recover between workouts. Those are both factors that contributed to my arrival at 49 after two decades of my cavalierly undisciplined approach to exercise.

Coming out of this year with that balance and perspective to carry forward into the next two decades of my physical fitness life is the other half of the equation needed to get there healthily instead of crippling myself further along the way.

Fitfy 49:45

Black & White

A while back, I was challenged on the Facebook to participate in this Black & White Challenge thingy.

The rules were to post one black and white photo each day for seven days, no commentary, no people.  Just photos.

I suspected it was just some elaborate ruse to get me to shut the hell up for a week and considered ignoring the challenge.  But, since my inner child is very much alive and well, I simply couldn’t resist the dare.

So I did it.

Mostly.

The final part of the challenge was to pass it on to one of your Facebook friends each day, but I’m lucky enough to have the friends I do…best not risk pushing them away any more than my sparkling personality (read:  EOG) already does.

Plus, it took me nine days to post my seven photos.  

Needless to say, it’s been bugging me ever since, the lack of context or comment on these posts.  Fortunately, I have a forum where I can basically say and do just about anything I want.

Take that, everybody else!

Now let’s see if I can not only recall these in order but also remember what struck me about them enough to include them in the first place.

Day One:  I go to work too damned early.  Sure, we had recently survived the idiotic annual shift to Daylight Savings Time once again, but seeing street lights on when I leave for work in the morning is a little much.

I think this was my Sunday shift, so I’m up at 3:45 and out the door by 4:30.  On my way to the MAX stop in Old Town I pass a gentleman’s club that’s still open, further reinforcing my belief that it’s not actuall morning.

Day Two:  This is where I do it, Portland International Airport.

Not “do it” like a wide-stanced senator, I actually work at PDX.  I love the environment and the carpet makes me happy.  This is version two of the world famous PDX carpet.  It was replaced two years ago after a couple decades of wear and tear.  And at about 50,000 travelers a day, that’s a lot of wear and tear over 20 years!

Day Three:  After a couple of days at the old Salt Mine, I’m ready for a drink to blow off a little midweek steam.  I actually stopped on the way home at a shitty little Old Town restaurant with good beer called Silver Dollar Pizza II.  I have no idea how this is related to Silver Dollar Pizza on NW 21st, but I do know that this is owned by the same jag off that formerly owned one of the three second-worst gay bars in Portland.  He sold it s while back and suddenly its not a gay bar anymore.  I guess you could say, <poof!> no poofs.

So, there I am, having a couple of beers and when I walk out, darkness.  Goddamned Daylight Savings.  But I walk around the corner and here’s this sign to brighten my night!  Nothing like blowing a few bucks in quarters and blowing away your day’s frustration with some Galaga!

Day Four:  This building.

I always lament my move to Shittatle by saying, “If the Pearl would have looked then like it does now, I never would have left”.  Truly, I would have taken the severance being offered and suffered through the remaining years of the W presidency in the happiness of my hometown.

When I left, the Pearl District was just starting it’s redevelopment phase and there were blocks of in-redeveloped warehouse space and abandoned buildings.  There were lots of galleries, a few co-ops and some new high rise buildings.

This is one of the co-ops. It’s someplace I could never afford to live, but a place that’s always been one of my Pearl aspirations.

C’mon lottery…

Day Five:  I’m pretty sure this was one of the days I missed posting because I was traveling, sue me.  I took off for my company’s annual leadership seminar midweek and took a little light reading for the trip.  Of course, if I’d forgotten it, the hotel had me covered with its own good book.  

I love the act of holding an actual book while I read.  It’s such an analog feeling.  The weight of the book in my hands, the smell of ink and paper.  Imagination engaged and senses engaged…I was off on an adventure that was simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic.  If you have a chance to read this before the movie comes out, do.  If not, the movie will be pretty good, I’m sure.  Spielberg at the helm?  Pretty good indicator, right?

Day Six:  And then I missed another day.  But it got me back home where I was greeted by some wet foliage when I walked through the park in front of my building.

Actually, I was pretty impressed that I didn’t slip on this leaf as I traversed these sometimes treacherous bricks.

Day Seven:  It’s my weekend!  And I was lucky enough to meet up with the Filipina Fox for a drink while her hubby was traveling for work.  Also, she got me into this challenge, so it’s only fair that she was with me when I snapped my last entry.

It’s a statue of a giant whisk.  Because: Portland.

And then there’s this gem.  I snapped this selfie in my elevator afterwards.  All this black and white nonsense made me nostalgic for the work of Herb Ritts or one of those super gritty Rolling Stone covers with the pop culture icon viewed through a haze of exhales cigarette smoke.

