Friday, September 11, 2009

I Need Friends Friday: Ashleigh Miller

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is the amazing Ashleigh Miller. She is a Pilates instructor at Maximum Pilates in Phoenix, AZ, a dancer and a fabulous person. She also happens to be a member of my extended family. Is that cheating?

Here we go!

SME: Welcome to INFF!

Ashleigh: Thank you! I'm very excited to be here

SME: I happen to know - because I am very informed about these kinds of things - that you are a Pilates instructor.

Ashleigh: Yes! I am.

SME: So what the heck is Pilates?

Ashleigh: Pilates is bottled joy!

SME: Wow. Sounds fascinating. Can you expound on this bottle of joyfulness?

Ashleigh: Pilates is a type of exercise.

SME: Exercise. I see. That has always been sort of a vulgar word for me.

Ashleigh: Exercise is a yucky word for a lot of people. That is why I like Pilates. It is actually really fun, if you're doing it right

SME: Define "fun," 'cause I'm not buying it.

Ashleigh: We stretch, we strengthen, we use springs to go upside-down.

SME: Sounds like a very good way for me to injure myself.

Ashleigh: Well, first you don't get injured if you have an awesome instructor.

SME: Like yourself.

Ashleigh: That helps.

SME: Describe a typical exercise.

Ashleigh: It's hard to explain but I'll try. The first thing we do is Roll Down. You start flat on your back, bring your hands in front of you and try to "roll" your torso off the floor.

SME: Sounds like a crunch. I don't like crunches.

Ashleigh: It's like a crunch, but the hardest part is the technique. You have to pull your stomach muscles down as you roll up. The body doesn't naturally like to do that.

SME: Wow. Complicated. This is why a person attempting Pilates would benefit from an instructor, such as yourself.

Ashleigh: Yes!!! Definitely. I've heard too many horror stories of people getting injured in gym classes. It is important to have a trained instructor.

SME: I got injured in HomeEc, so I was dead meat in gym class.

Ashleigh: You just need to be watched extra carefully. Maybe with extra squishy pads.

SME: What first got you interested in Pilates?

Ashleigh: I started Pilates because I was suffering from hip and knee problems. And I thought, I'm in my 20's; this can't be good.

SME: So you thought, the ultimate solution must have something to do with "using springs to hang upside-down"??

Ashleigh: I didn't know it was that cool, but yes. My good friend Heather teaches Pilates. She told me about it. Pilates balances the way we use our muscles. That sounded like what I needed. I tried it and It fixed my joint issues.

SME: So, basically, the stretching and strengthening is good for your joints and stuff.

Ashleigh: Holy Crap is it ever! I have one client who says that she can actually get up in the morning and walk around right away instead of being stiff and hobbling around until 10 when her body finally warmed up. I love stories like that.

SME: That almost makes me wish I'd done Pilates this morning instead of taking that nap that I enjoyed so very thoroughly. (Notice I said almost - I have a long way to go.)

Ashleigh: So, I have a question for you. Is that allowed?

SME: You can ask any question you want. I just won't necessarily answer it.

Ashleigh: What is it like having a friend who is a Pilates instructor? Do you feel guilty when you see me?

SME: I do find myself thinking, "When was the last time I had a good stretch doing something other than reaching for the bag of Cheetos way on the top shelf?" But then I think about how much I enjoyed the Cheetos and *poof* the guilt is gone.

Ashleigh: That's great! I've wondered because I noticed some people stand up straighter when they see me. Incidentally, you are not one of those people.

SME: Um. Thanks. I think. *rolls eyes* I'm going to very abruptly change the subject without bothering to attempt a smooth transition, 'cause I'm done talking about healthy things.

You also teach dance. What kind of dance do you teach? And are there springs involved?

Ashleigh: No springs in dance. I love teaching it, though. I see dance as an extension of Pilates. It's just learning how to use the body in ways that push our potential.

SME: Balance and stuff, right? 'Cause balance pushes my potential. What kind of dance do you teach? Ballet? Jazz? Bavarian Polka?

Ashleigh: I teach Ballet. I've unfortunately never formally learned the Polka. Though I tried variations at High School dances.

SME: Didn't we all. "Variations" is a good way of describing most High School dances.

Ashleigh: Isn't it? I loved them for that reason. When else was it socially acceptable to fling limbs?

SME: I always thought calling them "dances" was sort of misleading. Prom = Dancing? No. Prom = hours of rampant awkwardness.

Ashleigh: I miss that. Not the awkwardness. Just the limb flinging.

SME: Okay. Now for the hard-hitting questions: What's your favorite continent?

Ashleigh: My favorite is the North America continent

SME: Excellent choice.

Ashleigh: I thought so. Gotta represent, ya'know.

SME: Next: what, in your opinion, is the best thing about the month of September?

Ashleigh: I got engaged in September, so it always reminds me of those fun times with my hubby!

