FFFF Hall of Fame – Alejandro

These posts are mostly about a fat middle-aged and somewhat psycho woman writing to other middle-aged women who might enjoy following along with my adventures in getting fit at a point in my life where it is apparently impossible.  More on that when I start the Whining episodes.  Which I am trying not to start.    Anyway, the FFFF Hall of Fame is a place for me to applaud my heroes, people who inspire me along in this adventure, even though it is beginning to Piss.  Me.  Off.

But, back to inspiration.  I choose this episode to be about Alejandro.

Alejandro is a great friend,  devoted dad of two young boys, consummate horseman, my horse trainer and riding instructor, and my Spanish practice buddy.   Alejandro is not a woman, and he is not quite middle-aged,  although I enjoy reminding him on each birthday how much closer to it he is getting.  Also,  “Ale” (ah-lay) has never had a single fat molecule stick to any surface anywhere near his body.  That I’m aware of.   Naturally, this must be due at least in part to genetics but I’m sure his diet and exercise regime have something to do with it also.   His diet and exercise regimes fascinate me.

From what I have observed in the past five years of knowing Ale, his diet consists mainly of a few bites of pieces of sandwiches eaten between lessons or horse training sessions, large amounts of regular Coke, and pie.    I confess to partial responsibility for the pie.  I wanted to learn how to make pies, and I needed a lab rat to test my recipes on.  Ale makes a good lab rat,  since he will eat anything that has huge quantities of sugar as the Number One ingredient, and he doesn’t die or go into convulsions.

As for his exercise regime — it is simple:  Train 8-10 horses per day for about one hour each.  This means riding and/or ground schooling.  Some of the horses are young and just getting “started”, which means they are not yet trained or rideable and therefore can escalate the physical exercise factor for Ale exponentially and explosively.  Personally, I find the exponentially explosive sessions  the most entertaining to watch.

This is a short video of Ale tuning my horse Mo’s performance over fences.  Mo is not the explosive type.  He is more of the asleep-at-the-wheel-on-cruise-control type.

In between his horse training sessions, Ale also teaches dressage and hunter/jumper riding lessons to people,  many of  them middle-aged women with various physical and emotional challenges, like myself.   This is good exercise for Ale’s patience and sense of humor.

On his days off, Ale likes to take his human and equine clients to horse shows.  Which means competing in events himself, plus doing schooling rides for the young horses, plus coaching the humans in their own events and teaching lessons at the showgrounds.  From my observation, Ale’s diet at horse shows consists of pastries (primarily bear claws) and Coke.  Once in a while a beer.

On some other days off, Ale likes to take his boat out and wakeboard.  Even though once he fell off the wakeboard and broke his leg.  I believe the actual breaking process had started earlier, by a horse that wished to smash Ale’s leg into a fence.  And got his wish.

And I think he does some other semi-dangerous activity in snow but since I don’t do snow, I have not been interested in finding out more about that.

Ale is one of my heroes because he faces a lot of challenges in his life and in his work with horses and horse-loving people with patience, strength, humility, grace, humor, and quiet self-assurance.  These qualities are what I admire and what I aspire to.  I also want to ride like Ale when I grow up.  Fat chance of that, so to speak.  But he encourages and inspires me toward achieving my goals and he hardly ever yells at me.

¡Muchisimas gracias, Ale!

P.S.  You can read more about Alejandro, his bio, his training business Rancho Pura Vida, and see lots of photos on his web site www.ranchopuravida.com.


This video I made to thank Ale for his work with my young mare Rainy after her second training season with him.  When she first met Ale, Rainy was an unbroke (not yet trained to be ridden) four year old mare with a strong, stubborn will.  I learned so much by watching Ale work with Rainy, and his diligence and expertise in both her training and mine eventually allowed me to achieve a dream and ride her myself.

If you have a slower connection, the video may have fits and starts …  just let it buffer completely before playing.

Music:  “Teach Your Children” … performed by Crosby, Stills and Nash … written by Graham Nash.  No copyright infringement intended.

Miscellany since I am not quite with it

… fat, dumb, happy is apparently what I will be as long as I am dependent on Paxil for living most of the time in my top train.

I am not quite with it because I forgot to do my regular refill last week, so I did not have my meds for 3 days.  That means I started withdrawal almost immediately– Paxil has a very short life.  So the crazies started on Day 2 of  Unscheduled Cold Turkey.

