Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What I Learned About FIT This Month...

I am a happy, happy women! I think I have learned the Real True Cannot Fail Guaranteed Method to getting FIT!!!!

First month FIT total:


Neck: -1/4
Chest: -1 1/2
Arm: -1/2
Waist: no change
Hips: - 1 1/2
Thigh: - 1 3/4
Calve: No change
Abs: -1/2

Total: -5.75 inches lost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am SO happy, and feel so great!!!!!! Apparently, my madcap idea of eating right and going to the gym every day seems to be working!

Here are some things I have learned this month, if you would like to try my New Improved Miricle FIT Plan:

Eat breakfast. Not easy, but do it.

Small meals. Lot's of 'em.

Butter is not your friend, unless you have far more control than I do.

If you drink it, it mostly should be water.

If it's a vegatable or fruit, eat as much as you want. If it's a grain, it should be whole. If it's fats, cheese or meat, size matters.

If you stock your cupboards and freezer with Healthy Stuff that you can make EASILY when you crawl home, you will eat it, because anything else is simply too much work to contemplate.

If you are so tired you cannot move at the end of the day, you will not eat your house down when you get home. And you will SLEEP. All night. Instantly.

It is better to be the fattest person in ZUMBA class than the fat chick in the Donut aisle.

Class is only an hour. All you have to do is SHOW UP. Someone else decides all the rest. It's only an hour.

You will start to feel Very Powerful after about 2 weeks. Before that, you will feel Very Sore. Ok, after that, you still feel Very Sore, but you now love that feeling.

You will have Amazing Super Power Energy. I don't know why this is, I just feel it.

Go at your own pace, what works for someone else, might not work for you. I have a body that feels really good when it's working out, I grew up an athlete. 1-2 hours a day, 6 days a week feels NORMAL. I do ZUMBA, Yoga, Evil Step Class, Weights and Ride Horses. I try for 2 a day. But that's me. I love this stuff.

The important thing is to have fun.

No, seriously. Have Fun.

How else is this going to work?

Love and FIT,

Friday, August 27, 2010

These Are the Days of Miricle and Wonder...

As I said the other day, the pictures of me on Odette didn't turn out. So after my lesson yesterday, on Romy, my Trainer (She Who Owns It All) had the idea (She has LOTS of ideas, this women, as you will see) to shoot some shots of me on Odette that I could post them. Next time I am going for this idea PRE-lesson, when I am always a combed out non sweating thing of beauty, but even so, they make me happy.

Every day riding now is new. Every day I learn something more. Every day I am a little bit fitter. And ok, every day I learn just how not YET fit I am. But every day I can do a little bit more. Everything is new, and it's such a wonderful place to be.

Today wasn't a lesson, as in a riding lesson. It was the lesson of You Never Do Know What Will Happen If You Get Off Your BUTT. I had a bad case of NON-motivation this morning and didn't really FEEL like riding. Too tired. Worn out. Neh. Really just wanted more tea and some nice breakfast TV. Time got to it and I told myself, Strongly, either I was going riding or I was taking my BUTT to step class.

I hate step class.

So I rode out. (As the best songs all start)

I was glad I did. Romy and I had a fine ride together. And finished up in time for work. Really glad I rode, thinks I, fine start to the day. Teach me, methinks as I unsaddle my horse.

Then I hear my Nice Trainer Lady (Who wears tall leather boots and carries a whip) call me, tell me to grab my helmet, and come into the ring, by the mounting block.

I mentioned that I couldn't help noticing SHE was on the only horse in the ring, and she hadn't asked me to bring MINE.

Ah, says she, you noticed that, dismounting her horse, Big Al, as he is known. (Quite rightly.)

Get up, she remarked, a remark I kind of knew was coming. Ah, quailed I, just a moment please my legs are shaking. No, just do, speaks her, like a Zen Master to a Grasshopper.

I did. Wasn't going to say NO, now was I? Got up. LONG way up. (Note to self: You couldn't have done that a month ago. Remember this)

Big Al didn't just get off the boat. (Actually, I believe he was flown here, from Germany) he knows what to do. And his rider, my Trainer also knows what to do. They told me. I listened and sort of... floated.


