Sunday, December 8, 2013

Getting In Shape

So, I have embarked on a (losing) journey to get in shape for the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. I signed up for overly expensive Pilates classes in the neighboring yuppie and pretentious studio. I religiously attend them once a week only to witness perky senior citizens twist their bony limbs like a pretzel while I try to mobilize my reluctant stomach muscles to lift my (apparently) giant upper body, panting like a Doberman after a good run. Not pretty. Since Pilates wasn’t cutting it, I decided to go further and signed up for full membership at the local YMCA.
Have you ever been to a YMCA? Man, it is amazing in there! They offer so much for so little and on top of that they provide free babysitting while you work out! He-llo! I decided to try out Zumba since it offered great movement, exercise and dancing skills, plus it is a Brazilian thing. Made in Heaven especially for me. I showed up to my first class only to find myself in the same room with more ladies of the wiry senior citizens variety, one seriously tall gal in her twenties clad in a strange outfit of purple sneakers and a t-shirt with no back that somehow was tied around her neck, and one gangly Chinese boy. Our teacher was a petite Venezuelan lady who would put the Energizer bunny to shame. She turned on some loud and overly energetic salsa, and began to Zumba. For those who are not familiar with this particular form of exercise – Zumba turned out to be a dynamic combo of a workout and overly suggestive nightclub dancing. Half of the time we would be doing squats, and the other – shimming our boobs and shaking our butts violently. The Asian kid seemed to move most of the time to some internal tune of his own. I will tell you one thing – no matter how much I work it, I can NEVER move my behind the way that tiny Venezuelan lady can. And neither can any of the old ladies, frankly. What is worse, there is a whole wall of mirrors in front of us, so that I actually have to watch my own misery and inadequate flailing of limbs up and down the room. I persevere.
Speaking of working out, it seems that the entire county of Arlington is on the same quest as me. Sadly, most of them have taken it outside the workout rooms and have flooded the streets of the area. Bloody runners, they are EVERYWHERE like some sort of shapely, energetic and menacing gigantic locusts that have invaded our quiet and boring neighborhood. The worst is that they run at night, in the dark, ALWAYS clad in all black, which means that if you are pensively driving through the back, less well lit streets, on your way to the supermarket busy with pondering what to buy that has less calories, you are bound to not see them as they come in seemingly from nowhere. Even worse, they inevitably will be blasting some inane workout music in expensive noise-isolating headphones thus not hearing your car that is happily humming along on its way to Giant. Last night, as I was driving back from Pilates around 7 pm, feeling rather good about myself and quite well disposed towards the world in the enveloping Arlington darkness, I was startled by a ridiculously well-shaped, tall female runner, who was also dragging 2 massive Collies along for the run. As I was approaching an intersection with beautiful green traffic lights, the fantastic specimen of female physique burst in from my left, not giving the red light in front of her any respect, and without stopping for even one second to see if there MIGHT be cars interested in utilizing the green light, ran across the street followed by her bored dogs. I honked for good measure, at which point, without stopping running, turned around, showed me the middle finger and screamed a rather offensive suggestion for me to go do something, frankly, physically impossible to myself. Really??

Life here is otherwise humming along. We go to Portuguese classes every day, try to amuse ourselves by spending money on the weekends. We hosted a Thanksgiving dinner last week when we had a visit from the Diplomat’s sister and her family who live in California. For the dinner itself, we also had invited the Diplomat’s pregnant cousin and her husband, and his aunt and uncle. Not sure what I was drinking at the time, but I told the Diplomat to procure a large bird this year – perhaps suffering from excitement that I had not cooked turkey in the past 3 years, or perhaps suffering from partial dementia, who knows. He delivered a 18-pound beast, which took about 6 hours to cook. In my head, there were going to be 8 adults and 3 kids. What I really ignored was the fact that Son eats 33 grams of turkey, the Diplomat’s family is largely vegetarian (with the exception of the holidays but they clearly are not trained to eat meat in unnecessarily large quantities like I am) and the pregnant cousin’s stomach was half its size due to the residing child inside her. And then aunt and uncle did not come. So there we were, 6 adults and 3 small kids and one towering, impressive turkey, roasted to a crispy perfection. We ate 1/18th of it that night. In the days that followed, I have been working those leftovers every which way I could possibly imagine. I made turkey, brie and cranberry chutney quesadillas, I made tremendous turkey soup, I made phenomenal turkey potpie, I made pasta sauce and then ate some more turkey. I still have some left in the fridge. I began feeling little turkey wings growing on my back….Next year I am cooking an undernourished turkey from a developing country!