Organizing My Exercise

I found fitness in my 30’s.   Better, as they say, late than never.

To give you some background, I danced all my life, which kept me in decent shape.  However, I was generally terrible at sports, hated running with the fire of a thousand suns, and had literally no clue about what to do in a gym.  I may even have been known to make fun of friends who were committed to their fitness routines…  So, when I graduated from college and my life as a dancer ended, things went sideways. I gained weight, I lost whatever strength I had, and I felt crappy. I tried to get into yoga a couple of times, but never stuck with it.

When I turned 30, my sister called me out.  She had became a volunteer ski patroller during college, something we had both always wanted to do, and I was both in awe and extremely jealous of her.  She finally said, “If I can do it, you can do it.  So do it.”

If there’s one thing I love it’s a challenge, so I was in.  My parents put me in ski lessons at age 5 and took us on family ski vacations every year, so I’ve always been a good skier.  But I knew that to become a patroller, I’d need the fitness to back up the skills.

So, on my sister’s recommendation, I started working out with Shelby Jacquez at Diakadi twice a week.  In the most calm, even-keeled way, she kicked my butt.  But the funny thing was that because I was working towards a goal with Shelby’s support and direction, I felt empowered instead of defeated.  And as I stuck with it and started lifting heavier things, I even wanted more – more core strength, more endurance, more flexibility.  Please note – this feeling surprised the crap out of me and still feels really weird, since so much of my previous identity was wrapped up in being an anti-workout person.

Post workout: tired and pissed off tend to look like the same expression.

Post workout: tired and pissed off tend to look like the same expression.

These days, the absolute set in stone non-negotiables are personal training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a pilates session on Wednesday.  During the fall and winter, I work on upping my cardio capacity for ski season by using the Nike Run Club app on three other days of the week.  During the spring and summer, I run much less often (ok, I still kind of loathe it) and instead fill in with a mix of cardio dance classes and long hikes with my husband and dog.

After my fastest 5K, on December 31, 2016.

After my fastest 5K, on December 31, 2016.

This schedule is sacred.  I have had the opportunity many times to work with clients during my previously planned workouts, but I’ve never taken it.   Not only does my fitness routine keep me in shape for ski season, but it also allows me to be a better organizer since I can lift and move things many people can’t.

Until I started weight training, I never thought of myself as a fit person.  I still sometimes catch myself thinking of myself as weak when faced with a new fitness challenge (like that time I tried Soul Cycle).  But to me the biggest benefit of finding fitness has been the confidence it’s given me.  Because I feel physically strong, I feel mentally strong as well.  Every time I do an exercise with a heavier weight, I finish feeling like I can take over the world.  It’s totally unlike my dance life, and still seems sort of alien, but the feeling is real!

Yes, I do wear a smaller clothing size than I did in my 20’s.  Yes, I weigh less.  Yes, my muscles are more defined.  But the thing I’ve realized is that those are just side effects, and they’re not enough to motivate me.  For me, my fitness routine has to have a practical reason and a goal that I’m working towards.

On that note, my husband and I have signed up to run the Napa Valley Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving. Nothing gets me running like race fear! 


What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of (Getty/Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo)

The Afterlife of a Ballerina

I danced all through childhood and dreamed of becoming a professional dancer (although it quickly became clear that a profound case of flat feet was going to get in my way).  The flip side of the dream is something I would never have thought about.

Photo courtesy of (Naima Green)

Do Women Still Need A Space of Their Own?

The jury is still out on need, but want?  Absolutely!  I move that the next outpost of The Wing should open in San Francisco.  

The Binge Breaker

Overuse of social media is often cast as a lack of willpower or discipline, but what if we really can't help ourselves because of the way technology is designed?  And what if there was a different way?  (As a side note, The Atlantic is doing a lot of fear mongering these days, whether justified or not.)

Photo courtesy of

SKI 2017 Buyers Guide

No, I don't need new gear... but that doesn't mean it isn't fun to look!  For anyone who's curious, my current favored setup is Nordica La Nina skis mounted with Marker Jester bindings plus my Fischer Vacuum series boots.  Backups for bulletproof days are my Nordica Jet Fuel skis (now discontinued).

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of The Boon Fly Cafe

50 Things To Eat In Wine Country Before You Die

For a person who's lived in San Francisco for almost 10 years, I don't get up to wine country all that often.  However, a good friend just moved to downtown Napa, so I'm hoping to reinvigorate my efforts to get up there - and maybe try a few things on this list!

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (Alex Jamison)

We don't know what Rosa Parks was wearing the night she was arrested.  But she was carrying this dress.

The details of history are just as poignant and important as the wide thematic swathes we learn in school.  This is just one of many fascinating things I've read coming out of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and I'm going to make visiting a priority next time I'm in Washington DC.

Photo courtesy of (Andrew Burton)

Olympic Cover Up: Why You Won't See Some Shoe Logos

One last article on the Olympics: I'm always a little disappointed to read about the money and politics behind the games, but at the same time I find this stuff fascinating.  Athletes really have minefields to navigate outside their actual sports.

Photo courtesy of (Sophie Dahl)

My Grandfather Road Dahl, The Magician

Road Dahl is one of those historical figures with a messy past who begs the question of how much people are a product of their time.  With that said: his work absolutely entraptured me as a child.  I think any of us who loved his books will recognize the source of all that magic here.


What I'm Reading

Dinner, Disrupted

Is the food bubble as real as the tech bubble?  I'm never one to be doom and gloom about any current trend, since change is the order of the world, but there are some interesting insights here.

Photo courtesy of (Maddie Meyer, Getty Images)

Simone Biles' Mental Gymnastics

This came out before the Olympics but it's still a rare inside look at the life and mind of one of the greatest athletes (if not THE greatest, although Katie Ledecky is giving her a run for her money) of our time.  Fun to re-read now that we know what happened next, too!

