Wednesday, November 01, 2006

That Good Coffee

Last night Greg and I watched Lucky Number Slevin. I had never heard of the movie, but it turned out to be very good. The plot was tight and engaging. We both enjoyed it muchly.

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To read a little bit about it, go to the IMDB. To read a lot more and spoil the plot for yourself, check out Wikipedia's description.

Really though, anything with Josh Harnett, Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley has got to rock. (If violence and sex are a turn off for you though, you may want to skip this one, as it has elements of both.)

This morning I was feeling much better, so the boys and I set off on our usual little shopping adventure. Strangely, the street was quiet. There were almost no cars on the road, and the sidewalks were empty except one man walking his dog. We went to the whole food store first, and then the bakery (both only across the street, thankfully) but they were both closed. The produce stand was also closed down. I couldn't find any signs in the windows to suggest what might be the cause. I'm guessing it's a German holiday of some sort? Can't figure it out. We finally went over to another bakery, also across the road, which we've never visited. They have a little cafe (as do most), so I ordered pretzels for the boys, and a cup of coffee for myself.

To make my coffee, the lady pushed this button on her machine, and it ground the coffee, then brewed my cup, just for me. It had a layer of crema on top (that caramel colored foam that naturally tops a well brewed espresso), and was thick, dark and rich. In the States, we would call it a cup of espresso, but here, apparently that's just plain coffee, served in a regular sized mug. Very interesting. It was quite good, but since I haven't had caffeine in so long, I'm totally feeling the buzz. (For those concerned -- pregnant women are advised that it is safe to drink up to 2 cups of coffee a day, so I'm safe.)

In Germany, when you sit down at a table in a restaurant, it's considered yours for as long as you choose to be there. No one rushes you or imagines that you'll leave soon. In fact, if there's room at your table, another patron may even ask to sit with you (which you can refuse if you'd like), since there's a possibility of a long term unavailability of tables in a crowded place. The boys and I camped out in the cafe for about a half-hour, while Andrew stared at the table next to us where there was a lively conversation going on in German between four older folks, and Elijah jumped up and down in his chair and looked out the huge glass store-front. The people at the nearby table kept smiling at Elijah (I think he was making faces at them), and talking about him, but they could tell that I couldn't understand them, so I'm pretty sure that they also discussed the fact that I was pregnant too (I could just imagine "and a third on the way! Oh my!"). Or maybe they weren't at all.

In answer to Joycee's question from the other day: Yes, I do experience back pain during pregnancy. I have scolioses (spell?), and pregnancy makes that worse, generally permanently. The only real relief I've found is by regular chiropractic care throughout. Right before I got pregnant with Elijah, I got into a car accident (when I totaled the Jetta), so I was getting free care from my care insurance. It worked out to last almost all the way through the pregnancy, and was an amazing thing. (Who knew that a car accident could pay off so well?)

When I am pregnant, I get this click in my lower back where my spine meets my sacrum, and this occasionally prevents me from walking. I have to stop and stretch it out until my leg is "released", and then I'm ok again.

The best thing other than going to a chiropractor is regular Yoga and Pilates (for those of you who don't practice either, both borrow from each other extensively, so no matter what your workout video or class at the gym claims to do, they will certainly include poses from both forms. Hannah and I are work-out video/gym class junkies, and Hannah's a certified fitness instructor. We know.) Both of the above focus on core body strength (the strength that comes from your belly, chest and back), balance and flexibility -- all things that are very important to everyone, but especially to pregnant women.

Whenever I am doing my prenatal yoga or pilates videos, I feel so much better. I am more energized, and my back feels a good deal better. The cool thing about working out in this way is that it's very body honoring. There are always modifications suggested in the poses if something doesn't feel quite right. You can work out to the same video with progressive results, since the more you practice, the more effective the moves become as you get better at them.

Yoga and Pilates are appropriate for men and women of any age -- I would highly recommend trying them if you haven't yet.

If you need prenatal stuff, I recommend the following videos: Fusion Pilates For Pregnancy with Gennifer Gianni, and two Gaiam videos (you've probably seen this brand in Barnes & Nobel with yoga mats, etc.) Prenatal Yoga and Postnatal Yoga, both with Shiva Rea.

If you are not pregnant and would like to try out something cool that is also body honoring and pretty fun, check out Balanced Workout with Janice Saffell and Scott Cole. This combines Tai Chi with Kick Boxing in a fun and safe way. They never speed up too much, so if you're new to Kick Boxing, you would still be able to manage this. Scott manages to tie in the Tai Chi without being boring or spiritual. Love this video for when I'm un-babied.

Yoga, Tai chi, Belly Dancing, etc. are no longer the scary "spiritual experience" practices of yesterday. They have now morphed into mainstream, safe, effective ways to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance while learning about your body's needs and limits, quieting yourself and learning to be calm in the middle of whatever is going on in your day. In our culture today, we don't often make time to just be. These exercises help us to do just that.


Mom2Zoey said...

I have horrible back pain too. Of course that is because I am so out of shape. So, I can only blame myself. I am going to try a chiropractor soon. ~A

Mom2Zoey said...

I have horrible back pain too. Of course that is because I am so out of shape. So, I can only blame myself. I am going to try a chiropractor soon. ~A