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Even though the sun has been rising later and later, I’ve been pretty good at sticking to my early-morning walk routine all through the summer. In June, I’d need my sunglasses at 6 a.m.; nowadays, not so much. Still, most days I am able to catch the rising sun gleaming off the underside of airplanes descending into Philadelphia, making all jets look like red-bellied Southwest planes, metallic birds with torsos aglow.

However, not all mornings are ideal for the outdoors, including today. With the remnants of Hurricane Isaac drifting toward the Northeast, today started drizzly and gray, a reasonable and seasonable temperature of 70° but the suffocating humidity ruining any notion of comfort (or straight hair). Mother Nature had decided my morning workout: Today I would dance.

Leaving my sneakers in the porch and remaining barefoot, I lit an orange pumpkin-scented candle, bowed my head to the flame, and began to flow.

It’s hard for me to dance first thing in the morning without some kind of guidance, so I made sure to compile a playlist before diving in. One might think that starting with a high-energy techno or rock beat would help shake off the sleepies, but I always prefer to follow 5Rhythms’ gradual build-up structure of Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness.

The 5Rhythms structure is kind on the body, the way an opulent meal is to the senses: Flowing is a bit like a glass of wine before the appetizer of Staccato, which is then followed by the hearty and chow-down main meaty course of Chaos. Finally, there is dessert, sweet-like-blueberries Lyrical, the prelude to the final course of Stillness, that moment at the table when you’re sipping coffee with eyes half-closed, smacking your lips, and inhaling the memory of your fulfilling meal.

Here’s the music I chose to represent those sensations:

  • Warm-Up: “Damascus,” Conjure One, featuring Chemda
  • Flowing: “To Zion,” Trevor Hall
  • Flowing: “La Guitarra,” B-Tribe
  • Staccato: “Black Velvet,” Bonnie Raitt
  • Staccato/Chaos: “Drumming Song,” Florence and The Machine
  • Chaos: “Greg Didge,” Music Mosaic (from the album Didgeridoo Trance Dance 2)
  • Lyrical: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Carlos Santana, featuring India.Arie
  • Lyrical: “Pequeño Vals,” Marlango
  • Stillness: “Singapore (….),” The Candle Thieves
  • Stillness: “Swelling,” Sarah Jaffe

Most of these are songs I’ve danced to in other classes; I find that once I’ve experienced the music in a class setting, it has more weight, the same way hearing a song in a movie soundtrack makes it 10 times more intriguing. For example, every time I hear “To Zion,” I imagine gliding around the wheat-colored carpet in Kripalu’s Main Hall during Dan Leven’s Shake Your Soul class; the frenetic didgeridoo song brought me to the floor, the wall, my feet, and back on the floor again during a mid-summer night’s Dance from the Inside Out class. I remember waltzing around the spacious floor of Studio 34 with an imaginary dance partner to “Pequeño Vals,” and well, hell, I just love Florence. She had to be in there somewhere.

The sweetest thing about the practice was that after an hour of dancing, the flickering flame of the candle I had lit at the start of the dance was being upstaged by something greater: the sun!

This day—filled with thunderstorms, flash floods, and tornado warnings—had about 60 minutes total of scattered sunlight; I am happy to have experienced at least 5 of them as a sweaty, satisfied mess of a body sprawled out on the living room carpet.

”Dance is important…. It can be a reason for a person to get up in the morning”
~ Jeanguy Saintus

I blame my friend Jaime for planting the shopping bug in my head. On Friday during our lunchtime walk, she had mentioned the desire to go shopping that afternoon. The notion excited me as well; I’ve been trying to give my credit card a break since Christmas and so the majority of my purchases these past two months have mostly been for gas and groceries.

It wasn’t until I was walking through Philly yesterday afternoon when I started to get the itch…bad. It was a sunny, mild afternoon…I had just come from a really fun dancehall class + postclass meetup (more on that to come!), the streets were full of dog walkers and musicians and happy shiny people, and I just so happened to be walking down one of the trendiest retail districts in the city…and, before I knew it…BAM!

