Shake it up

My sister has started drinking SlimFast shakes to lose a few pounds. Yesterday she said that after drinking them, her stomach was really talking! Looking at the bottle today, she noted that they were lactose and gluten-free which made me start to wonder what type of protein is in them. Turns out the ones she is drinking are made with whey protein which is derived from milk.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved drinking milk but milk does not love me. One of my favorite after-school meals was a tuna fish sandwich with a few plain potato chips, and a big glass of ice-cold, whole milk! Seems that milk intolerance is a family trait as my sister is impacted by it too. I’ve tried a variety of protein shakes with non-dairy proteins to include soy and pea proteins. Truthfully, I am not a huge fan of shakes, I enjoy chewing my food but have found shakes to be a good meal replacement option.

There are a number of types of protein powders, enough that even the pickiest shaker should find one to enjoy. I’ve been looking for a pre-made one to keep in the fridge for quick and easy access. According to this article, the Vega ones are the best plant-protein based options. This weekend, I’m going to pick up a pack and see how they do in terms of taste and keeping me full for a while. I’m excited about my weekend trial run!

Speaking of running, I’m off to check out some local trails…maybe I’ll even break into a jog to see how the old knee and lungs hold up. As always, to be continued…

 

Motorcycle Mama

Since I was young, the sound of a motorcycle has always given me butterflies of excitement! I still remember when I was about 17 going to a Fourth of July festival where motorcycles circled the grounds. The distant low, rumble of them coming then the overwhelming sound and sight of them once they got to us was one of the most memorable things from that summer.

Wanting to be part of the world of motorcycling, I stepped WAY outside my comfort zone to take the basic rider safety course which follows the curriculum set by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Though I have been fascinated by bikes for most of my life, I am the ultimate beginner having never even cranked up a motorbike before Saturday morning!

I was nervous and excited as we walked silently out to the range. I was ready to go – though also a bit apprehensive due to imagining myself flying over the handlebars or tipping the bike over with a leg trapped under. Plenty of people I know have at least one horror story about bike accidents. Certainly, it is a dangerous pursuit but also one gives a sense of freedom like few others. There is also an inherent notion of rebellion in riding a motorcycle which appeals to my wilder side.

It’s important to note here that I am not the most coordinated or graceful person. Learning physical activities is typically difficult for me even when I understand conceptually. Zumba, kickboxing, BodyPump, fast-moving yoga – I’m always at least 4 steps behind! One reason running appealed to me was because it is one foot in front of the other, consistently for a set period of time or distance – no quick changes or complex moves that involve your feet doing one thing, hands another, and hips yet a different one. I used to kickbox regularly and I LOVED it!! I made wonderful friends plus relished the feel of punching a bag and the sore, tired feeling at the end of a tough workout. It took me a lot of practice before I felt comfortable and could get through a sequence without screwing up but I did it with time and patience.

Approaching with caution, I hopped on my assigned bike.  As we proceeded through the class, the exercises got gradually more complex and challenging. I struggled to get through the slow, tight maneuvers such as weaving between cones and doing a figure eight. The friction zone often evaded me with my letting go or pulling in too much at the wrong times (yes, I stalled more than once). Rolling on and off the throttle often got confused. And don’t even get me started on the notion of counter-steering!

I tried hard and listened to my instructors, both of whom were excellent. At the end of the day, I did not pass the riding evaluation. A combination of nerves and the need for additional practice did me in. Truthfully, I’m okay with it and knew ahead of time that with my non-physical/kinetic learning style, I needed more time on a motorcycle before I could even fathom passing the evaluation. The instructor who told me I didn’t pass gave me clear and helpful feedback then welcomed me to come back to the class, feeling confident that with more practice, I would indeed get it.

The weekend was not a bust because I learned a lot, had fun, met some nice people, and got in a great work-out (bikes are heavy!). I’m going to stick with it because I am determined to figure out this whole motorcycle riding thing. It is just going to take me more effort and time before I can truly call myself a Motorcycle Mama!

Wildflower Lane

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend a creative writing workshop called “Writing to the Senses” which was jointly hosted by Authoring Action, Winston-Salem Writers, SECCA, and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem. We each got to pick out a piece of artwork from one of the Art-o-mat machines currently on display at SECCA (if you’re local, go check it out!). It was serendipitous that I found an artist who paints coffee and tea cups for Art-o-mat!
The experience was at once exhilarating and humbling. My writing style has always been fairly brief and has gotten more so as the years have gone on especially since the majority of my writing is done in the business world where brevity and clarity are key. Descriptors are not as important as saving busy professionals time by simply getting to the point – at least that is what I have been told.
What I took away from the night: excitement from learning something new and having my thinking challenged; a determination to expand on my use of imagery, to learn to paint the pictures I see in my head with words on the page; and a little piece of writing that I’m proud of as it is where I am now with my writing which to me is a huge thing because I AM WRITING.
Below is finished piece with scant editing from laying down my pen on Thursday when the bell rang. Time will tell if it is finished as is or will grow, I have a sneaking suspicion that this is only a start, the words will continue to roll around in my head and grow into a more robust piece of writing.

Wildflower Lane

Traveling leisurely down the dirt road on my bicycle, I smile thinking back on the jagged path that has led me here. It started with a hot cup of tea, pen in hand, and a simple idea. I knew I would find success if I quenched my own thirst for fulfillment and brought my scattered thoughts about love, loss, and life to the page. My hope was to enrich others through a book about finding contentment in who we are now – all the messy stuff that life throws our way and our all-too-human reaction to the absurdity of life. It all started with the idea that we are perfect and lovable in our vast imperfection.
I continued in the direction of my rustic goat farm where I will contentedly swing with my love on the front porch. Later that night, we look in the direction of the sunset, talking about the flowers we will plant in the Spring. Peace settles over us as the stars begin to twinkle. We have built our dreams on the backs of goals. Goals that required toil and sacrifice which is now gone with the wind as we peacefully sit together while the crickets sing their lullaby. On Wildflower Lane, we have found ourselves and will not be lost again.