Get MOOving

I hate to admit this, but I have to put Moo on an exercise plan. since we moved from our two-level condo our puppy-of-a-cat has been gaining weight. Between the stairs and regular play sessions, he wasn’t as big as he is now. He’s a big cat and he is a lazy one. I also want to make sure he is a happy one.

Baby A and I went to the pet store where he picked out fishing toys for Moo. I thought that having A. pick out the toys when make it easy to teach him how to play with his kitty companion. Not even. My son thinks these toys are his.

So, in the evening after A. goes to bed, Moo and I play. Sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for 20 minutes; hopefully we can work up to an hour a day (that’s what baby and I need). Either way, I’m bonding with my little boy before there was little boy. I forgot how much I enjoyed playing with Moo. Glad that we’re doing it again.

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Get MOOving

Breaking the Seal

Last month when I was in Chicago, M. joined the gym near our apartment. He also signed me up. This isn’t a bad thing; it’s just the opposite. Belonging to a gym and actually going is part of our make up. Besides writing about exercise, I actually like to partake in it. Without it, I am not sure I would have survived my divorce, ran a half marathon on a whim, or lost 50 of the 60 pounds I gained during pregnancy. Since we moved back to California, I haphazardly would take walks or go to the track near our house for a workout. Honestly, life seemed a bit harder because exercise wasn’t a regular occurrence.

I have been a gym member for a month and last night was the first time I stepped through the doors. The proverbial seal was broken. It was great. I felt great. And everything seemed right in the world. Except for the fact that I’m a bit out of shape…but not for long.

Breaking the Seal

No Computer Sundays

I wrote this post on Friday because M and I have agreed no to turn on the computers or check email via smartphones on Sundays from now on. This last day of the weekend is reserved for us—M, Baby A and me. It’s the day that family rules.

I remember playing tennis was my mom and stepdad on Sundays when I was growing up. Afterward we would have lunch in the clubhouse together. (I know, this sounds very 90210-ish. I grew up in Palm Springs so I don’t know what to tell you.) The thing about this memory is that I remember the time very well and, if someone were to ask me about when I most felt like a family, those Sundays would be it.

Now that I have a son, I want him to have those type of memories too. Hence, No Computer Sundays. I’m not sure what we’ll do, but whatever it is we’ll be doing it as a family.

No Computer Sundays

Brand New Shoes!

My New Shoes!
My New Shoes!

There are few things that make me truly excited—brand new running shoes do. After two years, I’m retiring my Asics 2120s for 2140s (pictured at left). My old shoes served me well and it was time. They carried me across the finish line in two Nike Women’s Half-Marathon (2007: the week before my wedding and 2008: three months after Baby A was born), helped me train for the later race and somehow managed to fit my extremely swollen pregnant feet for nine months. Yes, it was definitely time.

So for my birthday (see July is the month of b-days), M bought me a new pair. And that night I christened my shoes with a four-mile round trip walk to UCLA’s Drake Stadium where I ran the blechers.

Brand New Shoes!

Before the Crowds

It’s 6 AM and the beach in Santa Monica is quiet. There are a couple of surfers, runners and cyclists getting their workouts in before the day begins, before the crowds come, and before the sun burns off the clouds. That is why I am here.

Me and my friend Cy used to make the early morning journey down Interstate 10 to this beach path twice a week. Today we are doing it again. After years, we’re rollerblading past the numerous Perry’s, the beach clubs, the volleyball courts and the homes.

There is something relaxing and invigorating about our out and back routine. Glading along the bike path, wind in our hair, legs pumping, we talk about our lives and the things around us. There are periods when we don’t talk, we just roll along in our own worlds and that’s fine. What’s important is that we are on the beach blading before the crowds.

Before the Crowds

The Phoenix Five

Last Friday, M., Baby A and I moved back to Los Angeles. And while I’m happy to be back in LaLa Land, there are some things that I appreciated about living in Phoenix.

1. Uncle J and McFriends — When we moved to Phoenix, we knew we had family there and J. was the best uncle my son could have. I’ll miss our Sunday night dinners with him and seeing him on a regular basis. As for the McFriends, they embraced and adopted Baby A. They will miss him more than M. whom they saw everyday. How can you not appreciate those who have so much enthusiasm for your child? I enjoyed visiting with each one as they cooed over him. I will miss my lunches with them, especially S.

2. Storms—We arrived at the end of monsoon season and left during the first week of it. For thunderstorm junkies like M and me, the thunder, lightening and hail that we experienced were highlights of our time there.

3. Jackrabbits and quail—Where we lived there were tons of jackrabbits and quail roaming around. There was something very relaxing about co-existing with these animals in the same place (except when the bunnies decided to take a swim in our pool). The quail families running around with their chicks were beyond cute. Imagine the opening credits for the 1970s television show “The Partridge Family”— Momma with her chicks following in a single file.

4. Paradise Bakery and Café—In California, we have Panera. It is no PBC. (Same company, different restaurants). This place makes sinful muffins, delicious cookies and a friendly staff (at least at the Biltmore, Scottsdale 101 and Desert Ridge locations that we frequented). Their prices are reasonable and you could eat there nearly everyday, M. pretty much did.

5. Lifetime Fitness—I’ve written about this gym before (see “A Ride to Nowhere”). This 10,000 square foot gym is awesome. And while I’m sure that we will find a comparable gym in Los Angeles, the one in Scottsdale will hold a special place in my heart since it is where I worked off 50 pounds of baby weight over nine months.

The Phoenix Five

A Hot Weather Survival

I grew up in Palm Springs, where the mercury rose to a breath-taking 120 degrees F in the summer. So you would think that a week or two of over 100-degree temps for me would be no big thing. Wrong. Living near the ocean for nearly 15 years spoiled me, so now that I call Phoenix home there are some things that I’m thankful for to get me through this dry heat.

1. Iced green tea. I drink it by the gallons; especially because the water here is so hard. I’m a bit addicted to Starbucks and this cool beverage doesn’t help. I’ve even tried brewing it at home and pouring it over ice. It just isn’t the same.

2. Drive-thrus. And, I’m not talking fast food. (Well, unless you count Starbucks.) There is virtually no reason to get out of your air-conditioned car. Nearly everything here has a drive-up window: the bank (ATM and teller), the dry cleaner, regular restaurants, etc.

3. Own pool. For me, this is a flashback to my youth. Every house I grew up in had a pool. There weren’t as many community pools as I saw in Los Angeles. There’s something very relaxing about swimming when you don’t have to contend with the neighbors and their kids.

4. Ceiling fans. I hate air conditioning: the way my skin feels after days of being blown on, the way it coups you up in the house, and the noise it makes. But ceiling fans allow for the air to move, the rooms to remain cool and most importantly the air conditioner to run less frequently.

5. The gym. When it’s nearly 80 degrees F outside at 5 AM, it’s hard to get a run in. The Lifetime Fitness where I go is open 24 hours a day. It allows me to get my workouts in and never mind the temperature. And this is good because it keeps my cabin fever to a minimum.

6. Finally, Misters. These tiny sprinklers that mist the air in shopping centers and restaurants make it seem like it is 10 degrees cooler than it is. Believe me, there is a big difference between 92 and 102.

I realize that I’m probably missing a few things and will update as I discover (or rediscover) things. In the meantime, desert-dwelling readers tell me what makes these sweltering temps bearable to you.

A Hot Weather Survival