Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Meme or 7 Random Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me


I used to think that I would never do these memes, but I've been told by some that my random ramblings are entertaining, and that's what all these memes seem to be (random ramblings). So here we go:


1. I have to have the top of my head against something when I sleep. I'm told that as a tiny infant in the hospital, I scooted myself up until my head was touching the top of the bassinet. Nowadays I just use a pillow, but the concept is the same. (Related: I sleep better if there is a solid wall above my bed, not a window, or at least a really tall headboard.)


2. I pile my bed with blankets. Seriously, I have three heavy blankets on my bed right now, in addition to the flat sheet. In my family we refer to this as "blanket pressure" and we have heated discussions about the approriate amount.


3. My sister and I are exact opposites on just about everything. She's a dog person, I prefer cats; she likes a little blanket pressure, I have to have a lot; I could go on and on. One of the few things that we share is our favorite ice cream: mint chocolate chip.


4. I know only one complete sentence in Spanish: "¿Puedes tu leventar la basura por favor?" Which means, "Would you please pick up the trash?" I worked as a cleaning lady at a factory in Columbus (BD, if you want to know) the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, where I worked with a girl named Maria, who spoke little English, and I speak even less Spanish. The job sucked, but we had a great time anyway. We'd have water fights in the bathroom and then clean it up. And we played hide and seek in the offices. And we tried to teach each other our respective languages. It's not her fault that I only remember that one sentence. (And such a useful sentence too. Obviously, you do not want to be lost in Mexico with me...)


5. I broke my tailbone on a jet ski, the one and only time I ever jet skied. I blame my sister. It's a long story; ask me about it sometime if you really want to know.


6. I have lived in 35 different "homes" (including houses, dorm rooms, apartments, and places I lived during the summers in college), in 13 different cities and three countries. I lived in 20 of those homes before I turned 18.


7. I have visted 12 countries: Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Lichtenstein, Mexico, Slovakia, Sovenia, and Switzerland. My favorite vacation spot is Croatia.

I am not going to tag anyone specifically, because that's too much effort. But consider yourself tagged if you wish to participate.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"I Don't Believe You!"

Years ago, my senior year of high school to be exact, my friends used to recite this commercial, over and over, to each other. Somehow I'd missed seeing the commercial itself, but I became very familiar with the bit. And I shared the joke with my family, and we repeated it so often on our trip to California and back that it was banned in the house for a while. But we can laugh about it again now. It goes something like this:

Me: I don't believe you.

You: Well, who would you believe?

Me: Oh, I don't know... maybe... Robert Loggia!

All together: Whoa, Robert Loggia!

I've searched for the commercial a few times but to no avail. But thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I can finally share the commercial with you. Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stuck!

I've finished up several knitting projects, and my hands are itching to start something new. I've been debating between three projects, all rather similar in size, but I can't make up my mind which one to start. So I'm going to let you decide for me.

First is the Lucy in the Sky cardigan:


For this I have a nice cotton/acrylic blend in a nice neutral tan color (which I recycled from some Old Navy sweaters I scored on super clearance). It would be a great sweater for work as it would coordinate with just about everything I own.

The second sweater is another cardiagan, the Minimalist:


A simple yet flattering sweater. I love the rolled edges on the front bands and the slight puff on at the cuff of the sleeves. I have a soft blue cotton/acrylic yarn intended for this (also from recycled Old Navy super clearance sweaters).

The third sweater is the Twining Vines sweater:


My sweater wouldn't look exactly like this; I am not adding the sparkly things, for one. I'm hoping my sweater will look more like this one. Now I have actually already have this sweater in progress (I've got about six inches done), but issues with the sizing have caused me to put it down for a while. I don't have the actual pattern, so I'm having to make up my own, and due to some mismeasuring and miscalculating (not to mention laziness and denial--I believe the term is "optimistic knitting"), the sweater is current about four sizes too big. I'm using a very pretty pale green cotton yarn.

So those are the choices. Vote now and vote often! I'll close the polling the next time I blog, which could be tomorrow, or could be next month, you never know. I've got a small gift project to work on, which should keep me busy for a short time.

Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Avatar


This is supposed to be me. How close did I get?
(Make your own here.)

P.S. Despite all appearances to the contrary, I have actually gotten quite a bit done today.

Get Your READ On!

The National Endowment for the Arts believes that the average American has read only 6 of the books on the list below.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE
4) Reprint this list in your blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read only 6 and force books upon them

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I found this list on another blog, and thought it was fun. There are a couple duplicates (see 14 & 98) and I wonder how some of these titles ended up on the list--great books, but not titles I (and certainly not the National Endowment for the Arts) would consider "classics" (see 68, 74, 88). I've read 47 of them. I've started several more, but didn't finish them for various reasons (18, 37, 39, 60, 70, 88). How many have you read?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nostalgic

A series of posts on a blog that I read regularly has been making me think of the time I spent in Europe. I can't believe it's been six years since I was there. It was truly a remarkable experience, maybe the best of my life (so far). Today's post is about the city of Budapest, which was probably my favorite city that I visited. Some of the best stories I have of that trip happened in Budapest. I want to share one of them with you. A few weeks ago I was asked, "What is the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?" And this is the answer. Sorry, but it's kind of rambly.

My friend Marnie and I went to Budapest on a whim. We found out on Thursday evening that our Friday class had been canceled, so we decided to take the first train to Budapest Friday morning. We had an amazing time, stayed in a nice youth hostel, ate fabulous food (really cheap!), bought some souvenirs, and walked all over the city to almost all the sights. I think we crossed all but one of the seven bridges in the city across the Danube.