(Once again, Wiki-land helps us out: Piaffe.)

The Barn Manager, bless her sweet soul, noticed what was going on, and got some pictures, and a video.

I give you my first Piaffe.

No, I haven't stopped smiling.

And I will never ever again even think about being too tired to ride.

You see, I want to do that again.

Love and Piaffe,

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am SO Going to the Fair....

I think I am doing a lot this next week. It's too early to tell tho. I know today is riding lesson, What Do I do With All The Stuff In The Garden cooking, a Boss home, and a Zumba. All good there.

The weekend is a Kitty Comes Home! (Which is an odd way of thinking on it, as even when she isn't on tour, she doesn't LIVE with us) She's here for a couple days, and then some GAGA.

But, ah, THEN: The Fair! Yes. I know. I am rather excited about this FAIR and it's a week away.

I love that place! Most years I forget this, and completely forget to go, but Not this year!

My Flash Girls Bandmate, Emma Bull, LOVED the Fair. She had it down to an art form. Down to WHICH pronto pup stand you needed to go to (Despite the fact she didn't eat meat) Down to the route you needed to take so you would end up at the BEST coffee stand on your way out. She knew the importance of sitting for a while on Machinery Hill.

I went to the Fair one year and saw Motley Crue. (I see a lot of bands I would not otherwise see when our Kitty is on tour. Get this: I always have a great time. Teach me to be a musical snob.)

I love the Seed Art! I love the Spooky Feeling you get near the Haunted House and how if you go in, you will ALWAYS scream. I love the BEES and the crop arrangements! (Maybe it's flower arrangements. I forget. Who arranges CROPS?) I love the World Bazaar With it's Cheap Junk you don't need.

I love the Barns, and the animals, the Seiously Weird Chickens, Funky Rabbits (Birdchick and I spend a LOT of time there) of course the Horses, even the COWS. NOT the pigs. I hate pigs. And you know, this stems DIRECTLY to an event that happened when Emma took me to the PIG BARN at the Fair and we saw, well, no, I can't talk about it. But it was HUGE and a BOY PIG. Never Again.

I love watching people wait a half hour in line for a Pork Chop on a Stick (no, no idea WHY they do this, part of the fun.)

The news just had bits about the fair on and they now have Deep Fried Bologna Sandwiches. And Deep Friend Butter. And Deep Fried Choc Covered Bacon. (Actually I'm Not sure if that is Deep Fried as well, but for the purposes of this Blog, we will assume so. Odds are with us.)

Up here, people take Cheese Curds and cover them in Batter and Deep Fry them too.

French Fries come in Buckets, as do Cookies. And you can get Sodas in Gallon Jugs.

(You don't want to EAT these things. You will be ill. They're just for lookin at. Like the Midway)

That isn't why I go tho. I think it's the people. Everyone is so happy, you make friends where ever you go, in what ever line. When the DNR tower used to be open, the people you met at the top, after climbing hundreds of stairs were REALLY your friends. The people who escape the Haunted House with you, were definately your friends. (More than likely you had just been CLINGING to each other for the past 20 min)

You can sit in the Beer Garden (even tho there is no real beer) and look at Saw Art (Kid you not, Google it) or in the International Village and hear your friends play Irish Music (Or gig yourself, which has happened too)

And this year, we can Live Tweet it.

And you can come too.

Love and the Fair,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Odette and I Rode Out One Morning.

Sadly, none of the pictures I took with my CAMERA turned out. (I really need to learn how to use the thing) The one I took with my PHONE was fine tho. Such a world we live in!

I rode Odette today. Thanks entirely to the generosity and extreme kindness and coolness of her owner, who offered her to me for a lesson, so I could actually ride a warmblood and really experience what Dressage could be.

I wish I could tell you what it felt like. Can't be done. Kind of Floaty Magic is what it felt like. And I wish I could tell you about what all Dressage can BE, but I am some years away from that yet.

Let's start with some terms, since this will NOT be the last time I speak on this.

