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Strong female characters, swimmers: Olivia Pope, Stella Gibson and (well) me

19 Nov

Kerry Washington swims in Scandal

I got into “Scandal” earlier this year. I’d held off … most likely because I find smart and even sometimes soap opera-y TV shows to be quite addictive, and I was trying to limit my viewing.

With Netflix streaming and other online services, it is easy enough to burn through a short season in a long weekend, too. So after burning through “House of Cards” and reading articles about the trend to cover D.C., I started watching “Scandal,” catching up on the first two seasons shortly before the third season kicked off. I was intrigued by the detail that Olivia, played by Kerry Washington, is a swimmer.  She swims laps on occasion to blow off steam and stress, while retaining her stylish ways.

I am no Olivia Pope, but I grew up swimming, was a lifeguard and taught swimming lessons while in high school and part of college. I recently got back into swimming more seriously for two long-distance events, Park to Park, and Swim Across America, a two mile swim, which was a new record and challenge for me. I was part of Team Ben Towne Foundation, raising money for pediatric cancer research.

I really love to swim, even when doing the crawl for two miles in a lake feels like it takes three hours and my arms feel like lead weights. In reality, it took one hour, 21 minutes. And I think it will feel even better next year.

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Bar (method), ballet and such

24 May

ballet barre

It’s been nearly a year and one-half since I wrote the infamous “tulle and me,” a blog post about my desire to take ballet lessons and to have legs like the dancers from Trey McIntyre Project or Whim W’Him or … fill in the blank.

I made it happen recently, ballet lessons, and I also started a new ballet-esque workout called The Bar Method that I am really enjoying and that has helped to transform my body. I don’t necessarily have ballet dancer legs yet, but I’m on my way, I do believe.

I’d been curious about Bar Method classes, and they launched a 60-day bikini body challenge in April that benefits Ben Towne Foundation, which I know through my work at Seattle Children’s. So it seemed like the perfect reason to try – improving my body and donating some money to a great cause (pediatric cancer research).

My aim was for 24 classes in 60 days, and I reached that goal yesterday. Yay, me. It feels pretty amazing and I know my body is stronger and I feel more confident and better about myself. Take that, ex-boyfriend who showed up at the recent W’Him show. Skinny khakis that used to fit now fit and a swimsuit I bought to swim laps fit me just a few weeks after I started bar. Kind of amazing and a wake-up call that I had somehow become lazy doing yoga. When I took my first bar class, which typically includes 30 to 40 push-ups, I knew that I hadn’t been working the right muscles. And it’s served also as a reminder of how the body can change as we age.

I signed up for the ballet class months ago, after seeing and buying a deal from Living Social. A friend from work had recommended the dance studio, Exit Space. I’ve had three classes so far of eight, and I was thrilled initially just to purchase and have a pair of ballet slippers. No leotard yet, but I have visions of using my footless tights, after seeing what others have been wearing to class.

After the first ballet class, I felt a happiness that was indescribable and seemed a bit silly, but it was real. That feeling continues. Bar Method classes have helped strengthen the muscles that help me in ballet, and we will see where it goes. I like the camaraderie at bar, even if at first it can be intimidating because there are, seemingly, lots of perfect bodies. As for ballet, I hope to graduate to the next level of classes and could aim for a move en pointe, though I’m not sure if older students graduate to that level.

And I’m off to Hawaii tomorrow for a week-long yoga retreat and strengthening on many levels, so this blog post is perhaps a bit more free-form and quickly written, compared with others. But it’s also overdue, to share the transformation story.

Day 7: A broken shoe still works

2 Feb

Mary Jane missing a part

More walking on the 7th day. And proof on the left that the distance was far enough to cause some damage. My friends Alex and Nathan got married yesterday afternoon. I left work early and despite planning ahead to wear my black patent leather Dansko clogs to the hotel and bringing my higher platform-y Mary Janes, I decided that I could hoof it the whole way from my office (8th & Stewart) to the W Hotel.

I’d recently repaired my old-ish Mary Janes, applying a nice layer of super glue to the sole of one shoe to ensure the platform was secure. It was secure, just not enough to endure a brisk 30-minute walk to the W (made longer because I forgot the W was on 4th and not 1st), including a few steep hills. Sigh.

As luck (?) would have it, both platforms broke off by the time we left the courthouse. The second platform came off in the middle of the street, like a scene from a movie. I was fortunate enough that even without the platforms, the shoes still had a bottom and you couldn’t really tell what had happened. The ruby red with a small bow Franco Sartos would have been a better choice. (Note to self, and do I need to say that when I’m blogging?)

At least 30 minutes of walking in? Yes, definitely. And dancing after dinner at Pink ultra lounge downtown. The DJ didn’t take requests, though he didn’t say that. A pet peeve of mine, especially when celebrating a wedding. We heard that Pink is closing this weekend, actually, and that’s not surprising. The company (wedding party) was fabulous and we had tons of fun as a result. But the bartenders weren’t very friendly or very into customer service. I just hope Alex and Nathan had a great night. I think they did.

Next up: Yoga at Samadhi. 90 minutes of a workout today. Looking forward to it.