Tag Archives: Austen

Learning Curves

and Earning Curves.

Curves2 About a month ago, I decided that eating right and losing weight wasn’t enough to make me healthy, so I started doing something I haven’t done in at least twenty-five years.

I started working out regularly. Five days a week. Yes, you read that right. Robin, the queen of avoiding exercise, is paying to work out.Curves3

That’s one of my cute little coaches checking out my progress at the laptop. (Curves has machines that spy on you and report back to the coaches. Very 1984.) I want to look like her. Can they make me lose about forty years?

My workouts take between 45 and 50 minutes and consist of 30 seconds on each machine, 30 seconds of aerobic motion between machines, and stretches. I do the entire circle twice, and all the major muscle groups are involved. The final machine tells me my workout is over by flashing “END.” How’s that for propping up a weak short-term memory?

CurvesHere are my results from Thursday. Green dots are great, yellow dots are okay but not great, and red dots are BAD. (Sort of like the colors on traffic lights, but I digress.)

And now for the life lessons.

  1. I have to pay for workouts to be properly motivated to do them. It’s just like everything else. We don’t usually fully appreciate anything that has cost us nothing.
  2. Most of the time, lack of progress is my own fault. My first two weeks of working out, I made very little headway. I wasn’t sore afterwards, and I didn’t sweat. At first, I thought the machines were too easy, but then I realized maybe, just maybe, the problem was me. I started pushing harder for range of motion and more reps. Guess what? I had no trouble working up a sweat, and I was plenty sore. It wasn’t the machines. IT WAS ME. Just like in every other aspect of life, when I have a difficulty, I should examine myself first.
  3. The harder I work, the more I achieve. Though music is my strongest intelligence, I didn’t learn to play the piano really well until I began to practice regularly. (Props to Austen’s Lady Catherine on this one. She was right.) I don’t succeed at anything without putting effort into it.
  4. Sometimes, good intentions aren’t enough. I thought I was doing everything right at Curves, but all my muscle groups weren’t sore. My abdomen wasn’t sore at all. I started paying more attention to the muscles which were supposed to be worked at specific machines. I isolated them and focused on using them, adjusting my body until I felt them. Guess what? It worked. My sore abdomen can attest to it.
  5. Don’t jump to conclusions. A few days ago, I noticed a lump on my arm and nearly freaked out, thinking it was a tumor. Then I realized it was a muscle! I hadn’t seen a defined muscle anywhere on my body in years. I’m flexing now!

Here’s some encouragement for you, lovely readers. Set your goals and go for them.

You can do it!

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Southern Fried Austen

Don’t worry.

Lizzy kept on trying on clothes, and Darcy kept on encouraging her by talking about how good she looked. While she was in the dressing room, he called his sister Georgia to come help him. Georgia had been hoping he would call, and she was at CW’s within a few minutes.

Lizzy: What do you think about this evening gown? I’m not sure about the neckline.

Darcy: It’s perfect for you.

Georgia: (walking in) I agree.

Lizzy: Georgia! I’m happy as a pig in slop that you’re here. Your brother likes everything I put on. I can’t tell if he’s just sayin’ it to be nice or if the outfits really look good.

Georgia: I picked out every piece of clothing you have with you specifically in mind. Of course it’s all wonderful.  How could you doubt me? Why are you worried?

Lizzy: I’ve just never had so much attention focused on how I look. I’ve always just done the best I could do and let the rough end drag.

Let the rough end drag

Georgia: Huh?

Darcy: She’s never worried about her appearance before. This is all new for her.

Georgia: Well, I’m just goin’ to have to teach you then, Lizzy.

Lizzy: Can’t you just pick stuff out for me? I’m worried I won’t get it right.

Georgia: My mama says that worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

Lizzy: Mine says that if you fill your head with worries, there won’t be room for anything else. That’s one of the reasons I never worried about what I wore. If I liked it, that was good enough. I was more interested in keepin’ my grades high and workin’ after school. I had to have scholarship money.

Darcy: We don’t really want to change you into something you’re not. Georgie and I hope you’ll like what we choose for you, and you’ll see the pattern. She can talk to you about colors, shapes, and fabrics. This is her thing. She’s good at it.