Obviously, I’m missing the smoke.

And some professional lighting.

And the pro photog.

Gawd.  What if this is what I really look like?!?

Black & White

My Jimmy Buffet Life

Usually this theme manifests itself in a Margaritaville or Cheeseburger In Paradise kind of way.  But last night, Why Don’t We Get Drunk And Screw took the wheel.

Aaaand…Mom, stop reading.

It’s ok, she’ll make Dad read on and give her a synopsis.

I’m hardly bragging about this feat.  It’s only the second time I’ve had sex this year.

My undoing?  The irresistible Wallpaper.

You can do the legwork and figure out the key to his blog name yourselves, but I will tell you that several times in the course of this year, he’s hit me up on Facebook: The Messenger and several times our conversation has turned toward last night’s   activities.

The short of that is that it didn’t happen cuz we wanted different things.  Him: an itch scratched, Me: something more.

Plus, we were friends.  Randomly occurring friends, not close.  But we’d run into each other out on the town and sass each other on The Facebook often, so I valued the current level of our friendship.

Call us life extras for each other.

So, last night, he posts on Facebook that he’s at a bar a few blocks from my house celebrating his Friday…at around 3 pm.

I sass him.

He sasses back, demanding my presence.

I capitulate – foreshadowing! – on the grounds that I’m only keeping him company until his real friends get off work. He’s a super sweet and adorable as fuck guy, I don’t need a reason to see him socially, just a circumstance.

This was it.

I get there and he’s talking to someone at the bar.  I order a beer and say hi, meeting his new acquaintance Keith and then sit at a table behind them.  The Wallpaper joins me a few minutes later.

We start in on easy conversation, very nice.  Small talk, but it has substance.

“Oh my god!”

I look around.

Someone hugs him and says, “I can’t stay, but couldn’t leave you alone here!”

Heath, I learn.  I amuse myself with the alliterative quality of his bar-quaintances.

Keith.

Heath.

Precious.

We all talk.

They go smoke.

Five beers and four hours later, we’re at my place, Heath having made me promise not to let him drink too much and The Wallpaper telling me that he was staying over.

“Obviously”, he says.  And I’m glad for his good impaired judgment.

I’d recently – couple weeks – heard of a motorcycle rider being killed on highway 30 and my mind suggests he’s been quiet on social media lately and he has a motorcycle.

The math is obvious, my inner voice suggests.

I check his Facebook page.  Nothing new since the last time I called him out for drinking in my hood and not calling me.

You see how I had to go when he said “Come”?

I mean, nothing new since then except he now has a boyfriend…the guy he was drinking with last in my hood.

That explains The Facebook silence.

New.

Romance.

I never begrudge someone that.  Quite the contrary, I encourage others in the pursuit of that which has eluded me.

Yet, he tells me that it just happened.  He asked, The Wallpaper described his thought process as, “Well, it’s been a few years since I dated anyone…why not?” and Bob’s your uncle.

Dating.

Except.

The Wallpaper isn’t getting boyfriend behaviors from this guy.  He’d come to realize they hadn’t communicated in 30 hours and acknowledges that a) that doesn’t feel right; and b) he’s not upset by it.

I enjoy seeing these young people I’ve known grown into pretty good humans.

Smash cut to us not watching a movie on my couch.

I said pretty good!  And I’m only human, too.

Luckily, I’m past my operational BAC and we just go to bed.

I don’t sleep, but enjoy that he cuddles into me while he does.

Three hours later, something wakes him and he ends up somehow – charming and sexy soon to be 33 year old that he is – astride my favorite person, cautioning me, “Don’t cum inside me.”

I’m debating leaving to buy a lottery ticket since somehow – gracious host that I am – I haven’t shown him where my lube is yet somehow he’s got as many inches in him as I have beers in me.

My response is to think that I’m an almost 50 year old buzzed man who was pushing rope three hours ago and now my decade-plus randomly occurring fantasy is happening.

How many times does 50 go into 33?

As many as he fucking can.

For my second sexual encounter – nope! third, I just remembered another – of the year, I’d rate us a 7.

He was a smoldering 10.

I was a 4, at best.

He rolled off of me after with a resigned, “I guess I’m single again!” to which I had no reply.

I want to give that another go.  With less beer in me and less bloat on me.  Maybe lightning will strike twice.  I promised myself I wouldn’t play hard to get if I got another crack at this beautiful man.

Meanwhile, I slept 0 hours last night.  Left work early for a movie date with The Filipina Fox, which I fell asleep during…after being awake for 29 hours, then had a big cheeseburger for dinner.