So by Saturday afternoon we were exhausted, and we were on our way back to the train station to catch the last train back to Vienna. We had to get back that evening because we had to go to the opera for another class and if we weren't there our professor would be worried. So we decided to take the subway from where we were, somewhere near the city center, directly to the station. But at the first subway station we stopped in, the automatic ticket vendor was broken, and the ticket window was closed. In Europe, the ticket system works differently than in America: it's more of an honor system, there are no ticket punchers or anything, so you don't have to have a ticket to get on the train, but the system has special police who ride the subways all day and discreetly ask to see your ticket and if you're caught without one, it's a very expensive ride. (I lived in Europe for six months and wasn't kontrolliert [asked for tickets] once, even the last month when I'd lost my pass and rode without one.) Marnie and I discussed whether to just risk it, or to walk to the next subway station and try to buy a ticket there, and we decided to walk. We were in a strange country, and didn't speak a word of the language, and wouldn't know what to do if we got kontrolliert and didn't have them. I think we had it in our heads that we would be arrested, or made to pay a huge fine right on the spot and neither of us had that kind of cash--hey, we were tired, and Hungary is still a developing country with (at that time) kind of corrupt cops and we heard all kinds of crazy stories from the Hungarian girl living in our dorm. When we got to the second station, though, it was the same situation. By now we were starting to realize that this was pretty much the norm in Hungary (and a lot of former Soviet countries), that things were broken and there wasn't money to fix them. In fact, the night before we'd tried to get subway tickets at the central station and three out of the four automatic ticket vendors were broken--at the central station where most everyone passes through.

So we walked down to the third stop--same story. By this time we were getting a bit desperate, because we wouldn't make it to the train station on time if we walked, we didn't have money for a taxi, and we couldn't get a subway ticket. There was a little old lady at the station who had been watching us as we tried to get tickets and as we stood there discussing what to do next, she approached us. She knew we were Americans, but she didn't speak a word of English. She just took out her wallet and handed each of us a little purple ticket for the subway. We tried to give her money for them, but she refused to take it and just smiled kindly at us. Then the train pulled up and we all got on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile!

1. my nephew

2. Cake Wrecks


3. my home-grown tomatoes

4. a good book
5. new body wash


6. knitting and yarn



7. fireworks


8. CHOCOLATE




9. swimming


10. taking pictures


Sometimes I need a reminder.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Challenge You!

Check this out! It's the Presidential Fitness Test for grown-ups! I remember doing this in school and I always hated it, mostly because I usually came in somewhere near the bottom of the class (and as someone who was used to being near the top of the class, this was very aggrivating for me!). But now I want to try again. I want some way to gauge where I'm at and if I'm improving. I am more motivated when I see results, but since I'm really just aiming for overall cardiovascular health, I have no way to measure that. There are little things I've noticed, like I can go for longer on the stair climber, or I can chase my nephew around for longer without getting completely winded (in fact, last time we played, he wore out before me--ha!). But I want something a little more concrete.

So, who wants to do this with me? We can be timers/recorders for each other and for Karrie some of us, there's the added element of competition. I know I would still come in dead last, but if we did the test every six months or so, it would give us all a record of our improvement. So let's do it!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Long Time, No Post

I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all my faithful readers who check my blog frequently, despite the fact that I haven't posted in almost two months. I wish I could send you all flowers, but since I can't afford to do that, I'll just post some here for you instead.

I have no very good explanation for my absence. I wasn't terribly faithful about working out in July, and the emotional roller coaster that was the month of August only dragged down my motivation even more. And just when everything was straightening out again, and I was hoping to get back on track, I got the tragic news that all group fitness classes at my gym were canceled! So I'm stuck in workout limbo.

Despite the fact that I swore I wouldn't go back, I met Karrie at the gym Tuesday evening, where we did about a half an hour of cardio (on the new bikes and elliptical machines, which, nice as they are, are not worth the loss of my beloved BodyPump). Then we spent about a half hour in the weight room. I feel like such an idiot trying to use those machines and I'm always afraid I'm doing something wrong. And the thing that I hate the most about the women's weight room are the mirrors. Most of the time you're staring at yourself in the mirror just inches away, and I always see only my worst flaws when I'm in a situation in which I feel insecure. It was different in BodyPump, where I was also surrounded my mirrors, though, I think because I felt more confident and I was part of a group.

I guess I have been waiting for something interesting to post about. I've been working on a few projects that I hoped would spur me to post when I finished them, but they seem to be dragging on interminably. I have nothing new to report on the job front. I've picked about three dozen tomatoes from my garden so far, and have experimented with making my own tomato sauces. The cooler weather last week made me itch to cast on for the fall sweaters I have planned, but I'm being good and finishing up the projects I have going right now before I start anything new.

Well, that's just a brief update on things. Hopefully I'll be getting back into a regular workout routine again and I'll start posting more frequently.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Must Be Doing Something Right

I haven't been very faithful about working out this week. I went to BodyCombat on Monday evening, but skipped BodyPump on Tuesday to meet some friends for dinner (and ate about 1500 calories of French-fry-cheesy-nacho-sour-creamy-goodness--yum!). Yesterday I went walking early in the morning for about an hour, and I mowed my yard, which is quite a workout in itself.

Today I finally made it back to the gym. I met Karrie for a workout before she had to go to work; I have the day off. We spent a half hour on the treadmill, then we got on the stair machine for fifteen minutes. You may recall that a couple months ago, I complained about how much I didn't care for the stair climber. If I recall correctly, I could only do about five minutes last time before I had to stop, and then I could only go in short little bursts between long breaks. But this time, I was able to do a solid fifteen minutes, with only a 30 second break after ten minutes. It wasn't easy, and I was sweating profusely, but I powered through. As Jennifer suggested last time, the stair machine is a useful way to gauge how I'm improving in my overall physical fitness. So even though I haven't lost any weight, or really seen any other physical changes, I at least know all this exercise is doing something for me. It's a nice affirmation, just when I was starting to lose motivation.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Baking Experiment

A couple weeks ago, Steph came across the Deceptively Delicious cookbook while I was working. (Apparently she'd been unaware of it, and the whole concept of deceptively delicious cooking, even though it's been a hot topic of discussion for several months now.) She thought it was a fabulous idea, and suggested that I make something from the cookbook and bring it to the next staff meeting. And today was our first staff meeting in ages, so I accepted the challenge and made the Brownies with Spinach and Carrots from the book. I did a little research on the World Wide Web before hand to find other people's thoughts on the dessert. After all, I have my reputation as a good baker of brownies to protect. I came across this website, and she gave the brownies high praise, along with a couple of tips for making them. As I was short on time, I had the bright idea of using baby food for the pureed carrots, but unfortunately they don't make spinach baby food, so I had to make my own. (Fyi, in case you ever make it, it takes almost 3/4 of a bag to make 1/2 cup of pureed spinach.) I also made the mint icing and chocolate glaze from this recipe.

