Saturday, January 28, 2012

Adventures at the Gym and the Aquarium

I did finally make it to Lucile Roberts today. I got in with about ten minutes to spare. I pushed my backpack and coat into a locker, locked it, bought a bottle of water, and joined the others waiting for the orientation to start.

Lucile Roberts is the cleanest, newest gym I've ever seen. Most gyms I've encountered have been shoved into small spaces or rooms in a college or high school. Not this one. It took over one of the large new storefronts in the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center, a few doors down from Staples and next-door to the Chinese restaurant. It has an enormous wood floor for classes and state-of-the-art equipment. We were shown how to use the stationary bike, the elliptical (walking) machine, the treadmill, and the various weight machines.

I decided to keep it pretty simple today. I tried some of the machines that concentrated on the lower body first, since I got a pretty good upper body workout with the various yoga DVDs this week. I think I can go up a weight on most of them. I had problem with the one that works the thighs, but it turns out that the metal piece used to hold the weights in place was bent. I had to move to another one.

The stationary bike turned out to be almost too simple. I put it on 20 minutes, with no resistance...which just wasn't enough to get my heart rate going. I added a little more resistance. Next time, I think I'll either try the elliptical machine or add more resistance. I do ride a bike every day, after all.

I headed out to lunch around quarter of 1. I had no idea where to go that wouldn't completely blow my diet. I decided to hitch my wagon to some of Bassett's delicious barbecue. I had cole slaw and their BBQ Sliders - three mini-versions of their pulled pork, beef, and chicken sandwiches. Very tasty. As usual, the small cole slaw was a bit too much. I brought some of it home.

Stopped at the Acme next to do my grocery shopping. It was a little busy there, but nothing too horrible. I did the sale where you filled an insulated bag with meat and got the bag free. I didn't fill it. I only bought chicken legs, chicken cutlets, and stew meat...and the cutlets were the only things that were part of the sale. That's ok. I really just wanted to replace my insulated bag. The one I've had for a few years now is falling apart. I also stocked up on brown sugar, grapefruit, strawberries, bananas, good cheddar cheese from the deli, yogurt, and eggs. Took advantage of that sale on Emerald products and the coupons I've cut out of the boxes for the trail mix bags to get two boxes of the trail mix bags and two containers of almonds.

Called my sister Rose the moment I got home. Yes, she'd forgotten she said we'd get together. No matter. She invited me to go to the Adventure Aquarium on the Camden Waterfront with her, her best friend Colleen (who is visiting from Harrisburg), and 1 1/2-year-old son Khai. I gladly accepted. I'd had no other plans for today but doing my taxes.

The trio picked me up about an hour later. The Adventure Aquarium is one of Camden's biggest attractions. It's the home of hundreds of species of fish, sharks, hippos, and other marine animals. (And some non-marine animals. An African-themed exhibit has birds and, for some reason, a porcupine.) I don't know if Khai quite got what was going on. We browsed through all of the exhibits that we could. (Adventure Zone C was closed to be remodeled into the Aquarium's kid area.) Khai was a little apprehensive about the dark and some of the scarier animals, especially the huge alligator Mighty Mike.

He was happier (and so was Colleen) when we went outside to look at the African Penguins and the seals. The penguins were hanging around the door to their area; apparently, it was close to their feeding time, and they knew where to get their lunch! There was only one seal outside, and he was napping. A lot. He was napping when we first went outside around 3:30, and he was still asleep on the same rock an hour later (though by that time, he'd been joined by a second seal who at the very least was going for a swim). One little girl noted that the seal even looked like he had a flipper stuck in his mouth like a thumb.

Khai seemed to enjoy the concrete walkway in the back of the building more than anything inside. No wonder. It was bright, sunny, and windy, and there was plenty of room for him to out-run his mother, giggling happily. He loved watching the choppy green waves lap against the concrete. I enjoyed the spectacular view of Philadelphia, the river, and the Ben Franklin Bridge.

We finally headed home around quarter of 5. Rose drove us past the buildings of Rutgers University, where she finished her law degree, to show them to Colleen. I amused her son in the back seat with a Dr. Seuss board book on animal sounds. He loved it when I mooed, whoo-whooed, and knocked on his child's seat to simulate knocking on a door.

When I got home, I spent the next hour or so doing my taxes. My taxes take less than an hour. I own no large property and have no dependents. The sun had just finished setting when I sent my file to the IRS. I direct-deposited again this year, so I should be seeing both my federal and New Jersey returns within a week.

Watched the Bowery Boys and finished up Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated while making a quick omelet with broccoli and cheddar cheese for dinner. I never knew goofy ol' Fred could be put to such dramatic ends. I won't spoil anything here, but suffice to say, I will be waiting for the debut of this show in May with a great deal of interest.

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