• My heart skipped a beat when I realized that Athleta was in town. They used to be an online-only retailer, and I only knew about them because I have an Old Navy credit card and all of my coupons are also good for the Gap, Banana Republic, and Athleta. When I went to Athleta’s website, I died. It’s like Lululemon but without the cultish undertones and overly wide-eyed salespeople. Beautiful yoga/dance/sporty wear, beautiful dresses, beautiful scarves and tote bags and everything I want my wardrobe to be. Picture a luxury health and wellness cruise to the Bahamas for a surfing lesson with a stop at St. Maarten for some hiking, followed by an on-ship yoga class, a modern dance party at night, and green smoothies for everyone. This is Athleta. I never bought anything online because I don’t trust sizes until I physically try stuff on. Today was that day. I limited myself to only two items, because–just like a luxury health and wellness cruise to the Bahamas–it’s expensive. I got a lightweight gray jacket that I envision myself wearing on those somewhat-chilly May mornings at the farmers market and The Best Pair of Pants in the World. I used to think L.L. Bean’s Perfect Fit Pants held that title, but they have now met their competition.

• On the left are some duds from City Sports, which I had never been to before either. I tried on a lot of things, and most looked great but, seriously, how many pairs of black yoga capris do I really need? (Even though I swear they all feel different and carry a story of their own, but Bryan will never understand this.) So I skipped the pricey capris and opted for pricey prAna instead; that would be the pair of black pants on the left. But they are full-length pants with a little flowing skirt attached. I saw those pants, and they whispered to me: “5Rhythms.” As did the purple shirt on top, which luckily was on clearance. It’s a relaxed fit, longish lightweight hooded shirt that has the perfect amount of give for a 5Rhythms class. The Toesox are also intended for 5Rhythms, mostly for the classes in Princeton in which the floor is always somewhat slippery. I do own a pair of Gaiam yoga socks, but I felt like the rubber nubs on the Toesox were a bit more durable and hardier.

• The other half of my City Sports loot is on the right, but it’s all swimming stuff: a pair of hand paddles so I can work on my stroke technique, a Lycra cap that won’t tear out my hair, and a nose clip so I can declare myself Geek of the Pool (and do flip turns without inhaling nasty pool water all the time).

• A trip to Center City isn’t complete with a stop at the Rittenhouse Barnes & Noble, where I picked up a new magazine (for me) to give a shot: Spirituality & Health. Something I flipped through but did not buy was this:

You know how there’s always some creepy dude sitting in the corner of B&N flipping through a girly magazine? OMG, I was that guy but my p*rn was a periodical about Boeing 777s. What is my problem?? I can’t help it; I love planes!

• Finally, with nothing in my stomach since a Clif Builder bar at 2 p.m. (and now it was going on 8), I stopped at Fuel for dinner to go. The Hulk juice (spinach, cucumber, lemon, and apple) was a refreshing companion for the train ride back to Jersey, and I devoured the Fuel Stacker panini like a ravenous bear once I got home. It was one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a while: portabello, eggplant, zucchini, squash, tomato, house-made mozzarella, and pesto. The fresh mozzarella was the key ingredient; I’m so used to a slab of deli cheese on my sandwiches that the gooey white blob protruding from the wheat bread was a welcome sight. I urge Fuel to come to the other side of the river soon…this girl can’t afford to always go into the city for a decent sandwich!

Did you indulge in any retail therapy this weekend? Alternatively, tell me what classifies as your Best Pants in the World!

When I left work today around ten after 5, the early evening bestowed two wonderful gifts on me: daylight and mild weather.

I work in a cubicle and rarely catch a glimpse of the outside world. For the past few months I’ve gotten used to popping my head up over my cube wall at 5 o’something and seeing nothing but black on the other side of the window.

Today there was still orange in the sky, and it was mild enough that I decided to take a 3-mile stroll around the 55+ housing development across the street from my office. I have taken post-work walks there during colder/darker times, but let me tell you, you are way less threatening walking around a senior housing development in a lightweight jacket and khakis in daylight than walking around the same development at the same time in a knee-length thick winter coat, hat, mouth-and-nose-masking scarf, and, oh, it’s pitch black out.