Warmblood: Warmbloods are a group of middle-weight horse types and breeds, primarily originating in Europe, registered with organizations that are characterized by open studbook policy, studbook selection, and the aim of breeding for equestrian sport. The term distinguishes these horses from both heavy draft horses ("cold bloods") and refined light saddle horses such as the Thoroughbred and Arabian ("hot bloods"). Though modern Warmbloods are descended from heavier agricultural types systematically upgraded by hotblood influence, the term does not imply that Warmbloods are direct crosses of "cold" and "hot".

There. That's what a quick trip to Wiki-land tells us.

And how about "Dressage"? Dressage (pronounced /ˈdrɛsɑːʒ/ or /drɨˈsɑːʒ/) (a French term, most commonly translated to mean "training") is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics. Its fundamental purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse's natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse. At the peak of a dressage horse's gymnastic development, it can smoothly respond to a skilled rider's minimal aids by performing the requested movement while remaining relaxed and appearing effortless. Dressage is occasionally referred to as "Horse Ballet".

There. I think we've all learned something from that.And just LOOK at all the nifty links that came along with it! Thank you Wiki-land.

I don't have the terms down, but I will tell you riding Odette was the very best ride I ever did have in my life to date. It's what I dreamed about growing up and wanting horses. She made me feel when any single littlest bit of me was off. She taught me things.

Ok, to be honest what she first made me feel was shaking. I felt like I'd had a double latte, downed in minutes. I didn't know if today would be the day I got to ride her, but when I came in and saw her, and warmbloods are not TINY as a rule, I SHOOK. My head wasn't afraid, I trust my trainer, if she thinks I can do it, I will, but my body was terrified.

It passed. Never had a moments unease.

Ok, wait. Just the one. All I will say about it if you are going to wear SPURS, remember you have them ON, and if you are cantering make SURE you take your leg OFF, or your horse might get a tab irritated about the, uh, spurring. It does not slow down under these circumstances. It was a good thing tho, in that I now know even if my brain is saying "OH SHIT WHAT NOW" it will still hear my trainer, very, very clearly. And the women knows what she is doing. The incident was minor and I will NEVER forget about SPURS again.

There. I have related tales from my lesson, a funny witticism and given you some educational things to read, complete with links. (Tho I must admit, they came on their own)

I can't do more. I can't TELL you what happened inside, or what it meant to me, riding Odette today, or how grateful I am to her owner for such a gift. I can't TELL you about what it means to be learning the things I learn in my lessons, and indeed, can't TELL you what they are. I can't TELL you about how they are leading me in new places that are where I've always wanted to be. And I can't TELL you what it feels like.

Those are the things you need to discover for yourselves.

Go, and find your own Floaty Magic.

It's there, you know.

And then you will know what I can't TELL you, too.

Love and Floaty Magic,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Night Gardens With Bengals and Horses....

First and coolest news tonight is that the Night Garden Shop is now open and up! This is a shop full of all the sorts of things we'd like to find in a Night Garden, based on art created by people, lots of people, for the Night Garden Website.

Lots of Fiends contributed, and indeed, the site is ongoing. We'd love to see anyone's idea about what your Night Garden would look like. Any medium, no rules. No write or wrong, as long as your heart is there. We made it up, we dreamed about it, and now it IS.

The second coolest thing about the Night Garden Shop is the 100% of the proceeds go to Great Lakes Bengal Rescue, to help save Bengals in need, the cause that is nearest and dearest to my Heart.

The first coolest thing about this shop is that a group of Fiends got together and did it all on their own, donating time, space, work and art. They made it happen. I knew nothing.

I want to live in this Garden. And I want them all with me.

There will be Bengals too, that have homes, because of the Night Garden. That LIVE because of the Night Garden.

And that makes a difference.

Thank you, Fiends. I love you.

I think I should write on something else before I start getting all teary. This is Romy. Dim and I are parting ways. He's not the horse for me, he will make someone a wonderful horse, but he's not going where I am. (Got a GREAT deal on a 6 year old Arab gelding, if you're looking)

I want to study Dressage. After only about six weeks, I suspect that it is something I could spend the rest of my life learning. I love it. It's like Yoga when it's perfect, or music when it, well, musics right. it's the most perfect union between horse and rider that can BE.

