Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bonne Année, Bon Hiver, Bon Appétit!

Whew. 2012 was all about resistance training (a/k/a lifting heavy things). Only a fraction of that activity was based in my neighborhood gym - the rest was all emotional and intellectual. I skidded into the new year on fumes, having exercised every muscle past exhaustion, having stretched every sinew of faith and patience to their max. I spent the week between Christmas and New Years couched, supine, on a diet of ibuprofen to alleviate the literal pain in my neck.

Most of the pain is not even a result of personal circumstance but what I can only describe as heartache over the world as we know it (you know, life, death, illness), especially when people I know are affected, or when kids are involved.  (If you missed it, you might enjoy Maureen Dowd's Christmas column, Why, God?)

Anyway, 2013 finds me focused on rest and restoring the nutrients (pronounced nu-tree-UNTS, in remembrance of an episode in my daughter's first grade classroom too many years ago) needed to rebuild my weary soul.

Faith and patience take the most diligence to restore, but good music (such as the Avett Brothers, whose emotionally declarative hill-billy rock always strikes an uplifting or empathetic chord), the company of friends, and a good night's sleep are all restorative. I usually turn to Jazz in January. It's not the aliteration that drives the genre decision, it's carol-fatigue. I go on a Christmas carol bender each year for which Jazz is an effective hair-of-the-dog cure. Plus, jazz plays well in a room illumined by the bevy of candles I received for Christmas. But I'm not ready for jazz yet. Maybe next month.

Certain foods and beverages do more to rebuild than others. If I were only focused on my biceps/shoulders/triceps/hamstrings I'd be talking about the balance of protein and carbs. In my present case, it's about comfort foods.  I still enjoy my morning Americano, but afternoon tea has been a savior. I've been cooking classic winter foods that emphasize warmth and coziness: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Beef Bourguignon, Pesto Pasta with Haircots Verts, Soupe a l'Oignon. We've been steadily working our way thru a box of Ruby Red Texas grapefruit, a gift from my sister and one of my favorite foods, ever.

Going to the gym helps, too. A solid cardio workout followed by resistance training makes me feel invincible. Running with my insane dog is a good interval workout because of his compulsion to sprint for squirrels. Also, he regularly finds a 5 foot long stick to bring along, firmly gripping one end so that the remaining 4.5 feet travels at his land-speed and at my shin-height, meaning that I get in some plyometrics and laughs, concurrently. Except when I don't see it coming and I get hit. That hurts.

I'll leave you with some lines from the Avett Brother's Salvation Song, playing now on my winter playlist.

We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way.


Thank goodness for everyone who adds something better to the world. That alone is a great lot to be thankful for and a great distraction from the people and events that do not.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

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