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.

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Fitfy 49:39

Missed Poopertunity!

There I am this morning, tapping out a blog entry on my way to work.  Part of my effort to do something productive on my way to work instead of getting sucked into the Facebook.  Granted, it was about poop, but still…I never said my MAX Blog Challenge entries couldn’t be frivolous.

The challenge of writing on a deadline is that you may miss the opportunity to really reflect on your topic and make the most of the opportunity.

Case in point…or two.

I’m unusually triggered by things in my day to day life that pull me back to the pop culture of my past.  Or, the advertising campaigns of my past, I’m not sure those would fall under the pop culture umbrella.

I say “jinkies” more often than is probably cool.  I’m pretty sure zero is the number of acceptable times a cool person utters jinkies.  Here I’ve done it twice now in one paragraph.

Jinkies.

I’m also unusually attracted to the absurdity – and probable 70s era unchecked misogyny – of feminine hygiene ads of my childhood.  There’s two scenarios that frequently pop into my head.  Things I rarely say aloud, but are there, bouncing around my head as potential rejoinders in conversation.

It’s ridiculous, the inside of my head.

The mother/daughter walk on the beach scenario that starts off with the daughter vulnerably asking, “Do you ever have that ‘Not So Fresh’ feeling?”

Yeah.  That went through my head when my Needle Man was peppering me with questions about my digestion.

Consistency?

Color?

Clean up?

Gassiness?

“What was that third one again?” – Me

Equally absurd is the response that makes a run for my lips when I’m asked at the beginning of each session recently, “How have you been?”

You see, I’ve been quite well.  Pain, managed.  Previously unbeknownst digestion opportunities are…solid.

So, when asked, instead of saying, “Things are great!” my brain attempts to shove the words “I can ride a horse!” out of my mouth.

Because, apparently feminine hygiene products of days gone by – I hope…if not, my apologies to any frustrated equestrians – restricted ones ability to ride astride.

Yeah, Xtopher…ask yourself what topic could possibly be less comfortable to discuss than poop; which, as I recall reading…everybody does.

Apparently, before “wings” things were a little leaky in the feminine hygiene world, making ballistic activities a little haphazard.

Nonetheless, if the products haven’t improved, at least the advertising has?

But, there I am, randomly mentally sideswiped by the urge to blurt out “I can ride a horse!” when a simple “Everything is hunky-dory” will suffice.

What?

Cool people don’t say “hunky-dory” either?

Yeah, right.

Missed Poopertunity!

Wash After Reading.

Well, George Michael died.  As if that’s not shitty enough, today I had an awkward situation at work.

Not a shituation, per se, but given the setting I’d suppose you could make an argument that the Chrisism applied.

Because it was in the bathroom at PDX.

No.  This is no Larry Craig/wide stance awkwardness, just basic public bathroom weirdness.  Given George’s infamous peccadillos with public restrooms, I thought maybe sharing a few of my 2016 greatest shits moments might take some of the sting out of losing yet another icon this year.

I dated a guy about 10 years ago who used to say that my humor was a little blue…go figure.

The sounds of a video game interrupt my focus on the matter at hand this morning.  For a moment, I forget where I am.  I’m not on the bus, I’m not in a Chipotle…I’m deucing out at work.  There are three stalls, whenever possible, I prefer the stall nearest the wall.  I don’t know why.  Corner lot syndrome, perhaps?  It is arguably real estate.

Normally, my bathroom ire remains at bay.  Anyone who wants to call me immature needs to leave a bathroom without washing their hands while in my presence.  Then you’ll know my maturity level.  It’s quite an exercise in self restraint, not suggesting that they share the secret of clean junk or me sharing the un-secret that junk just ain’t clean.  Nevertheless, I somehow manage.  If you want a good laugh, though, follow me into a public restroom – I won’t read anything into it, swearsies – and watch the contortions I go through in order to not touch a door handle.

But back to today.  Some asshat in the center of three stalls – bewilderingly, he didn’t take the larger, handicapped stall…managing to eschew the extra space it includes for his obvious comfort – takes up residence next to my stall and plays a fucking video game.  With the volume on high.

Super high.

Full blast, I might wonder.  Which is fine if he is using the video game soundtrack to cover his own full blast.  It that case, I would thank him.  Maybe.