Thus restoring the order to my normal Jimmy Buffet Life.

My Jimmy Buffet Life

Fitfy 49:39

Missed these little check-ins from the final year of my fifth decade?

Fret not, they’ve not been pushed far from the front of my mind…they are only a trip past my bathroom mirror away, as a matter of fact.  But, this final week of the third quarter of this trip around the sun for me seemed like a good time to check-in again.

First some obvious accountabilities:  exercise and diet.

Exercise:

I’ve quit my gym.  That may not seem like anything but a big step backward, but I think it’s not.  Sure, this was initially a financial decision, the money I spent on gym membership could be better spent on wine, after all!  

I kid.

What I came to realize, though, was that at this time in my life, lifting weights was problematic.  More of a tether or a crutch for my old fitness mindset of recreating or restructuring my physical self…making it into something it’s not.

I have some 4-25 lb dumbbells at home that I can use for a variety of toning exercises when the mood hits.  Overall, that’s what I want to rediscover: tone.  My arms were as thick as my neck in my 30s – don’t get excited, I’ve been called pencil neck before. My chest and ankle measurements might make you wonder if my “father” was, in fact named Frankenstein.

What happens to that forced physique when you stop feeding it iron plates is not pretty.  Over the past three months, as I’ve changed my exercise regimen up – mostly changed it to “rest” – is that those muscles have softened.  My chest does not have as much in common with a 35 year old man as it maybe does with a 50 year old woman.

And that’s ok…for now.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want either of those racks.  But it’s a stop on the way to slimming down.

So, what’s this new regimen?

It’s more intense cardio based, as far as structured exercise goes.  Spin class.  God bless RevoCycle and the Filipina Fox for getting me back into spin!  I really love it…it’s prohibitively expensive, so I’ve been on a little break for the last few weeks, but the time commitment vs results impact is exactly what I want as I try to return to a slimmer silhouette overall.

The remainder of what I’ve been doing outside of mini weight workouts at home and spin class is lifestyle exercises.  Things designed not to get me out of the house and into the gym, but rather to get me out of the house and outside.

Hiking, mostly.  I live in the Pacific Northwest…God’s Country.  I have 40 miles of trails in Forest Park, a quick two mile urban hike away.  I live on Park Ave – between 8th and 9th St in Portland’s Alphabet District.  My stretch of Park is between Everett and Flanders – do not  stalk me…you’d be gravely disappointed.  Forest Park has an entrance at about 28th and Thurman.  That’s 14 blocks over and 19 blocks up.  

Easy.

Until you see this, anyway.

We all need a little touch up now and then, eh?  That’s what this year-long theme is about!  But I found an alternate entrance a few blocks further up the hill and have had myself a couple of nice 10 mike hikes over the last few weeks.  It rained almost all of last week, but today on my weekend agenda…yeah!  More hiking!  

Now

Diet:

Ugh.

Remember, what I didn’t want to do was overcorrect here and go radical self-deprivation by only allowing myself chicken and broccoli for dinner.  That usually leads to chicken and broccoli for most lunches, too.  And that leads to Unhappy Xtopher.

Also, I didn’t want to not drink.

I wanted to eat real food, have real junk food and get my drink on when I wanted to.  Be that when hanging out with friends or doing a little self-soothing after work.

I’d say the one thing my diet is missing right now is protein.  In eschewing chicken, I’ve become cognizant of the fact that I’m not chewing enough of anything that used to be alive.  Almonds, peanut butter, lunch meats and tuna ain’t cutting it.

Non-Dad-Bod Xtopher needs some red meat.

Shut up, Diezel.

Other than too much pasta in my diet, I’ve been happy with my intake.  Oddly, I’ve found myself craving kale lately.  I should definitely give into that, I bet my body is feeling less nostalgic than it’s actually trying to tell me it needs something.

My alcohol consumption is steady, I know you were worried.

I find that my drinking has become less…binge-y and more consistent.  Neither in a bad way.  When I was drinking before, I’d drink for several hours, ignoring the fact that I was setting records with how many drinks I could consume in an hour.

I’ve gone from drinking 2-3 drinks an hour for several hours to drinking 2-4 drinks a night.  Maybe I drink 5-6 nights a week versus 3-4 nights a week, but I’m not waking up groggy after and I find myself deciding to have another beer versus just giving into habit or simply being handed one by an attentive bartender.

All this came to the front of my mind during last week’s acupuncture appointment.  My Needle Man had been diagnostically probing my abdomen and when he was done, instead of quickly pulling my shirt back down and making a comment about covering my shame, I began absent-mindedly playing my belly like a drum.  He smirked at me and when I realized what I’d been doing, smiled sheepishly and apologized.

