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Guest Post: Paolo on Time Travel! August 25, 2010

I’m really happy to introduce my blog friends to Paolo, who is one of the youngest and most energetic members of my solo performance community. His show is amazing, and in many ways strangely echoes my own, even though I’m like old enough to be his grandma (okay, maybe his mama). He’s also a fitness blogger and I am excited for you all to get to know him. Take it away, Paolo!!

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June 2009: 220 lbs

I’m slightly obsessed with time travel mechanics, and recently I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to do if I had access to a time displacement machine. I’d go back ten years to when I was a freshman in high school. Specifically, high school boys PE class.

On good days we’d have open gym (which was code word for talking about DSL connection speeds in the weight room with the other nerdy kids). On bad days we had organized sports (sometimes with the girls PE class – score?). But before that knowing what we’d be doing for the day, we’d run the mile. And by mile, we were running around the block four times. I used to huff, puff, wheeze and sing Sex Pistols songs while trying to survive the mile. To which I was usually assailed with snide remarks about my lack of fitness.

So back to that time displacement machine. Upon reaching the desired temporal destination of ten years ago I would confront of smug a-holes with, “HEY! THIS IS PAOLO FROM TEN YEARS IN THE FUTURE AND YOU’D BETTER KNOW THAT A DECADE FROM NOW I’LL BE ABLE TO RUN A MILE AND WILL HAVE THE EQUALIVANT OR GREATER FITNESS OF AN AVERAGE HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN. Also, all of you will die in a tragic bear raping incident in a rock quarry in 2008.”

That last part would just be me screwing with them. Although, who knows, I might have be able to influence that time line by planting the idea in their head. Kind of like going back in time to stop the Great Chicago Fire, only to inadvertently start it.

Needless to say, I can run a mile just okay now. I never was the ‘fit’ kid growing up, and after working for a year (consistently, I might add) at this losing weight business (and keeping it off), life recently is feeling like that montage in the first Spiderman where Peter Parker is discovering his powers for the first time. Going up the steps to my therapist’s office and NOT getting winded? Not breaking out in a flop sweat after walking ten minutes to Walgreen’s? Being able to fit in medium sized shirts after years of wearing extra large? Able to run a mile okay without cursing the world? What in the world?

To borrow a quote from The Simpsons:
Skinner: Bart Simpson on the side of law and order? Has the world gone topsy-turvy?
Bart: That’s right, man. I got my first taste of authority…and I liked it.

And this is after all the years of false starts and stops, poring over Men Health’s at Borders, grandiose plans relayed to my family of a sweeping lifestyle reform, that one time I thought I wanted to be a fighter and got kicked in the face, compromises reverting back to bad habits because I could fit into a large shirt and not feel like a stuffed sausage, the one time I ate an entire Popeye’s 24 piece family meal by myself. I would like to add that unemployment is terribly conducive to weight loss.

Maybe as a twenty-three (four in…two weeks [as of this writing]) year old, and as a former fat kid, there is something…I cherish about finally being able to do things now that would have been flights of fancy for me less than a year ago. And not taking it for granted. Which means keeping myself accountable for what I do/eat – although I am not above bacon cheeseburgers with two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon inside them as buns. Not above at all.

I don’t talk to those kids from my old high school at all, but there’s a tiny part of me that hopes that despite their athletic abilities and state championship game winning basketball shots in high school, that they’re working at a gas station with a belly swollen with fat and unfulfilled dreams. Or, killed in a tragic bear raping incident in a stone quarry. Oh, youthful arrogance.

August 2010: 160 lbs

Paolo Sambrano is a solo performer whose debut full length show, “Bi-Poseur” premieres on September 2 in San Francisco. When he’s not attempting to blog on his ‘performer’ page at PaoloSambrano.com, he’s talking about making bacon cheeseburgers with grilled cheese sandwiches (with bacon inside) as buns or working with kettlebells, at his health/fitness/food Tumblr, I Get Wet. He’s also on Twitter, @paolo.

 

When Imaginary Friends Become Real May 18, 2010

It’s a funny thing about online friends. Some people have lots of them, but never meet them. Some people basically can’t imagine befriending someone they’ve “never met.” But I’ve been making friends like this for over 15 years now, and a few of my nearest and dearest I once met in cyberspace.