Caveat here: For me. There are any number of OTHER types of riding where one can achieve the same feeling, like FIT, it's all about works for you. My friend Horsetrainer Mel gets it. It's what speaks to you, what moves you, and how you hear music and poetry, what Dreams you dream, in your secret heart. Different things call to every person. Listen.

Romy isn't mine, but She Who Owns It All, my trainer, who is teaching me, is letting me ride her while I learn. Having Dim was good, because it led me to finding what I really wanted, the kind of riding I want to do. (Not to mention the Friends I have now, thru having Dim, the reconnecting with horses, and for figuring stuff OUT) and doing the dressage, and Studying with She Who Owns It All (I really need a shorter name for her) has opened up the door for the FIT thing, can't be out of shape and DO this. And the FIT thing is making me stronger, more determined, less stressed, and is trickling down into every bit of my life. And is going to give me everything I ever wanted.

It's about Growing, changing, and reaching. Being Alive, if that isn't getting too sappy.

So, I'm, literally, working my ass (and a nice one it is, thank you) off.

Paths are strange, they can twist at any moment, but if you are paying attention, they will lead you where you need to go.

Find yours.

There will be a Night Garden there.

Love and Gardens,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Again, By Popular Demand, Way Too Many Bengal Pictures...

There haven't been any Bengals in far too long here on this Blog! I believe firmly, if a women is going to live with five Leopards, she ought to post a few pictures from time to time. So tonight, all Bengals. Not a word about FIT, or how sore I am, or how I got saddened today trying to Roller Blade with the Dog.

That's F2 King Lear the Huge in the Forest Bedroom.

And King Lear the Huge a little closer.

Ok, maybe a word or two about how I got saddened trying to Roller Blade with the Dog. I should have been HAPPY. After all, neither of us was injured. We got out in the sunshine. Lola needed a run, and I had no workout planned. All good things. But I didn't get very far. Total leg Goo. Pain. The Muscles (if there were any) failed. Three years ago, I did that entire trail, albeit without a dog on leash, but now? I can't do it.

And I think that's the hardest thing about getting FIT again, is that it's going to take time. You work as hard as you can, and each time you get a little further, each time you fail, you get up and DO IT THE HECK AGAIN.

And you never never never give up.

But I didn't have any mental reserves. I'm tired. In my body and head. I've been working out, as of today, for three weeks. I had gigs the last two nights. It's all gone.

That's the danger point. How do you keep going when there's nothing there, and you are saddened?

This is Lear's friend, Little Queen Mab. She watches things. And considers them carefully.

Lear is very protective of Mab. He worries for her. Nothing worries Queen Mab. Lear worries less than he used to. He has learned how to believe, and to trust.

This is like some sort of out-take shot from Bengals Illustrated. Like "What the heck? Where's our cue? What's our motivation? We'll be in our dressing room, get some decent crew"

Cats know how to stretch for what they want. And when to relax and when a nap is just exactly what's needed. Mim is also good about pissing on something to make a point. She makes that point. Every time.

F1 Magic and Venus share the Purple Chaise in the Romance Room. Magic let me tickle his tummy for the first time when I came home today. He's a part of us now, tho it took a very long time to get there, it's worth it. Many, many times over.

Here's Magic and the Swam Soup Tureen, which I keep on the floor in the Romance Room since I can't imagine having people over for dinner and bringing out the soup in it. What I really wonder tho about it was who made it, what did they dream of, and what path led them to see that dream thru? You can dream dreams and end up with a Swan Tureen. But if you aren't on that path,if you aren't HERE, you never will be.

See how well I can wax philosophical when I have had very little sleep, and very many workouts? The mind will get there. And so will the body.

I think the answer to how you keep going when there's nothing there is you simply do. You stay on that path. You skate further on that trail every day and you never never never give up.

And at the end, there's Venus. With the Stardust Dress standing gauard in the Romance Room.

Love and Bengals,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cabal the Frankendog comes home to a Flood....

Cabal is home from the Doggie Hospital. All seemed to go well, now he just needs to recover for 4-6 weeks and then should be good to GO! The one thing we've noticed since he got back this afternoon is that he is GRUMPY, which means Lola is being told in no uncertain terms her place in the pack. She gets it. Here's a picture taken by my Boss, as I have none.