And to compound things a bit,  I picked up the wrong bag of coffee for 3 days in a row and was dosing myself with 100% decaf.  So I was also on Unscheduled Cold Turkey from my second favorite addiction, caffeine.  So I was both crazy anxious and crazy comatose.   You can imagine my delight and relief  to discover yesterday morning that I had been using the wrong coffee.  And with the Rx refill safe in hand later that morning, and the little pink pill safe in mouth before I left the pharmacy parking lot, I am now almost as normal as I can ever get.  My endolphins are waking up and soon they will be jumping and splashing around again.

So, I am still looking into [1]  how to lose weight while still maintaining my relationship with my SSRI , since I prefer spending time not so wiggy;  and [2]  how to get off of my SSRI and still spend most of the time not so wiggy.

Neither [1] nor [2] appear doable at this point.  At least not quickly/easily/without the screaming meemies.

In the meantime I am paying a lot of attention to my eating.  Did another carb cut and have almost completely eliminated sugar.  I say almost completely eliminated because I am down to about 1 tsp of sugar mixed with 1 packet of Splenda for coffee.  No bread, pasta, flour.  No fruit.  No potatoes, corn, rice.

In other words, nothing to live for … except rib eye steak, bacon and kielbasa, spinach, kale and broccoli, eggs and tuna and broiled tomatoes, turkey slices with cream cheese, and all the salad (sans croutons) I want.  And cream for my coffee, not 1/2 and 1/2.

Except when I am in San Francisco and meet my sister for dinner on the first night of a three-day business trip.  This was the early part of last week, before I went self-imposed nuts.  I wanted to eat at Scoma’s, where one pasta dish is about four meals for me.  And the price of about 10 meals.  I splurged on the Pasta Diplomatica  (lobster, clams, shrimp, and scallops in a light wine/cream sauce) and had a Caesar salad to cancel out all the bad stuff, aka the pasta.  I did this splurge intentionally because it was Scoma’s on the Wharf  in San Francisco, dinner with my sister, and cab rides.  One of which was way fun since the cabbie was a New York City cabbie, so he knew how to bob and weave going crazy fast, slam on the brakes and yell at other drivers doing exactly the same things as he was.  I think his name was Joe.  Or Frank.  Or Vinnie.

I had a large amount of leftover seafood pasta after dinner and took it back to the hotel room and put it in the little fridge that came with my room.  The little fridge had all kinds of alcoholic beverages inside.  I guess if you are going to spend a lot of time in San Francisco’s Financial District, you have to learn how to drink, and then how to get drinks from honor bars.

Anyway, after the next day of a brutal all day series of business trip-ish meetings, I did not want to go out for dinner after work.  I was tired, for one thing.  And I didn’t know where to go to eat, except Scoma’s, and I had that already in the fridge.  So I asked the hotel front desk if the room service restaurant would zap my Scoma’s.    The answer was no, since the room service restaurant does not have a microwave.   Huh?  I guess microwaves are too white trash or something for San Francisco.  Also, so are  hotel rooms with windows that open.  Maybe they are afraid the hotel guests will hang their hand-washed underwear out the window, which would ruin the general ambience of the Financial District, which I’m sure you have guessed if you have never been there, is full of  the Big Business that the Little Guys complain about.  Unless you are one of Little Guys that is employed by one of the Big Businesses and then you have nothing to complain about since you can afford nice shoes.  Everyone I have seen in the San Francisco Financial District has nice shoes.    I don’t,  but I don’t care since I have nice handbags.

David the Wonderful Doorman said I could use the m-wave in the employee break room to zap my Scoma’s and he whisked me down to the basement to the employees’  lounge.  I think I was whisked down there because the employees are not allowed to have the hotel guests in the employees’  lounge.  Which looked like a room I need to use in my mystery/thriller novel, sort of like a basement morgue with exposed pipes and cinder block walls but with a microwave, fridge,  vending machine, OSHA notices on the walls, and a table where people can sit and eat.  In my mystery/thriller mind of course, the fridge held the corpse of a murder victim and the table held the autopsied corpse of another murder victim.

So I took the hot ready to eat  Scoma’s  back up to my hotel room.  Which was, incidentally, where I imagine at least one of the murders occurred.