One Book, Many Seeds

The Seed Underground

The Seed UndergroundIf you read only one book this summer, join the rest of Peachtree City and read The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray (Chelsea Green, 2012). The book won’t be available for purchase until June 29, but Omega Books in Peachtree City is taking pre-orders now.

The Seed Underground is the book selected for the first “One Book, One Peachtree City” initiative. This city-wide reading and discussion program encourages all residents to read the same book at the same time to create a citywide book club. But you don’t have to be a resident of Peachtree City to read and attend our free programs – all are welcome! 

In case you aren’t familiar with Janisse Ray, she is the author of four books of literary nonfiction including the much heralded, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (Milkweed Editions, 1999). She is on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program and is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and in 2007 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine.

Janisse Ray

Janisse Ray

In The Seed Undergound, Ray takes us across the country where a renaissance of local food, farming, and place-based culinary traditions is taking hold. And yet something small, critically important, and profoundly at risk is being overlooked in this local food resurgence: seeds. We are losing our seeds. Of the thousands of seed varieties available at the turn of the 20th century, 94 percent have been lost — forever.

With a signature lyricism that once prompted a New York Times writer to proclaim her the Rachel Carson of the south, Ray brings us the inspiring stories of ordinary gardeners whose aim is to save time-honored open-pollinated varieties like Old Time Tennessee muskmelon and Long County Longhorn okra—varieties that will be lost if people don’t grow, save, and swap the seeds.

Ray also tells her own story of watching her grandmamma save squash seed; of her own first tiny garden at the edge of a junkyard; of falling in love with heirloom and local varieties as a young woman; and the one seed—Conch cowpea—that got away from her.

The Seed Underground reminds us that while our underlying health, food security, and sovereignty may be at stake as seeds disappear, so, too, are the stories, heritage, and history that passes between people as seeds are passed from hand to hand.

Janisse Ray in Garden

Janisse Ray in her garden.

“One Book, One Peachtree City” culminates on Saturday, August 18 at 2 PM, with a book talk and signing with Janisse Ray at City Hall in Peachtree City.

We’ve also teamed up with FW’s own Bonnie Helander and Tricia Stearns of the Peachtree City Farmers Market and Community Garden to schedule other related events including:

• Workshop at City Hall presented by Peachtree City Garden Club on Saturday, July 21, at 10 AM: “Grow Your Taste Buds with Herbs!” Attendees will learn the ins and outs of growing herbs in Georgia and will receive their own herb to take home.

• Guided hike through Flat Creek Nature Preserve on Friday, August 10, at 10 AM sponsored by the Southern Conservation Trust.

 • “Fresh from the Garden Recipe Swap” (and Tasting!) sponsored by Fayette Woman on Saturday, August 11, at 10 AM at the Peachtree City Farmers Market.

More programs are planned and all are free and open to the public. You can find a full schedule of events as well as background information about The Seed Underground and “One Book, One Peachtree City” online at www.peachtree-city.org/library or by calling Peachtree City Library at 770-631-2520.

“One Book, One Peachtree City” is presented by the Peachtree City Library with support from Peachtree City Planning & Zoning Department; Friends of the Peachtree City Library; Peachtree City Garden Club; Peachtree City Farmers Market; Peachtree City Community Garden; USDA-Agricultural Research Division/UGA-Griffin; Southern Conservation Trust; Fayette Woman; and Omega Book Center.

Discovering Tastes in Food and Wine

morewines

Are you a wine novice?  This Friday is your chance to become an expert as St. Paul Lutheran School will be holding it’s second annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser at Tyrone Depot beginning at 7 p.m.

Sommelier Scott Ross has expertly selected wines to be paired with delectable hot and cold hors d’oeuvres prepared at the Kedron Kroger by Chef Brian Boldt.  

Ross’ selections include California wines such as 667 Pinot Noir, 446 Chardonnay, Brazin Zinfandel, and Truffle Merlot.  Italian wines will also be featured including Lamarcca Prosecco and Ricossa Moscato D’Asti.