This weekend I got to meet one of Foodie McBody’s first friends. Someone who reached out to me when I was in a vulnerable and shaky spot here. When I didn’t have any confidence that I could reach ANY of my goals, and who has basically cheered me from afar, invisibly, for over a year.

I finally got to meet Superwoman Spirit Shannon. She IS a superwoman in my eyes. And when we met, the fact that we first knew each other online just vanished in about three seconds. First I hugged her. Then I began laughing hysterically at the GIANT suitcase (plus another smaller one) that she had lugged with her for her visit of 3 days!

We had the most amazing time together. Working out (every day!), eating, talking, laughing. It was very very hard to let her go last night. Here’s a little photo album/recap of our time together.

Fresh off the plane, she came to my WW meeting!

First she came to my WW meeting. This was such a big deal because the weekly meeting topic was “The Importance of Support.” How timely, right? My “prop” to open the meeting was a box of Kleenex because every time I looked in her direction, I started tearing up. I told the story of how she had supported me for so long and how I never could have kept it up without her friendship. I almost started bawling. All true!

Shan, DJ and me!

Shan is killing the Ropes of Doom!

The next day, I took her to see my awesome trainer Doug Jones. He welcomed her with open arms and a killer workout. She did GREAT. She totally beat me on the jumpropes (my personal nemesis) and held her own on the ropes of doom. DJ loved to yell, “UTAHHH in the HOUSE!” LOL.

After she spent a day at work with me, we visited her first Whole Foods where I introduced her to Fage yogurt and other delights. That was a trip! Friday night, I took her to her first author reading  – Kate Moses reading from her very foodie memoir, Cakewalk, at the awesome Great Good Place for Books. We ran into a friend of mine. I introduced Shannon and the friend asked how we met. When we said “online,” the friend gave us the most CURIOUS look, like WTH?! Really?!?! Yeah really! The reading was really powerful. I am looooving this book and will be reviewing it as soon as I finish.

On Saturday, we took a hike through the foggy forest near my house and I got to point out the Imaginary View. (how apropos!) Then we took off for a super whirlwind tour of San Francisco that was truly only the tip of the iceberg. She has to come back! There is so much more to see and do (and eat, LOL).

First stop: Chinatown. Dim sum. (her first) YUM!

yum yum dim sum!

Then we drove around San Francisco. We had to do Lombard Street.  It’s so ridiculous and cheesy and touristy (and CHOKED with tourists wielding cameras) but I love it. Views of Alcatraz. North Beach. Japantown. FUN: I took her to get some (first time) manju at Benkyodo, then we went to the best stationery store on earth, we snarfed down a strawberry & ice cream crepe at Sophie’s Crepes, and had a riot in the Pika Pika sticker booth. (oh that reminds me I have to scan our pics!) Then I took her through the Haight, Golden Gate Park to wave at the buffalo, through my old neighborhood (outer Richmond, 43rd & Balboa!) and to my favorite park in the world, where I introduced her to my favorite tree (she has the photo of this, will have to link later!). Then we went to the almost-completely fogged in Golden Gate Bridge and nearly froze our tootsies off walking about halfway across and back. BRRRRR!!

brrrrrr Golden Gate Bridge is in there somewhere

After that we hightailed it back to Oakland for a yummy Indian dinner (another first for Shannon and hey Mikey! she liked it!!) Then home. Collapse.

mmm veggies!

Sunday morning! Farmers Market. Shannon bought some super-juicy mandarin oranges and some sugar snap peas as healthy souvenirs for her family. Then I had to bring Shannon to her very first Nia class. Of course she LOVED IT and is now scheming how to get to one in Utah. It was truly an awesome class (thanks Danielle!) which featured TWO Michael Jackson songs, the theme from Flashdance, Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” (which totally flipped me out with its mention of Gollum) and a song about being grateful for friends that got me ALL choked up. Good good times! Great sweat!

The rest of Sunday I hunkered down with my script and prepared for my show. Wow that was great. I was the headliner (which I didn’t find out till I arrived at the theater)! Woo hoo! So many awesome friends showed up, including Pubsgal (another type-2 diabetes and 5k runner kindred spirit!) and Dailykat from the blogger/Twittersphere. (hey, you know, any Twitter or blogger friends who come to my show will get a SHOUT-OUT from the stage – I’ll write you into my script, no kidding!) It was a little nervewracking waiting to go last, but my other performance stars ROCKED and were just amazing. (note to locals! or visitors! LAST CHANCE to see show this Sunday at City Solo! Buy tickets QUICK before they sell out!)