He made a comment about enjoying seeing such self-acceptance in today’s body shaming culture.  Someone just innocently enjoying their body without realizing it – literally, in my case, he said – was refreshing.

I told him that I planned on enjoying my body in not so innocent ways later, which gave us both a chuckle.  That may sound a bit depraved to you, but we talk about my sex life almost as often as we talk about my digestion.

If we’re gonna talk shit, nothings off the table.  Plus, there’s a couple of treatments he does that have a great reproductive side effect.  It may not be strictly necessary in my case, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be appreciated!

The conversation eventually led to – well, directly led to – how self-acceptance was kind of the theme of 2017 for me.  I described how nothing I did physically replaced running in my life, how I could run in the rain but cycling and hiking in the rain were no-goes for me.

“Why don’t you run anymore?”

So, I gave him the back story and then short-handed it to “bone density issues in my lower legs”.

I’ll short-hand his response to “There’s a needle for that”.

Me:  Do not get my hopes up.

Not at all, he told me, cautioning me that it will take time and be something I have to build up to, but there’s probably no reason I shouldn’t count on running again.

So, as I enter the last quarter of this Fitfy (mis)adventure, I find myself looking forward to an unexpected and welcome gift for my 50th birthday…an evening jog to close out my work day.

It’s just what I wanted.

Fitfy 49:39

Fitfy: 49.33

I originally set out to make this theme a weekly check-in for this final year of my 40s.  The larger goal was to motivate myself into finding a balance between a reasonably healthy physical self and mental and emotional satisfaction with how that state of physical being manifested itself.

Y’know, to ditch the body-negative mindset that I’ve been emotionally kicking the shit out of myself in pursuit of for the last 20 years or so.  I didn’t quit this theme so much as I took a hiaitus in order to refocus on that goal when I found myself falling back on the same habits that had delivered me to where I found myself on Jan 22 of this year: injured, eating emotionally, physically and mentally depressed…your basic nightmare.

So, that’s what I did.  I put down my phone, walked away from the laptop and WordPress app – at least as far at Fitfy was concerned – and focused on collecting myself mentally to re-engage with diet and exercise.

I addressed diet first.

Before it addressed me.

Also, because I’d gotten comfortable being physically lazy.

I’d been having a real challenging time at work with a really unhealthy emotional situation with Capt Can’t.  I’d been drinking too much and too often to self-soothe instead of dealing with the situation.  I went 29 out of 30 days with more than four drinks in me.

In addition to the drinking – as if that much alcohol wasn’t enough of a red alert – I’d been eating crap.  Candy and coffee for breakfast and chips or popcorn with my alcohol for dinner.  

It’s a wonder I survived the month.  Luckily, I had my righteous rage to sustain me.

But, changing the diet was hard.  I needed some crutches.  Like sharing my bottle of dinner wine with the Silver Fox instead of hiding out in my living room overfilling my own glass.  

See?  That’s a 50% reduction in consumption right there.

Ok, 60/40 since I’m kinda tricky.

Fine!  70/30 because he’s more disciplined than me to begin with…but, still – a reduction in consumption!

Other nights, I would switch to a diet soda overdose to distract my way through a couple days of not drinking.

Then there was reintroducing real food to my diet.  I focused on significantly reducing my “reward days”.  Actually, the goal was more to flip the ratio of healthy meals with bullshit junkfood reward meals by 180 degrees.  I had to be willing to allow myself to waste food while doing this, because normally I will resist cooking at home under the auspices of not liking leftovers.

Step one here was a win-win because I challenged myself to cook food that created leftovers I can tolerate eating, like Italian food.  The bonus here was that I had a couple days of lunches afterward.

What I was most proud of with this first step was that I was eating friggin’ Italian food.  This isn’t something I would have entertained back in June after slipping back into my old food punishing ways of plain grilled chicken and broccoli for dinner.

And lunch.

I was making fun, carbolicious food that felt like a mother’s hug in my belly.

It was a treat, but still healthy-ish.

It wasn’t popcorn.

There were a few nights I’d steer myself away from eating take out for dinner and cook up some tasty red meat protein at home, not great for me…but good enough.  Yet on other nights, I’d order that pizza and then only allow myself one reasonably sized meal off of it.  No eating the entire thing in one sitting or breakfast pizza the day after.  Wasting food isn’t my favorite thing, but I needed to force some discipline into my diet while fending off a potential binge by making myself feel deprived.

If a few slices paid the price, so be it.