Chef Boldt has planned a menu that is sure to satify the most discriminating palates. 

Station I: Assorted Cheeses, Fresh Breads and Crackers, Assorted Olives and Antipastos, Assorted Fruits and Nuts.

Station 2: Assorted Desserts, Chocolate Mini Croissants, Mini Strudel Bites and Pastries, Assorted Mousse Duos.

Station 3: Slow Roasted Herbed Beef Roast w/Horseradish Cream and Mustard Sauce, Orange Brined Turkey Breast w/Cranberry Chutney and Tarragon Mayo, Assorted Rolls.

Station 4: Baked Penne Pasta with Spicy Arrabiatta Sauce, Pasta Primavera with Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce, Assorted Toppings.

Station 5: Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Salad, Grilled Vegetables in a Balsamic Reduction, Edamame Caviar Salad, Curried Cous Cous Salad, Tabouleh Salad.

Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased at St. Paul Lutheran School, 700 Ardenlee Pkwy, Peachtree City.  For more information, call 770-487-0339.

Go Pink with Mike

Available at your public library.

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is now the world’s largest breast cancer organization and the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer with more than $1.9 billion invested to date.

Three friends of mine were diagnosed with breast cancer just this year, so this hits home. Then my doctor discovered a small mass in my left breast after my mammogram in June, which was confirmed by ultrasound. They gave me a choice – wait six months and have it checked again or go ahead with a biopsy. I chose the biopsy. Thankfully, it turned out to be a fibroadenoma, which is benign. But others aren’t so lucky.

That’s why I’m excited about Jersey Mike’s Subs most recent fundraiser which kicked off in May, “Mike’s Way to a Cure,” benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The program will run through October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “Mike’s Way to a Cure” will raise a minimum of $350,000 for Komen for the Cure through the sales of pink souvenir cups, t-shirts, and the Pink Ribbon Combo (consisting of a sub, chips and a drink).

There are two locations nearby. The Peachtree City store is located in the McIntosh Village Shopping Center near the entrance to Wal-Mart. The Newnan location is at Coweta Crossing Shopping Center (near Publix), just past Thomas Crossroads.  If you like Northeast-style subs, I highly recommend the #13 Pink Ribbon Combo – dressed up Mike’s Way, of course.

And ladies…please don’t forget to do your self exam every month and get a yearly mammogram (or as prescribed by your doctor).

For more information on Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.

Fib, Fab and (Finally) 40!

March 2011.

Can you believe it?  No, not my nauseating use of alliteration, but the fact that I’ve been blogging away for a year now about turning 40.

Working up a sweat in 2010.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I think my 39th year broke me in. If you’ve followed my journey this past year, then you know I’ve been sweating my butt off at the gym, trying to get this body into better shape. I think I’ve accomplished that. I’m 30 pounds lighter. I wanted 20 more, but I’m not going to complain. I’m going to celebrate instead.

But it’s not over. Not by a long shot. I’m going to do the Rock ‘N Roll 1/2 Marathon in Savannah on November 5th. My good friend Laura (who also turns 40 this year) came up with the idea. She has been battling breast cancer since late last year and is ready celebrate life again after undergoing surgery, chemo, and radiation – and I plan to be there with her!

So what did I do for my birthday? Acutally, I received my birthday present early. My husband had a special delivery flown in from Salt Lake City in February – my bestest friend in the whole world, Kathy. Kathy and I have been friends since we were toddlers. Just the sound of her voice on the phone takes me back to the magical time of our childhood. It’s almost like hearing my parents voices again. I can’t explain it any better than that. She’s part of my history.

I had no idea of my husband’s secret plan. In fact, the day Kathy arrived I was in bed resting after breaking a toe getting reading for work that morning. I was feeling sorry for myself. The week before I had to get a cortizone shot in my shoulder. Then the broken toe. It just all seemed like too much. I know, pathetic right?

