Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Getting my feet moving again

So I know I don't live at near a beach.  In fact, I live pretty darn far from a beach, but I selected this photo because it shows my feet moving while running barefoot on the beach.

This last year has been not one that was particularly healthy for me.  I worked more than full-time at a Level 1 trauma center while completing my CPE residency.  Working at a hospital alone is stressful, aside from the constant critical self-examination of Clinical Pastoral Education. Additionally, I was in a long-distance relationship, and I got married two weeks before the end of my residency.  Needless to say, exercise was not a huge priority.

My health suffered.  I ate pretty much all my feelings.  I frequently felt tired and sluggish. My sleep suffered. My asthma was dangerously uncontrolled. I was in a car accident that injured my back and prohibited exercise for some time. I ate junk, with just the intent of filling my stomach and moving on to the next thing.  Lack of exercise also did no favors for my mental and emotional health, particularly while working in such an intense environment. And because your thirties are not the same as your twenties, I just can't do that sort of thing to my body anymore and expect to feel good and bounce back.

So, I recently got my feet moving again.  I joined a gym, and have been enjoying immersing myself into physical activity and in breaking a sweat.  I know that a gym is a luxury expense, but I am putting it into a "necessary" expense now, so that it does not have greater costs later in my life.  There is something about the ritual of the gym that helps me to keep regular exercise part of my life.  I have a yoga mat and hand weights and resistance bands at home, and yet, I always manage to find something else to do instead of working out.  The dogs love walking, but that is more of a leisure activity for us, because there is lots of investigating and sniffing that happens when we walk.

Another side effect that appears with exercise is that I feel more connected to my body.  Sometimes I feel like I am an extremely powerful mind unfortunately attached to a body. My mind seems to be running about 10 steps ahead of my body and I rarely connect with myself.  The pure physicality of exercise forces me to be in my body.  Because otherwise I might fall off the treadmill or drop weights on myself.

So here I am, back to slogging it out at the gym most days.  I am not approaching this return to regular exercise as a form of weight loss (although I certainly hope that happens), but rather as a way to return to myself. For the last couple years I have been part of an online group of clergy types and friends who work out and post our encouragement for one another and share our triumphs and our sorrows.  I have been thankful for this group of friends who celebrate with me as I make this return to health.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sabbath Coffee Tour: Minneapolis, Sovereign Grounds (48th and Chicago)

For today's episode in the Sabbath Coffee Tour, I stopped by Sovereign Grounds in south Minneapolis.  This coffee shop roasts their own beans on site, with the house speciality roast called Turkish Roast. 

I enjoyed a mug of the Turkish Roast (a medium dark blend) along with a gluten free blueberry muffin, made in house.  Both were delicious.  There are a variety of baked goods, as well as quiche, soups, and other light foods.

This coffee shop has a very large indoor playroom, with the intent of being Minneapolis' only family-friendly coffee shop.  It is filled with toys, and seemed to draw a ton of families into the coffee shop.  The coffee shop seating side has a few tables and some armchairs, although not as many as the playroom side. There is free wifi available, although I did not spot any outlets.  Parking is street parking  (can be crowded along Chicago) and mostly one hour.  I parked one block off Chicago, and did not have any issues finding a spot.  Additionally, this coffee shop has a $5 minimum for credit cards.

This coffee shop is quieter than you would think with an indoor playground, more pleasant than blaring music.  The Turkish roast was delicious and I enjoyed my gluten free muffin.  This is an enjoyable place for coffee with a friend, but I would not recommend it for working or quiet time, on account of the playroom, few tables and lack of outlets.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sabbath Coffee Tour: Minneapolis, Five Watt Coffee (Nicollet and 38th)

Today I embarked on a another stop on my sabbath coffee tour. I visited Five Watt coffee in south Minneapolis. This charming little shop is located at Nicollet and 38th street. Five Watt roasts their own brews at a St Paul, MN roastery as well as Kickapoo Coffee.

I enjoyed The Residency, the Five Watt house blend.  It is a medium roast with a deep flavor, doctored up with some milk and raw sugar. All brewed coffees enjoyed in house are bottomless, which is an added bonus! There is food available (including gluten free!) and an apparently legendary oatmeal bar on Sundays.

The coffee shop was extremely crowded this morning, I was lucky to find a stool at the counter. There seems to be ample outlets, but those seats were all occupied.  But the baristas were extremely friendly and made me feel welcome in the shop. Parking is street parking (a bit tricky along Nicollet) but ample on the side streets.

I spent a pleasant couple hours coloring mandalas while drinking bottomless coffee, and I fit right in among others who were knitting, writing, and drawing.

Five Watt coffee is an unexpected gem in a fun neighborhood.  I will be back to check it out!