Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wine for Rowing my Way to Glory

Now I am well aware that it has been a ridiculously long time since my last posting, and really, there's no excuse for it, so I won't make one.

We instead will pretend that I have been filling your in-box with wonderfully pithy posts for the past two months, making you laugh and cry and toast my name each time you read them.

In that vein, we will just pick up where we've left off and jump right in:

A few weeks ago, I turned 40. That's right, I did. And my husband got me a present. A big one, for a big birthday.

Now what do you think a beloved husband might get for his adored and adoring wife on such a big birthday: diamonds? a surprise trip to Maui? A humongous bouquet of flowers?

Nope. What i got was a rowing machine. For exercise. Like the ones they have at a gym.

Now I know that getting someone a piece of exercise equipment for her birthday might seem a bit like putting a can of deodorant on a smelly French-teacher's desk (I didn't do this, of course, but some other kids in my school did. Mean, I know, but boy did that woman really need to take the hint.).

And to get such a machine for your wife on a big birthday might sound as if he's saying "Happy Birthday!! You're 40! Please God do something about that ASS!!!!!!"

But I promise you he's not saying that at all. Doesn't mean he's not thinking it, mind.

But before you start sending him hate mail, let me tell you that I asked him to get it for me, crazy as that may seem.

As many of you may know, I hate to exercise. Try as I may to convince myself otherwise, I really just hate it. I know it's good for health and well-being, and over the years I have tried various machines and classes and dvds, only to come once again to the inevitable conclusion that exercise is a terrible form of torture and punishment and should be avoided by one and all.

Of everything I have tried over the years, only two forms of exercise have ever really stuck: walking and rowing. Steve finds it very funny that the only gym machine I like happens to be the one that almost everybody else in the gym studiously avoids.

But I do like it; the smooth motion, and the fact that it's kind of a one-stop shop. It gives an intense cardio workout and pretty much works every muscle in your body (ok, not EVERY muscle, but you know what I mean).

And since I did just turn 40, and am a bit concerned about the fact that I am getting older and at some point in the future, my boobs may wind up in permanent conversation with my knees, I decided it was time to take decisive action and try to get in better shape.

Knowing there is no way I can get myself to the gym, I decided to bring the gym to me! Or one piece of it anyway.

This rowing machine is pretty. Very pretty. Plus I can watch movies while I'm rowing, and it doesn't get much better than that. If i can just figure out a way to eat popcorn and drink a glass of wine at the same time, I think i will really be able to change how I feel about the whole exercise thing.

Now the hard part begins: actually getting on the thing and rowing away several times a week, one week after another.

No doubt, I will need some help and encouragement along the way. And wine. Of course, wine.

To that end, my wine for rowing my way to glory is an Italian digestif called an Amaro. These are after dinner drinks made from spirits that have been distilled with secret recipes of fruits, spices, flowers and herbs. Traditionally they have a sweetness offset by a bitter finish.

My favorite one of the moment is Meletti Amaro, from the Adriatic Coast of Italy. A beautiful caramel amber color, the Meletti secret recipe includes saffron and anise and is deliciously sweet with a gentle bitterness at the end which is enticingly addictive.

The best part is, you can find it online for $16.99 a bottle at K & L Wines.

Trust me, try it once and you will be hooked.

This stuff is so delicious that, when I served it at my house recently, one of my guests loved it so much, she wound up carrying the bottle around the house with her, kind of like a security blankie, never letting it out of her sight.

Now that's Amaro!