I was glad that he wasn’t here last week when the guy in the handicap stall was talking to (I think) his wife when he came into the john, popped into the handicap stall, dropped trow and then caught a ride to town on the porcelain bus…all the while playing off his location.

Seriously?

I proudly double flushed when I left.

I wasn’t even uncomfortable when he came out of the stall a moment after me.  It was weird that he looked to be about 70.  Even weirder when he managed not to pick up on my glare of disapproval, a situation he exacerbated by leaving without washing his hands.

How did he make it past the bubonic plague?

Even before George decided to make this Christmas his Last Christmas, I was thinking about this blog entry.  A friend of mine, let’s call her Linda Belcher for no real reason…invited me over to bake Christmas cookies last week.  I replied that it really wasn’t my type of thing, since I’m not much of a baker.  She went silent.  As the date for the invite approached, I got the best of myself and asked if she was dead set on baking cookies.  I hadn’t seen her in too long.  The last time I had reached out about getting together, she made some lame excuse about being in Hawaii with her husband, so I was itching to get together with them.  Yeah…there was another person coming, but I didn’t have to bake, just hang out and drink wine and watch Christmas movies.

I go.

Her friend, Lily, suggests that we watch Ali Wong’s latest stand up special.  Ok…not the most Christmas-y sounding of shows, but I’m flexible.

It was pretty friggin’ hilarious.  Reverse racism jokes aside, her schtick on what she calls “blowing ass” at work was a pretty good ab workout.

You watch.

My point here is that this shit has been ruminating for a while.

During the show, I remembered some bathroom awkwardness at the work conference I went to in Atlanta early last month.  My stomach gets upset when I travel.  Totally manageable, it’s not French Kiss “lactose intolerance” moment…but borderline buffet food and too much alcohol didn’t do much to help the situation.  When I didn’t have time to run up to my room on the 11th floor of the conference center between break outs, I made a break for the furthest stall I could from the bathroom door.

That stall was designed to both make me feel like my issues had some cover and also call out the fact that someone was camping out in the stall.

If the damned automatic flush could manage to not set itself off while it was still in use, the horrendous sound of a pneumatic flush gone wrong was bound to make you want to stay in the stall until everyone on the planet had died.

Now, imagine that happening randomly while using that toilet.

Now, imagine that happening in a room you had to leave the stall and be confronted with a half dozen co-workers.

Now, imagine not realizing you spent ten minutes in that stall making sounds like Venus Williams on the courts at Wimbledon before coming out.

Thankfully, I learned to avoid that stall on day one, well before the full group had arrived.  But every damned time I walked into the bathroom, my eyes looked for feet under that stall and god help me…somehow I managed to not laugh out loud the time my ears detected someone’s presence in that stall before my eyes did.

Uuuughn!!!

Ace.

Uuughnnnn!!!

30-0.

Uuuuughnnnnuuuhh!

40-love.

Ughn.  Uuuughhhhh.

Game.

And just to finish on a note that isn’t sooooo gross as guys blowing ass in a public restroom yet still somehow manages to bring this mess back full circle to our iconic and dearly departed George Michael, since it was his death that finally acted as catalyst for putting fingers to keyboard on this rather “brownish” blue topic…what the hell is it with guys vocalizing while urinating?

Seriously…sometimes I think my urinal is the only one not attached to lips and a throat.  when the guy next to you lets out an overly satisfied “Aaaaahhhh” as soon as he unzips and fishes his “special purpose” out of his pants…well, I want to offer him a cigarette.  It’s unnerving.  When it happens in a busy restroom, it’s like the Gregorian chant.  If the monks had recorded their chanting in a gay bath house.

And I don’t even think they’re aware it’s happening.

Even when it’s so good they have to brace themselves against the wall with their free hand.  I mean, when peeing feels so good that your knees might buckle?  Sit down.  There’s no shame.  Plus, it leaves your hands free to play video games.

Apparently.

Sure, video-game-playing and cell-phone-talking guys should know better.  Not-washing-his-hands guy should certainly know better.  But these other guys either need some sexual healing or they need to find a bathroom sooner.  Peeing doesn’t feel that good.

Maybe it’s me.  Perhaps I’m doing it wrong.

Nah.

It’s totally these weirdos.

Well, now that George has left us, I’m sure you won’t hear anything more from me on this topic until I actually run into Larry Craig in the bathroom.

And here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.

Love and pee-za.

Now, go wash your hands.

Wash After Reading.