Sunday, April 19, 2015

You know you're in New York when...

- The spike haired lady with the small fuchsia dog is doing coke off the bar where you work. Not a crazy rave bar mind you. A small cabaret theatre. You know.

- The guy panhandling on the subway eventually just gives up on making speeches and starts announcing the train stops.

- You attend your first ever board meeting. Also in attendance is a full size real life taxidermy horse (in fact the son of Roy Roger's horse Trigger).

All in one week. Plus the weird hours, inconsistent diet, unpredictable weather and transit authority making changes seemingly at random.
It's alllll good here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pitiful me

Small comforts

The agony is still agonizing, and I'm using that as both an adjective and the verb of agony.
But I just went to pick up some milk and a man on the street said something to me. In my old 'hood it would have been a 30 something guy going 'hey mami you so gawjus' or just muttering 'mm beautiful' as they line the pavement forcing you to walk right by them. Never aggressive but just kind of...ingh. This was a sweet old man who turned to me and informed me that I have movie star hair. When he saw me go into the grocer's he told me that movie stars shouldn't be doing their own shopping. How nice is that!
So my arms are stuck below a 35° angle but I have fabulous hair. I'll take it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ow...ow...ow

Everything

hurts

well

not

everything

but

my upper arms

and

quads

hurt

so 

badly

that the pain

spasms

radiate throughout

the 

rest of 

my body

The way you just read that is a textual representation of how I went about my day today.  Stilted, graceless.  Because EVERYTHING HUUUURTS
Oh my gads I'm talking hurts to sit down, hurts to stand up, hurts to go up stairs hurts like HELL to go downstairs, hurts to make certain arm movements in fact it hurts when my arms are just sitting there doing nothing...right now I'm typing and my shoulders hurt.  I tentatively tried flexing my left leg to see what would happen
Agonising pain happened.  I'm flat on my back in my bed right now, a position in which relatively little hurts (except aforementioned shoulders) but I know that as soon as I want to move, burning pain will sear through my muscles.  My water is over there.  On my chest of drawers.  I cannot have it.  My hand cream is juuuust too far out of reach that leaning over for it involves...wait let's see...yep entire right arm muscle group feels like it's a frozen elastic band that someone is twisting.  

Here's why I'm such a mess today (and why yesterday I genuinely feared for my life every time I had to descend a staircase on leg muscles that appeared to have just plain vanished).

CrossFit.

I went to a free trial CrossFit class.
If you aren't aware, CrossFit is one of the recent workout crazes that showed up maybe 10 years ago and really gained a lot of traction in the past couple.  
I should have known better than to have tried anything that can be defined as an exercise craze.  This particular one is...well, I don't actually know what the difference is between CrossFit and, y'know, working out, except a brand name.  It features high intensity circuits of weightlifting, bodyweight-based exercises, cardio, a couple of exercise machine things...so yeah, it's circuit training with a fancy name.  It's selling point is a stripped-down, hardcore, 'REAL' workout vibe.  The gym space I went to looked something like someone's garage decked out for a pretty serious workout.  Everything looks slightly retro and industrial chic.  It's been designed that way.
I went through an intro to CrossFit principles (essentially the five elements of fitness: speed, power, flexibility, agility, stamina plus a couple of others that they made up) from a great trainer who was very nice, and is some kind of CrossFit champ...weightlifting champ...I forget.  Anyway I'm standing there in my fresh new trainers at noon on a Saturday swigging from my water bottle and feeling pumped, he has a chill vibe and fills me with the confidence that although it will be tough I can willingly participate in formal organised exercise.

Then we worked out.  We did a series of squats with 10lb weights and burpees, everyone's least favourite exercise move.  Sounds like not much, right? I started out strong thinking 'yep, it's all in technique and efficiency, I've got this'.  About a quarter of the way through my muscles were already fatiguing, my throat was burning, chest pounding...the works.  Somehow, somehow I got to the end though it took forever - the idea is to do the workout in the best time possible, record your time and next time you do the workout you improve it.  Again, like almost EVERY OTHER GOAL-ORIENTED EXERCISE REGIMEN.  You're not special CrossFit.
Then the trainer gave us the spiel about class packages and schedules and stuff...I barely heard a word in my glazed over state.  I was mostly dreaming about the banana that was in my bag...my entire being depended on that banana.  When it was finally time to head out I did my best to exit without actively stumbling and I got to the banana as soon as ever I could.  I made it home on jelly legs having managed not to barrel down any staircases.  There was no pain...yet.