Ok, enough of my public diet shaming…it’s making me crave chips for dinner.

The other piece I needed to address was exercise.

I’d already gone butt-wild at the gym early this year and ended up reinjured for my troubles.  The healing break that caused in my gym goings came at a not awesome time:  right on the heels of my Capt Can’t work stress and subsequent medicinal regimen of booze and comfort food.

I think I put on 15 lbs in 30 days.

That also didn’t help with my healing – carrying around a bunch of extra weight.

So, coming off the bench, my mind was set on cardio to slim down versus focusing on those gay muscles.  A nice chest and arms is aesthetically pleasing, but I’d have to look pretty hard to find anything darker than a dotted line between my Fitfy Mission Statement and chesticles.

Complicating the matter, the cardio machines at 24hr Fitness tended to tweak my knee injury pretty easily.  This is something I wished to avoid.

Cycling, it was.

Sadly, I wasn’t getting home from work until around 5 each day, which made getting on the bike for a couple hours hard. Particularly when you factor in that I’d need to come home, shower, make dinner and hopefully be in bed by 8 for work the next day.

I was averaging one ride a week.

No bueno.

Fortunately for me, The Filipina Fox had just started her new spin instructor gig at RevoCycle, just a few blocks from my house.  She taught Tuesday and Thursday nights and encouraged me to use the first two free gymcentive – Chrisism – to try the gym out.

I was skeptical.  

I loved the results that spin produced as a workout, but these classes are in the $13-18 range.

Too rich for my broke ass and its paycheck to paycheck existence.  I’d already let my 24hr membership lapse in arrears, though, so in this particular moment, “free” was just inside my price range.

Of course, I loved the workout.

It was all the usual good stuff about a spin workout: intensity, intervals, instruction, motivation…but their equipment was unique, too!  Their bikes are free-wheel affairs, like a real bike versus the typical weighted wheel you usually find on spin bikes.  The free-wheel meant no added stress on my knee.

Being able to walk pain free the day after class:  priceless.

After my week of free classes was up, it was time for an overdue vacation and time with the fam.  I swear, I will get around to writing about it, but for now, just know that I spent plenty of time on my bike.  And, my parents being the awesome folks they are, they slipped their broke ass boy some walking around money before putting me on a plane.  I swear, this whole “walking around money” phenomenon that happens in my family before someone gets on a plane?  I’ve always been a little jealous when I’m not the one traveling. 

But, thanks to the parentals, I had a few shekels for some spin classes.

And that’s where I’ve been putting my exercise effort, 2-3 times per week.  It’s nice, most of the classes I take are 40 minutes of spin and 20 minutes of what they call body sculpt.  Basically, that’s a 20 minute barre class…which is just enough to finish kicking my ass.

It’s been a great few weeks – this is the last week of my pass, so someone start a GoFundFatty to raise money for my next pass!  I’ve dropped enough fluff to fit quasi-comfortably into my 33″ waist shorts.  That’s a nice benefit…one that doubles my shorts wardrobe, too!  I’m still closer to 200 lbs than I’d prefer to be, but I’m moving in the right direction and I also know that some of my weight loss is camouflaged by lean muscle gain as I begin to regain leg muscle that has eroded over the last year of poor exercise.

It’s nice to see some definition peeking out from the shorts I now fit into again.  I call those muscles my eighths but people who are not cursed with chicken legs would call them quads.

Best part?

The last month of exercise has been largely pain free!  Like I said earlier, I can walk without soreness the day after class. That’s a huge plus.

My one instance of suffering was not so much a result of my exertion in class as much as it was a side effect of my usual gracefulness.

I’d been pushing myself hard in this particular class.  It was my second of the week and I’d noted the drop off in performance compared to the first class of the week earlier in my month-o-spin and wanted to push through it.

Mostly, I succeeded.

Mostly.

We were doing climb intervals.  Slowly increasing resistance until you were forced out of the seat to finish the interval, then repeating the process – the climb, if you will – about three times during a song.

It was the second song, second climb.  I already felt like I’d left it all on the last climb, so I was struggling…but determined.

Once that second climb ended and the Filipina Fox gave us permission to return to the seat…I sat.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t just sit, I fucking sat.

Hard.

Right on poor little lefty, if you get my drift.

No idea what he was doing hanging out back there, but I’ll tell you this…I didn’t pedal right for the rest of the class.

Meh.  It’s ok, though…it’s not like I’m using those muscles anyway, so I guess it could have been worse.

Fitfy: 49.33

Dry Week

Every now and then, I decide it’s time to give the old liver a break and take a holiday from booze.  I call this a Dry Week.

