My compost heap makes me happy

When my teen daughter still attended elementary school, I liked to garden. I have a small yard in an urban setting but it was enough to hold some herbs & a few vegetables.

I noticed quickly that my soil was mostly clay. To rectify this, I started composting.

I turned the area under my deck into my pile of decomposing refuse. I took a plastic coffee can with a lid and collected the compostables from our kitchen.

Now that plastic bucket gets stinky. But nothing a session with the hose can’t rectify.

The soil that this makes is so rich and dark.

It’s satisfying.

But it’s the “turning” that makes me happy. That’s when you periodically dig holes and bury your freshest fruit-and-vegetable bits to the bottom of the pile.

I have my own shovel and I love to dig and rearrange and mix all the different stages of compost.

It makes me happy.

Stress eating… hello Dunkin’ and Starbucks and bakeries

I have always had a love of candy.

And when I started working at Target, the baristas there extended my love of sweets to include various fancy overpriced coffee drinks. (Yes, Starbucks, that salted caramel mocha latte and the caramel ribbon Frappuccino are delicious.)

But when I started focusing on eating for health and bodybuilding, the sugar had to go.

Historically, I’ve never been a coffee drinker. But a bout with severe anemia ten years ago had me relying on a five-year-old making coffee because the afternoon sun had stolen all my energy on the walk home from her kindergarten class.

I would literally rest on the living room rug and that coffee would give me the energy to climb my way to the table.

So when I needed to end my sugar habit, I replaced it with a plain cup of coffee with a touch of cream. If I were hungry, that would stave my hunger until I made a proper snack. If I were eating out of boredom or emotion, the coffee gave me something to do.

But now, almost five years later, I realize I have become a stress-coffee-drinker. That if I’m gloomy, or tired, or bored, or upset, I go get a cup of coffee.

I’m still disciplined about sugar, though I am slipping back into my old ways, but I notice now I want coffee AND pastry.

Relationships with food can be tricky.

Road trip to Washington DC

So, while my daughter was on Spring Break, I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in a long time.

A paid holiday.

A long weekend.

We spent Easter in Washington, DC, with my traveling companion, M. and his Indian housemates.

Washington, DC, is approximately 3.5 hours from my house by car. I say approximately because traffic can fluctuate.

We left at 8ish Friday morning, stopping at our local Target for band-aids, nail polish remover and bagels. We always run into people we know and give lots of hugs so we didn’t get going until 9.

We stopped around 11:30 in York, Pa., to use the gym. We certainly are getting our money’s worth from our Planet Fitness membership.

And then… after a hearty upper body workout and slaying the crunches… there was a Five Guys outside.

We had the man who waited on us cracking up.

Follow me on Instagram for more photos

We arrived in DC at 3.

We hung around the house and had some amazing paneer for dinner. Then we went to Harris Teeter for groceries. This jelly bean addict was offended to see that they only carried Brach’s or Starburst jelly beans. No Just Born?!?!

In the morning, I took our Indian host to the gym in Silver Springs.

In the afternoon, we visited the Frederick Douglass house. That Victorian home is in tact. His books. His desk. His ice box. His dumbbells. His chair. His trunks. His rug beater.

Took my breath away.

Then we went to National Harbor. To the Peep store. Where, even though I am from the Lehigh Valley where Just Born makes my jelly beans and Peeps, I purchased a big batch of candy.

And fed my Indian host his first Peep.

See that here:

https://youtu.be/TgBQ2T4j_Nw

I just met her… but I think Sarah wants me dead

I am currently sitting in the Planet Fitness lounge waiting for my daughter to finish her workout.

Every muscle in my body hurts and I just had a hydro massage so I’m also very relaxed.

How did I get here?

I have been a black card member of Planet Fitness for 4 days. And I have spent a lot of time in the gym since then.

You see, I am on vacation. I am between jobs, my new professional non-profit development and marketing position starts Monday and I worked my last long shift in retail food service last Saturday. I will still keep my Target gig on Saturdays for a while, I’ve got a lot of vacation to use and I do love my “Target family.”

But that is another story.

This is a story about getting my daughter access to the gym she needs, and it turns out maybe the gym I need, too.

We visited and toured Planet Fitness on Tuesday afternoon because their $21.99/month no contract Black Card membership allows my teen to work out with me. Or a friend. Every single time. I joined. Because we have no contract, I really couldn’t lose.

The teen insists all she needs to lose the weight her doctor wants to see her shed is the right gym.

So we played around on Tuesday and signed up for design your own program on Wednesday. Or was it Monday and Tuesday? Sarah, the trainer, customized a program for me, the member, but also one for my daughter, a guest.

We didn’t get through all of it so we returned to finish the next day. The teen seems to be enthusiastic.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been taking two 30 minute classes a day with Sarah, not because I’m a masochistic (though I suppose I am) but because I want to learn as much as I can about this gym while I have the time.

That said, I think Sarah wants me dead. Just kidding. She’s a trainer. She’s supposed to push you hard.

I’ve taken back and triceps, PF 360 strength, core (twice) and the 30-minute circuit. Sadly, she took Thursday off as part of the hiring process for a new job so I wasn’t able to take classes with her Thursday. And she’ll be leaving very soon.

But I’ve noticed as she’s learned what I am capable of, she’s expected more of me. And even though I haven’t done any of her bicep classes, my arms are killing me. And I haven’t done any of her cardio classes, but I sweat until my hair is drenched as soon as she enters the vicinity.

Yup. She will be missed.

Book review: William Prystauk’s Bloodletting

It has felt like ages that I’ve wanted to read William Prystauk’s Bloodletting—  so I purchased this new edition with great anticipation.

The book description and cover make it quite apparent that Bloodletting merges genres and has its own style: part mystery, part love story, quite erotic, yet all romantic. The character of Denny Bowie and his viewpoint present a man who won’t compromise who he is, brimming with intelligence, counter-culturalism, passion and curiosity. 

Denny’s lifestyle won’t appeal to everyone and his fantasies and desires may make some readers squeamish. In the end, Denny merely wants to find the person(s) who accepts him and loves him for who he is. 

The mystery combines murder, sex and greed. Prystauk artfully and ingeniously uses multiple techniques to weave a first-person narrative that includes information and scenes that Denny did not witness.

The characters throughout the story never fall flat. Every one of them has a flaw or a trait that builds them as real people and not the stereotypes they could be because of their involvement in the BDSM community. 

By the end of the book, I had to know the answer to the mystery and even once that was revealed there was still the emotional denouement of what would happen between Denny and his love interest(s).