Me (on right) and Kathy - 1973.

I heard the dog barking and thought the mailman or UPS man had come. Scott came into the bedroom and said he wanted to give me my birthday present early. Okay, I said. I figured it was a new scanner from QVC. When I didn’t rush right out to the living room, he reappeared and asked if I wanted him to bring it to me. Okay, I said. Then he disappeared back down the hallway and came back , empty-handed. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then he said, “I want you to know I had this shipped all the way from Utah…” and in runs Kathy. “Surprise!!!” she screamed, waving her hands in the air. WHAT???!!! That’s all I could say for several minutes. Even after Kathy jumped on the bed and gave me a big wet kiss on the cheek. WHAT???!!!

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present. Turning 40 reaffirmed what is most important in my life – spending time with the people I love. And taking care of my body contributes to that end, keeping me around for more birthdays!

Forty’s lookin’ pretty good.

March 2011.

My Autobiography in Books

My idea of a perfect day...

You are what you read. Never has this rang so true after reading William Kuhn’s Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books (Nan A. Talese, 2010).

I remember John Kennedy, Jr., giving a statement to the media shortly after his mother’s death. It struck me as odd at the time:

“My mother died surrounded by her friends and her family and her books, and the people and the things that she loved. She did it in her own way, and on her own terms, and we all feel lucky for that.”

Books. Inanimate objects that ranked high enough to warrant credit at her death bed. What does our choice of reading material say about us?

My idea of a perfect day - reading and writing.

They expose our personal interests whether it be in politics, art history, or alternative medicine. They reveal how we interpret the human condition. They can shape our thoughts and open up a world of knowledge to us, without ever having to leave the comfort of our living rooms.

So what does my personal book collection reveal about me? For starters, is speaks of my heritage. I enjoy collecting old books on Maine history. Some of my favorites are:

Saint Croix: The Sentinel River by Guy Murchie. New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1947.

Military Operations in Eastern Maine and Nova Scotia by Frederick Kidder. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell, 1867.

Documentary History of the State of Maine containing The Baxter Manuscripts, Vols XIX (1914) and XIV (1910). Ed. by James Phinney Baxter. Portland, ME: Lefavor-Tower Co.

Narrative of the Town of Machias: The Old and the New, the Early and the Late by George W. Drisko. Machias, ME: The Press of the Republican, 1904.

Although I understand the appeal of popular “beach reads,” I tend to gravitate more toward straight human drama – no riding off into the sunset endings for me. I want my fiction to feel true and real. Here are a few recent additions that meet my criteria for an engrossing read: The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold; Good Harbor by Anita Diamant; and, Away by Amy Bloom.

Memoir has become a favorite of mine over the past two to three years. Here are a few you’ll find of my bookshelf: The Suicide Index by Joan Wickersham; A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas; If You Knew Suzy by Katherine Rosman; and, Fury by Koren Zailckas.

I try to read at least one classic a year. Some are re-reads from my high school and/or college days that I keep handy: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding; Great Expectations by Charles Dickens; and, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

I enjoy attending book talks/signings around the metro area. This past year I acquired Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis by Rosalynn Carter and Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushie. Both were wonderful events held at the Carter Center. Rushdie blew me away with his insights and charm.

Religious studies has been a life-long interest of mine. I like to keep my Bible within reach, specifically the Holy Bible w/ Apocrypha (New Rev. Standard Version). The same Bible I’ve had since college (21 years – ugh!!!), full of notes. I also own and love two books by my former professor, James Tabor: The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity; and, Restoring Abrahamic Faith.

Finally, I have what I like to call my “tools of the trade.” These include books such as: On Writing Well, 30th Anniversay Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser; The Best American Essays 2010, edited by Christopher Hitchens; and, Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, 2nd ed., compiled by Christine A. Lindberg.