Overall the reaction from staff members was very positive. They all commented on how moist and chocolaty the brownies were. I could smell the carrots in brownies, but I've always hated the smell of carrot baby food (next to green beans it's my least favorite). And no one else seemed to notice. I think the peppermint icing helped cover the smell. I thought the brownies tasted pretty normal for the most part, very chocolaty, but with a hint of ...something... different. But if I hadn't known what was in it, I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it. Karrie was the only one who was critical of them, and she said she thought they were too chocolaty! As if there is such a thing!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Diet Starts Tomorrow

Yeah. Right. That's what they all say. In fact, didn't I say that before? And look where I'm at now: six pounds heavier than I was then! That's right. Six pounds. Between Chinese food on Friday and pizza on Saturday, I managed to gain three pounds (I was down a pound from my vacation weight gain somewhere this week). I am officially the heaviest I have ever weighed. I don't even want to think about it.

So I'm getting out the food diary again. Actually, I got a pretty new one. It's shiny and red, with lined pages. (The unlined pages is the real reason that I stopped using my other one--seriously!) I am not going to try to set any official weight goals at this point; I'm just going to keep exercising and pay a little more attention to what I put in my mouth.

And in other news, my friend Kari from Washington has started a workout blog! Whoo hoo! Check it out!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Working Out is Hard To Do!

I have gotten back into my regular workout schedule, though it hasn't been easy. Evidently, taking a week off for vacation (though really it's more like three, since I didn't do much in the couple weeks leading up to my vacation either) has turned me into a wuss again. I was slightly stiff and sore after BodyCombat on Monday, and then I totally overdid it in BodyPump on Tuesday by increasing my weight for the squat track to a large and two smalls. That's the heaviest weight I've ever done, and I don't know what possessed me to attempt it after such a long break. My legs have been sore since then, almost as sore as they were after my first BodyPump class. Then I met Karrie at the gym Wednesday morning for a good cardio workout. And tonight I went to BodyPump again. It was tough because I'm still sore from Tuesday, but I didn't want to back off too much, so I just did a large and one small for the squats and increased to a large on the back track. I know I was doing the back track with a large at some point before I left, but it certainly wasn't easy tonight. By the end of the class, my legs were pretty wobbly. All in all, though, I'm glad to be back, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get back to where I was before vacation quickly (including dropping those four pounds!).

Something that one of the instructors from Group Power in Washington mentioned was that when doing biceps, you should keep a grip on the bar with all your fingers. When you release the bar, you lose tension in the bicep and therefore you're not really working as much. I had been doing this because Mary the instructor does this all the time. But the past couple times I've really focused on not doing it. I had gone up in the bicep track on Tuesday to a medium, and tonight I just did two smalls, and it definitely felt almost easy--emphasis on almost.

I also think I've solved the problem with my shoulder. It had been popping on the chest track and, though it wasn't really hurting yet, I know it was headed that way. But I discovered that if I keep my hands just slightly closer together (another tip from the Group Power instructor) and don't let my arms go any lower than brushing the mat on my bench, my shoulder doesn't pop. This means that I have a shorter range of motion and it's more of a challenge because I can't rest the bar on my chest for a little break. But I have been able to increase my weight back up to a medium for this track. So this means that I've probably been doing this exercise wrong all these months, and now I'm finally doing it correctly.

----------------------------------------

I seriously need to start paying more attention to the weather forecast. This afternoon was lovely, and when I got home at one point, I left the window down in my truck so it wouldn't be so hot when I drove to the gym tonight. Well, I convinced Alana to go to BodyPump tonight with me, so she drove instead. Since it was still sunny, I didn't think to put my window up. But in the hour that we were in BodyPump there was a huge rainstorm, and my truck seat got soaking wet, for the second time in a week. Yep. I left my window down Saturday night, and it got a thorough soaking in the deluge on Sunday morning. So I suppose the real lesson is this should be: never leave your car windows down!

Anyway. I will leave you with a couple pictures of the fun I had with my nephew this morning. He loves to come play with the hose at Auntie's house and he soaked me pretty good this morning, my whole backside was wet. He's just so darn adorable though, I can't even get mad.

Look at that innocent face. He'd never do anything naughty!

He loves these "poppers"!

An important summer skill: learning to drink from the hose!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm Back!

Okay, I know I've been back in town for a few days now. Today was my first day back at work, though, so my vacation is officially over. Sigh.

I had a great trip to Washington state and spent a fabulous week with my friend Kari and her new husband Dave. The weather was cool, often windy, and sometimes rainy, but I'd take that over the 101 degree heat they had a couple weeks before my visit.

Kari and I made a trip across the state from the Tri-Cities area to Seattle, and I got to experience Washington state's diverse geography. The southeastern part of the state looks eerily similar to western Nebraska, and just west of Kennewick is wine country with lots of vineyards. And then we got into the mountains, where everything was still blanketed in snow--in mid-June!

We spent a little more time in Seattle this time, though I think I'd have to spend a whole week there to really get to see all that I want to see. We went downtown to the central branch of the Seattle Public Library, which I wanted to visit since I made two knitted hats that were based on the lattice design of the building. The building was interesting, and I picked up a couple things I want to try at my library. But I must admit that my overall impression of the building was less than favorable. The fourth floor, which is where the meeting rooms are located, I found most offensive, actually. It is dimly lit, with no windows, and winding halls, and the doors are distinguishable only by the fact that they have handles protruding from them. And all of it, floors, ceilings, and walls, are painted a bold red, except when you round a corner at the end of the hall, the wall directly in front of you is stunningly purple. The stairs throughout the building are metal, so your footsteps clang not matter how gently you step. The escalators are neon yellow. And the thing that bothered me most, which is probably supposed to be one of the most notable features of the building, was the "book spiral," in which the fifth through tenth floors slope upward (or downward, depending on which way you're headed) in one continuous, well, spiral. I don't know why, but this irritated me. Maybe I was just in a bad mood from all the wind and rain. And the whole library seemed rather dimly lit for having so much glass, but maybe that was just due to the overcast skies.

