Stuffsoup – a little blog with a lot of "stuff"

Two for the show

Posted in Down syndrome,health/fitness by stuffsoup on September 17, 2012
I’ve been running again. I got back into it the only way that seems to work for me… with a group. This time though, it isn’t a running group, per se. This time, it is a group of people running for a cause. I’ve never run for a cause before, but if one had the chance to hook me, it would definitely be this one… It is GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities, a Down syndrome awareness center that first opened in Chicago, but now will open its doors in the Twin Cities in January 2013!
Running has been interesting to say the least. I’m slow; slower than my previous “normal”. This means that on those long runs, I have time to think…. LOTS of time to think. I’ve joked to several people that I have to look at my long-distance runs as looooong meditations. See, I didn’t know how slow I’d be. I’ve run a couple of marathons before and thought I’d be able to hang with some of the group. But, time after time, after the group starts out on those early morning runs, I very quickly fall behind.
On one of those long runs that started out at 12, crept up to 18, and turned out to be 18.6 miles, I was struck by some of the similarities of my running with my daughter’s life. My daughter has Down syndrome (which is why the GiGi’s Playhouse coming to town is such a big deal for me) and I’m sure she is aware that her “normal” is slower than others. But, she gets out and does what she can every day. She even encourages her classmates, her brother, and sometimes even passersby by letting them know that they are doing a “good job!” She’ll give them a big thumbs up and a smile for doing things that she might not be able to do while she is busy working on things that she can do so she can improve. She means it too, that encouragement. She is truly impressed and happy for the people she is rooting for. She shows up. She does so as cheerfully as she can on any given day; and most days that’s pretty cheerful. But, even on those days that doing the work is hard, really hard, she is there trying; sometimes slowly, but trying.
I hope to be the same as her in that. I’m showing up, as cheerfully as I can, and I’m trying. I’ll go the “wrong way” around a lake so that I have a chance to encourage the other runners from our group (since I’d never see them if I went the same way around as them). I’ve enjoyed the passersby, particularly around the lakes. I’ve encouraged them and been encouraged by them. I keep showing up, keep putting in the work, and keep being ok where I am while also being very happy for the other runners as they pass me by.
The way I’d like to see it is that my daughter and I, well, we may not be fast, but we have big hearts and we’re tough enough to put in the work even if it takes us longer. We love to support and encourage others along their path and we love to get support and encouragement from those people who cross our paths. So, there’s the pitch… would you help support my daughter and I by donating to GiGi’s Playhouse Twin Cities? Just go to and click the donate button. Down syndrome is basically 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, so you could donate $21.21 and have 21 friends do the same. 🙂 The marathon is 21 days away and whatever you can do would be appreciated! Though, if you aren’t moved to donate or can’t right now, I totally understand. A smile, a thumbs up, a “good job”, or a kind word will take my daughter and I (and likely anyone that crosses your path) a long way as well. However it all goes, we are showing up!

Feel the burn

Posted in health/fitness by stuffsoup on January 16, 2011

I have sore muscles and I have a sneaking suspicion that more muscles will be sore tomorrow. It mostly started on Thursday. Yep, enough days ago not to be so sore any more. Thursday was team day at one of my classes (my current fav) at the gym (Lifetime) so between me and my two team mates, we did 1,000 jump ropes, 500 dead lifts, 300 deep weighted squats, and 100 burpees. We did extra jump ropes and one extra burpee just for good measure.

Now in case you don’t know what a burpee is, 100 is too many. Basically, stand at attention, put your hands on the ground beside or in front of your feet, jump your feet back so that you end up in a push-up position, go ahead and do a push up, jump your feet back up to your hands, then take your hands off the ground, throw your hands up  above your head, and jump up like a jumping jack… that’s one burpee.

The burpees were actually ok, it was the dead lift that really got me. That’s basically hauling a heavy weight from ankle height up to your hips. Really got my back. Then today, a friend of mine and I started a round of boxing classes at Opportunity Knocks in Edina.

So, to finish off my week, my arms got some pretty serious time on a heavy bag with the cool wraps and gloves and everything. It was fun and though the owner made a joke to my friend that she didn’t need to bring her own puke bucket because we could use one of theirs, I think I could have used one for the sweat instead.

Please don’t drop anything on the floor tomorrow. I may not be able to help you with it.

Why the break?

Posted in health/fitness by stuffsoup on December 10, 2010

I hate being a perfectionist. It sometimes can stop me in my tracks. I wanted to learn more about wordpress so that I could add photos. So, I stopped writing while I tried to sort it out. I didn’t actually got it all sorted, but I did figure out a few things. So here’s an idea of the post that I wanted to do, but really, really wanted to have photos in.

I got to meet Cat Cora! And she inspired me to do some cooking. She did a cooking demo at Macy’s that I attended thanks to the Blog Pantry. I had a great seat in the front row to get a great shot of her with the dishes she prepared for us that night.









Here are my versions of her dishes. They were great and I enjoyed recreating them. It is a lot more work when you don’t have people prepping stuff ahead of time, but my mom happened to be in town for this fun and she helped too. I love cooking with others. It is just more fun and makes all the chopping go by quicker.

