Archive for May, 2011

May 27, 2011

Love Tennis

I love biking, tennis and soul food.

That’s what I was thinking when I was riding to work yesterday. But I couldn’t think long, because I kept stopping to snap pictures of peonies.

I played tennis two nights this week. And thus, my energy for blogging has waned. I’ve been waking up all creaky from the tennis, but then anxious to play again. Last night Dan invited me to play for the third night in a row (Thanks Dan!). But instead, I chose sangria and soul food with girlfriends (Thanks Angelique & Cindy) at the fabulous Melba’s in Harlem (Thanks Larry for the recommendation).

I discovered when we walked back to unlock my bike after Melba’s that Harlem was spinning and there was something stronger than white wine in those white sangrias!  So I stuck to biking through the safety of Central Park not the mean city streets.

And even though I didn’t play tennis last night, I woke up today, again, all creaky and achey. Tennis or sangria? Pick your poison. You’ll pay in the morning.

Just stop on the way to smell the flowers.

May 18, 2011

Walking to Work

The rain is getting to me. I am going to walk the 45 blocks to work today.

Due to some burst pipe at my office building, my noontime yoga and Pilates classes have been cancelled for the last two weeks. I have discovered just how much I need those classes to combat my stress.

Just yesterday, I was walking the girls to school and heading for the subway. After a particularly stressful morning of finishing science projects before 8 am, I was thinking Wouldn’t it be great if I smoked? I could just blow smoke and watch the cars drive by?

And as I thought that, who should I see walking towards me, but my yoga teacher, Shane? Seeing her was a sign to make the healthy choices in handling life’s stresses.

We chatted a few minutes about when our classes will resume. Shane hoped by tomorrow. It’s always funny to bump into someone out of context. And as I’ve said before, my exercise teachers are the most gorgeous and nicest people you will ever meet.

I don’t know why I have been more worried lately — my husband’s Parkinson’s disease, his extended family’s financial situations, paying for the kids’ camps and tuition bills — I don’t know, just worried. 

And so here we stand, mid-week through a forecast of rain and gloom every day. If it’s only drizzling, I can walk and think today.

I must remember my 7 Rules. http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/about/ And the things that always make me happy:  travel, parties, museums, art, hanging out with friends, working out, and getting a good night’s sleep. And so I will commit to these things. I’ll start with a walk in the rain.

May 15, 2011

Loehmann’s Fitting Room

There’s nothing like a visit to Loehmann’s communal fitting room to motivate you to work out!

That’s what I was thinking last night  as I was trying on summer dresses, bras, and, bathing suits in Loehmann’s changing space — you can’t really call it a room. A room implies there are boundaries. And boundaries are in short supply.

At one point the friendly gal beside me reached over to straighten my twisted bra strap. That rattled me. But I laughed, “Gotta get a new sports bra ’cause after looking in the mirrors here, I gotta work out!”

“Oh, nothing new for me — I’ve had weight problems my whole life,” she told me. “I’m shopping for clothes for my new job. My first real job!”

“Congrats! Hey those are cute!” I pointed to her black pants.

That’s an unwritten rule in the communal fitting room — you can compliment an outfit, but  you can’t criticize it. And apparently you can straighten one another’s bra straps.

Although I was embarrassed by every one seeing every part of me, one consolation is that I can see every one too. (Not that I looked. I’m just sayin’!)

I tried to keep my eyes and my body to my little space, trying on four out of the five dresses hanging on the hook. All a bit snug.

I hope it’s not bragging to tell you that on most of my visits to the fitting room, just about every single item looks great on me. But not so last night.

Although the red dress, the last one, worked.

In the cashier line I barely recognized my fitting room mate with her clothes on.

I said, “Hey, I’m getting the red dress!”

“Great!” She smiled, happy for me. There’ s nothing like the banter about purchases and camaraderie between women who’ve been naked together.

“Good luck with your new job!”

“Good night!”

This morning I woke before the family and I ran for 18 minutes. I think I went a mile. Then I picked up bagels.

May 14, 2011

Room for Bikes

With no fanfare a bike room opened in the basement of 475 Riverside Drive, the Interchurch Center.

Bikes now have their own bright room. (Thanks, I think, to the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and Bike New York who have both moved into the building within the last five years.)

Bikes used to live in a corner overshadowed by the exhaust fumes of the cars. The bikes knew they were second class citizens to the cars. Heck, I knew. And I didn’t really want to admit tell my bike.

The bike racks were in a dusty corner. On more than one occasion, I bumped my head against the fire alarm and knocked my shin against my pedal getting the bike in or out.

I know I shouldn’t anthropomorphize my bike any more

— the way I anthropomorphize ice cream

http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/public-school-rules/

or my creativity http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/good-enough/.

Bikes aren’t human. They don’t get crushes on other bikes as I’ve previously reported.

See https://runningaground.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/damn-you-gary-fisher/

But I can’t stop. My bike is my child. As my real children get older, I still have my good old bike. It will live with me always. It needs its own room. As a teen it needs privacy. But, as a parent, I still need know what it is doing in there.

Like children, biking in New York City has grown up without me noticing. Mine used to be one of a few bikes in the basement. But now there are more than a dozen — more fun for my bike to play with.

May 2, 2011

5 Boro Bike Tour

Coming back on the ferry

I did it. Along with more than 30,000 other bicyclists. The 5 boro bike tour. I can cross it off my bucket list.

I started around 8 am in Manhattan right before Central Park South. (I’d heard the beginning of the tour at Battery Park was a zoo so skipped to the Park.) I finished 45 miles and four hours later in Staten Island.

After a while, all the bridges and boros (boroughs) looked the same. Was I in Brooklyn or Queens? I knew it wasn’t the Bronx because that leg of the tour was brief.

Occasionally a family would be picnicking on their front steps, cheering us on. That felt good. I’d yell to them, “Thanks! We love Brooklyn.” Then I’d wonder, ‘Are we in Brooklyn? Or do I love Queens?’

Although I ride my bike almost every day to work, I’m not  a spandex-wearing hottie. In fact, I only just bought bike shorts for the tour. (Still, my tush is a little sore today!)

I usually use my bike just to get someplace. Yesterday, my bike got me to every boro and then at the end, I got to the NYU Hospital. Not for a problem though. It was a celebration for all kids who have had heart problems called the Mend-A-Heart party. My kids love this annual party. And my son is so proud, “Look because of my heart problems, you get to go to this great party!” Yay for broken hearts that are repaired!

Back to the tour — my new bike rocked. It’s a hybrid, not a racing back like most of the bikes on the tour.

I think this was Brooklyn

I was glad I had a basket to throw my banana peels and health bar wrappers into. Also, I could peel off layers of clothing as the sun and exertion warmed me. Occasionally after hitting a pothole, I had to pat down the contents of my basket while riding so my water bottle wouldn’t go flying.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Of the 5 bridges you cross on the 5 boro bike tour, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at Mile 35 was the deadliest. It just kept climbing for miles and miles and miles. At several points going up, I had a mirage that there — just ahead — it was about to go downhill. But no. It was completely uphill the whole way. Okay, maybe the last two minutes I hit some down hill.

I was thinking that whole way up — what goes up must come down. Then just when I felt like giving up, I was inspired by my friend P’s text, “Stay strong,” she wrote. “Free massages at the end.”

But I didn’t need one of those free massages, I just needed to lay down in the green grass of Staten Island. Really exhausted and really proud.