Anyway. We also visited the Space Needle and went all the way up to the top. It costs $16 to get up there, so we figured we'd better get our money's worth out of the stay. The view really was spectacular, as the clouds finally did let up a little, and Kari took lots of pictures. We went down to the waterfront, and walked along the piers. Everything was closed by the time we got there, so we didn't stay too long.

After spending the night in a tiny little town called Eatonville, we started the drive up to Mt. St. Helen's. But alas, our trip was cut short, because after only twenty miles, the road was closed due to snow.

So we had to turn around and head back down the mountain. We decided not to turn back and go all the way around the mountain and see if we could get up the other side, so we just headed back to Kennewick. It was still a very beautiful drive through the mountains, with lots of picturesque vistas. We stopped at every scenic viewpoint on the way down to get out and take pictures. A couple places had little hiking trails that we followed. Hiking is excellent exercise, especially in snow!

There are more pictures over at my Flickr account , and I'll add more next month since I maxed out my upload limit for the month. I wish I'd taken more pictures, but I didn't have a lot of room on my memory card.

All in all, it was a practically perfect vacation. I ate a lot of delicious food, watched some great movies (and one supremely bad one), did a lot of knitting, and some exercising, and best of all, spent quality time with a great friend. I am already planning my next trip out there!

And I have been busy since I got home, too. After spending a couple days at my parents' house, and helping them rearrange practically two entire rooms, I finally got back to Lincoln on Saturday evening. I brought with me a couple of arm chairs that my parents were getting rid of. I planned to put them in the tv room, along with a loveseat that I recently got from my friend Lisa, to make a more comfortable seating arrangement for my roommates and I when we all watch movies. What I didn't anticipate was how perfectly the three pieces would go together. After arranging the furniture, I spent a couple days scouring thrift stores for the perfect pieces to match. And this is the result:


It's totally cheesy, but I love it for the cheese factor! It kind of reminds me of my grandmother's living room. And it's way more comfortable than that old futon.

I've been getting back into my workout routine again also. I gained four pounds(!) in the last two weeks, so I'm anxious to undo that. I went to BodyCombat last night, and BodyPump tonight. Tomorrow morning I'm meeting Karrie at the gym for a workout before work. So on that note, I need to get to bed. I am still trying to readjust to the time zone, and my sleeping schedule is all out of whack.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wish You Were Here

My vacation is going at just the right pace. I'm catching up on sleep, doing lots of knitting, and just generally relaxing. And I've been doing some normal vacation things too.

Today Kari and I ventured into Oregon and visited the McNary Dam. It was pretty cool.


There was a fish viewing room, where you supposedly could see salmon and other fish as they traveled on their way to the sea. But the water was so green and murky that all I could see was a couple of sucker fish that were right up against the viewing windows. There was a larger visitors center that had more information about salmon than I ever really wanted to know. They have a salmon holding/transportation station there to help the juvenile fish get out to the sea. They separate the smaller fish and hold them in a big holding tank for a while, then load them up on a barge and take them downriver.


There were some beautiful rhododendrons in the park next to the visitors center. Rhododendrons are the state flower of Washington.


After a birthday celebration at Kari's grandma's house, Kari, Dave, and I went to the Court Club to hang out in the hot tub for a while. I managed to do a few laps in the pool--that is quite a workout! Tomorrow morning Kari and I plan to go back to Group Power and then stick around for a good cardio workout. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, June 6, 2008

You're Not Gonna Believe This!

I can hardly believe it myself. I am on vacation!

But that's not really the unbelievable part. I am going to the gym while on vacation! That's right, I actually got up and went to the gym this morning, instead of sleeping in. In fact, I was excited to go to the gym! My friend Kari just joined the Tri-City Court Club and they have a new class called Group Power, which is a close cousin to BodyPump. So I dragged Kari there this morning, and we tried it out. The class followed the same format as BodyPump and did a lot of the same exercises, but had different music and combined the exericises in a slightly different way. For example, we did clean and presses really slowly, and followed each one with five rows. I liked the abs track we did, though it was really challenging. We did real reverse cruches, sitting up with knees bent in front of us, and then leaning about halfway back and then coming up to the top again. Sometimes we would lean back and then twist to one side. It was tough!

After Group Power, Kari and I did about ten minutes on the stationary bikes. I've never used the bikes at home, but I don't think they're probably as cool as these were. They have a video screen attached, and you can choose different courses, and you race other people on the screen. The handlebars even swivel! It's just like one of those car race video games at the mall. You can even log in to record your time and distance. It was really neat!

I hope that I'll be able to make it back to the gym a couple times this week. There were a couple other exercise machines that I wanted to try, and they also have a really nice pool. I know that I won't be making many smart food choices this week, so working out can help balance that out, maybe.

Well, I'm off to shower and figure out what we're going to do today. I think we might be sewing with Kari's grandma. We also talked about driving down to Oregon just for the fun of it. Did you know that you can't pump your own gas in Oregon? I've never seen that, so we might do that. Plus, there's no sales tax on clothes in Oregon, so maybe we can do some shopping!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A New Form of Torture

I went to Body Combat again tonight. I don't remember if this was my third or fourth class (I know, if I had been blogging about it, I would be able to count posts)--I think it was my fourth class, and most of the time I still don't feel like I know what is going on. Some tracks I'm starting to recognize, but that doesn't really mean much. I still get really lost, and some things I can't figure out how to do at all, like a jump kick. This class makes me realize how uncoordinated I really am. It's kind of like dancing, and I can't figure out how to get my arms and legs to go in the right direction at the right time. But sometimes I get really into and I do actually have fun.

