Thursday, January 28, 2010

Star-sighting at Sundance

When I found out I'd be coming to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival, I was excited for a number of reasons, one of which was the hope of seeing some celebs. Many people in town during this week have similar expectations of sighting "someone famous," whoever that may be. Yesterday walking up Main St, a limo passed by and someone yelled "Are you famous?!" at the vehicle, to which the guy inside replied "yea" and there was a collective "cool! whoa!" in response. No one actually knew who it was, but that wasn't the point - they'd at least heard someone of importance.

I decided that I would try to blend in with the celeb atmosphere aka perhaps be mistaken for being a star myself (decidedly unlikely) - or at least come as close as possible in Target jeans and hand-me-down "vintage" sweaters from my aunt. Well, today I came probably as close as I'll ever come to a big-shot personna, dressed as a marshmellow in my ski attire. My brother and I were taking a break from the slopes, treating ourselves to hamburgers and fries at a picnic table by the lift. We got up to leave, and were snapping in our boots to skis when my brother looked up.

I think that's Adrian from Entourage over there.

He pointed someone out, and I immediately dismissed the possibility. He insisted, and I reflected on my star-spotting track record so far this week: missed Adrian Brody when I nearly pushed my shopping cart into him at the grocery store; missed Kevin Federline walking right by me on the sidewalk; and anyone else I thought I saw turned out to be wrong. So we both stood there and stared - my brother and I - for what must have been about 5 minutes before deciding to go talk to who my brother had determined with 100% assurance was Adrian Grenier.

My opening line: are you Adrian from Entourage?

Not my finest moment, but how exactly do you start such stalker-esque conversations? Of course the people who started to flock toward Adrian at this point made it clear that he was indeed the infamous star. I tried to recover my lame opening line with you're show is great. What are you doing here at Sundance? to which he responded I've got a movie here as if that should have been obvious.

post-Adrian sighting excitement

After that it was clear that Adrian was ready to get back to his snowboarding, and the conversation disolved to a weak goodbye - no picture, no autograph, no proof whatsoever of the encounter. I swear this actually happened though. And honestly, who can blame Adrian for not being over-friendly? If I was a world-famous celebrity, I'd do just what he was doing: join the rest of the Canyon's skiers and snowboarders in bulky snow gear and red-rimmed goggles, enjoying my brief anonymity - that is until spotted at a picnic table over hot cocoa. Damnit.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

21 yoga classes and counting...

Last month's blizzard forced me to re-evaluate my daily outdoor running routine. Yes, it was physically possible for me to continue running through snow and sub-freezing temperatures. And I'd done my fair share of it along rough paths carved out of two-foot snow drifts while at school in Boston. But it is not exactly my first choice for staying in shape over the winter months when it seems almost fitting to plump up a bit against the cold weather.

Still, I decided this winter that instead of hibernating and waiting for spring, I'd give hot yoga a try - and not just any hot yoga; Bikram yoga. 26 positions. 105 degrees F. 90 minutes. By try, I mean aim to get to class at least 5 times a week. I started this personal challenge on Dec 23, and have since developed a new appreciation, among other things, for sweating. I can honestly say I've never sweat more in my life - the perspiration literally flows out of my body during class. It's all part of the detox process, though, and by the end (most days), I feel good - and have earned the right to eat pretty much whatever I want for the next 24 hours.

I wrote about my initiation into this life-altering yoga for Bay Weekly a couple weeks ago - check it out here Read about it. Try it. Be assured that you will get an incredible work-out. It will be really tough at times, but the benefits will far outweigh the struggle.