After the show we went over to Mel’s Diner for a bite. I was raveeeeeeeennnnouusssly hungry after expending about a million calories of nervous energy. Big fun to hang out together!

It was an incredibly special weekend. I loved every minute I spent with Shannon. We have so much in common, even beyond health and fitness, it’s almost surreal. The time went by WAY too quickly and now I can only wait hopefully for the next time. For any of you who have not yet met an “imaginary friend” in real life, I really recommend it.

 

From Blog to Stage April 9, 2010

This Tuesday night was truly an amazing experience for me. It was the night that this blog, I don’t know, turned 3-D. I showed a theaterful of people what FoodFoodBodyBody was all about. And I have to say, I loved every minute of it.

I had already done a mini-version of the show for my friends in Costa Rica. They enjoyed it a lot and gave me some extremely helpful last-minute feedback, so I could do some little tweaking before the Big Night.

I wasn’t very nervous. I was just happy, and excited. I got a little bit of butterflies in my stomach while I was on the train going to San Francisco, but then I took a look at my notes and it calmed me. When I got to the theater I discovered that I would be going last. Which was both exciting and nervewracking. The great thing about going first, of course, is that you get to relax and then enjoy everyone else’s piece. But I was okay. I just felt good about all of it. My classmates went and I was just so excited for them, and thrilled to see THEIR amazing work.

Finally it was my turn. I don’t know. It just… happened. I know this story so well. It just went, and I could feel everyone so WITH me. At one point, I came to a scene where I was about to get on the scale. It’s a big moment. I cross my fingers, and I say, “Cross your fingers!” (unplanned) And I looked up and saw this sea of arms up, fingers crossed!!! It was just… wow. And it made me feel EXACTLY like I do when I post something here, or on Twitter, and ask for support, and everyone comes forth. It was just so great. The show was videotaped so I am hoping to have a little trailer to put up on YouTube at some point.

After the show was over, I got to talk to my awesome friends who had come out, and that made me really happy. But THEN a bunch of people who I DIDN’T KNOW started coming up to me and saying really nice things.  One guy said, “You made me LAUGH my ASS off.. but then..” his face got serious. “I have prediabetes too. And I guess I better pay attention to that.” It got really serious, really quick. And he thanked me and it just made me get all choked up. But then someone ELSE came up to me, this guy – and he said – “This is my story, too.” And he gave me his card – and I was like, OMG.  This dude has lost a ton of weight and really changed his life. Check out the documentary movie about his life! And his blog! (Note that he had his change-of-life-moment at Cafe Gratitude, which I actually made a lot of fun of once – but hey, if it worked for him, I am glad for him!)

This kept on and on. THREE MORE people came up and said they had prediabetes. Which was like, freaky, in a not very big theater. But it made me super glad too. That not only had I provided some entertainment, but maybe I could make a difference in someone’s health too. That REALLY made me get a lump in my throat.

Really amazing things have happened since then. People had such a great response, it made me so happy. THEN…

Yesterday I was invited by the two producers of City Solo, an amazing solo performance series in San Francisco, to be part of their May lineup!  Yahooooo! Do you know what that means? That means that the wonderful Superwoman Spirit Shannon, formerly of the Fabulous Fatties (who have cameo role in the show!!) will be able to attend when she comes to visit in May! I am beside myself with excitement. So, I will be performing on May 16th AND on May 23rd! Woooo!

Today I got my hair cut. I am still, er… getting used to it. But tomorrow I am going to have a professional PHOTO SHOOT (publicity for City Solo). I think the photos are going to be really fun. Seriously, if you would have said the words “photo shoot,” “headshots,” or “marathon relay” to me at any point in 2008, I would have laughed until I keeled over. And then cried.

I’m just… I don’t know. Overwhelmed with excitement and happiness about it all. Here’s a pic of me and my fellow performers (and awesome director/teacher) right before showtime. Yahoo!



 

Takin’ It To the Stage February 20, 2010


Hen & Chickens Empty Stage

Originally uploaded by Simon Scott

MizFitonline requested that I blog a bit about my solo performance thing. I know that some people are like, WTF? is that? and WHY would you do such a thing!!

