I need an assistant. Would somebody please apply? Job description? Let’s see……long hours, no pay, but sooooo much appreciation. Plus side, probably not going to be a long line of people at the door waving their resumes. Lately it feels like I can’t keep up. Now, it’s not like the future of the world teeters on my next move but I do have a lot of projects going with people depending on my participation. What on earth did I do when I worked full time? I must have been younger. Ah yes, looking back I’m sure I was younger.
In addition to my busy schedule I have committed myself to working out at the gym. A friend of mine and I have been going three times a week. Someone told me it is easiest if you approach exercise as fun. Speaking of committing yourself. We begin on the treadmill. I don’t mind the treadmill really although I had a bit of a close call before getting used to it. The perfectly toned young man who was explaining the workings of the machine to me said to use the arrows located on the control panel to adjust the speed at which I wished to walk. Doesn’t sound to difficult (for anyone else, naturally). For starters I set the machine at 2.5 mph. From previous painful “day after the first time at the gym” experiences, I knew it would go a lot better for me if I didn’t try to run a marathon my first time out. Looking down I noticed the screen read “enter your age”. Sigh, fine. So nosy. Inputting my age in two seconds I was sprinting for my life trying to reach the stop button before being propelled through the window into the Indian restaurant next door. Apparently, I entered my age under MPH. According to my calculations had I maintained the pace this would have had me crossing the California border in 3.2 minutes. Fortunately, my finger located STOP before the ejection process was complete. The man next to me stood staring at me jaw open. Shut your mouth and mind your business I say.
The stationary bike at first looked innocuous enough. After locating a gym employee to help me adjust the seat, I hopped on board and began pedaling. The first ten minutes were tolerable. After that your legs begin to send up smoke signals. Fifteen minutes of pedaling my knees had written HELP in the sand in bone fragments. I did write a mental note to self to remember to bring a book or headphones on my next visit. Five minutes can seem like twenty when you’re pedaling rigorously and find yourself still in the same spot. Brings me to mind of why my hamster was always cranky. Time passes like molasses when you’re doing something boring. Stuck at work on a slow Friday, for example, waiting for 5:00 to arrive can seem to last for days. Time appears to drag by when looking forward to a special occasion, and virtually comes to a standstill when seated in a waiting room with fifty other sick people on a busy night at the E.R. That being true, when exercising the minutes on the clock pass as though moving through a sea of fast setting Jello. For me gym exercises are a very masochistic pursuit. Basically, paying to have pain inflicted upon your person. Wait, I’m not finished whining yet.
The indicator alerted me my allotted 15 minutes was up on the bike. There is a God. I was sure they’d invented a cure for yellow fever in less time. Dismounting, my legs, not used to being asked to perform at such a high level, showed their displeasure by vibrating at an alarming speed nearly failing me for a minute. Ah, it is good to be making such an impressive showing the first time at bat.
Once my knees ceased their spasms, I moved on to a machine sitting low to the ground. I’m sure it has a name but I wasn’t interested enough in it to want to pursue it. The object on this device of torture is to seat yourself, place your feet in the stirrups provided, grab the handle and pull a cord in towards your chest and release. Now that I’m writing this I believe I would call this “rowing”. A light goes on in an otherwise dark room.
The “rower” for lack of a better adjective exercises your whole body and strengthens your core. Core? Who knew I had one? I thought only selected veggies and fruit could boast of such a thing. Couldn’t I just go to a day at the body shaping clinic advertising before and after pictures ad nauseum when I’m eating dinner? A quick vacuum and voila like new.
Next they bring out sponge tubes. The tubes look a bit like the noodles you use in swimming pools only wider. These you sit on and roll back and forth. You can also lie on them, roll your back on them, and basically become one with your tube. I sat on mine which seemed pretty basic. My mind told me if I was incapable of doing this they were going to rescind my membership for the good of the club’s reputation. As ridiculous as it sounds, I had trouble staying on. I was blessed with many things I am thankful for, a backside isn’t one of them. Since women started wearing below the waist jeans I’ve spent my time in public looking for ways to keep my pants from dropping to my ankles. I could feel my muscles working after a few minutes, though, so at least something was getting a benefit from my visit.
There is a lovely “afterglow” of accomplishment once you are in the locker room gathering your things. I don’t know if this supersedes the pain to achieve this feeling but time will tell.
This soup has the “yummmm” factor big time. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it to my pickiest guests.
Tomato Basil Blue Cheese Soup
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 stalk of celery, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
1 14 1/2 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
1 14 1/2 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes w/seasonings, with juice
3 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup non-fat milk
1/3 cup buttermilk blue cheese
Melt butter over medium heat until frothy. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook 8 mins. or until vegetables are lightly browned and tender. Whisk in flour. Stir constantly for 1 min. Add all remaining ingredients up to sour cream. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to med. low. Cook covered for 20 mins.
Pulse with stick blender until pureed. Whisk together sour cream and milk. Whisk into soup. Cook 5 mins. until heated through.
Place 2 Tbsp. blue cheese in bottom of four bowls. Pour hot soup over top. Sprinkle with additional blue cheese.