I've been going to BodyPump now for almost five months, and Body Combat for about a month, and I even though I don't always get it right, there hasn't been anything really new or different. It's all stuff I've seen before, just usually combined in different ways. But tonight, the instructor threw in something I'd never seen before. Anywhere. And it was awful. They're called circular push-ups and I hated them. Now, I don't enjoy push-ups of any kind; on the best of days they're barely tolerable. But these are particularly horrible! I hope we never do those again!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pins and Needles

If I write this will they call? I am waiting to hear from the Wiley Corporation, publishers of the For Dummies series of books, DVDs, wall patching kits, and all kinds of other weird items. They hold an annual display contest, and having won an honorable mention for our efforts last year, my library has entered again this year. Today is the day by which the winners would be notified, so I'm nervously waiting for a phone call.


As I wait, I've been trolling the Internet for other entries. I've found several, and I know I'm biased, but ours is definitely the best! Look at these.


No matter what the results, we are winners. It doesn't take a bunch of Dummies to tell us that we really are the best branch!



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Peeped Out

Today my place of employment had their (hopefully last) all-staff training inservice day. In an effort to boost staff morale with a little healthy competition, the Staff Association sponsored a contest: Pimp My Peep. I wasn't going to enter, but my roommate convinced me the night before that it would be fun, so we were up until almost one in the morning working on our respective entries. Here's mine:


"Peeps at the Beach"

The whole staff voted on the entries, and I won the prize for Most Creative Entry! I won a Peeps bubble blower, some sidewalk chalk in the shape of smiling veggies (no, not those smiling Veggies), and a POGO discount card. Not too shabby!


Now I know why I keep all that arts and crafty stuff that I don't really have any use for. I guess you never know when it might come in handy. And everything is better when you add glitter.



There was actually a national Peeps contest held this year by the Washington Post. Check out those entries here. It's wild!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nibble While You Knit

I noticed something strange tonight while I was knitting: it made me hungry! Not that I was knitting so fast and furiously that I was just burning up the calories (oh, if that were possible!), but I realized tonight that I frequently snack on something at some point while I'm knitting. Usually it's something small and light like cereal or Cheez-Its, but often I stop in the middle of my project to get a bigger snack, like ice cream. I don't know when or how this started, but I defi-knit-ly need to nip this problem in the bud.

I managed to go for twenty minutes on my elliptical machine at home tonight. I am five weeks and nine pounds away from my goal (according to my scale tonight). So I need to step it up. I've been really slacking on cardio lately, so I need to get back to my original goal of thirty minutes every day. Mom, if I don't get up and do at least twenty minutes on the elliptical machine tomorrow before I drive to Schuyler, I will pay you $10.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What Goes Forth, Must Come Back

Okay, I realize that really isn't a law of physics, but it certainly applies to biking. Yesterday evening I went for my first bike ride in nearly ten years! At first I was a bit wobbly, but after a few minutes, it all seemed to come back. I went with my two roommates and we had a really nice ride. The weather was nearly perfect: warm but not hot, with a (sometimes gusty) breeze. We just followed the bike trail that is just a few blocks from my house all the way to Bethany Park and then decided to bike up to Bethany Library, just up the street. All together our ride was about seven miles round trip and took us about an hour and a half (that's with a couple of short stops along the way and a longish break when we got to the library). It was challenging, but fun. My legs aren't nearly as sore as I thought they would be (thanks, BodyPump!). Maybe I'll start riding my bike to work on the days I'm at Bethany, especially now that gas is so expensive and won't be getting cheaper anytime soon. I really should ride my bike to the gym for BodyPump and kill two birds with one stone!

The bike trails in Lincoln are really nice and well-maintained. Though I have nothing to compare them to, since I've really only ever ridden my bike in small towns. There were quite a few people out yesterday. Lincoln often has that small-town feel, in that you always run into someone you know. I actually saw several families that I know from work and I saw a fellow library employee who lives in the neighborhood. I like the fact that the trails run behind people's houses, like alleys. You get a little glimpse into the lives of the residents. Lots of houses had really nice, big backyards and gardens, which I'm sure will look beautiful later this spring and summer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fun in the Sun

Last time I posted I implied that I would be posting more regularly. And obviously that hasn't happened. Maybe I'll be better this week.

I have had a pretty good week. I got my taxes done, which was a huge relief, and I'm getting a refund, which is an added bonus. I made it to three BodyPump classes this week, spread out more evenly throughout the week, as opposed to crammed into three consecutive days like last week. I didn't do as much cardio as I should have though. I stayed after BodyPump for a half an hour on the treadmill with Karrie on Thursday, and I went for a long walk with the dog, and yesterday Karrie, Jennifer and I played tennis outside for an hour, enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

I squeezed my weigh in yesterday into a couple minutes late afternoon between playing tennis and going to dinner. I was a half a pound heavier than I was a week ago. I really need to pay more attention to what I eat and I really need to step up my cardio exercising. My original goal was to do a half an hour every day, and obviously I haven't done anything near that. So that will be my focus this week. Starting today.

This afternoon I hope to get out and enjoy this warmth some more, despite the wind. I hope to get the tires on my bike fixed so I can actually ride it. I think they both need to be completely replaced. There are a ton of other things I should be doing, but spring fever has really gotten the best of me, and I just want to feel that sun on my face.

Ta ta for now, I'm headed out into that glorious sunshine!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We Now Return to Your Regularly Scheduled Blogging

Taxes are done! And I'm getting a refund! Yay!

I can't believe it's been ten days since my last post. I have no idea where the time has gone--I feel like I blinked and somehow missed the past week.

Working out: I went to BodyPump three days in a row last week, Wednesday morning (6:00!), Thursday evening, and Friday afternoon. I'm not sure why I did that, but I don't think I'll ever do that again. By the end of Friday's class, I was so tired and sore, especially in my triceps. I wasn't as good about cardio workouts, but I did spend about twenty minutes on the elliptical machine on Tuesday and Saturday. And there's a dog living in my house now, and I took him for a brief walk a couple times.