Photo courtesy of (Nick Onken)

How I Moved On From My What Not To Wear Style

Did you, like me, spend any sick days during the 2000's curled up on the couch with reruns of What Not To Wear?  If so, you probably also have a soft spot in your heart for Stacy London.  And as it turns out, Stacy London continues to kick ass, even when said ass kicking doesn't follow a common path.

Photo courtesy of (Getty Images)

How Cantor Fitzgerald Survived September 11

This article is an oldie, but such a fascinating discovery that I had to include it.  Talk about restoring your faith in humanity!

Weekly Peek

All Summer Long

All good things must come to an end, and so must summer.  For me, summer = long weekends at Lake Tahoe, since San Francisco is usually socked in by fog, and this year we were able to take quite a few trips up with friends to enjoy the warm sun, freezing water, and mountain air.  Petunia even tried her hand at swimming - it seems all it takes is a stick to get her to dive in!

History Lessons

A friend of ours suggested we go see Latin History for Morons, John Leguizamo's one man show which played at the Berkeley Rep this summer.  Having read an article about it, I jumped at the chance, and loved the show - Leguizamo is as manically energetic in person as you might imagine from some of his movie roles, and gives great insight not only into his personal struggle with his history but also his ongoing efforts at fatherhood.  Plus, the Berkeley Rep is a great venue - I'd never been before!

Good times in OEC class - my sister (and fellow patroller) demonstrating a knee bandage on me

Back to School

With the arrival of fall comes the annual Outdoor Emergency Care class, the medical certification required to be a ski patroller.  A friend of mine from my patrol organizes the class held in the South Bay, and I and many other patrollers volunteer to help teach the class every year.  I'm now a certified instructor, so a couple of weeks ago I gave the lecture on soft tissue injuries and demonstrated bandaging techniques.  It's a stressful class as a candidate - when I took it, I found it to be one of the biggest challenges I'd faced - but really fun to give back and help out as a more experienced patroller.

Photo courtesy of

Another Bucket List Restaurant - Checked!

I've lived in San Francisco for a total of nearly ten years, and I'd never been to Yank Sing, the famed dim sum restaurant in the city.  My paltry excuse is that my husband is deathly allergic to nuts and so avoids all restaurants where there might be a communication issue around what exactly constitutes a nut and which things have touched it.  Fortunately, Yank Sing is in the perfect location for my girlfriends to meet up for a weekday lunch, and we tackled the dim sum with hungry stomachs and a lot of shrieking and laughing for a totally sober gathering!  I'm please to report that it was everything you want in dim sum - all the delicious dumplings and delicacies, made fresh and with high quality ingredients.  I will definitely be going back!

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of (US National Archives)

Never Forget

It was the first week of my sophomore year of college, and I was sleeping.  My friend banged on my door, yelling for me to wake up.  We watched the TV in the common room, standing, in our pajamas, as the second plane hit.  My mom had to remind me last year that I volunteered for the Red Cross doing data entry in the days and weeks that followed, endless spreadsheets of names and identifying details.  You have a story too, we all do - share it in the comments if you feel so moved - and this inside story from that day is an amazing read in many senses of the word.

Photo courtesy of (Tyler Joe)

For Cristian Siriano, Inclusivity Isn't a Buzzword - It's a Lifeline

I've always loved Christian Siriano's ethereal red carpet looks, but this peek into the business behind the beauty brings me right back down to earth.  The incentives in fashion are contradictory and confusing, and Siriano is approaching the business in a refreshingly realistic way.


Photo courtesy of

The White Circus Returns to the U.S.

I couldn't be more thrilled that the World Cup circuit is returning to my home area after decades.  My inner 12 year old still wishes I had taken up ski racing!

Photo courtesy of (Lisa Jack/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama Says "This is What A Feminist Looks Like"

This article was everywhere a couple weeks ago, but if you haven't read it yet, please click and read.  This is the boldest, simplest, most poignant explanation I've read for why men should be feminists.  And, I should note, why all of us should support intersectional feminism.


Weekly Peek

The Move

It happened, you guys.  It was a two-day process: the movers came one day to pack, and the following day to transport.  This pic used to be our bedroom and became a staging area for boxes - yikes!  Once again we could not have been happier with our experience using Delancey Street Moving, and I'll be expanding on that in an upcoming post.

It's All for the Babies!

I've been volunteering on the committee that organizes the Signature Chefs Gala to benefit March of Dimes San Francisco, held this year on November 12.  We've put together an amazing event, with tastings from over a dozen local wineries, over a dozen local restaurants including Michelin starred chefs and reality show champions, and a truly stellar live auction with items from exclusive Giants owners seats to one of a kind experiences like a walk-on role on a hit TV show and luxury getaways to Belize and Hawaii.  I hope you'll join me on November 12 to support healthy moms and healthy babies!

Sittin' Pretty in the Skybox

Last weekend was homecoming at Stanford, and my husband and I were the grateful recipients of Skybox tickets to the football game against Washington (a friend of my mom's wasn't going to be using her tickets and heard it was my husband's birthday!).  He's a proud Stanford alum and I'm a HUGE Stanford fan (sorry to my alma mater, but rooting for Princeton just doesn't have the same thrill), so we were like two giddy kids running around up there.  Of course we had to sample all the free food, catch up with staff we know from our old jobs, check out the balcony, and of course watch the game gobsmacked from our 50 yard line seats.  It may never happen again, but we made the most of the experience!

New Digs

I'm pleased to report that Petunia is greatly enjoying the new house.  The back lawn and deck catch the morning sun perfectly, and she has been enjoying many a snooze strategically placed to make the most of it.