One of my favorite quotes is Thomas Jefferson’s, “I cannot live without books.” Many say that the art of the printed and bound word may be in its twilight years. While I recognize the benefits of the e-book (portability for one), I shudder to think that collecting books will one day become an activity for the eccentric neophobe.

I can just imagine, “Jill died surround by her friends and her family and her trusty e-reader.” Doesn’t exactly evoke the same feeling, does it?

Fit, Fab and (Almost!) 40

GirlSleeping

It’s been a while, but I’m still here.  Still in the game.  But  I’m struggling again. I started wagon chasing (that’s when you fall of the wagon and then run like hell trying to hop back on) after spending the MLK weekend with family in North Carolina. Aunt Harriet’s spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage is too good to pass up! What’s a girl to do?

Keep exercising, that’s what! Which is what I did as soon as we got back to Georgia.

But sometimes life gets in the way of exercise. Today I didn’t get to the gym because I had a sick little boy at home. I stayed with him most of the day, at least until my husband got home. Then I went to work for a few hours to catch up on some paperwork.

I need to regroup. Get back on track. Focus.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

I’m going to get a good night’s sleep tonight. Being overtired is a trigger for me to overeat.

I’m going to start writing down everything I put in my mouth – again.

I’m going to load up my iPod with an updated playlist and hit the gym on Friday (usually a no-gym day).

I’m going to find other things to do instead of looking in the pantry. Next time I’ll drink a big glass of water and organize my jewelry (something I’ve been putting off) instead. Or maybe play Wii Fit.

Lastly…I’m going to ZUMBA!

The big day is only 5 weeks away. Ready or not, here I come!

Fit, Fab, and (Not Quite) 40 – Pt. 10

Hair is a little longer, body is a little slimmer.

Thanksgiving could have been a disaster, but I survived thanks to the “rotisserie-style” cycle class at Ultimate Fitness on Thanksgiving morning. I started off my turkey day burning about 450 calories, how ’bout you?

Hair is a little longer, body is a little slimmer.

I’m finally closing in on 30 lbs! I’m dropping weight a little faster these days, thanks to my Weight Watchers cookbooks. Okay, so I finally gave in and started watching my diet. I didn’t join WW, but I have in the last two years, so I just got my materials back out and started doing the program again. What can I say? It works.

When I first reported the exciting results to my trainer James, he took the opportunity to remind me of the three-prong formula: cardio; weights; diet. Not “pick your favorite two,” he said. I guess I just needed to come to that conclusion on my own.

So here’s how we’ve been doing the meals in our house – it isn’t hard. I eat a simple breakfast: oatmeal, fruit, and coffee. I bring my lunch to work, usually a tuna salad sandwich made with fat-free mayo or a Smart Ones entree (my favorite is the spaghetti with meat sauce). Then for dinner my husband cooks a meal from one of the WW cookbooks. Lately he’s been using the Weight Watchers Momentum Cookbook (c. 2008). We usually cook three times a week and eat leftovers the other two days. Did I mention the meals are quite tasty? We haven’t had a bad one yet.

I continue to cycle on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I workout with James on Tuesdays and Thursdays using the elliptical machine and weights.
Now that I’m on the homestretch, I’ve been thinking about goals again. I’ve got 15 more pounds to lose to reach the weight I was when I got married ten years ago. I can see it, smell it, and feel it – it’s that close! But I’m not going to stop there. I’d like to go another 20 before my 40th birthday in March. I know it sounds like a lot, but I think it’s within my reach.

I love to ride...

Then what? Part of what has helped me be successful is the accountability I get from doing this blog, so I’m not going to totally end “Fit, Fab, and (Not Quite) 40.” Obviously, I’ll need to change the name, and I may not check in as often, but I’ll still be here.

I see myself taking on more challenges (both fitness and non-fitness) in the upcoming year, which I’ll share with you all. I feel more invigorated after undergoing this lifestyle change and the results I’ve seen in the gym have spilled into the other parts of my life. Heck, it was even noted in my performance evaluation at work! I can’t say at this point what these new challenges will be, but I’ve got all kinds of things swirling around in my head, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, keep moving!