The pain came today.  Oh, such pain.  I'm inclined to think it may have been exacerbated by the very awkward sleeping arrangements I had - long story short, on a not so comfortable sofa - but whatever the factors, by the time I was heading out to my rehearsal at 12.30 I was suffering.  The worst part it, I just know there's no way around it but through.  No amount of heat packs or ice packs or hot showers or teeentative stretching is going to speed up the process.  And to those who have suggested foam rolling (where you literally use a large foam cylinder and your own bodyweight to brutally massage your muscles) err to those people I say unashamedly go fuck yourself! That shit huuuuurts! I am not deliberately causing myself any more pain this week.

It's been a while since I had this level of muscle pain - I used to get it after the first day back at ballet after summer holidays.  Although not in my arms necessarily, that's new.  I feel very sorry for myself.  I used to like the post-ballet burn because it hurt but it was welcome pain, it was a sign my dance muscles were, well, still there.
I suppose I should feel similar about this experience but the difference is I always enjoyed my ballet classes too much to notice the strain.  CrossFit made me kinda nauseous...
I think it's something that is of course an amazing workout but it's also something you can do on your own or at least with a basic gym membership or access to weights.  The best thing about it is having instructors to make sure your technique is on track.  The experience has reaffirmed my belief that the goal-based approach to working out is not for me.  I don't want to dedicate any hours of my week to specific fitness goals.  It bums me out.  I'm more of a if I feel good, I'm doing just fine kinda gal.  Fitness is supposed to be a product of a lifestyle, if you think about it.  Not an external goal.  Hoomins are supposed to all be in fantastic shape because we live off the land, we haul heavy shit around all the time and walk or ride everywhere.  I can't achieve that level of every day functional fitness because I'm not bringing a horse into my apartment and I won't be allowed to dig up the patio and there are no buffalo I can follow across the lack of plains.  But a general skewing of life choices towards the physical supplemented by some gym and dancing is everything I need.  I'll leave the CrossFit Games to...well, to whoever really wants to give up time they could spend reading, listening to music, watching comedies, seeing live bands, hanging out with friends, cooking, eating baked goods, going to parks and museums, creating stuff etc for hours every day doing repetitive motions in a gym.
*shudder* how sad.  Each to their own I guess.

OW

OW

OW

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dear 19 year old Tessa

Dear 19 year old self,

I'm you in the future, writing to you from 2015.  In fact, from a couple of weeks before your 25th Birthday.  Just wanted to give you a couple of heads ups, it's all good don't worry!
If the time spiral lines up, you are currently in New York for the first time ever and have recently or are soon going to go to Brooklyn for the first time.  That's really cool and you're going to really like it.
Guess what?
You end up living there! I won't give you the details but just know that the first time you set foot on Brooklyn soil after stepping off the Williamsburg Bridge, you were setting off a chain of events that would culminate in you living in Brooklyn in a fantastic place.  Oh also you move to NYC...I suppose I should've started with that.  Don't freak out, it's really exciting but there's some stuff that has to happen in between to give you the push to get here.  So don't jump the gun and think it's going to be like a romcom because it isn't but it is going to be bloody brilliant.
Why did I decide to write to my past self and drop spoilers on her?
Well I stumbled across this

nyfairey.blogspot.com

The blog that you, 19 year old self, are currently keeping.  Don't read it because it does contain spoilers. But I enjoyed reminiscing about a really life-changing trip and wanted to say thanks for writing that blog.  It's important to preserve memories because it reminds you why you made the choices you made at the time, so if you ever feel like you've made wrong ones you can check back and be like 'nope I was dead on' or 'it was right at the time but it's not anymore so I need to change it up'.  And, non-crucial spoiler, you keep on blogging which is a great mental exercise and it's fun.  It's great that you started that whole thing for me/you.