During the former scenario, I’m a healthy gal who likes to stretch her legs after a long day at the office; in the latter scenario, I’m a creepy darkly dressed voyeur staking out people’s homes. It was nice for once to walk around the complex after work and not have every motion sensor light flood me in white and to innocently glance at people’s houses without Lou and Edna thinking I’m peeping in their windows to see what kind of valuables they own.

The semi-lit evening got me really excited because it means eventually I’ll be able to return to Red Bank Battlefield Park for post-work walks. The park is an official national park and has strict hours–open at dawn, close at dusk, locked gates and everything. Because of the early sunsets, I haven’t been to the park in forever, and I look forward to once again visiting my planes, deer, and red-tailed hawks.

As thankful as I am for today’s springlike weather, I know we still have a long way to go before I permanently trade my Land’s End sleeping bag coat for a hoodie. I mean, (as I write this) it’s technically not even February yet! I give you Exhibit A, a blog post I had written last year on February 22:

Winter made me cry this morning. Partially due to PMS but mostly just plain ol’ hating the cold, I broke out in tears at approximately 8 a.m. as I was attempting to clean the snow off my car. Just 4 days ago we were basking in 70-degree sunlight, and now I was standing in my driveway, fingers going painfully numb, trying to clear 4 inches of snow off my Ford Focus. I accidentally closed my car door on my ice scraper, it snapped apart, and then I snapped along with it. Bryan finished the job as I wimpered inside, hands jammed under my armpits in an attempt to regain feeling.

Bottom line: Enjoy it while it lasts!!

Thanks to a sleet/snow/sleet storm on early Saturday morning, “long walks outside” have temporarily been suspended as a potential exercise option. The weekend is usually my time to bundle up, fire up my podcast-stuffed iPod, and head out for a long walk, but Mother Nature dumped just enough crap on the streets and sidewalks that any “walk” would be more of a waddle as I try to stay upright on an uneven surface of leftover crusty ice.

Day 1, Saturday, was bearable. I spent most of the morning/early afternoon taking down Christmas decorations and cleaning the downstairs and went swimming at the gym an hour before closing. Actually getting myself to the pool was a feat straight out of my previous post, having to drive down slushy streets and tip-toe over a parking lot of black ice before stripping down to barely nothing and jumping in a large body of water.

I don’t like swimming on consecutive days, so Sunday I woke up with a challenge. How to earn those endorphins?

With that, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to the most desperate workout in history: Living room walking!

Materials needed: (a) a long living room, clear of furniture; (b) a 10-pound weighted vest, to increase the chances of actually sweating and getting a workout; (c) an optional set of stairs, to add some glute/quad action; and–the most critical element–(d) a TV, to kill the time that will seem to drag on forever and ever…and ever.

I walked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth for 2.93 miles. For people who run, that number is nothing. For people who living room walk, that’s a freakin’ marathon.

It could not have been done without support from one of my favorite people of the moment:

I’m looking at you, Felicity. And Noel, Ben, Julie, and Elena. A Netflix subscription with wifi streaming makes living room walking soooo much more bearable. Felicity is one of my latest Netflix guilty pleasures. I don’t know why I’m so into it. I watched it in college (her school years coincided with mine), but I stopped watching it after Season 2. And now, at age 31, I’m totally hooked. It’s so cheesy! Ben, Noel, Ben, Noel. Ugh, just make up your mind, girl!

I don’t know if my other current guilty pleasure is better or worse:

Only Netflix would introduce me to an Australian teen drama that’s essentially a TV version of Center Stage. Sure, there’s some legitimate dancing involved, but for the most part this show is about unrequited love, schoolgirl crushes, prima donna ballerina snobs, and rough-and-tough boys who are ashamed to admit they love ballet. I’m hooked. And–100% totally true confession–I used the show as inspiration to get myself to the pool on Saturday, pretending I was a serious student at the “Swim Academy” and had to get to practice. Just swap a leotard for a Speedo, pointe shoes for flippers…same difference.

So, there you have it. Living room walking with Felicity and Australian teen drama-inspired swim workout. I just need to add a Golden Girls squat-and-lunge routine, and I’m on my way to becoming the triathlete of geekdom.