Fit, Fab, and (Not Quite) 40 – Pt. 9

Kathy - running like a girl!
It’s getting down to the wire. Only five more months until my 40th birthday. Crunch time.

As you know, I’ve had my ups and downs through this process. Something I constantly have to do is keep finding new things (or people) to motivate me. Here’s a few I’d like to share…  
 

- A good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I won’t mention her name here as she wants to keep her struggle private, but I think of her when I’m most tired and worn out. My latest workout gear includes a white hat with the pink ribbon loop for breast cancer. 

 – Pam started working out at the gym two or three months after me. She hadn’t been active for months because of an injury. She slowly worked her way up (faster than I did, as a matter of fact!) to 3-4 intense workouts a week, including cycle and step classes. Then one day she came to class and seemed a little down. I asked her what was wrong and she told me her husband, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, would be staying overseas longer than originally planned. She said she almost didn’t come to class and wasn’t sure she’d stay. That’s when I told her I didn’t just cycle for my health, but for my head. It allows me to forget about things for an hour. She was exactly where she needed to be that day.  I think Pam might spend more time at the gym now than I do. She looks fantastic and it’s been amazing to watch her transformation. 

Digging deep...

 – Bernie is in his early 60’s, but he’s in better shape than most people twenty years his junior. When everyone in cycle class is at “threshold,” which is about 8 on a scale of 1-10, Bernie is on 11. No joke. This guy doesn’t back down when he hits that brick wall we all experience about 40 minutes into class. He pushes through every single time. Once, when I was a cycle “newbie” and my trainer James couldn’t stay for class, he asked Bernie to keep an eye on me. I was taken aback when Bernie not only said yes, but wheeled his bike up right next to mine. He encouraged me when it got tough and didn’t let me quit. There is a reason this guy is City Manager. Hopefully when he retires on Dec. 31, he won’t retire from the gym.   

Kathy knows how to "Run Like A Girl."

– Kathy is my absolute dearest friend. She and I have known each other since we were two years old. Our fathers both worked for the Federal Aviation Adminstration. We lived around the corner from each other in Oklahoma in the early 70s. We lived a couple of blocks away in Peachtree City in the early 80s. While our lives constantly changed from year to year, state to state, one thing that remained constant was our friendship.  Kathy has had her ups and downs with weight – from being teeny tiny to a little on the voluptuous side.   Ten years ago she ran a marathon.  Then over the past couple of years she had some health issues crop up and fell off the wagon – it’s easy to do. What’s not so easy is to make a comeback, which she has done in a big way. Kathy ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) last month! She is awesome – both inside and out! (By the way, Kathy turns 40 in March too.)  Love you, Kath!

These are the things I hold onto when the going gets tough.  I also think about my Dad who always said, “When the going gets tough, it’s just about right for me.”

BFF's in Norman, Oklahoma

Scrappin’ Retreats

Being creative feels so good!

Seven years ago a co-worker gave me a gift certificate to an “Intro to Scrapbooking” class. She thought, since I had a new baby, scrapbooking might be something I’d enjoy.  She had no idea.  

My first page was of our first family vacation with our new son.  We went to Ft. Morgan, AL, and rented a house on the beach with friends of ours (Jen & Larry) who also had a new baby.  Jen actually went to the scrapbooking class with me and did a page of her own.

Being creative feels so good!

Jen and I went to the class having absolutely no idea what we were doing.  We were overwhelmed by the products – the different kinds of paper (all acid and lingen free), the tools (hammers, heaters, and hole punchers), the embellishments (everything from buttons to micro beads).  The instructor set us up with the basics: paper, adhesive, and scissors.  We thought our beach vacation pages turned out pretty neat.

