So….President’s Day, huh? Not exactly a celebrated holiday out here.
I briefly thought about using the holiday as an excuse to provide some background on Singapore’s government and politics – but honestly, that’s a rather weighty, controversial topic. Furthermore, if I’m not careful, I could get myself in trouble discussing it. So we’ll come back to it eventually (perhaps on another patriotic holiday), but for now, we’ll confine our holiday discussions to Chinese New Year celebrations. Although, in the interest of not falling any further behind, I’m actually going to start with a recap of yesterday (which still involves some Chinese New Year, I promise!)
The excitement began even before lunch on Monday, I got to witness a Lion Dance happening across the street! Lion Dances are a phenomenon specific to the Chinese New Year period. During this time, troupes of dancers and drummers travel around the island in decorated lorries, to homes or business where they’ve been booked to perform.
Lion Dance troupe sighting!
Yesterday morning, one of the stores across from our apartment had a Lion Dance visit. Basically, the dancers don a large lion costume and perform traditional Chinese dances, while other troupe members keep the beat with drums and cymbals. The Lion Dance is thought to bring – yep, you guessed it – good luck and fortune for the coming year!
Zooming in across the street. Those dressed in purple are the drummers, and the golden yellow squiggles under the awning are part of the dragon costume. This photo isn’t awesome, but never fear – I’m determined to secure a better Lion Dance picture before the end of the week!
Dancers are thanked with a traditional “red packet” (red envelope with money), then they return to their lorry and move on to the next dance site. Even while driving, the troupe’s percussionists often continue drumming, so Lion Dance songs are heard everywhere during the Chinese New Year period.
Perhaps I should have had them perform a dance for me – or more specifically, my electronic devices. This week brings a continuation of my bad skill/luck with phones…my new iPhone (see that story here) has been wonky for about a week now (which is approximately 5 days less than I’ve owned it), and has been temporarily banished to a container of rice (in case it’s a moisture problem, although that’s debatable). I’m using one of KMN’s old phones – which is a blessing to have, but I don’t get along with it very well. I thought we were reaching a detente, then yesterday it refused to charge in its normal spot. Almost simultaneously, the iPad developed the exact same problem at another charging station/outlet. I was minutes from leaving the apartment when I realized that neither device had any appreciable charge, despite having been plugged in for hours.
To say I was displeased would be an understatement. I love technology, but only when it’s working properly. Not fair, but true. So I wiggled cords, switched outlets on/off, unplugged/replugged, whined to KMN over gchat, and finally – in an act of desperation, switched the USB-to-outlet adapters for the two pieces of equipment. Lo and behold, “do DOOO!”: both began charging. I don’t even know. Don’t even ask. I think we might have device charging Gremlins around here. Either that, or these two are causing mischief….
Meet Rhino and Ellie. [Creativity in naming isn’t our strong suit. Any potential future children we have my very well be called “Child #1” and “Child #2”.]
In the evening, I headed over to the Fusionopolis gym for BodyPump class. My first introduction to BodyPump occurred when we joined the gym here – and I have to say, I’m already a BodyPump convert! The class is a weight-training and light cardio workout. Using a bar with adjustable weights, we work each of the major muscle groups (quads/glutes, chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, all other leg muscles, and abs) for the length of one song. The instructor leads “lifting choreography” – basically, a few different exercises done at different speeds – for each muscle group. Don’t let my use of the word “choreography” deter you – the moves are very easy, and the instructor is always lifting too – so following along is simple.
The workout is comprehensive, varied, and fun – at least for me! Plus, the emphasis is on the upper body, and I can easily use less weight during the two leg tracks, to keep my legs fresh for a run or spin workout, if necessary. I try to Pump twice a week, and I’m definitely all-around stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m likin’ the definition in my arms, too. 😉
One final word – if you’re new to BodyPump, you must give yourself a few classes to figure out the right weights for you. This is very individual, and although the instructor provides some guidance, everyone is different. In the beginning, err on the side of “too light”, then go up a bit in your next class, if necessary. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough!
I stayed on at the gym for a Yin Yoga class with my favorite yin instructor. Last night’s class was a bit unusual, as we focused a lot on the hamstrings and back, rather than hips. These are areas where I’m generally more flexible, so I was able to move through the poses a bit more comfortably than in the hip-focused yin classes. Yesterday I was thankful for this, because although my body responded well to the movements, I was so far away from “quieting my mind” that I couldn’t even keep my eyes closed.
My brain was just running too fast to get quiet (and BodyPump might be a bit too stimulating for a pre-yin class!), and try as I might, it would. not. shut. up. But I breathed, tried to relax, moved through the poses with good physical success, and left a little bit calmer than I went in – although I was still about a thousand miles from ‘zen’. But sometimes, that’s how life (or a workout) is – every day is different, and I left the best I had last night on the mat. That’s the most I can ask of myself.
I headed home for a late dinner with KMN – I’d set the breadmaker up before going to the gym, so we had fresh French bread, pasta with thawed sauce (I make it in large batches and freeze), and a salad:
A little light on the protein tonight. That’s what the cheese was for, of course!
This morning (Tuesday), I’m on a writing binge. And, because the little things matter, I’m wearing these:
- A much-loved pair of pants were “ruined” by bleach splashes at the cuffs (yay biochemistry!!!), until Mom turned them into capris. Mom ROCKS!
Happy Tuesday, everybody!!
Any other BodyPumpers out there? Which muscle group set is hardest for you?
Ever modify (or…err…have your mother modify) a favorite piece of clothing so you could extend its wearable life??