Tonight as I walked out of the Annapolis studio, the owner called after me "Katie, you rocked it in there." The sweating pain dizziness nausea burning heat was worth it in that moment and I smiled. And then tripped over my mat, still slippery with sweat. Graceful or not, I'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An Afternoon at the Mall

I try to avoid malls at all costs. Despite my very occasional desires to shop, the mall is never a place I seek to make my purchases. There are always swarms of people there, moseying through the wide cooridors, which are now almost entirely lined with kiosks of all sorts. Godiva chocolate, spider-like head massagers, Red Sea fingernail shining kits, even battery-run cigarettes that exude smoke (I'm still not sure how these things work, but the demonstrators seem to think they look really cool blowing smoke inside). There is even a stand to get the H1N1 flu shot! The fact that this exists means there must be some demand for it, but I for one would rather not have half of Annapolis walking by as I am stuck with a needle. Literally, almost anything you can imagine being sold is being sold down the center of the mall's long hallway. Invariably, as I speed-walk through mall, weaving my way through these kiosks and pushy salespeople, I will get stuck behind possibly the slowest couple in the building, who have decided to make it their Sunday afternoon outing to drift along, taking in every manican and gadget on display in each store window. This will happen to me about 30 times before I finish my shopping.

Unfortunately for me, I can be extremely picky about certain things, and buying boots just happens to be one of those things. Today, I searched through every, single store in the mall that sells boots, some of them two and even three times. On my third visit to Aldo, the sales woman commented "you're overthinking this, honey." I agreed, and continued on my rampage. I can honestly say there is not a boot in the Annapolis Mall that I did not see.

I started at Macy's and must have been to about 30 stores before I returned to Macy's and, naturally, found what I was looking for right where I started: a simple, brown, flat boot. The perfect boot!

When I got home with my prize, my Dad said "it looks like you're going horseback riding." But I didn't care. Not until I realized that my toes were a bit squished. Out of desperation, I had settled for a 6 1/2 when the 7's were gone. I guess this means I'll be back at it, although it might not be until next year that I have the resolution to give it another go.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ringing in 2010

Some people start their New Year with a health-kick. Or a work-out spree. Maybe a resolution to cut back on spending. We go swimming in the ocean. And this year we did it on a clear Sunday morning at a temperature of 21 degrees F.

For the last 6 years, this dive has been a tradition, a polar bear plunge of our own you might say. Most years we actually do it in late December, sometimes just before Christmas or just after. We drive down to Rehoboth Beach early in the morning. It's usually on a weekday, and the 2-lane roads winding through the brown frosty farms are empty, as is the beach once we get there. I love the retreat of winter months by the sea.

We head to Rehoboth Avenue, driving to the end for our first glimpse of the flat infinity that awaits us. It's always cold - there's no getting around that - but some years looking out at the ocean, we think is this really a good idea?  maybe we should come back next week instead....

But no one ever said it's a good idea to jump in the ocean in the dead-middle of winter. That's not why we do it.  We are chasing a rush, a feeling of exhilaration. Even the breathless run back to the car, lungs stinging with every inhale - there's something about it that draws us back every time. There have been years when we go in twice, dragging our bodies out and then hurtling them right back in again.

This year Allie went in a second time. Jennie's hands were so numb after the first plunge that they couldn't hold onto anything. And my excuse was my barefoot run back to the car after the first dip - I mistakenly thought it would be better to get back sooner to what little warmth there was rather than take time to pull on my Uggs. My feet literally felt like they were going to fall off, those hundred meters never felt so long.

We stayed overnight at the Delaware Inn on Delaware Avenue this time. The alarm I set never went off in the morning, but we made it to the beach by 8. The only person in sight was a man walking his dogs along the shore. We stripped in the car to just our shoes and coats over our swimsuits, and made our way down to the sand. I despise being cold, and if I were to stand on that sand long enough, I probably wouldn't go in the water at all. Even in the summer I have a hard time taking the plunge. So I use my "lifeguard technique": I pretend someone is drowning and I have to save them this very second. The technique works - in both summer and winter.  And at least in the winter, the icy water keeps my mind off my feet pounding the painful stones on the ocean floor.

We were in the sea for maybe 2 seconds, and out again. On the drive back to the Inn, the tingling of the cold eased up and the warm shower brought back feeling to my toes. For the next couple days, I had an itching in my throat and felt a cold coming on - but it was completely worth it.