I’d say on average this happens about every three months.  Sometimes it’s six months between Dry Weeks and other times my Dry Week is three days.  Sometimes it starts on a Sunday, sometimes it starts on a Tuesday.  It just depends on me and my gut feeling.

This past Sunday, I woke up and felt it was a good time and declared to myself, “This is a good week”.  It was the start of the second week of a two week guest pass that the Filipina Fox had given to me to the gym she instructs spin at, so this would just help me with not just pleasing my gut feeling, but my actual gut as well.  Win-win.

I was wrong, of course.

About this being a good week time-wise for a Dry Week, not the appropriateness of the practice overall.

Sunday is a tricky day to start a Dry Week, because Sunday Funday.  But it’s not the middle of summer, so it wasn’t like everyone was thinking about getting outside and having some fun, which is a cake that is almost always iced with an adult beverage.

Hell, I can talk myself into just about any day being a tricky day to start a Dry Week.

This past Sunday, though…it was rainy and drizzly, so it was a pretty good day of laying low for old Xtopher and passed without incident.  Just a little side-eye from the partial bottle of wine on the counter.

Monday morning, I start getting texts about a happy hour that I agreed to with the Silver Fox and another mutual friend of ours.

<eye roll>

Of course.

You’d be surprised how often I inadvertently paint myself into corners like that.  It’s not like my phone/calendar wasn’t just chilling there next to me in bed when I thought, “This is a good week”.  Oh, well…I can handle a happy hour.

Plus, it will shock everyone.

Always fun.

From those texts, in support of the two week pass, I headed on into the gym for day two of exercise of the week.  I just popped into 24 Hour for some lifting and 45 minutes of cardio.  The day before I did a full hour of cardio.  The spin class gods were not smiling upon me so far this week.  Best of intentions for the 6:00 A.M. spin class at Muv to exploit my pass, but…6:00 got the “screw that” vote when my alarm went off at 5:15.

After the gym, I have a protein shake and back it up with some gross cottage cheese – great source of protein, disgusting food.  Then, I met up with The Fox and we drove over to Ex Novo to meet the now growing party.

There I am, ordering a soda and no food, not only am I not drinking at happy hour, I’m also – unsurprisingly – now not hungry.  Way to look weird, Galby.

Hashtag:  planning.

We all chat and have a good time, one of the guys had brought his toddler since his wife was traveling for business and the lil guy added a little extra fun to the conversation.  I barely noticed that people kept eating and ordering more beer since I was enjoying the conversation and environment.

I observed on the way to the car that $2.50 had to be the cheapest happy hour I had ever attended.  Realizing that where I had had only one soda, if I were drinking I would have had three beers, easy.

The Fox drops me off at home as I verbally pat myself on the back for clearing this hurdle in my Dry Week.  “See you tomorrow for drinks and strippers with The Kerby Boys!” he says as I climb out of the car, obviously enjoying planting that scheduling dagger.

Alright…it wouldn’t be the first time I pull the plug on a Dry Week because of bad scheduling.  Hell, I’ll pull the plug spontaneously for the right situation!

But the next day is packed with activities and before you know it, I’m pedaling like a maniac and getting nowhere at the 5:30 spin class that the Filipina Fox is leading.  Afterward, I feel jazzed and just end up not wanting to undo what I just accomplished.

I’m supposed to have dinner with The Fox beforehand to burn a groupon at a local shellfish restaurant that he raves about, but they’re closed.  We end up at a River Pig – a local pub-type place – ordering salads, of all things.

But I resist the siren call of their IPA and order a soda!  The Fox is crafty and grabs the bill before I can offer up my share, saying “If you’re not drinking, you’re not paying”…I think he’s a little proud of me.

The plans we have with The Kerby Boys were made about a month back, while we were having dinner at a local Cuban restaurant to debrief The Fox’s trip to Cuba.  I was the only one who hadn’t been, but listening to the three of them discuss their visits gave me an appreciable familiarity with the culture and their experiences there.   Not quite like I was there, mind you, but it is always fun to witness someone speak with passion about any topic.

I can’t imagine how this came up, probably just discussing the neighborhood that the Fox and I share, but The Boys mentioned that they don’t get down to town very often and hadn’t heard of nor been to this new gay strip club called Stag that we mentioned as a neighborhood “landmark”.

Ergo, we simply had to take them there.

We planned a Tuesday for many reasons, most importantly to me that the crowd would be minimized.

That said, I hadn’t planned on being outnumbered by strippers when we walked in at 10:00 PM.