I usually go to bed on Saturday night feeling guilty about all the errands/chores I never got to and all that I’ll need to cram into Sunday, but ya know what? NOT THIS WEEKEND.

It was 60-something degrees this Saturday, a rarity in the Northeast in January. After a few days of an “Arctic blast” in the region–complete with snow on Thursday morning–this kind of meteorological surprise was permission for anyone with Christmas decorations still up in their house (::cough::me::cough::) to just let it go. Tree in the living room, stockings still hanging? Let ’em stay…I’m going outside to play!

Inspired by Meg from Spirit Moves Dance, yesterday I gave myself permission to:

• Wake up naturally, without an alarm clock.

• Do yoga in my pajamas for an hour.

• Cut back on the chaturangas in the yoga podcast when my sore scapula began speaking to me.

• Feel ever-so-content standing in a super-steady and grounded dancer pose, even if my lifted leg doesn’t go as high as it did 5 years ago.

• Add not just almond butter but pumpkin butter, raisins, prunes, banana, and a handful of Kashi GoLean Crunch to my bowl of oatmeal.

• Sit on the computer for two hours, but do so writing meaningful blog posts.

• Download Foursquare on my new BlackBerry, use it to check into a handful of places, decide that I hate the application/concept, but then later reconsider its usefulness (i.e., to remember what I did/where I went over the course of time, because my memory sucks).

• Go on a long and leisurely 5-mile walk with Bryan, occasionally bumping into him as I stared skyward to look at planes.

• Decide to take the “long way” on our walk home, because it was just that nice outside.

• Stop at the Pooch Park to watch strangers’ dogs frolic and romp, secretly hoping someone would come along with a pug. (We’re satisfied with the two puggles we saw, though.)

• See the giant orange sun set on one side of the sky as the nearly full moon began to glow on the other.

• Go to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner, even though I swear every dish must have bacon fat folded into it, considering their calorie counts. (Roasted veggie salad = Amazing, and probably not so bad if you get the dressing on the side.)

• Ask my dining companion for one of his pizza crusts to fulfill my need for some kind of carb to accompany said salad.

• Use my new BlackBerry for entertainment/diversion when waiting for a table at CPK, even though minutes earlier I had blasted society for being so obsessed with their smartphones.

• Spend an hour at a music store that’s going out of business listening to/selecting discounted CDs (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides soundtrack, Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, Radio Retaliation [Thievery Corporation], Empires, Automatic [VNV Nation] <— thanks to Meg for introducing them to me!!).

• Get frozen yogurt in January from our favorite self-serve place.

Honestly, that last one is the most accurate barometer of them all. If I’m OK eating a frozen treat in the middle of winter…yeah, it’s probably a good day.

My vacation countdown has officially entered the single digits, so my brain–usually bouncing off the wall with blogging ideas–is stuck in WORK.PACK.PANIC mode. I don’t know about anyone else, but the final days before vacation are so tense for me; it’s not until I’m at the airport–through security with boarding pass in hand–that I realize this is supposed to be fun. (And I don’t want to think that far ahead, but this article discusses how there really is no such thing as post-vacation bliss; most of the happiness of a vacation comes before and during the trip. Then we just all snap back to baseline. Wah.)

Yes, I cry when I leave Disney World.

But at least we don’t have any hurricane clean-up to worry about before we leave. As it turns out, Irene was ever-so-kind to our little South Jersey community: Our trees stayed intact, we never lost power, and thanks to some last-minute gutter work courtesy of my husband, our basement remained water free. So for us, thankfully, “Splash Mountain” turned off the water canons and graced us instead with a gentle misting spray. There was a lot of damage elsewhere, though, and plenty of people are still walking around the Magic Kingdom in their squishy socks and shoes and soaked-through shorts and T-shirts. (OK, Disney analogy ends…now.)

So, aside from doing all the normal hurricane prep work like digging out our flashlights (and accidentally getting battery acid all over your hand), turning down the refrigerator/freezer temperatures (wow, that made for some solid-as-a-rock frogurt the next day), and buying the essential nonperishable food items (seems like everyone turned into carb-loading ultramarathoners overnight), Bryan and I added a few unique tasks to the list:

Go green!