As we left the class, we passed some ladies coming in for a “crop,” which is basically a get-together work session for fellow scrappers.  They were all carrying huge bags and pulling suitcases full of supplies.  We chuckled to ourselves, whispering things like, “Did you see THAT?”  I mean, come on – these ladies were taking it a little too far!

Keely Suiter

Seven years later and I pack up my giant tote, two rolling bags, two 12 x 12 plastic cases, and anything else I can fit into my trunk to go to Karen Collins’ Scrappin’ Retreats in Flowery Branch, Georgia.  Karen hosts weekend crops for scrappers like me right in her own home.  The retreats start on Friday afternoon and last until Sunday at noon.  Her whole basement is set up with 6′ tables (one for each scrapper), a kitchen, and a massage chair.  I’ve slept in most of her beds now and I can tell you – they are all comfy.  I’ve been to her home retreats 8 or 9 times now.  Two weeks ago I went with my friend Keely Suiter (daughter-in-law of September 2010 Cover Girl Judy Suiter).  I think it was my favorite weekend there yet.

Being creative is a great way to unwind.  I look forward to my scrapbooking weekends.  It’s also a great way to preserve family memories.  My husband and kids love to look at my pages when I get home. 

Some of the pages I completed at the retreat.

For more information on Karen’s home retreats (or her special lake house retreats!), visit the Scrappin’ Retreats website.  If you are new to scrapbooking, try taking a class.  While we don’t have any scrapbooking stores in Fayette County anymore (sniffle), you can drive up to Archiver’s.  They have two locations – one in Marietta and one in Buford by the Mall of Georgia.  Take your favorite photos with you and have fun!

Karen Collins of Scrappin' Retreats

Fit, Fab, and (Not Quite) 40 – Pt. 8

Love my thermal lunch tote!

Research shows that the average person needs three weeks to form a good habit.  I’ve been working out with a personal trainer since April, so I’ve got the exercise part down.  I even look forward to it.  But the part about eating less is still a struggle.  Notice I said eating LESS.  I already eat healthy.  I just eat too much!

I was always a good eater.  Friends loathed having me over for dinner only to hear their parents marvel, “Look at Jill! She eats her veggies!”  My problem is quantity.  Everything in moderation, right?  When it comes to food, I don’t know moderation.  But here’s a few tricks I’ve learned:

Love my thermal lunch tote!

What girl doesn’t like a cute bag?  I recently bought a thermal tote from my friend Sarah, who is a consultant for Thirty-One.  It’s amazing how a cute bag can serve as inspiration to packing a healthy lunch!  I love packing my tuna salad sandwich (fat-free mayo and double fiber bread), yogurt and fruit in my polka dot bag with my name monogrammed on it.  I space the food out to keep me from getting too hungry.  I usually eat the yogurt around 11 a.m., the sandwich around 12:30 p.m., then the piece of fruit around 4 p.m.

Peanut Wonder.  This is a great product.  Only 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per 2 Tbsp. serving!  I buy mine at Publix in the organic section.  Creamy goodness that’s guilt-free!

Order child-size portions when eating out.  My favorite is the child size spaghetti at Partner’s.  I like mine with meat sauce and mushrooms.  I jokingly refer to it as “spin sauce” because I like to eat it on days that I cycle.  Complex carbohydrates are great energy foods.

Have any tips you’d like to share?  Please leave a comment below!

Spin, baby, spin!

Jill’s Fitness Faves

fitness_clipart

With Fayette Woman heading up a team at World Gym for their “I Lost it at the Gym” promotion (Yay, ladies!), I thought it might be a good time to share some of my favorite, tried and true, fitness products.