Here's another Boss picture of me and Les Klinger, walking thru the flooded woods! This is the biggest flood we have seen in, well, ever. Both sides of the creek jumped their bed, and moved out into the forest. The Bees are sitting on what we call "Bee Island" more of a peninsula really, but "Bee Peninsula" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. Lola, Les and I are walking down what is actually a path, not a river. We had the Plan to go down all the way, and see our bridge that's underwater, but backed off from the idea. Rushing water, wet, airport run coming up, sanity, take your pick. When the water got to the tops of the boots, we were out of there.

I love this picture. It's one of the coolest pictures of me in years (Except for that one when I played with AFP, nothing will top that shot) , because when I looked at it, me and my BUTT, in stretch pants, my first thought was "Go girl, looking good!" and not "Oh Gods, that isn't ME"

Yeah, that IS me.

And I'm feeling pretty happy about that these days.

That BUTT is going to skate with Roller Girls, run in a 5K, show dressage, and wear some pretty amazing clothes that have been gathering dust in my closet where the skeletons used to live.

Watch me.

(I think I meant, grammatically, "watch IT" but "Watch my BUTT" seemed like a funny way to end a blog about Dogs and Flooding)

Love and Floods,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dogs, ALPACAS and Me....

Cabal goes in to the U of M vets today and has his TPLO surgery tomorrow. That's to repair a torn tendon on his back leg, he had the other leg done last year and can now use it perfectly. He will be laid up for 6 weeks or so, no stairs, no running, no outside off leash, but after that, he ought to be good to GO! (Once again let me say what a GREAT idea Doggie Health Insurance is.)

We hope to have him home by Thursday, if all goes well, possibly even Wednesday.

The not pictured today Puppy Lola has her first Dog School Class tonight. I know, you say "But Lorraine, we thought she already went to Dog School and took that class????" That was the last session. This is a new session. She did well last time but has not mastered the concept of "Other dogs are friends and not something you try and kill" so she is taking it again. Lucky for her fellow Dog Students.

People have been captioning my ALPACA photo, REALLY funny, here's a link to the responses. Also, I'd better clarify, they are not my ALPACAs . (No, I don't know why I feel the need to write ALPACA all in caps, I just DO.) I do not have an ALPACA, nor am I planning on getting one, tho I did enter the "Win a free ALPACA" drawing, and just exactly how funny would that be??? I just like them. They are cute. And sweet. Not like Llama (Sorry Joan of Dark!) who are arrogant and disdainful. Ok, so these guys don't look FRIENDLY exactly, but they make the BEST noises. I need to sample ALPACA talk on my next cd. Here's a link to a sort of ALPACA Zen Meditation. (If you're up for it, You Tube has WAY more ALPACA noise vid's than one would think likely.)

Here's today insptational photo. That's my Naptown Roller Girls jersey with my number 12 and Roller Girl name on it, sent to me by ACTUAL Naptown Roller Girl, Joan of Dark! I keep it on the board in my office (along with a Dr Who calendar still on July apparently and a handy Ukulele) as it does not currently FIT me. It's tight.

It will not be come end of October, and I will wear it when I meet these Roller Girls at House on the Rock.

There WILL be pictures.

Love and ALPACAS,

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Really Blue Ribbons and Really Me....

Here you are! The biggest news of ALL! Yes, here is our Honey with the Blue Ribbons, third year in a row! We are so very proud of the Bees. And if I do say so myself, of ME (And Woodsman Hans) who went down and stole the stuff. Wasn't easy, and we both got STUNG HORRIBLY! Ok, once each, but STILL. We did it, fought for it, extracted it (Well again, not the comb, it being by nature NOT extracted) and got it to the fair on time!

We haven't done horse pictures in a while, so here's some Dim and me. Haven't, to be frank, done me pictures in a while. That's changing. Going to be ME all over the place. Been going to the gym for 13 days now, and guess what? Feels great. And can only get better. I'm not waiting till the end and doing BEFORE and AFTER pics. I'm doing it ALL. Before, during and after.

No more hiding. Anything.