Environmentally friendly water storage. Which is what happens when every store is out of bottled water and you need to get creative.

Slumber party!

Sleeping on the living room floor instead of upstairs, to stay as clear as possible from the roof. This picture makes an impromptu living room sleepover look fun; it was not. No much how much bedding you use, the floor is still hard (and sleeping on the couch is just awkward). I don’t know how we did it back then in our elementary school days.

After being holed up in the house for about 24 hours, I was going so stir-crazy. The worst of the storm was over by Sunday morning, but it was still too dangerously windy outside for me to consider taking a stroll down my ancient-tree-lined neighborhood. I did some yoga–that calmed me down for a while–but later in the afternoon I was desperate. I picked up my 6-pound medicine ball and told Bryan to play “catch” with me in the living room.

Play ball!

I know a lot of people come to this blog after searching for “medicine ball exercises,” so if you’re looking for some rainy-day fitness fun, here are some ideas, to be done with a partner:

Underhand toss, with squat. Stand with legs a little wider than hip-distance apart. Keeping head, neck, and spine aligned, squat down as though sitting in a chair with ball held low between the legs. From this low position, toss ball to partner with an underhand throw, using biceps and inside forearm as the active muscles. Person catching the ball can do a quick grab and lower into this starting position on the catch.

Overhand toss, with or without squat. Hold ball to upper chest with palms facing outward. Toss ball to partner with a “pushing” kind of motion (kind of like taking a foul shot in basketball). You’ll feel this in the triceps. Partner catches the ball with hands in same position. Adding a small squat (with legs hip-distance apart) intensifies the move.

One-hand underhand toss. If you are like me and have hypermobile joints, I do not recommended this with a 6-pound ball (my shoulders were aching the next day–an “ouch” ache, not a “good workout” ache). Basically, we were mimicking a bowling kind of motion, stepping out with the one leg and tossing the ball underhand with the opposite arm, as though rolling a bowling ball down the alley. Partner catches the ball in standard catch fashion. I think I would have been fine with 4 pounds or so, but those 6 pounds made my rotator cuff so wonky.

• On the other hand, 6 pounds was too light for the back-to-back ball exchange, in which you stand back to back with your partner, holding the ball with two hands. Turn to right and pass ball to partner (his left). Partner swivels around to other side as you swivel around to meet him on your left side, grabbing ball from him and swiveling to your right, so on and so forth.  Do a few repetitions in one direction and then switch sides. This was ridiculously easy with 6 pounds and we gave up after a few rounds. Would have been much more effective with at least 12 pounds.

We kept at it for about 10 minutes, and I worked up a pretty decent sweat! It was a great way to combine keeping conversation with my husband, having fun, and beating the hurricane-day fidgets.

Fortunately the winds died down right before the sun set, so we were able to go on a pleasant walk around town at dusk. Post-hurricane weather is wacko–it was absolutely gorgeous outside! Blue skies, beautiful clouds, chirping birds…all very strange juxtaposed next to severed tree limbs and saturated leaves plastered all over the roads.

How did you beat the rainy-day, Hurricane Irene weekend blues?

As I sit inside waiting for Hurricane Irene to pound us, I thought I’d take the time to reflect on yet another frightening weather phenomenon that rocked our world earlier this week–the Northeast Earthquake of 2011.

Last September, my husband and I were out in LA for vacation. I was kind of scared about the possibility of an earthquake; even more so when I opened the Paradise Pier hotel directory and saw that the first item on the “Safety” page was not about fires or storms but rather earthquakes.

Not used to seeing THIS in a Disney guide!

We were in California for a week and there were no earthquakes. Fear not! Because the Northeastern U.S. would be getting its own nearly a year later!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011: I was in work that afternoon, trying to snap myself out of my post-lunch food coma. It felt ever-so-much like a Tuesday, and 5 p.m. seemed a world away. I needed coffee, I needed entertainment, I needed…

…dizziness? Huh? Suddenly my eyes had trouble focusing on my computer screen, and I feared the blurry vision I was experiencing before being diagnosed with astigmatism was returning. I looked at something stationary on my desk–my plastic Wall•E action figure–to try and gain my composure, but I still felt like I was rocking back and forth. Soon the sensation was throughout my whole body, and I wasn’t sure if I was having some kind of “episode” or if maybe the giant dinosaur-sounding trash truck that visits our office every week accidentally hit the building.