Shades of gray

Posted in health/fitness by stuffsoup on May 15, 2010

I’ve never really been a scale watcher… not really. I had what, in hindsight, was a rather defining moment in the weight department when I was in high school (a VERY good time to have a positive defining moment in the weight department!). A gal who I looked up to as being a very good athlete (she was quick, she was strong, and she was the best shooter on our basketball team) stepped on the scale in the girls’ locker room and I saw her number. It was huge. Well, not really huge, but WAY bigger than I ever would have guessed. And, really, from that moment on, I didn’t care so much what my “number” was and I finally believed what people had been saying about how “muscle weighs more than fat” and all that.

The other day, I was on the scale in the ladies’ locker room at the health club and as I stepped off of the scale, a relatively slender, older woman who had been at the counter behind me asked, “So, is it being kind?”. I chuckled and admitted, “Well, it is really telling me that I should probably stop with the cookies.” The woman gave what seemed like a huge sigh of relief and said conspiratorially, “Oh, I had cookies for breakfast this morning.” She went on just a bit to say she knew that she shouldn’t, but they were so good, and that it was only a couple, well maybe a few. When she finished, I admitted, “I actually had dough this morning, but that was only because I ate the last of the baked ones last night.” Well, you’da thought I’d just told her of the birth of a new grandbaby. She seemed elated. We had a few more pleasant exchanges now that we were bonded in this kind of odd way and then we parted to go “work off the cookies”.

I think what relieved her so is the same thing that we all feel relieved about when we hear a story that matches our own in some way… we are not alone. Some people may be doing better than us at whatever it is that we might be endeavoring to do, but there are also people who may not be doing nearly as well and you may not even know about it. You may be very surprised indeed. No one is black, no one is white… we are all shades of gray and even if we feel a bit drab, we might really seem a beautiful, expressive shade of gray to someone.

Let them eat crickets?

Posted in health/fitness by stuffsoup on May 13, 2010

Today was a check-in day with the trainer. I love that there is someone that I can touch base with like this. It keeps me thinking about where I am and what I am doing and today she gave me even more “food for thought”.

She told me of a woman that she had been working with for 3 years… yep, 3 years.  This woman, like me it seems, had been working out pretty consistently (and she even had a trainer she was apparently actually working with instead of just checking in with every 6 weeks or so). This woman, also like me, hadn’t been shedding the weight she wanted to lose and the trainer felt that for both of us, it was really down to sticking with good diet choices. I asked if I could please just do 2-a-day workouts or something as that would really be easier, but alas, her response was “no, I really don’t think you need 2-a-day workouts”.

Now, here’s where the stories are different… this other woman lost her job and decided to join the peace corps and is now in Thailand. And, wouldn’t you know it, there is another twist in this woman’s story that I also haven’t yet experienced. Since this woman went to Thailand (just in January), she has lost 47 pounds. The trainer said she was eating basically all fresh food… fresh fruits, veggies, fish, and even crickets (I guess she just tried them and wasn’t really fond of them, but good for her for being so adventurous and accepting). We then joked that perhaps the best way to lose weight would be to eat crickets since she thought there really probably was some lean protein in them – haha. I’m thinking perhaps a half share in a garden coop might be a more workable solution since I’m not sure where I could get enough crickets.

Yoga Bootcamp?

Posted in health/fitness by stuffsoup on May 3, 2010

I’ve missed yoga. My favorite instructor from the place I go stopped teaching there quite some time ago and then I seemed to get wrapped up in too many other things (like having and caring for babies) to search for someone new. When I got back into a class, it seemed so different.

My favorite instructor taught what she referred to as hatha yoga or sometimes gentle yoga and she would have us hold poses for what seemed like a painfully long time to a gal who likes to move a lot. I ultimately found it was the perfect contrast for me and just what I needed. And, I got better at the poses and I got stronger and my body would change if I missed even one week.

At the most recent class I went to with one of the new instructors, I seemed to start off on the wrong foot, so to speak. The instructor scolded me for having my shoes in the yoga room – though mine weren’t the only pair in there. He wanted us to remember to keep our eyes open as we practiced because he felt that closing your eyes was like “denying reality”. At one point, when I had my hands floating above my straight legs and ankles because I have apparently lost the ability to wrap my fingers around my toes from a sitting position, he said to me, “touch SOMEthing”. He snapped his fingers each time he wanted us to move through the “chatarunga, up dog, down dog” series which was after nearly every position we did. It is kind of like doing a lot of pushups; at one point I wished I had started a count. I never felt quite sure I was properly in a position… the new instructors all seem to move much more quickly from one to the other.

I feel so new again and not sure how I “fit” and although you aren’t really supposed to look at what others are doing because it is supposed to be about your own body, I was so amazed to see so many of the other practitioners in full positions… completely wrapped into little balls, fully sprawled and stretched, or laid completely flat and folded. It was actually beautiful to watch even as I struggled. They looked like the covers of yoga DVDs or something.

I don’t know if I have the type of body that will ever do all of what I marveled at in that studio, but I will keep going back. I know it does good things for my body (and sometimes my head). And, honestly, the last instructor kind of grew on me… in a sort of bootcamp way. Plus, as I passed him coming out of the childcare center when I was headed in, he said to me, “you did a good job in there today” and really that’s about the sweetest thing I would ever want to hear and it makes me want to keep trying.