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Independent Oregon Bookstores:

TreeHouse Books in Ashland, OR

RebelHeart Books in Jacksonville, OR

 

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Prelude of Cardio Chronicles 2: Croissants, Caramel Clusters and Catastrophe

PRELUDE

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I like a good cat and mouse chase as much as anyone, but I was failing as the feline.  I had left Blake, my boyfriend, three messages with no return call. I might have pissed him off again or maybe he just wasn’t getting enough cheese out of the deal. Blake and I had been in an on-and-off again intimate relationship for the past couple of years. Lately, he had accused me of wallowing. I expect this was due to my lack of direction and limited motivation to reinvent myself.  I used to be a Cardio Queen – a group fitness instructor with fans and an even more fan-tastic ass. Not anymore.

With no success tracking down Blake, I tried to contact my inner guru who had been with me since my mind-blowing, attitude-altering, and deeply de-toxifying adventure at an Ashram in Boulder. There, I had figured out that fame was not the end all be all. I called my guru “Phil” because he was as reliable as “Donahue” with his presence, but apparently, he was off the air today.

It’s 1998, and my personal training list consists of well…Sam. A womanizing 80-year old with teenage-dreams and geriatric man parts. That’s what happens when you make a mockery of your career like I had. You take what you can get for work. And the last time I tried to teach a traditional aerobics class, a few attendees brought whips (I guess they recognized me from the CardioCarnivale DVD), so I took a hiatus.  Women nowadays are wearing these weird short and skirt combos called “skorts.” Our president, Bill Clinton, is denying he has had “sexual relations” and I am too, but I would be telling the truth. Well, I hadn’t had good sex in a few months, does that count?

Here’s a quick recap – after the wildest ride from nothing to fame and then to bankruptcy, I realized that producing my DVD CardioCarnivale had not been the wisest choice, but it did ultimately teach me that no amount of notoriety, popularity, or fecundity would lead to fulfillment. That, and several months at a spiritual retreat with organic food, zits and silence took me down a notch.

Two years later; enlightenment is in the rear-view mirror. No one said that you attain it and keep it forever, right? It was as slippery as my ex-fiancé Max, and the Brandy Alexanders I used to drink. But I did finally kick the Max habit. The last time I saw him was a brief encounter at the DMV. He was standing behind his latest conquest – a skinny Angelina Jolie type with less lustrous hair and no bra. I high-tailed it out of there before they saw me due to unexpected flatulence. Loud, repetitive farting at the DMV would have been an epic bummer, especially in front of him.

After that incident, I heard Max moved out of state to re-kindle a relationship with an old girlfriend. Massive surprise there. Max was a time traveler who only wanted to go back in time and seek out past relationships. Not me, I was running away from the past as fast as I could.

But let’s cut to the current chase. My romantic relationship was stagnated. Blake and I were involved, but I could not commit, and he wasn’t asking. I liked being the cat more than the mouse, and the prey was always away. My roommate Anna had just moved out and I knew Blake was not moving in, so I had to take matters into my own hands. I never wanted to be a woman who relied on her man for sustenance, so that meant I better figure out how to avoid the mouse trap even if I was the cat most of the time. I needed to move forward.

But face-planting in life was not really moving forward. I had to completely stay away from working at health clubs. It had been a few years since I produced my fitness DVD that won cult-like status and pissed off Barnum & Bailey circus enough that they came after me. I landed in bankruptcy faster than a trapeze artist hitting the nets, so I wasn’t even allowed in most clubs. I could not trust myself to work in restaurants either. One attempt to be a waitress at a cinema grill turned like the sour cream at an all-night buffet. It was dark, with stairs and you had to memorize the seating chart for three theaters. I served minors alcohol and decorated people with popcorn mostly. I thought my spastic moves and near-miss pirouettes were more entertaining than Shrek and Fiona but what did I know.

Basically, things are not going well. My one group kick-boxing session a week is not bringing in enough dough and I have eaten more Kit-Kats than a 7-11 employee, which is really throwing off the scale in my bathroom. It keeps saying I weigh more than I do.…C’mon Kit-Kats are one of the lightest candy bars out there. Lighter than a Mounds bar…more like a wafer even. Wouldn’t it be great if the higher the calories, the heavier the food would be? Then, just picking it up would be a workout and you could justify eating calorie-laden snacks because they would be like pumping iron. Alas, fantasy will not bring me fans or a fan-tastic ass.

Today, after my kickboxing class, I had a phone interview for a potential part-time gig, which might contribute to the full-time rent.  I looked down at my cell phone and realized I needed to get my bootie in gear if I was going to make it to the group kickboxing session. Shit – rent was due tomorrow! Kickboxing was the only class I could still teach. It was not technically in a health club and they called it anaerobic, so it wasn’t really aerobics either.

If I didn’t hurry, Jan – a die-hard boxer -would take my gloves again and leave me with only the “untouchable” pair, thrown to the bottom of the pile because they smelled like sweaty balls and rope. Without a car (another bankruptcy loss), I was riding my bike everywhere which helped burn calories, but my ass seemed to be growing bigger. I mean what is the deal? Too much rump in a chair is bad for you according to the science nerds, but what about sitting on a bike or on a weight circuit machine? Does the body really care where or what you sit on? If so, how does it decide what is “good” sitting and what is “bad” sitting. Is it OK to sit if you have wheels underneath you? If so, then I am getting the most comfortable rolling chair and scooting my ass around my apartment every day.

Chair economics aside, I grabbed my water bottle and headed out the door. But when I turned around, freshly-cut grass assaulted my tank top immediately. Great. Now, I had green boob fuzz. The culprit was my neighbor, Mr. Hinkley, wearing a sweat-covered wife-beater, boxer shorts, and dirty white socks drooping down to mid-calf. What made this even stranger is that it was September and although it was seasonally warm, white socks after Labor Day was a fashion faus pas. He nodded and gave me a goofy smile

like he had inhaled fumes from his sputtering lawnmower. My bike could not get me out of there fast enough. But, my left foot did not connect to the pedal as intended, so I wobbled like a five-year old down the street until I gained enough control to be on my way. I may have had moments of enlightenment previously at the Ashram in Boulder, but I was still struggling with grace.

Hello world!

2017-04-24 Clinics MeVanessa Newman began her writing career at the age of eight when she penciled her first 26-page novel. Unfortunately, it received neither parental nor peer approval. She dared to write again after attending Bradford College where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human Studies. At that time, she wrote health and education articles published in IDEA Fitness magazine, The Teaching Professor, Rocky Mountain Fitness magazine and Women’s Edition. She also commenced an online writing career creating web-based courses for companies like SkillSoft and Anheuser-Busch. Vanessa later earned a Master of Science degree and focused on health-related writing. Yet, her creative writing did not take priority until 2015 when she received 2nd prize in a short-story contest and wrote her first children’s story and first novel.