Overall, the first few “performers” that we see are rather lackluster.  You know when one is lounging on the bar instead of dancing, that there’s nowhere to go but up.  Then the next stripper is wearing a knee brace.  That’ll teach me.  Oh, and sexy undies.  I wouldn’t actually complain about him just wearing a knee brace.

Probably.

The drinks are also weak.

Or water-y.  Which is a common complaint that I’ve heard since they opened.

Also, I don’t care.

Tonight.

Eventually, the acts begin to live up to the hype.  There are some dancers later in the line up that are a bit more enthusiastic.  One in particular – that is like a Cirque du Soleil refugee, living on the pole and the chin up bar and rings that are available – becomes the favorite.  One of The Kerby boys in particular is impressed with him because of his showmanship, but all four of us enjoy him and the obvious enthusiasm he has for this work.

Around 11:30, the crowd is picking up.  On a Tuesday…Portland, where young people go to retire.  The dancers are also starting to work a little harder, which is more the experience I was hoping to provide The Boys…they came all the way into town, after all.

All three miles.

The drinks are still weak, though, so I offer that we could always migrate for a nightcap to a bar that serves real gay-bar-quality drinks.  Everyone sinks lower in their seats and agrees that this venue is fine.

The power of tight undies, a bulge and a meaty butt.

I ain’t complaining as I sip my diet soda.

The clock rolls to Hump Day and we call it a night.

The icing on the cake is that one of The Kerby Boys runs into the front man for a local Portland band who is on his way in as we are on our way out.  This just got a little Page 6-y.

It’s after midnight.

Apparently, there had been a past invitation to run away with the World Famous Portlander directed at one of The Boys.  Years have passed since said invitation.  Still, he’s amazingly gracious and charming, initiating the conversation with our party.  He remembers my friend’s name from years before and introduces us to his boyfriend in the course of the interaction.

Va-va-va-voom, boyfriend!

That’s a fun way to end the evening, even if it’s slightly depressing to see such a hot piece of guy candy on this guy’s arm as I head home alone.

Again.

Yet, here I am…at the Half Way Point in the dry week!  Woo.

And 2/3 of the way through my week’s scheduled temptations.  I know I mentioned that this spontaneous Dry Week was poorly timed and not at all planned, right?

The last hurdle of the week isn’t the weekend itself, because drinking with amateurs is a fairly consistent non-starter for grumpy old Xtopher.  When I deign to go to a bar on a weekend, it’s to absolutely sit on the sidelines and seethe quietly, not chat and meet people.  Talking in bars on the weekends – or even attempting to – always leaves me sounding like Brenda Vaccaro and who needs that?

Not drinking with amateurs?  Reason why I’m single #199:  Doesn’t Drink With Amateurs.

No, the last temptation of the Chris isn’t the weekend, it’s the guest spot I have with my Little Buddy to see Heathers:  The Musical on it’s opening night here in Portland.  The friend she bought the ticket for can’t make it, so I am the rather lucky friend that gets to play stand-in.

Woo!

She suggests meeting at Migration Brewing since it’s only a few blocks from the venue and since she knows anything with the word “brewery” in it practically gets rubber stamp approval from me.  I tell her it’s my Dry Week, but no biggie.  I’ve been good thus far.

Maybe I’ll cave, maybe she’ll join me out of solidarity.

Life is such an adventure.

Well, traffic certainly was.

There’s nothing more shame inducing to a native Portlander that to see what a hard afternoon rain does to the rush hour commute.  It’s embarrassing, for sure, but also stress-inducing because I loathe tardiness and being late.  It is a situation that really gets me worked up.

And I take public transit.

Little Buddy doesn’t fare much better.  Since I’m not drinking, I don’t want to go into the brewery until she arrives.  She’s being re-routed through traffic at every turn.  I have to pee.  It’s really not a great situation.

It’s a shituation.  Chrisism.

Plus, I’m thinking – erroneously – that we were meeting at 5:40 and the show started at 6:00, it’s 5:55 by the time my LB has battled her way through traffic.  Heck, it took me until 5:45 to get 36 blocks on a bus.

Traveling in a straight line.

I go in as she parks, having clarified the start time.  I still don’t feel *right* walking in and heading for the can, so I order a beer…just in case LB wants one.

Turns out, I wanted it and it was I joining her in some stress-relieving libation solidarity.

Chris:  only human.

But, we have some food and our one drink and then head to the show – which is uh-mazing!  Very entertaining.  Not expressly true to the source camp movie, but does a great job of maintaining the spirit in the abbreviated format that stage affords.

It’s touring nationally, or available for local productions nationally…if it comes to your town – GO!