Eating: I really haven't been very good about watching what I eat. I haven't even been writing in my food journal. I am still drinking way more pop than I want to be drinking, but I have almost doubled the amount of water I drink too, so I'm very well hydrated. The only other good thing that I have to mention is that I've been eating breakfast every day.

Weigh-in: I did manage to remember to weigh myself on Saturday, though I didn't get to it until the evening. I worked all day Saturday and didn't make it to BodyPump. I was one pound lighter than I was the previous Saturday, though.

I went to my parents' house yesterday and while I was there I picked up my old bike. It needs to be cleaned up and tuned up a little too, but I hope to do quite a bit of bike-riding this summer. Lincoln supposedly has an excellent network of bike trails, but I've never been on a single one. Anyone want to join me?

If you go biking with me this summer, please don't make fun of my bike. I picked it out for my 12th birthday, and it's obviously a little bit childish. But it is still the perfect height/size for me. Maybe I'll try to paint it and make it look a little more like a bike owned by someone over the age of fourteen. And hey, at least it doesn't have tassels on the handlebars!

The Taxman Cometh

I'm doing my taxes. At this very moment. I'll write a longer post when I'm done.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Weighing In

For some reason, I was just terrified to weigh myself today. I put it off as long as possible. I started the day right by meeting Karrie, Jennifer, and Brandy for BodyPump, and had a good, challenging workout. I even added extra weight on the squats (now up to 2 mediums and a small--that's almost 30 pounds total!) and on the back track (now at a medium and 2 smalls). I even almost liked the lunges track today.

Instead of going right home after BodyPump to weigh in and shower, I met my sister and went to a big indoor garage sale (kind of a waste of time and $2) and then lunch. After that I had praise team practice, and then I decided that since I was still pretty grimy, I might as well put in some work on my new old kitchen cabinets, since I would like to actually get them installed sometime this year month. When it got too dark and cold to work outside, I finally admitted to myself that I'd run out of excuses and went upstairs to weigh in.

I'm exactly where I was a week ago. I didn't lose any weight, but neither did I gain, which I guess is pretty good, considering that I wasn't very faithful to my diet and exercise plans. I also took Karrie's advice and measured myself, so that even if I don't lose any weight, I can tell if I'm making progress in other ways.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Fog Has Lifted

I've been so bad. Since I last posted, I haven't done any exercising, and I've totally ignored my diet. No, not just ignored, flat out laughed in the face of my diet. I've been in kind of a funk for the past few days. Actually it's been for about the past month, and now it's clearing, and I feel like I'm waking up from a very strange dream and I don't quite know where I am and what's going on. This past month was so busy at work and I had several things going on at home, that I was literally running on stress. My desk at work was buried under about two feet of paper. On Wednesday afternoon, having finished everything else that needed to be done, I took my off-desk hour to clean up my desk. It was like an archaeological expedition; layer by layer I dug down through weeks of rolls of bulletin board paper and paraphernalia, overhead transparencies, random die-cut letters, old meeting agendas, books, catalogs and so on, until I hit the solid surface of my desktop. (I want to mention that some of that stuff wasn't mine, as I share a desk with a co-worker, and as my desk is right next to the staff copier, it tends to catch a lot of crap that doesn't belong there--like those stupid faxes advertising cruises and beauty treatments, which I'm sure people put on my desk "temporarily," fully intending to take care of them in a moment, although why they don't just drop them in the blue recycle bin right beside my desk, between my desk and the copier actually, I'll never understand.) Each item that I put away, or threw away, was like one more little stress point that I released, so that when I was done, I was just exhausted, because all the tension that has been sometimes literally holding me up, was just gone. It is a glorious feeling.

Anyway. I've sort of been indulging that feeling lately, not doing anything that requires much energy or even much thought. I've been catching up on my reading and my knitting, returning phone calls to my long-distance friends, watching the Netflix movie that I've had for almost a month.

Tomorrow I will start over on my diet and exercise plan. Tomorrow morning I will get up and go to BodyPump. Tomorrow I will get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Tomorrow is also my first weigh-in, so we'll see how much the past couple days has impacted my plan and if I need to make some modifications. I'll keep you posted!

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Back in February I bought a couple small seed kits from the dollar section at Target and I have been growing them in a little window garden in my kitchen. They sprouted several weeks ago, but have recently really started to grow. I have four little strawberry plants, and four little mini-rose plants. After I transplant them outside when it's a little warmer, I think I'm going to start a little window herb garden there.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I Can't Think of a Good Title for This Post

This diet thing is even harder than I thought it would be! I've never been good at sticking to a plan; like I said before, I have very little will power and I'm easily swayed by other people to change my plans. For example, Sunday evening, when I got home, I planned to spend half an hour ellipticizing, then eat a small bowl of cereal and go to bed. But my new roommate's mother came by and brought a whole tin of homemade Runzas and another of apple crisp. Well, I couldn't be rude and not eat anything, right? (Although, no one forced me to take that second helping of apple crisp either...)

But I have been pretty good about exercising. Monday afternoon I went on a walk with my other roommate, almost two miles in a half an hour. That's pretty fast for me. And on our walk we found some tomato plant stands that were on someone's curb for trash pick-up. So we came back after the walk to snag those for our new garden, which we started yesterday! We are following the method outlined in Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza, in which you layer compost materials, peat moss, and mulch to build up good soil, rather than tilling the ground. We got three layers done yesterday; it was more of a workout than I thought it would be. We'll be growing tomatoes, green peppers, spinach, and cucumbers in the garden, and a patch of strawberries along the front walk. I'm so excited to have fresh produce this summer! All that gardening wore me out, but I made it to BodyPump last night and then Karrie and I stayed for a half an hour on the treadmill.

