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50th birthday

Friends with Snow Again

Sargent Wilderness Area, Chama, New Mexico

By the time I’d gotten to the heaviest of my Before phase, I had become a true hater of snow and snow sports. I grew out of my very-largest, expensive snow pants and SWORE I was not going to move up to the next size. So I’d go out in the snow with the pants unsnapped and only halfway zipped up. That was, er, chilly and distressing. I also remember that the maneuvering that involved snapping or buckling ski boots or other such things resulted in an uncomfortable/impossible squishing together of my ample midsection, and just tightening my boots made me dizzy enough to pass out. Often I’d opt to sit by the fire and drink lots of hot cocoa. Eventually I ended up opting out of going to the snow altogether, it was so unpleasant.

It had been probably more than 3 years since I’d done anything snow-related. But my very best college friend and the godmother of my daughter was throwing a 50th birthday bash with all her besties in the New Mexico mountains, and it involved cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and I could not say no. I thought maybe I’d end up sitting by the fire and reading/writing all weekend. But no.

The first NSV (nonscale victory) came the night before the trip, when I went down to the basement to rummage around the piles of snow clothes. I found the hated VERY BIG snowpants that I could not even zip up 3 yrs ago. Then I found the 3-sizes-smaller ones that my kids had worn when they were maybe in junior high. I held my breath. I tried on the small ones. HEY! THEY FIT! So that put me in a pretty good mood.

I got there, and it was beautiful. So beautiful! I am spoiled by being one of those people who can “go to the snow” and then leave it. And this was some of the nicest, prettiest snow I had ever seen. The flakes were giant crystalline shards of beauty. I was entranced!

My friend had rented me some cross-country skis. Back in the day, I was probably the World’s Worst Cross Country Skier. One, I had absolutely no stamina or cardiovascular endurance. So after about three feet I would be panting. Secondly, I was absolutely terrified to go up or down the slightest incline because I would immediately fall to the ground. NO JOKE. Once I went to this X-C ski resort with the family and I signed up for this hellaciously long (could it have been more than 2 hours?) X-C group ski lesson. It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my LIFE because I was either panting in absolute oxygen debt, or I was trying to struggle up from an upside-down turtle position on the snowy ground, while the entire group looked on in abject pity and disgust, or left me miles behind. It was miserable and I swore on ten frozen Bibles that I would never, ever, EVER cross-country ski again.

But my best college friend, the hostess and birthday girl, had rented me some X-C skis. What was I to do? Well, the REI gods were smiling on me. They sent me one defective ski so that I could not for the life of me get it latched on to my boot. DEFECTIVE BINDINGS saved my dignity. I praised the Lord and reached for the snowshoes. Which I loved. And adored.

It is damn near impossible to fall down while wearing snow shoes. And thanks to all the running I did in 2010, I was not the least bit cardiovascularly challenged by this activity. I tromped through the snow, sometimes up to my knees, in total glee. It was freakin’ AWESOME. And it made my heart pump and my DirectLife activity monitor wake up and say “hey, she’s not dead!” and a happiness rang out across the snowy land.

So now I am friends with the snow again. I went out twice on Saturday and once on Sunday, the first exercise I’d done since the Plague hit me on New Year’s Day. It felt really, really good! And now I can actually contemplate the idea of renting some snowshoes again and going to play in the snow in my own home state.

PS. One of the nicest things about this weekend was learning how to make homemade chai. SO DELICIOUS and so simple. There was always a pot of chai on the stove and I became obsessed with it. Recipe and how-to photos here!

happy birthday, JAZ!

Celebrate! Celebrate! 50 around the corner!

So, my 50th birthday is tomorrow! Woooo! I never thought I would be so excited about this date but to be honest, this is one of the best years I have ever had. I feel strong and happy. I am excited about many good things in my life, not the least of which is the amazing community I have discovered since I made a commitment to being healthy. THANK YOU people, you have been an awesome gift to me!!

I’m planning a fun celebration up at the Russian River on Saturday. My wonderful family will be there, as well as a bunch of beloved friends. I am verrrrrrrrrrrry excited. We’re going to float on the river, kayak, canoe, loll about on the lawn, play games, visit and eat! YAY!

I spent my birthday here last year and it was so much fun we decided to rent the same house and do it again. Except last year, for my 49th birthday, I was self-consciously heavy, not very active and just not feeling very good about myself. I was wearing this kind of awful stretched-out 15 year old bathing suit and… ugh. (you can see this lovely piece of attire at the top of my photos! and the boyfriend jeans at the bottom) What a difference a year makes. I have a brand-new bathing suit (maybe will post a photo next week) and a brand-new strong body. I am ready to charge into my 50s at full force.

I pretty much decided that I did not want to cook food on my birthday. (I want to pllaayyyyy!) Nor did I want to do a potluck because they can be a little anxiety provoking. What if everyone brings hummus and chips? So I decided to order food from a nearby place. They sent me this 15- page catering menu. Ummmmm…. so how do I approach this?

In the Beck Diet Solution, she believes that to “succumb” to celebrations is dangerous, because basically you can find something to celebrate every other day. (or EVERY day – um, isn’t it National Cream Puff Day?) At Weight Watchers, there are different ways to approach holidays and other celebrations. I’ve been mulling this for a while. Should I plan a beautiful gourmet “healthy” menu? Or…?

I decided on “or.” Or maybe a combination. I’m getting a mediterranean platter of :

White Bean & Basil Paté ~ A Creamy Paté of Great Northern Beans, Garlic, Basil and Parmesan, Grana Padano and Asiago Cheeses
Romesco Dip ~ A Boldly Flavored Toasted Almond Dip with Catalan Spice Seasonings
Eggplant Caponata ~ with Olive Oil, Capers, Garlic
Olive Tapenade ~ with Basil, Garlic, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice
Rouxille ~ A Spicy Red Pepper, Pureéd Potato and Olive Oil Dip
Accompanied by Sliced Baquette, Gourmet Crackers and
Fresh Seasonal Vegetables

Doesn’t that sound good? also a big cheese plate (mmmm cheese), a crudite platter (mmm vegies), a huge salad, and….. bbq ribs! Yeah, I love ribs. I love ribs SO much. And you know? I’m having ribs. And bbq chicken.

Also: cake. Something called a black bottom cake which is a dark chocolate cake filled with chocolate chips, with a white cream cheese frosting. It is so decadent and luscious and filled with butter.

I could have had, like.. strawberries? or something but… DUDE this is my 50th birthday. My endocrinologist said it is no biggie if I have dessert and spike my blood sugars like once or twice a week. So. There. I will eat cake!

I did have a little bit of a mind-spazz over this menu though. In the end, decided on a combination of food that I truly love. I don’t think I’m going to be snarfing down Mass Quantities (anybody remember Coneheads? I love them) of food because I am much more excited to be with my FRIENDS – but I am going to enjoy every bite.

I wish all of my bloggy friends could be there too. I will be thinking of you and raising a glass of Prosecco to you all! (my beverage of choice for the party) Bubbles bubbles!

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