That's all, not going to go too deep in case I accidentally change the future or erase my own existence or in any other way Marty McFly you.

All the best and enjoy the next 6 years until we catch up to each other

24 almost 25 year old Tessa


(This is neither our dog nor our house so it doesn't give too much away)


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rallying

I was feeling quite down all day because I went to see some live music last night and I ran into someone I'd rather not have run into so I woke up feeling residual crossness about that...also I was hungry and because it's Easter Sunday, there are a LOT of people in the streets in large groups walking SLOWLY

NO, WALK FASTER I WILL MOW YOU DOWN! Intolerable.

But then I went to Jacob's Pickles a place that specialises in yes, pickles, and also Southern comfort food - fried chicken, American 'biscuits and gravy', pancakes, 'grits' (which is like a kind of cornmeal porridge, I think) and I ate mushroom gravy-smothered fried chicken on a biscuit (biscuits means large savoury scones, essentially) with cheese grits and coffee, it was huge, I scarfed down the whole thing. The waiter was really really nice and I had a lovely table so that turned my day around.

A quick note with regard to my eating habits nowadays: I pretty much maintain a vegan diet at home.
Any meal I eat at home (usually breakfast, frequently dinner, sometimes lunch or any given hybrid) contains no meat or dairy.  It's super easy to do this: just don't buy meat or dairy.  If I'm eating out I have whatever I feel like because well that's sort of the point of eating out, to have what you wouldn't have made yourself at home.  I also occasionally work in a food establishment dedicated to British fare - here, all rules are out the window because I'm pretty much in England there.  And in England, I eat meat and dairy.  I also am fairly relaxed about what I eat at babysitting, simply because if I'm there for dinner and need to eat something, I am choosing from what's in that house.  Usually I can remain at least vegetarian there.
If this all sounds very complicated it's not, it's simpler than trying to be as rigorous as I used to be. Simply put it's sometimes a little inconvenient to hunt down the nearest vegan sandwich shop every time I need to grab something on the go, and if I'm in a place where I can eat for free I'd be a fool to spend money on food.
I'm good with this.  I got to a point with trying to maintain a vegan diet where I felt some neuroses creeping in and had to have a stern word with myself about not beating myself up everytime I ate some cake during girl talk time at Magnolia, or pepperoni pizza at a friend's house movie night.  Eating no meat or dairy was never supposed to become something that would control my entire life or stop me from enjoying myself or make me feel guilty.  So when guilt did start sneaking up on me I wanted to nip it in the bud.  Now I have more relaxed dietary choices, and I am more relaxed.

Anyway now I'm really full and pretty much lolling around listening to the EXCELLENT KEXP Radio podcast 'Music That Matters' I can't recommend it enough, the music selections are stellar and lead me to a new huge favourite, Aussie singer songwriter/rocker Courtney Barnett.

Which leads me to another thing that brightened my day, which is the news that Ms Barnett is playing 3 dates at the Bowery Ballroom in May and, fingers crossed, I will be able to go for free with my lovely Aussie friend Rosi whos husband Jeff has a very cool job at a record label and knoooows people...I'm hoping and praying anyway! I love Rosi she is top notch.

And it's my BIRTHDAY in 3 weeks and my DAD is going to be here! Which is such magical news I can scarcely believe it, I cannot WAIT to show off my new nabe and hopefully the weather will be nice enough for Prospect Park and visits to other lovely Brooklyn areas as yet unseen.

Oh I just cheered myself up all over again!
I'm going to take MishMish for a walk (by the by I'm dogsitting until next Sun)
And then I'm going to pretty much continue my lolling until Lola, Lauren and Mark show up.

To friends, family and rad bands!

Oh and my boxfresh new shoes

First new pair of trainers I've had since I was about, ooh, 17 18? Just Do It!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Everybody knows

And, just for fun (because I've loved to sing this song ever since I first heard Tim Richardson sing it when I was 6 or 7)