In appreciation to the Little Buddy for giving me the open seat beside her, I buy her a drink at the show.  A terrible Cab Sauv, which I can’t make her suffer through alone, so I pick one up for my as well.  More solidarity?  Maybe.  Maybe to save her a second trip to the bar during the show.

No, really.

Maybe.

I take a sip after she grimaces at her first drink.  It tastes like…I don’t even know.  She says fruit punch, but I just keep thinking that this wine put the “rape” in “grape”.

Hashtag: too soon, inappropriate.

It’s so bad, we both still have some in our cups when we leave the show two hours later.

So, that’s pretty much a wrap on my Dry Week.  It’s Friday afternoon and I know what I’m doing tonight and what I’m not doing:  drinking.

In retrospect, I’m gonna have to call this a Moist Week, since it wasn’t completely Dry, but pretty friggin’ close for me.

The best part?  I still got to spend time with some of my closest friends in Portland.

The second best part?  I think I’ve spent $30 cash this week.

And right up there, rounding out the Top 3 best parts?  I’ve lost 7 pounds this week.

 

Dry Week

The Ongoing Saga of EOG

I am happy to report that this week has been a very successful return to a consistent exercise regimen.  Perhaps slightly excessive, but within reason.  Two days with Lifting/Cardio combinations.  Two days of Spin with the Filipina Fox at Muv, where she instructs, and one stand-alone Cardio sesh at 24.

Which is where this Early Onset Grumpiness tale begins.

I’ve just returned and had a little post-cardio cottage cheese.  Such a disgusting food, but such an easy source of protein.

Hush, Diezel.

Also, I stink.  But fear showering before putting my story down will result in another day of blog-silence.  After the social lovefest I received on Facebook yesterday…well, I just don’t want to be quiet today.

Also, Myrtle is keeping her distance versus trying her normal keyboard dance while I try and type.  I’m attributing that to my malodorousness.

I was heading out to run a couple of errand relative to the sale of my condo up in Seattle, so I was dressed in my basic bro tee-shirt and jeans attire with a backpack containing my gym clothes.  Now, there’s a story in and of itself that ends with me sending a six page fax to my realtor.

It was $12.45.

I handed over three $1 bills and got a puzzled look for my effort.

When the clerk re-iterated the total, I calmly replied with one of my grandfather’s chestnuts, “Jesus Christ!  I wanted to send a fax, not buy the whole place!”

She laughed and tried to tell me that long distance was expensive.  I countered with the fact that she was obviously right…cell phone carriers giving their long distance service away in unlimited quantities and all these days.

I don’t think she was as amused as I had intended.  Maybe she was.  Maybe I was a dick.

Naturally, once I arrived at the gym I realized that I had forgotten not only my earbuds but also my water bottle, I was primed for the milking that buying water at the gym is.  The picture below has the last bottle of water I bought at the gym, a 24 ounce bottle of water for $2.

Pretty crazy.

And obviously not worth it…since drinking it has not made me *smart* enough to remember to pack my damned water bottle for the gym in the first place.

 
The bottle on the right in the picture is the bottle I bought today after realizing that the gym has changed its water assortment since last week when I forgot last.  Yes, I know you aren’t really supposed to use water bottles like this over again.  I take reasonable precautions, though.  Like not expecting to live for freaking ever.

Back to the great Water Fiasco of 2016…it was $3.50 for 34 ounces.

Three goddamned fifty.  For water.  For real.

Of course, I didn’t want to trot out the same pilfered Chrisism twice in 20 minutes, so I couldn’t respond in the same manner that I had in the Fax Fiasco.  Instead, I glumly stated that “When I was a kid, this stuff was free!” which prompted what I suspect was a genuine giggle from the pretty young lady behind the counter.

At least my grumpy charm was back in working condition.

Seriously, though…Smart Water was $.08/ounce last time I bought it at the gym.  This Propel business – which I have never even heard of – is $.11/ounce.  Who do they think they are?!?

What I knew for sure was that I was definitely going to suffer through what this gym calls music while I worked out versus even looking at new earbuds.

They’d probably be $75.

Now, in other news…after the aforementioned Facebook lovefest last night, I really intended to get on the old laptop and polish up an old draft.  Somehow, I Hemingway-ed myself out of that with a nice bottle of red and some Netflix instead.  I don’t know how he did it.  But, apparently, my writing and creative proficiencies are not anywhere near Papa’s level yet, so this is what we get today.

On the upshot, my Friday night plans might have just washed out <gasp!>.  Maybe I will have some time this evening to Smith around some words.

What?  That was a legitimate gasp…my plans were with friends, not Biscuits.

The Ongoing Saga of EOG