SME: Fabulous answer. 'Cause in the off-chance he reads this interview, you've just scored massive wife points.

Ashleigh: Yessssss! (Napoleon Dynamite style)

SME: What is your dream job??

Ashleigh: Dream Job... I really love what I do. I'd love also to dance professionally again. I think that is the only thing I'd add at this point.

SME: With your bum joints? Pshaw!! Oh, wait. You got that fixed using springs. My bad.

Ashleigh: Springs are good for that.

SME: How are springs at cleaning a house?

Ashleigh: Not so good.

SME: Dang. I'll be professional and work through my disappointment by veering into a fun, new segment of INFF. Are you ready?

Ashleigh: Oh yes.

SME: This segment I have entitled "Putting the Guess in Guest."

Ashleigh: I like it!

SME: I am going to ask you, my friend and guest, four completely random questions with absolutely no connection to one another on topics you may or may not have ever heard of, the answers to which are pretty much inconsequential, anyway. Get them right and you will be crowned the Champion of INFF.

Ashleigh: I've always wanted to be champion of something

SME: Today could be your day.

Ashleigh: Here's hoping

SME: First Question: This past weekend police in Columbus, Ohio were able to nab a robbery suspect because he did what?

a.) Robbed a bank on his lunchbreak and forgot to remove his work nametag.
b.) Wrote his ransom note on the back of a personal check - HIS personal check.
c.) Returned to the scene of the crime to ask his victim out on a date.
d.) Parked his getaway vehicle in a tow-away zone and had to flee on foot.

Ashleigh: Oo! I love these. Um... I have to pick C because that would make my day!

SME: Ding, ding, ding! That is correct, Ashleigh!

Ashleigh: YES! (Happy dance, happy dance)

SME: Alright. One for one. Here comes your next question: Which of the following is not an actual diet advocated by actual people?

a.) First popularized in the early 1900s by an eccentric San Francisco businessman named Horace Fletcher, the Mega-Bite Diet insisted that all food be deliberately chewed until it turned into liquid and "swallowed itself."
b.) Breatharians believe that eating is an acquired habit and that air and sunlight should be our primary forms of sustenance. Subsist on little to no food, the diet says, and you will lose weight.
c.) Based on the idea that birds are the healthiest members of the animal kingdom, the "Avian Diet" dictates that followers consume only eggs and poultry. This diet dropped in popularity with the emergence of the Avian Flu in the early part of this century.

Ashleigh: Wow, really any of those are possible. I will choose... C.

SME: So you believe that the Mega-Bite Diet and the Breatharian Diet are actual, honest-to-goodness diet plans?

Ashleigh: Yes. Sadly I've heard of stranger plans.

SME: You are correct!

Ashleigh: Wahoo! (fist pump!)

SME: Third Question: What is the name of my family's pet goldfish?
a.) Hungry, Hungry Fish-o
b.) Hannibal
c.) Fish-brains
d.) Herbert Hoover

Ashleigh: I have heard stories about your infamous fish. I go with B.

SME: You, my friend, are a genius! Okay. It all comes down to this last question: According to Hostess, what happens to a Twinkie after being cooked in the microwave for 45 seconds?

a.) The Twinkie's creme filling will boil and turn translucent.
b.) The Twinkie will catch fire.
c.) The Twinkie will explode.
d.) The Twinkie will disintegrate.
e.) Absolutely nothing.

Ashleigh: E. Definitely.

SME: The answer, I'm afraid, is c. The Twinkie will explode.

Ashleigh: What?! Oh.. I'm sad but also intrigued.

SME: I, personally, would like to know how Hostess found this out. I'm picturing people in white lab coats gathered around a microwave laughing hysterically. 'Cause exploding Twinkies... that's funny!

Ashleigh!: Seriously. I might have new plans for this Friday Night.

Now on to the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend.

*My new friend waits patiently while I create yet another masterpiece. The suspense builds.*
SME: Here you go!

So, I know it's hard to tell, because it's a stick figure, but I drew you with jazz hands. Genius, I know.

Ashleigh: That is brilliant!

SME: And I included some stylish leg warmers.

Ashleigh: It's like looking in a mirror, except I don't have any leg warmers that are that cool. I might have to fix that...

SME: And that brings us to the final question of this riveting interview. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Ashleigh: 1. I got to spend on-line time with one of my favorite sisters-in law.
2. I got to laugh out loud several times while spending on-line time with one of my favorite sisters-in-law.
3. I got an awesome stick-figure picture of me.
4. I got to sit on the couch and eat for an hour without feeling guilty.
5. I've been added to official list of Sarah M. Eden Friends!

SME: Fabulous! Thanks for joining us on INFF. This has been fun. Enjoy the awesome portrait.

Ashleigh!: Thank you for having me!

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


Annette Lyon said...

Springs, cheetos, and leg warmers. Awesome, hard-hitting interview. You rock!

Rachel Rossano said...

Another great interview! I have to agree with Annette. You rock! :)


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