Georgia: Ha! I don’t expect you to be as good at fashion as I am. I love it. You don’t. But you’re smart. You can learn to recognize what looks good on you and what doesn’t.

Worrying

Lizzy: I’ve always had to shop on a budget. I bet these clothes cost a fortune. I’d never have looked at them because of the price tag.

Darcy: In CW’s, you are not to look at price tags. Whatever looks good on you is yours, if you like it. We’ll never insist that you wear something you don’t like.

Georgia: Well, I might push just a little. It’s my thing, you know.

Lizzy: Easy for you to say. You’re rich as homemade butter.

Darcy: The only thing money gives me is the freedom from worrying about money. It’s not the answer to every problem.

Lizzy: But won’t people get the wrong idea about me if I wear something cut this low?

Darcy: That’s not low. Nothing is showin’ that wouldn’t show in a modest swimsuit. You’re walkin’ around with an umbrella, just waitin’ for it to rain, sugar. Hang those worries out to dry.

Lizzy: You promise I don’t look like a hoochie mama?

Darcy: You’re my girl. I don’t want anyone lookin’ at you that way. Trust me?

Lizzy: I trust you more than anyone not named “Bennet,” and more than most people who are.

Georgia: Worry is a misuse of imagination. I’m going to teach you to think of clothes in a new way. Imagine yourself in this swimsuit, for instance.

Lizzy: I thought you liked me, Georgie. You know I can’t wear that. My thunder thighs will be on speakin’ terms with each other.

Darcy: I’ve seen your legs in shorts and skirts. You’re beautiful. No, you’re not a toothpick, but you’re not heavy either. All this worrying is pointless. A day of worry is more tiring than a week of work. It’s like worrying about a spider. He’s smaller than you.

Lizzy: Yeah. So is a hand grenade.

Georgia: The gown is a yes. Go try on the swimsuit.

Lizzy: Is Caroline gone?

Darcy: No, she isn’t, but it doesn’t matter. Stop worryin’ about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey. Caroline will be in all the same pageants you’re in. She’ll see all these clothes eventually.

Lizzy: I think I can do that if I use my imagination.

Georgia: Now, you’re talkin’. What are you imaginin’?

Lizzy: That Caroline is a pothole.

Darcy: Good job. Worryin’ is about as effective as tryin’ to solve an algebraic equation with bubble gum. If Caroline is a pothole, what are you?

Lizzy: I’m asphalt.

Darcy: You crack me up. Why are you asphalt?

Lizzy: Asphalt is stronger than potholes. It’s used to build roads and fill in the potholes and cracks.

Darcy: If Caroline’s a pothole and you’re asphalt, what am I?

Lizzy: That’s easy. You’re the lines down the middle of the road and on the sides.

Darcy: I’ll bite. Why am I the lines?

Lizzy: Because you keep me centered and stop me from running off in the wrong direction.

Darcy: I like it. Without the road, there’d be no lines. Without the asphalt, I’d just be paint with nowhere to go.

Georgia: Too deep for me. Go put on the swimsuit, Lizzy.

Lizzy: Yes, ma’am. (leaves)

Georgia: Are you two always like that?

Darcy: Pretty much.

Georgia: Adorable. Oh, no. Here comes Caroline.

Lizzy: Well, what do you think?

Caroline: You can’t seriously be considering walking in front of people in that swimsuit. Your hiney looks like two gophers fightin’ in a gunny sack.

Lizzy: Well, it will take a while to lose that mental picture. You’re probably right, Caroline. I’ll just mosey on back into the dressin’ room now and change into some jeans.

Georgia: Caroline, you are evil, and you must be destroyed.

Evil

Caroline: Why? I was just tellin’ the gospel truth.

Darcy: Now, Georgie. You can’t blame Caroline for pickin’ at Lizzy. It’s been my experience that some girls always cut down the girl they’re the most jealous of.

Caroline: That’s not true. I’m not jealous of her. I’m just in a bad mood because you and Charlie didn’t let me have first choice of the clothes.

Darcy: You’ve been in a bad mood since the day you were born. You’ve done enough damage today. I think you need to go now.