I called out to my officemates: “Do you guys feel shaking?” I heard a chorus of concerned yesses. Once it was confirmed that everyone felt something, panic set in. I remember looking at my spider plant and seeing the leaves swinging back and forth. At that point, a collage of thoughts hit me all at once as the shaking grew more intense: This is an earthquake. This is some kind of terrorist attack. A giant plane crashed (our office is directly in the landing zone for PHL). Our building–which has something physically wrong with it almost every week–has had enough and is falling to the ground.

Despite the warnings in that Paradise Pier guide, we did not STAY THERE, and we all ran outside. I honestly thought our building was just dying a natural death and that ceiling tiles would start dropping. Outside was actually safe, with nothing but a wide expanse of parking lot, where everyone in the building gathered. Everyone was chirp-chirp-chirping, pulling out their cell phones, trying to figure out what just happened. It was at that point I realized that in my haste I had run outside with NONE of my belongings. Once those with smartphones had determined it was the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia that had shook us up, I quickly ran inside to get my purse and immediately came back outside.

No one knew what to do. We just stood there, exchanging our stories about what we first thought the shaking was. Someone thought it was his cubemate violently shaking her desk in anger. Another woman, who sits behind the printer/copier, thought someone was going all Office Space on the behemoth machine. At home, my husband was afraid it was a tree falling down, perhaps even a gas line being hit.

It was at this point my one friend, checking her iPhone, came across news about Will and Jada Smith breaking up. We joked that there should be no other news at that time except for earthquake updates, and yet we both confessed that this particular snippet of celebrity gossip actually piqued our interest and that it made the earthquake feel even more apocalyptic, (a) because New Jersey isn’t supposed to get that strong of an earthquake, and (b) it’s Will and Jada! They’re like peanut butter and jelly! What is happening with our world?!

About 20 minutes later, after our pulses had slowed down and our respirations returned to normal, the CEO of our company announced that we were free to go home. “We don’t have any protocol for this type of thing, so….be safe, enjoy your afternoon.” Perhaps he too was concerned about our creaky building, or maybe more about the fact that our office is in the vicinity of several oil refineries, but whatever–I grabbed the rest of my things and got the heck out of that building.

Several colleagues headed straight for the bar for an early happy hour; I drove to my grandparents’ house to “check on the elderly,” as they say. They were both in good spirits, glad to know the shaking wasn’t their front porch caving in, as they had first thought. I ate my afternoon yogurt there, stealing some of their Fiber One cereal to sprinkle on top, and was treated to Nilla wafers and cantaloupe that they knew was iffy tasting but still passed along to me, hoping maybe I wouldn’t know the difference. (I did. Thanks a lot, sneaky grandparents! :-))

At home, Bryan and I exchanged stories about the quake. He was definitely more frightened at first, again, thinking a tree had fallen near/on the house. He was running from room to room, looking out windows, not sure whether to run outside (gas line?) or stay inside (tree about to fall?). Our wine glasses were clinking together. In the end, the only “damage” were a few photos that had fallen over and a plastic Stitch figure on our bookcase that lost its balance and tipped.

2011 quake victim Stitch

I know West Coasters were mocking us for overreacting to the minor quake (which was probably only a 2 in our area), but let’s face it–most people affected by that earthquake had never, ever felt the ground move in the way it did on August 23. We’ve seen snow, rain, hail. Up north, heavy blizzards. South–hurricanes. But never a natural phenomenon that made the ground shake under our feet. I feel bad for people in earthquake zones–that sh-*t is scary! What we felt was so minor compared to the real deals in California, Haiti, Japan, and yet it was terrifying.