I have been better about limiting my pop intake, but I am still drinking way more than I planned. The problem is, I keep eating lunch out with friends, so I get a pop there and refill it before I leave. So I'm drinking maybe three times what I said I would, but it's still less than what I was drinking before.

On a little side note, I always listen to Matt and Shannon Mornings on KFRX, and Shannon now has a workout blog too! This blog thing is really catching on! And she goes to my gym too! Maybe I'll see her there. We should get her to come to BodyPump with us!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

I am formally announcing my goal of losing ten pounds by June 1st. This means I have to lose a little over a pound a week for the next nine weeks. In order to achieve this goal I will be doing at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise every day and going to BodyPump at least twice a week. And I will limit my diet to 1600 calories a day, and eat more healthful foods. Inspired by Karrie, I will be posting a weigh-in journal every Saturday with my official weight loss total.

Karrie and I went to the gym yesterday evening, which was great. Thanks, Karrie, for inviting me!!! I had a rather stressful day, but after thirty minutes on the treadmill and thirty minutes on the elliptical, all that stress had melted away. I definitely find it easier and more enjoyable to work out when I go with someone else.

I also made it to BodyPump this morning with Karrie and Jennifer. Again, I'm so much more likely to go when I'm meeting someone. This morning's work out was tough, because I am still a little sore from Thursday and I added a little weight on the back track today. I plan to get on the elliptical machine at some point today, but I have some house chores I have to do first. I will get it done though!

The diet part of this goal is going to be the biggest challenge for me. I don't have very much willpower. And because of my weird schedule and general laziness, I tend to eat a lot of fast food. So I'm planning menus for a week at a time and have prepared several meals and frozen them to reheat later and stocked up on fruits and veggies for snacks. I decided that I won't try to cut out pop all together, but I will really cut back. I have been trying not to keep pop in the house, but I bought these small 12 oz bottles and I will limit myself to only one a day.

Well, laundry and mopping and dishes are calling my name. How does this house get so dirty? I feel like I'm never here!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

For once, it wasn't me! I am the queen of those kinds of gaffes, forever saying just the wrong thing. However, I'm rarely on the receiving end and I find that position most uncomfortable. Especially since this one's a doozy! Read on.

The other day at work, one of our regular, normally aloof, patrons suddenly became rather chatty and as I was going about my work behind the desk, said this to me: "So is this your first?" I was stunned and stopped and stared, wondering if he could possibly be talking to me, and he continued, "Do you know if you're having a boy or girl?" I was so shocked, I could hardly stammer out that I was in fact not expecting anything. He was embarrassed and apologized, but that pretty effectively ruined my afternoon. Isn't this supposed to be one of the first things that people learn never, EVER to say?

And to make matters worse, I turned to my co-worker, who overheard all this and was as baffled as I was, and I sort of muttered in a bewildered, wounded way, "Do I really look pregnant?" and she did the unthinkable--she actually looked me up and down and said, "I think it's the jeans. Those lower waistbands change the way things look." I realize she was trying to be helpful, but this reminds me of that Friends episode where Chandler is schooled in the unspoken rules of relationships by Ross and Rachel after he offends Janice by giving her the once-over before answering that no, she doesn't look fat. The appropriate response is always "NO, of course not," regardless of the truth and you never, EVER look. I especially figured a fellow woman would know this. Fortunately, all my friends have since responded in the proscribed manner, and I'm beginning to believe them.

This little incident took place on Tuesday, and I've been rather down since then. Rather than having a motivational effect on my work-out ethic, I went sort of the opposite direction. But today I made it back to BodyPump and I ellipticized for twenty minutes after that. I decided that I am finally going to lose that ten pounds I always tell myself I'm going to lose. I'm going to watch what I eat and work out a lot more regularly. I have never been very good about dieting, but I've prepared some healthful menus for this coming week. And I plan to stick to it. In fact, I'm practicing this right now, while I'm writing this, because I'm craving a bowl of mint-chip ice cream that's downstairs in my freezer, but I am exercising my willpower by not going down to get it.

P.S. I wasn't going to post this story because it's rather embarrassing, but motivation is motivation, regardless of where it comes from, right? And what good is an embarrassing story if you can't let other people laugh at you?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Good Old Fashioned Outdoor Fun

I gave my nephew a t-ball set for Easter. He's definitely a natural-born athlete with almost boundless energy, and loves nothing more than to be outside in the sun (or rain or snow or any weather really). Sunday was a mild, almost warm, early-spring day, and we spent almost three hours outdoors on Sunday batting around, digging with tractors, and chasing a soccer ball (and sometimes just each other). Although I have no real way to measure, I feel like that afternoon was as much of a workout as an hour on the elliptical machine or treadmill. And it was way more fun!

In several conversations that I've had lately with different people, a similar theme has come up. It has to do with spending time outside, and frequently a specific book is mentioned, namely, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. The main idea is that kids need to spend more time outside in unstructured playtime, but I'd like to expand that idea to include adults, or at least, myself. I've never really considered myself an "outdoor" girl; as a child I would have said my favorite activity was reading (inside). But looking back, most of my childhood memories involved playing outside. We didn't have a television or computer, so there wasn't much to do in the house. My siblings and I and our friends ran all over our sprawling apartment complex and then later all over our small hometown. We built forts in the neighbor's backyard, dug snow tunnels, and had mud fights in the alley.

Sometimes I think I am too obsessed with counting minutes or calories burned in my workouts. I feel like they're too structured and I that's why I don't enjoy them much and therefore have less motivation. As an adult there are so many more demands on my time, so I try to squeeze things in, and I feel like I have to "make every minute count." It's so much more efficient to burn 300 calories in 30 minutes on the elliptical machine rather than a hour walking outside. But is the most efficient way always the best way?

The seasons are changing, the weather is getting warmer, and daylight saving time has made the evenings lighter longer. After being cooped up all winter, I'm really looking forward to being able to spend time outside again. And this year, I want to really spend time outside--go for bike rides, play tennis at the park, go for long walks, play soccer/baseball/frisbee/whatever with my nephew. I want to workout, without feeling like I'm working out. Mostly I just want to have more fun.

