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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Workin' the Pole

The holidays have flown by.  This has not been my favorite year, between a tidal wave of year-end work (thankfully completed, with a day to spare) and Christmas week emergency root canal (thankfully now finished but it lived up to its reputation - bleh).  I feel better, the work's done and I finally have a little time off to catch up with friends and family.  I've fallen off the nutrition/exercise wagon a little.  I guess it's good to remember that I'm not perfect.  I will get back to better habits after New Year's Day - I think I've earned a cocktail or three this week.  I'm working on a post on open water swimming, but in the meantime I came across a couple of fun aqua tidbits.

Aqua Pole

I have been fairly obsessed with the Acqua Pole, since I first heard about it.  I confess that I've been fascinated by pole dancing since watching the Sopranos.  Yes pole dancing is kinda (very) exploitative, but it seems like a great workout.  Several gyms in NYC offer classes, but I would never have the nerve to try it on dry land.  The water is another story.

An Italian company developed the Acqua Pole but it hasn't been available in the US until recently.  So I was really amused when I came across this video from USA Today, of all publications, promoting aqua pole dancing as exercise for seniors ("you want me to do WHAT?").  

Right now, aqua pole classes are only available in two locations in the US:

Hopefully it will catch on -- it looks like a really fun workout.


I've blogged about the fabulous Jenni Lynn's S'WET class (see The Mermaid S'Wets with the Boys (December 2013).  Jenni has had a great year, growing her fitness empire and getting engaged to her lovely boyfriend along the way.  She updated her website with an online booking system for her S'WET classes, which are held at a great pool on East 86th Street in Manhattan.  Her class is one of the few I've taken that has a lot of male students, and Jenni has even written an article on motivating men to get interested in aquatics.  She put together a really fun video of the S'WET experience, which is available below and on her Facebook page, S'WET by Jenni Lynn Fitness.

Happy New Year!  I'll be back with more adventures in 2015.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Giving Thanks and Resolutions

The holiday season is flying by.  December is my busiest month at work -- I have been getting to the pool at least a couple of times a week, but have been neglecting the blog.  Mea culpa.


I hosted my annual pre-Thanksgiving "prequel" for my friends the weekend before actual Thanksgiving.  I have it down to a science at this point.  The food was ready, my apartment was clean (ish) and I had a full 30 minutes to put my feet up before the mob descended.

We had quite a feast.

I remained relatively calm amidst the chaos.

The Angel (who normally makes the Mac and Cheese) had temporarily fled the country.  My friend Ah Q stepped into the breach to make the Mac and Cheese and got a rave review.

I was especially chuffed that my friend Magnolia came in from London and my friend Hulu brought her family up from Virginia for the party.  Everyone had fun.

I seemed to have used up my culinary good karma on the Thanksgiving prequel.  My attempt to make a bourbon pumpkin pecan pie for my family's Thanksgiving was uncharacteristically disastrous.  I used an untried recipe and managed to blow out the motor on my food processor on my first attempt at the pie crust (and the actual crust fell apart when I tried to roll it out -- the proportions were out of whack).  I almost caved and considered pulling the Pillsbury crust out of the freezer, but I was determined.  I consulted my baking go-tos (Rose Levy Bernbaum, Dorie Greenspan and the Barefoot Contessa).  My second attempt blew out the food processor again (I bought a new one on Cyber Monday) but the crust held together.  By this point it was fairly late on Thanksgiving Eve and I was covered with flour and somewhat rattled, so I abandoned the pie and cracked open the bourbon -- a smart call.  I made the pie the next morning -- not my best effort but my family enjoyed it.  The filling was tasty - bourbon is a nice accent to pumpkin.

I am thankful for good friends, my family (2-legged and 4-legged), good food, and my health.  I hope you all have many reasons to be thankful.


So, a few of my friends are swimmers/triathletes, and we had a good discussion about open water swimming after the crowd thinned out at the prequel.  My friend Jackie Blue has done a number of open water swims this year, and I'm going to interview her for an upcoming blog post - she had lots of helpful information.  I decided to get a head start on my mermaid-related resolutions for 2015, as follows:
  • Train for and complete an open water swim next summer (my knee has been behaving so I am determined to do a one-mile swim);
  • Start training to become a certified aqua fitness instructor -- I want to have a little more information for the blog and I might actually do some part time teaching.  The training involves courses and an exam, so it will take a little time; and 
  • Go to mermaid camp at Weeki Wachee in Florida.

Mermaid school is apparently becoming quite trendy.  In addition to Weeki Wachee, there are apparently programs in the Philippines, and Germany (as reported by NBC News):

Who knew?  Perhaps I'm onto a trend.