Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Before And After

I was a certified personal trainer for a little over a year. After we lost our shirts in our hotel venture (click here if you don't know that story), I studied and was certified by NASM (the National Academy of Sports Medicine). I worked for a gym in Santa Barbara, California. I enjoyed some of it — motivating people, making them feel better about themselves, having access to great facilities whenever I wanted. But, as a new trainer, it wasn't the kind of income I had been used to before the hotel and we were in a very large hole. Added to that, the gym had a significant ultra-conservative Mormon and Christian fundamentalist population. I found many of the gym members and a number of my clients intolerant and insufferable, so I didn't stick around long enough to gain the experience and knowledge to become an exceptional trainer.

MY CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER GLAMOUR SHOT (2004).

Still, I continued to enjoy working out and have stayed in decent shape, although never the shape I'd like to be in. I let my gym membership here lapse some time ago because, although the staff was pleasant and the facility was very nice, I never felt connected there. I've done random routines at home but have really needed a focused, consistent plan. When we were preparing to move to Spain in 2011, I realized I might not have access to a gym right away and I wanted some new inspiration for the workouts I'd be doing at home. I bought a great book by Mark Lauren, "You Are Your Own Gym." I've used the book on and off, but I finally wanted more structure than that alone provided. So, I went to their website and purchased the videos, which include entire routines. I officially started the program this week. The workouts are part of a program designed for miliary special ops forces. It's challenging and I love it. I'm committed to doing these workouts three days a week. You'll be my confessors if I don't. Oh, the shame.

SNAPSHOTS FROM TODAY'S "YOU ARE YOUR OWN GYM" VIDEO.
(CLICK TO SEE THE SWEAT.)

I'm already motivated and back on track. But Tuesday on the beach I witnessed an amazing transformation that looks like much less work. A man stood up at random intervals, faced the sun, and held his arms in the air for twenty seconds. Then, he sat back down. (Click the two "AFTER" pics to truly appreciate the change.)

FIRST 'WORKOUT' OF THE DAY.
FOURTH WORKOUT OF THE DAY.
AN HOUR LATER, A SLIGHT VARIATION ON THE SAME EXERCISE. ELBOWS BENT.
AMAZING... 


Let's get physical. Some things are timeless. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Still Life With Jesús And One Naked Fútbol Player

During Judyshannonstreetwhat's visit (click here if you don't know what I'm talking about), she and I went to the Picasso Museum in Málaga (the city of Pablo Picasso's birth). It was my first time at the museum and I loved it. Judy(etc.) had not been a big fan of Picasso, but she, too, loved the museum and left with a better appreciation of his talent and genius.

THE 16TH-CENTURY PALACIO BUENAVISTA IS NOW HOME TO THE MUSEO PICASSO.
A FRONT DOOR.
(BENEATH THE PALACIO ARE PHOENICIAN, ROMAN, AND MOORISH RUINS.)
ANCIENT PHOENICIAN WALL BELOW THE MUSEUM (8TH CENTURY B.C.)
PHOTO COURTESY MUSEO PICASSO MÁLAGA.

Judy(etc.) had a special fondness for a painting, "Naturaleza muerta con cráneo y tres erizos" ("Still life with skull and three sea urchins"), probably more for the idea and title than for any other reason. Picasso did quite a number of still lifes with skulls with or without sea urchins (and still lifes with sea urchins with or without skulls).

"STILL LIFE WITH SKULL AND THREE SEA URCHINS," 1947.
FROM THE COLLECTION OF MUSEO PICASSO MÁLAGA.

When we got off the train in Málaga, we stopped in a cafe for a quick drink (really to use the "services"). I had a special fondness for the still life set up in the café.  I call it "Naturaleza muerta con Jesús y un jugador de fútbol desnudo," ("Still life with Jesus and one naked football player"). I asked the bartender who the fútbol player was (or players... the guy in the middle didn't look the same). She had no idea. Maybe you can help?

"STILL LIFE WITH JESÚS AND ONE NAKED FOOTBALL PLAYER," DATE UNKNOWN"
FROM THE COLLECTION OF BAR RESTAURANTE ARCOS MÁLAGA.

Photography is not permitted inside the exhibit areas of the Picasso Museum, so, you'll have to check out the museum for yourselves to see more (http://museopicassomalaga.org, if you can't get to Málaga). I think they did a brilliant job of converting (and preserving) the former private palace (and some surrounding buildings) into a stunning exhibit space. It's believed that the 16th-century palace was built over the remains of a Nasrid Palace (the Nasrid Dynasty ruled Málaga and other cities of Southern Spain from 1232–1492). An original tower still stands and was incorporated into the 16th-century palace.

THE PALACE/MUSEUM'S CENTRAL COURTYARD.
HEADING UPSTAIRS TO MORE EXHIBIT SPACE.

BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED CARVED CEILINGS.




THE ENTIRE COURTYARD IS SHADED BY A ROMAN-STYLE AWNING.
HEADING BACK DOWN.
GARDEN AND CAFE CAN BE GLIMPSED THROUGH THE WINDOWS.
HEADING BACK OUTSIDE.
THE NASRID DYNASTY TOWER.


Judyshannonstreetwhat's Aha Moment
After the museum, Judy(etc.) and I stopped at a shop with gifts that were much nicer than the standard souvenir shop fare. Judy bought three sets of fun and unusual salt and pepper shakers.

The salesperson was a charming young guy named Leo (sorry, no photo). Judy had been practicing her Spanish throughout her visit and was doing amazingly well.

Leo asked Judy, "¿De dónde es usted?" [Where are you from?]

I could see the wheels spinning in Judy's head as she repeated aloud, dragging out the last two words: "...és usted." Suddenly, she smiled, poked her finger in the air as if to say, "Eureka!"

"¡Bien, gracias!" was her joy-filled response. [Fine, thank you!]

I'm not sure. I think Judy might have immediately commanded, "Do not put that in your blog!"

But, as I just mentioned, I'm not sure.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Am So Grounded

You may remember the hot air balloon from Sevilla that made a one-day visit to our beach last year. If not, click here. It returned last week, but within an hour it just disappeared into thin air.

HEADING TO COFFEE AROUND 10:30 IN THE MORNING...
THE HOT AIR BALLOON WAS BACK FOR ITS ANNUAL VISIT. 
"MAYBE I'LL TRY IT THIS YEAR," I THOUGHT.
A PERFECT DAY FOR FLOATING.
(ALTHOUGH ALL THEY DO IS TAKE YOU UP A FEW METERS AND BACK DOWN AGAIN.) 
AN HOUR LATER, NO BALLOON.
I LOOKED IN THE SKY AND DIDN'T SPOT IT.
THEN I NOTICED THE BASKET STILL ON THE BEACH.
THEY TRIED FOR LIFT-OFF AND DISCOVERED A LEAK.

And that's my excuse for not going up this year...