Dear P.E. Teacher

   
 “Your family isn’t very athletic, is it?”

My sisters and I have lived with those words for decades, thanks to a thoughtless P.E. teacher many years ago. As the eldest, I heard this second hand from my middle sister, who must have been horrified to hear this from a teacher. Our youngest sister actually played softball, so I think she broke the mold. She got bonked in the head with a softball one time and though it was scary because my mom had to watch for a concussion, it was also awesome because Baby Sister was tough. 

I hated P.E.  and sports for many years. I would begrudgingly go bowling with a friend, or doggy paddle in a pool, but other than a few sit ups here and there, I didn’t exercise. I wasn’t very athletic, so why would I?

Fast forward through college physical education to my early forties, which is when I first played on an organized sports team. I worked at an office that played in a softball league, and I joined. I was way out of my depth and felt terribly unathletic but I actually had fun. Not having participated in organized teams sports, I was surprised at how fun it was- the camerarderie, the feeling of being part of a team, and the crappy beer. 

Something in my brain opened up with that experience, and I joined a big box gym. It was really hard because of  my lack of self confidence and training. I went to a step class and couldn’t get the rhythm down so I never went back. I tried a yoga glass but my upper body strength wasn’t great and the instructor had no time to show me an altenative so I never went back.  I ended up injuring myself in a personal training session with an enthusiastic but inexperienced personal trainer who had no idea how out of shape I was nor that I was no longer 35 years old. I spent a lot of time doing physical therapy, having surgery, more physical therpay, and the old feelings of “not being very athletic” came flooding back to me. I tried a new trainer who showed me some Pilates moves but was ultimately more interested in chatting about her injured back and her size 4 clothing issues. I was moving further away from my goal of getting in shape and really had no idea how to get back into exercising.

My friend Colleen had started working out with a personal trainer and going to the gym regularly. She looked (and looks!)  awesome and STRONG. In a weak moment I agreed to go to the gym with her- I was nervous but curious. As it turns out, I’ve stuck with StudioX for more than a year, and it’s truly changed my life. I lift weights, jog, use the rowing machine, and can do a burpee. I work on balance, strength training, and cardio. I’ve lost a few pounds and gained muscles and confidence. And I AM athletic- who else would do deadlifts for fun?!

Many thanks to Colleen for luring me into the gym, to trainers Jesse and Christina for pushing just the right amount, and for Tim for having a clean, comfortable, low key space to practice and learn.

And dear PE teacher- you were wrong. My athletic ability was there all along; it just needed a little positive encouragement to blossom.

The image is a cigarette card from the George Arents Collection of the NYPL Digital Collections. I’m pretty sure this “Prone Falling” exercise is a burpee in disguise. See the full exercise card collection here.

NEXT POST – New Toys! Bosu balls, kettlebells, and foam rollers

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Coco Chanel – Happy Birthday!

“You live but once; you might as well be amusing.”
― Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel dans son appartement à l'hôtel Ritz,   François Kollar. Donation François Kollar Ministère de la culture

Coco Chanel dans son appartement à l’hôtel Ritz, François Kollar. Donation François Kollar Ministère de la culture

Appartement de Coco Chanel au Ritz : livre ouvert et lunettes. François Kollar. Ministère de la culture - base Mémoire

Appartement de Coco Chanel au Ritz : livre ouvert et lunettes. François Kollar. Ministère de la culture – base Mémoire

Les mains de Coco Chanel,  1930. André Kertész, Ministère de la culture (France), Médiathèque de l'architecture et du patrimoine.

Les mains de Coco Chanel, 1930. André Kertész, Ministère de la culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine.

Coco Chanel dans son appartement au Ritz, au téléphone, et jouant de l'accordéon. Ministère de la culture.

Coco Chanel dans son appartement au Ritz, au téléphone, et jouant de l’accordéon. Ministère de la culture.

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Chanel’s collection. Paris, Autumn-Winter 1982. Carlos Gayoso, parisenimages.fr

 

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“Bijoux de Diamants” jewellery collection created by Coco Chanel and presented at her place, 29 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Paris, November 7-19, 1932. Albert Harlingue. Photo from Parisenimages.fr

 

Chateau de Campuget Rose Rhone Wine

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This pretty pale blush wine looks so sweet and innocent but it’s actually more complicated than that. The aroma is of citrus with cherries but the first sip is bracing and crisp with a nice acidity to it. There’s a slight minerality on the tongue, which I like. There’s nothing sweet about this rose but it’s perfect for a hot summer day. Or a cool summer day as is often the case this time of year in the Pacific Northwest.

The grapes used are Grenache Noir (30%) and Syrah (70%).the bottle cost about $10 and I may buy a case. If you want a crisp rose, I highly recommend this.

Any new favorites or old standbys you like for the summer?

Fun with Photos – Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images
I really like using interesting photographs on my blog but it’s frustrating to find the perfect image only to see it’s strictly copyrighted. (As a librarian, just nabbing images from anywhere on the internet seems like a bad idea.) I saw an article today announcing Getty Images is allowing millions of their photographs to be embedded in blogs and used in other editorial ways. The “catch” is that advertisements will (might be?) embedded along with the images. This page explains the details and has a link to where to search.

I thought I’d test it out – it isn’t clear from the website what the adverts look like. I can’t see them, either, while editing the blog. I’ve posted some interesting photos below – would you let me know what kinds of adverts you see, if any? Are they acceptable or annoying?

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Bonne année et bonne santé!! Happy New Year!!


I like to make New Year’s resolutions that are fun and possible to succeed at. This year one goal is to get back to blogging more regularly. I enjoy researching random subjects- wine, travel, vintage jewelry, Paris, books, cooking. My slight lack of discipline thwarts my good intentions, alas.

My other goals for 2014 are to –

  • practice my French at least one hour a week (We’ll see how that works out…)
  • learn how to make arancini (I’ve been watching a lot of Inspector Montalbano lately. He loves to eat, particularly arancini.)
  • make pizza dough from scratch (I used to make it at a restaurant a lifetime ago.)
  • socialize with my friends more (My most important goal.)

What are your resolutions? Do you usually stick to them?

Images are from the New York Public Library digital collections.