I don’t know. It’s maybe because I am a total ham? Or because I think solo performance is one of the most amazing art forms on earth. What is solo performance, you may wonder.

It’s basically storytelling, alone, on a stage, (actually WITHOUT a microphone, too, but I liked the feel of this photo I found) including acting stuff out. It’s not just standing there with a microphone and talking. It’s living… the story.

I first started taking this awesome solo performance workshop when I saw a friend perform her piece. I was absolutely awestruck, moved, blown away, and WOW. I had never done any acting before in my LIFE but something about this form just really got to me. I asked her “Where did you learn this stuff?” and signed up for the next available class.

That’s when I was introduced to the amazing W. Kamau Bell and the whole “SPW” community. It’s an incredible thing to work with people who are putting it out there in an honest, real, intense, explosive, poetic, artistic way. It’s really amazing. I have come to love these people very much. Many people who started off in SPW now have their own full-length shows that are wildly successful and amazing.

I took two “semesters” of SPW back in 2007 and they were cathartic and fantastic experiences. But then I got really busy with stuff and also felt like I didn’t have a whole lot more to say. IN addition, I was feeling really self conscious on stage. Because of my weight. Both times, my shows were videotaped but after taking a five-second peek, I felt like I was unable to watch either one. I was mortified. I just felt… UGH.

Just a few months ago, I started getting the Itch again. The urge to tell a story. This time I want to tell the Foodie McBody story. To read this blog from beginning to now, is so full of drama! and angst! and triumph and heartbreak and love. I love this story.

Now, the job is to squish it down into 20 minutes and bring it to life. I’m working on it. Working hard. And the show (the first show) will be (NOT on March 28th thank goodness!) on April 6th in San Francisco. Oooooooh how I would love to have some of my blogreaders out in the audience.

I am in love with this form of expression and very excited about the Foodie McBody story, so who knows, it just might expand (I hope it will) and just may one day end up in a city near YOU.

 

Trying to Laugh With a Frozen Face April 6, 2009

Tonight I went to a solo performance show, featuring four performers who are showcasing their work after a solo performance class that I used to take. It’s great to go to these shows, to check out the new and amazing talent as well as to see old friends and “alums” from the class. It’s truly a fantastic community and one that I dearly love and appreciate.

The show tonight featured two old friends of mine and two “newbies” whom I knew nothing about. I was really anticipating the new stuff.  The third performer opened her act by coming out on stage and whispering, “Shhh……it’s 3 in the morning in a small town in the Midwest. There’s a 13 year old girl in there sleeping, or…?” She morphs into a mother, bending over her daughter’s bed, yelling somewhat hysterically, “HONEY! ARE YOU HAVING A REACTION?!?”

I froze for a moment. Reaction. Reaction. OMG. This was going to be a piece about… could it be? Diabetes. Oh god.

Yes indeedy. It was a piece about diabetes. The actor stepped to the front of the stage to narrate the goings-on. “Yes. I have had diabetes since I was eight years old. I have TYPE ONE diabetes, not to be confused with TYPE TWO diabetes, of which there is an EPIDEMIC these days, because people are running around eating too many Big Macs.”  And then she went on to tell her diabetes life story, getting lots of laughs along the way.

This is when I officially left my body, my back pressed as far back into the seat it would go, and I think I probably missed the next five minutes of the show. I felt attacked, embarrassed, mortified, defensive, shocked.

I’ve only been part of the “diabetes community” for, um… five days now? And in my surfing around on various forums and websites I’ve detected a distinct feeling of animosity and hostility from Diabetes type-1 people toward Diabetes type-2 people. The sentiment seems to be something like, people with type-1 Diabetes are innocent children who did nothing to deserve this terrible fate, while type-2 Diabetes people are obese, sendentary pigs who BROUGHT THIS ON THEMSELVES.

Look. I know that being overweight is a risk factor for developing diabetes. I was overweight for many years (and still am, to a lesser degree). But jeez.

There is so much ignorance and misinformation out there. So of course D1 people feel outraged and indignant when people who Don’t Know Any Better say things like, “you probably ate too many candy bars!” But then to take it out on other people who have diabetes?

Suddenly, I feel tired. And sad.

 

 
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