Ah, Endorphins and Clean(er) Air…

Between the lovely rains that came through today and cleaned out a good chunk of the pollution and the wonderful workout I had this afternoon, I’m feeling in a much better place than I have been for the past week. I’m pleasantly sleepy and know I’m going to be sore tomorrow. But I also have a Yin Yoga DVD I got from the library, so I can do that tomorrow and soothe my poor Yanged-up muscles.

For my workout, I went to a different gym location at which they have a steam room. The steam room was lovely. I think it may have been 2001 or 2002 when my husband and I went with some friends to their family’s condo in Williamsburg, Virginia, for a weekend. Our friends very generously gave us the master suite, which included a steam shower in the bathroom. Once we figured out how to work it, it was absolutely divine.

After that weekend, I vowed that one day I would have a steam shower in my home. So far, it’s not worked out that way. While we were house-hunting, I did look at one place that had a magnificent basement master with ten-foot ceilings and a steam shower that the whole family could easily have fit in. But the house was about $130,000 over what we wanted to spend and had no yard, so I remain steam-showerless.

It’s kind of funny that I like steam showers so much because, as a rule, I hate humidity. But perhaps I actually like humidity as long as I can choose when to experience it and escape it before it ceases to be fun. And there’s nothing like the intense aridity of Utah to make a person crave a little humidity.

A co-ed steam room in a gym is slightly less awesome than a steam shower in the privacy of one’s own master suite, but it’s still better than no steam at all. My husband’s not thrilled at the idea of me sitting in a bikini with three men in swim trunks, but he knows there’s an alternative. If he decides it’s worth the expense, I’m happy to sit by myself in a steam shower in my own home.

At any rate, I loved my workout and then my steam. The men who were in the room didn’t bother me much. My glasses, predictably, became covered with an opaque fog the moment I set foot inside the steam room, so I took them off. From my myopic perspective, I was sharing the room with three indistinct blobs in swim trunks that periodically stretched or massaged where I guessed their feet would be or left for a swim and then returned to steam some more. I would have preferred to share the steam room with blobs wearing bikinis, but as my dad always used to say, wish in one hand, spit in the other (only he didn’t say “spit”).

And the air! Oh, my, how lovely it was to see the blue sky again, if only for a brief time! And my dizziness almost disappeared today with all the breathing I was doing of air that was comparatively lower in particulates and chemicals than it has been for the past week!

I’m going to round out the day by going to bed early (ish), so I’ll just leave you with a smoothie I made last week. I’ve been just throwing together smoothies with whatever I happen to have around the house. I noticed that the raw cranberry sauce/relish I’d made for Thanksgiving was getting a little old. So, I tossed it in the smoothie with a couple of enormous swiss chard leaves, a cored comice pear, a peeled navel orange, a banana and a half (I was only going to use one banana, but the baby asked for a banana so I gave him half and put the rest in my smoothie. He smooshed his half in his little fists and then rubbed it in his hair), and about a cup of rice milk.

The result, artfully arranged with some autumn leaves my daughter left lying on the table:


Cranberry Sauce Smoothie

It tasted so good that I wished I’d bought a ton of cranberries while they were still at the store and packed them into my freezer. Except that they wouldn’t have fit, and I would had to have bought a chest freezer.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how to make raw cranberry sauce/relish, use a bag of cranberries, a cup of sugar, and the zest and pulp of one valencia orange (making sure there aren’t any seeds in it). Put everything in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and masticate for, I don’t know, like 30 to 60 minutes. Until it looks chunky but juicy and the sugar is all dissolved. The cranberries will try to jump out of the bowl at first. I just stand there with my hands blocking the edges and getting cranberry juice on my shirt until enough of them burst that they settle down and get crushed like good little berries. There’s likely a better way to do this, but this one works for me for the one time a year I make the cranberry sauce.

If I find more cranberries, I’ll make more sauce and post the prettied-up recipe with a picture.

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