Caroline: Fine. I don’t like this store anyway, and I’ll tell all my friends. (flounces off and slams door)

Georgia: Both of them?

Darcy: No big loss. I doubt her buds would shop at a consignment store.

Lizzy: Is she gone?

Georgia: Yep. Why?

Lizzy: I’m going to show you my swimsuit walk.

Darcy: Really? I thought you’d want to quit.

Lizzy: My courage rises with every attempt to intimidate me. I’m sick to death of her jabs. The best revenge will be to beat her, and I intend to do it. She just got my back up.

Courage

Darcy: That’s my Lizzy. Caroline didn’t know who she was messin’ with.

Lizzy: Like my mama says, “Smile. It increases your face value.”

Georgia: Mine says, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”

Lizzy: Yep. You can’t make chicken salad without some chicken poo.

Darcy: Very pithy. Now let’s see that walk.

smile

Lizzy: Because you’re mine, I’ll walk the line.

Darcy: I love that you make me laugh.

Lizzy: Then I’ll never stop doing it.

 

Mr. Woodhouse Had the Right Idea

I know that most of you Northerners don’t understand why we Southerners make such a big deal about snow. These pictures of my yard will make you laugh (and that’s not a bad thing).

My front yard

My front yard

We call off school and church because we hardly ever drive in the stuff, and this time, it’s ice. We don’t have snow tires or chains on our vehicles. Even snow birds are having wrecks trying to drive on the icy roads.

Our children don’t have the heavy outerwear that people up north buy, so putting them outside to wait for school buses that may not start due to the low temperatures is unwise (and a legal liability).

Side yard and driveway

Side yard and driveway

Before you giggle too much at us, remember how upset Mr. Woodhouse became over that light snow while they were at a party at Randalls. I’m of the opinion that he must have been a Southerner at heart. I’m sure that Hartfield was well-stocked with bread and milk. The stores here empty of those two items at the first weather report of the white flakes.

Mr. Woodhouse

Mr. Woodhouse

Days like this come around about every five years down here, so we stay inside, have a hot beverage (as Sheldon would say – and it’s not optional), read (Austen or a variation), or watch movies (more Austen!). We wear our pajamas all day and eat soup. My beef and vegetable creation is cooking as I type this.

One really nice thing about snow down South is that it doesn’t last long. This will all be gone in a day or two, and the temperature will be back up to 50 degrees. Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy myself on this rare, free day with my family. What are you doing today?

Good news for bacon lovers!

Perhaps Austen was onto something when she had Emma Woodhouse send Mrs. and Miss Bates a hindquarter of pork. One of my favorite lines belongs to Miss Bates as she exclaims to Emma, “What a happy porker it must have come from!” She then shrieks at her hearing-impaired mama, “PORK, Mother!”

This is Australian National Bacon Week, and it occurs to me that Ponce de Leon could have saved himself a great deal of time and expense spent searching for the Fountain of Youth. The secret to long life probably lolled happily in a mud hole on a nearby farm. (Hence the old saying, “Happy as a pig in slop.”)

It's BACON!

It’s BACON!

According to the Huffington Post, a 105-year-old Texas woman says the secret to her longevity is bacon. She became a widow at age 38, reared 7 children alone, and worked as everything from a cotton picker to a hay baler. I’m not surprised that she didn’t credit her long life to getting plenty of sleep.

“I love bacon. I eat it everyday,” Pearl Cantrell told NBC affiliate KRBC when asked her secret to living so long. “I don’t feel as old as I am. That’s all I can say.”

I admire this woman, a great-great-grandmother who still enjoys country dancing, waltzing, and two-stepping, and who kept mowing her own lawn until the age of 100.

When Oscar Mayer heard about Pearl’s love of cured pork, they sent one of its Wienermobiles to her home with a special bacon delivery. She rode “shot-bun” in the Wienermobile through her hometown.

I’m stopping short of advocating that our readers follow Mrs. Cantrell’s example. Most doctors would advise people to avoid the high-fat meat. Even so, I’m also not a person who thinks people should give up foods that they absolutely love. Perhaps moderation is the key?