Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Day Off

It was heavenly. Cell phones - off. Messages - not returned. On the schedule - nothing but what felt good to us. Amster and Beautiful Annie and I, no kids, no responsibilities, no worries. Did I say it was heavenly?

We were at Canyon Ranch, a plan hatched when I tried to figure out how to thank Beautiful Annie for all the pro bono legal wrangling she and her staff did for GRIN. We are now officially a  501(c)(3) entity, although the story of how this came about will make for another post where I rant about the IRS. The process was, in theory, very simple. In actuality, it was frustrating and time consuming and didn't cost me a dime. Canyon Ranch was the least I could do.

Amster and I arrived first, valet parking The Schnozz and changed into our weight lifting attire forty minutes after I picked her up. Why don't the rest of you live here?  Look what's right at my doorstep:
Amster and I began our friendship as weight lifting buddies.  I had the expertise, she had the enthusiasm and motivation.  For years, we spent every weekend morning together, lifting and sweating and sharing our lives. Bullets interrupted our sessions, and I've not been willing to commit to weights when Pilates and PT are taking up so much of my time.  But on Saturday we were at it once again, waiting for Beautiful Annie to arrive from "halfway to Benson."

We spotted for one another on the bench press, bemoaning the diminution of our strength and laughing at ourselves, knowing we could get it back with just a few weeks of hard work and consistency. We pec-decked and french pressed (our triceps, not roasting coffee) and used light weights for flyes as our bodies became re-accustomed to the repetitive, thoughtful, movements.  We use good form. We don't race through the motions. We get the most out of each repetition. 

It was good to be back there with her again.  There are times when my life seems to have veered off on a course of its own, circumstances and opportunities drawing me to places about which I never dreamed. I have new horizons and chances to excel in areas heretofore unimagined, but sometimes the same old same old feels just right.  It certainly did on Saturday.

There's no cell reception to speak of at Canyon Ranch, so we went to the spa's lobby to search for Beautiful Annie and there she was, poring over the daily schedule, highlighting the classes she thought she might enjoy.  We're a good threesome - all her choices were our choices, too.  The tile making class was closed, so we went to Women's Stretch, instead.

Forty females of all sizes and shapes and motivations were arrayed on the squishy, carpeted floor of Gym 9.  Once again, I was reminded that fourteen weeks of flexing a foot while seated with the leg extended
Brian Williams is a VERY good listener.

will give you a very lengthened hamstring while shortening your quadriceps to mere stubs of their former selves. I was somewhere in the middle of the crowd, able to do some things well and others not at all. No one was judging; that's not the Canyon Ranch way. It's a place to try new things, explore new ideas, wear gym clothes to lunch and see if, perhaps, those toes might be in reach of my fingers.

The fact that I had my friends on either side didn't hurt at all.  Amster went to sauna and aromatherapy and whirlpool while Beautiful Annie and I stayed right there, in Gym 9, for Pilates Magic Circles.
The padded handles are pressed against the waist by the inner arm, against the shoulder by the open palm, between the thighs and the feet pressing out and pressing in. There's not a part of the body which is not engaged at some point during the routine.  It's 45 minutes of breathing and squeezing and though it might not look like much from the outside, talk to us after you've tried it.

Foolishly, we stayed in Gym 9 for Abs Express - twenty minutes of continuous abdominal exercises. The leader was a perpetual motion machine, jumping up to show us what to do and then bouncing back to the floor to pick it up where she left off. Crunches (or my version, a Pilates roll-up with knees in tabletop) then cobra, leg extensions and circles and more crunches, plank in all its incarnations, then a 2" off the ground, elbows in, yogi push up which is held until the teacher gets bored and moves on to ....
You get the picture. 

We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves as we waited to be seated in the Dining Room for lunch. We ordered a chicken sausage and mozzarella on whole wheat flatbread for the table, chicken quesedilla's and fish tacos for our entrees, and ice cream and blueberry/raspberry tarts and cookies for dessert. We laughed over the calorie and sodium and carbs and protein counts listed on the menu.  We were hungry and we were looking for foods that would fill us up.

We showered and I whirlpooled and then we each had a Signature Canyon Ranch massage, and "Yes, I would like some lavender aromatherapy on the pillow. I wasn't looking to work out any kinks, or improve my muscle tone, or separate the fascia from the bone itself; I save that for my weekly therapeutic deep tissue massage. I asked to be relaxed and not too greasy at the end; both wishes were granted.

We sat by the pool and told stories, the way women do when there's no pressing problem to be solved. It was "how did you?"  and "when did it?" and catching up on pieces of our lives we were surprised the others didn't know. There was no hurry, no worries, just laughing and nodding and sharing. When it was time, we showered and dressed and drove off to dinner at Gavi, back in the real world with creepy waiters and not a Kansas City Ice Water to be had.It didn't matter. We were still channeling Canyon Ranch, still on our day off, still in the zone. 

I woke up on Sunday and did my yoga practice and then went on to the gym to work on my back and biceps.... a routine I haven't followed since I intersected with weaponry. Perhaps I am really getting back what I have lost.  Perhaps it took a day off with friends to figure that out. 


  1. Soooo envious! I desperately need a break. Sounds like you and the ladies had a wonderful time. Everyone needs to have breaks like this.

    So happy you had a beautiful, relaxing weekend.

    Sending lots of hugs!

    Megan xxx

    1. It was perfect! Eight hours of bliss! We'd love to have you join us next time.... they are more your age and stage in life than mine <3


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