However, we were all fortunate that we could experience what was probably a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon without too many injuries or damage. Even in Virginia, near the epicenter, only minor injuries were reported. We’ve all had this shared experience, and it brought everyone just a little bit closer. Lessons were learned that day: Grab your belongings before you leave the building, all good things come to an end (Will & Jada! :-(), and don’t trust grandparents who foist their questionable cantaloupe on you.

Splash Mountain is one of the coolest rides at Walt Disney World. There’s a catchy soundtrack, the audio-animatronics inside are delightful, and the foreboding ascent and steep drop down Chick-a-Pin Hill give the attraction its “E-Ticket” status. However, there’s a risk one must take before accepting to embark on this ride of a lifetime:

You May Get Wet.

Despite the attraction’s name, the numerous warnings posted throughout the queue, and the fact that water canons visibly shoot jets of the wet stuff on the descending log boats, there are always people who exit the ride mad that their pants are soaked through and their shoes and socks a bit squishy. So many people, in fact, that Disney recently made some changes to the ride which eliminated the excess blasts of water.

Unfortunately, the next big attraction headed our way cannot be calmed by a few mechanical adjustments and an extra verse of “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da”:

Welcome to Hurricane Irene. You may get wet.

When I started writing this post yesterday, Irene was predicted to hit New Jersey as a Category 2 hurricane, something I’ve never experienced in my lifetime (it’s since been downgraded to a Category 1, but still–it’s a hurricane! They’re closing the New York City subway for crying out loud!!). The last major hurricane I remember coming our way was Floyd, in 1999. I was a sophomore in college then, living in youthful ignorance on the university campus. The storm was fun; it was something to get excited about. A bunch of students stood out in the torrential rain, mud-diving into the slosh pit that had formed by a small creek. However, now I’m a homeowner in my 30s. I live in a house surrounded by huge trees. My husband and I have two cars sitting in the driveway under said trees. We have a refrigerator and freezer full of expensive foods from Wegmans and Whole Foods. Our precious sump-pump, which has always saved us from any basement flooding, is at the mercy of working electricity.

I was filled with anxiety yesterday morning, not sure what “to do” about the impending storm. We had a once-in-a-hundred-years earthquake just days ago; it was frightening at the time, but it was completely unexpected and caught everyone by surprise. There was nothing “to do” beforehand. With this hurricane, though, there is the gift/curse of foresight, and being able to watch that churning mass of weather off the Atlantic coast made me feel like I had “to do” something. Mostly, worry.

Just like the dozens of “You may get wet” signs posted along the Splash Mountain queue, the news stations are posting all kinds of warnings and precautions.

On Splash Mountain, yes, even though you may get wet, there are plenty of things you can do to protect yourself from the threat of the water jet. You can tuck your camera and phone into a plastic bag. Remove your watch so it doesn’t get damaged. Perhaps change into sandals before embarking instead of wearing socks and shoes that could turn into mush. Some people don ponchos throughout the whole ride.

Here in New Jersey, we’ve taken similar precautions for Hurricane Irene. We stocked up on nonperishable foods; we have plenty of flashlights scattered all over the house. Our basement floor is cleared of anything that could be damaged by water. My husband cleaned the gutters yesterday and adjusted the downspouts. We’ll be charging our laptops and phones and iPods one last time tonight, cranking the refrigerator temperature down to its coldest setting. I’ve already decided we’re sleeping downstairs tonight so we’re as far away as possible from the tree limbs that hang near our bedroom windows.

We have no choice; we’re riding the ride now, so we just have to follow the rules and prepare for splash-down. Of course I am still worried, but I am trying to let go of the things I cannot control. I don’t particularly like getting drenched on Splash Mountain, but that doesn’t mean I skip the ride entirely or spend the first 6 minutes of the ride whimpering, oblivious of the animated storyline unfolding around me. With Irene, even all the worrying in the world can’t stop electricity from going out or tree branches falling–we’ve put on our metaphorical ponchos and just have to enjoy the ride, I suppose.

About the Author

Name: Jennifer

Location: Greater Philadelphia Area

Blog Mission:
SHARE my practice experience in conscious dance and yoga,

EXPAND my network of like-minded individuals,

FULFILL my desire to work with words in a more creative and community-building capacity;

FLOW and GROW with the world around me!

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