Smart Water – I got turned on to Smart Water last year after a bout with a nasty stomach virus.  I didn’t eat or drink for two to three days causing dehydration.  I had been diagnosed as having premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) by a cardiologist a few years ago and the lack of fluids was aggravating it.  My doctor recommended that I drink Gatorade or some other sports drink to get some electrolytes back into my system.  When I told her I didn’t like flavored drinks, she suggested I try Smart Water, which is purified water enhanced with electrolytes.  It looks and tastes just like plain tap water.  No, wait – I think it actually tastes better, which is what got me hooked.  I now like to bring a bottle with me to cycle class.  (Please note: I am in no way suggesting that Smart Water will cure heart problems.  If you suspect you have a heart condition, see a cardiologist!)  You can find Smart Water on the bottled water aisle at your local grocery store.

eSoles – I suffer from plantar fasciitis, which is a painful inflamation of the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot.  (Gee – this almost 40 year-old body seems to have all kinds of issues!)  I bought a pair of Bontrager cycle shoes back a month or two ago and they came with eSoles custom inserts.  They feel so good, I wish I could wear them all day.  Then I discovered that eSoles inserts are available online.  They are a bit pricey – around $80 a pair – but well worth the investment.

Shock Absorber Bra - Made in the U.K., the Shock Absorber bra is, in one word, amazing.  My best friend, who is a runner, turned me on to them.  Like many women, I need LOTS of support.  The Shock Absorber bra offers support, comfort, and style.  If you visit their website, you can use their “bounce-ometer” to determine your size based on cup size and level of activity.  I’m here to tell you – the Shock Absorber bra has helped me take my workout to a whole new level.  You can purchase Shock Absorber bras online in the U.S. through several websites.  I order mine from www.freshpair.com

Update: I’ve doubled the time I can hold the plank position – 30 seconds!  For the first time I can do knee lifts on the roman chair.  I don’t particularly like the roman chair, but I’m telling you – woman to woman – this is an exercise that will strengthen those muscles that were stretched and pulled during pregnancy and childbirth.

I love, love, love indoor cycling!  I was just telling James today that I’m at the point where I am able to push myself harder when I think I’ve reached my point of exhaustion – about 40 minutes into class.  It’s like I go into this weird mental state.  I can only describe it as having tunnel vision.  Maybe it’s the endorphin rush, I don’t know.  But it’s an awesome place to be.

Follow my series: Fit Fab and (Not Quite) 40, here at Fayette Woman.

Fit, Fab and (Not Quite) 40 – Pt. 7

He looks like Jon Bon Jovi - sounds like him too!

I fell off the wagon.

When did the downward spiral start?  I went on vacation and never fully recovered.  I exercised while I was out of town, but I ate fried food and pie too – and lots of it.  When I got back I recovered slightly, but then we had a table at the Slippery When Wet concert at The Fred last weekend.  We ate lots of food  and drank lots of beer.

He looks like Jon Bon Jovi - sounds like him too!

  Ok, I thought, I’ll get back with the program on Sunday.  But that didn’t happen.  I ate my way through the week, culminating in a late night visit to Taco on Wednesday night.  I felt sick after I finished off my Nachos Bel Grande and 7-Layer Burrito.  That’s when it hit me.  I had fallen off the wagon.

I emailed my trainer James that night and confessed.  I begged for help.  What he gave me instead was a swift kick in the pants, “I’m going to kick your — at the gym tomorrow!”

I got my food journal out the next morning.  You know, the one I was told to write in every day.  My last entry?  April 30th.  Ugh.

On the bright side – it’s not a total loss.  Because I had kept up the exercise, I’d only gained back about 5 pounds.  The next day at the gym James and I had a good workout and a good talk.  He reminded me to make the small changes we’d talked about since the beginning – fat free mayo, Greek yogurt, light dressing on the side, etc.  And no late-night visits to Taco Bell!

Sweating it out in cycle class.

To those who struggle as I do with weight – don’t give up!  It’s ok to make a mistake.  They key is to recognize it when it happens and get back on track.  Ask for help from friends and family – that’s what I did.  They helped me back up and gave me a shove back in the right direction.

I’m happy to report that I wrote in my food journal Thursday and Friday and I’ll be headed to the gym tomorrow morning for 8:15 spin.  Who’s with me?