This is what I look like. Ok, well, not exactly this picture. Bad advert for the new hair, but here's the real true what you look like after riding around on Mr Sassy Pants in the 80 degree heat for a while, in your smashingly fashionable purple helmet.

Three guesses, first one right wins a prize: Where do I keep my horse treats while riding. (Hint: I have no pockets.)

This shot, taken by our own Fiend Gayle, who is out here with me today, and in fact sitting patiently while I type this, makes me happy. It's kind of, yeah, here's the end of the day. I worked hard. And had fun.

And love everything.

Kind of the point, eh?

Love and Blue Ribbons,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm Just A Little Black Rain Cloud, Hovering Over a Honey Tree....

The Country X Fair starts on Wednesday this week! For the past two years running, our honey has taken the blue ribbon, in both extracted honey, and comb honey. We want to keep the title, and one must deliver the soon to be prize winning honey Tuesday afternoon.

Which meant someone needed to go out today and, well, not to put to fine a point on it: Steal some from the bees. Boss and the Birdchick both being gone, it fell to Woodsman Hans and I to nip down and steal it.

The green hive seemed the likeliest candidate for this, being tall and full of supers, but we checked the yellow hive first. Also tall-ish, and very mellow. No problems there, but not enough comb honey.

The Green Hive was mean from the get go. The dogs were staying far away, IN the truck in fact. We'd walked down, and Hans drove, so we wouldn't have to carry back our ill gotten gains, but they were NOT coming near. Smart dogs.

I'm not sure why they were so mad, honey stealing aside. I am not the Bee Expert. Boss and Birdchick are. We had the smoker, we wore bee suits, we went in calmly and quickly, our goal a frame of comb honey and a frame of Ross Rounds for Comb. We had to go down a few supers (Small boxes of frames) to find full ones we could take, and the bees were PISSED.

Took about 3 minutes for me to get stung, thru the beesuit. Another couple and Hans was stung. Cabal too. (He just wanted to BEE with us) It's stressful. I don't enjoy this, swarms of angry bees all bonking and buzzing and stinging.

We got two mostly full frames, and dropped them in the bucket, smoking, trying for being calm, and went in for Ross Rounds. At this point we just wanted out, bees were everywhere, angry, the Ross Rounds were glued in with propolis (Which can rival, say, SUPER GLUE as a sticking thing) and everything, including us, was FREAKING COVERED IN BEES! Hans suggested scramming, coming back later, and questioning exactly just how badly did we want a ribbon for Comb Honey this year. I agreed with his thoughts in principal but the two things that stopped me from fleeing were; one, I knew I wasn't coming back and two, Boss and the Birdchick were counting on ME to make this happen.

Assistants get pretty powerful if their Bosses are depending on them, and only them, to get something done.

I think the thought that went thru my head was: I AM FUCKING GETTING THAT ROSS ROUND BEES OR NO WHATEVER IT TAKES I WILL WIN STING ME YOU BITCHES I WANT THAT ROUND! Neither Zen, nor Pooh, but there you have it.

As you can see, I won. Of course. There is no failure. Two of the rounds look really nice and I will take one to the Fair tomorrow. The other two were pretty Funky and had to be cut out of their roundframes.

This looks like "The World According to Honey" but it is the comb and honey scrapped into a bucket, and mashed up.

The mash, with honey now flowing freely, mixed with comb is now ready to be drained thru cheesecloth. I will jar it up in pint jars and pick the most perfect for the Fair!

Ah. Yes. The Bucket of Bees Story. I did promise you that too. Well, we put the frames onto a Bucket so they would not drip everywhere, as honey does, but we could not get all the bees off right away, at first. We put the bucket in the back of the car, and that's where the trouble started, as Lola and Pearl were DETERMINED to get in the car too. Got them out. They got back in. Repeat this a few times, try flipping a blanket over your bucket of buzzing bees (who WILL stay and protect their honey no matter what, apparently) until the thing is begining to take on aspects of a Srewball comedy or farce, as the Dogs jump in, get dragged out and the bees buzz everywhere, except remember you have just had a really stressful time stealing honey and the bees are NOT HAPPY and any moment a dog is going to get stung, as you keep hauling them out.....

All I know is:

We'd better win those Blue Ribbons.

Love and Bees,