Does any of this make any sense? It's late and I'm just rambling now. The picture is of N with his new t-ball set. Isn't he cute! He calls the tee a "skeeter." I have no idea where he got that; he just said it when he opened the box and it stuck. He's got a pretty good arm and can really send that ball flying. He just needs to work on the concept of aiming. I'm not very athletic or coordinated, but it's fun playing with a three-year-old because at least I'm a little more so than he is. Is that wrong to say?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Apologies

Karrie pointed out that I haven't blogged in a whole week. I'm sorry and please forgive me. I will try to do better this week. As I mentioned in my last post, this week has been incredibly busy and I have been rather preoccupied with work commitments. But that's all over now, so I should be returning to my regularly scheduled blog posting.

In the midst of the chaos, I did find time to make it to two BodyPump classes. I got up and met Jennifer and Karrie at BodyPump at 6:00(!!) on Wednesday morning (I still feel a little sleep deprived from that since I had to work at nine and didn't get to go home and take a nap like Karrie did) and then I went with Karrie again on Thursday evening. I haven't been ellipticizing at home this week, but I moved around some heavy furniture and I've done some strenuous work in the yard, clearing out brush and tearing out part of a fence. That has to count for something, right?

I can tell that I'm less stressed out when I exercise regularly. But ironically, it's the first thing that I cut out when I'm stressed and feel like I have too much to do in too little time. This week, I was so stressed out, I didn't even do much knitting, and that's something I always make time to do. I plan to get back into the routine of BodyPump and ellipticizing this coming week. Posting helps keep me accountable, so I will try to keep up better on that too.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just Checking In

I didn't intentionally plan it, but this past week and this next week are insanely busy for me at work. Plus, there have been several changes at home, with Sis moving out and preparing for a new roommate to move in. And I have been knitting like crazy on my Juliet cardi for the Knitter Project, which I was supposed to have mailed by yesterday (yeah, that didn't happen; maybe by Monday it'll be ready to go out). So in the midst of all this, exercising has unfortunately taken a backseat. My goals this week were to do some sort of cardio every day and make it to BodyPump three times. Well, I only managed cardio two days this week and I only made it to one BodyPump.

I had a great time at BodyPump today; it felt good to get back into it after more than a week away. I increased weights for a couple tracks to really challenge myself. If I get up and make it to BodyPump on Saturday mornings, I seem to be in a better mood for the rest of the day. Karrie pointed out a few weeks ago when I was whining about the weather that exercising releases mood-boosting endorphins so maybe that has something to do with it. I am going to copy one of Karrie's posts and record what weights I use for BodyPump so that I can look back in a few months and see if how much I've improved.
  • Warm up: medium & small
  • Squats: medium & medium
  • Chest: medium
  • Back: medium & small
  • Triceps: small & small
  • Biceps: small & small
  • Shoulders: small & small
I'm still such a weakling compared to Karrie, but I've really improved from where I started (just the small weight on all tracks).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm Gonna Have to Face It, I'm Addicted...

To pop (soda, Coke, soft drinks, whatever you wanna call it). I've been trying to break this addiction for almost four years now, and I've gotten nowhere. It started when I was living in Omaha and working at the Picture People during the Christmas season; some days I would work eleven- or thirteen-hour shifts with no break and the only calories I consumed would be from the Mt Dew someone brought me from the food court, because they never bothered to bring me food. (I wish I were exaggerating; the management was supremely horrible, and I was the only non-smoker, so I was always overlooked when it came to breaks.)

I've tried to give up pop several times in the past three years, and sometimes I've even been successful for a few weeks. I've tried to just cut back, but that never lasts long either. I drank a lot of pop in college, and so I decided my senior year to just give it up, just like that, and I did. I've been trying to figure out why it was so easy for me in college, when pop was free and readily available with every meal in the dining hall and why I'm struggling so hard now. I have no idea. About the time that I gave up pop in college, I was walking two to four miles almost every day, and I think I gave up pop improve my health. I lost probably ten pounds that semester, just walking and not drinking pop. Now I'm exercising regularly again, and I want to improve my health and lose a little weight, but I can't seem to kick the pop habit.

There's a lot of controversy over how bad pop really is for you. Most articles that I've read say that it's not so much that pop is bad for you, it just often replaces other nutritious beverages and/or foods that would be more beneficial. I'd rather err on the side of caution, however, and cut it out of my diet, or at least significantly reduce the amount I drink. My food journal has already helped me cut back my daily intake. It's one thing when I am guzzling pop all day at work without thinking about it, but it's quite another when I total up the number of ounces (and calories!) I drank and see that number in black and white.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Stairway to Fitness Heaven?

As I noted in my last post, this week my goals are to do some sort of cardio exercise for at least thirty minutes everyday and to make it to three BodyPump classes. I got a good start on the cardio tonight when I met Karrie and Jennifer at the gym. We spent about forty minutes on the treadmill and then moved to the stair machine. I'd never done the stairs before, and it was tough! I did maybe about fifteen minutes of climbing total, spread out over about twenty-five minutes. After about seven minutes I realized what it reminded me of: the cathedrals towers in Europe that "you just have to see the view from," which of course never had elevators, and you had to climb up and up probably 500 steps, usually in a winding staircase and it felt like it was never going to end and you're in the middle of a huge line, so you have to keep going or the Japanese tourists behind you will poke you in the back with their umbrellas or push past you and your friends all pass you by and you're the last of your group to get to the top and then by the time you do get there you're so worn out you can barely hold your camera up to take a steady picture and then just when you've caught your breath your tour guide announces that "time's short and we have to move on to the next stop" and you have to go down the 500-step winding staircase, which should be easier but is actually harder, because your head is so heavy and your weakened body has to hold it up to keep from tipping over and rolling head-over-heels down the stairs.

Anyway. In case you didn't pick up on it, I'm not a huge fan of the stair climber machine. It'll probably be a while before I do that one again. I'm just starting down the path to physical fitness, and the stairs seem like at least an "advanced-intermediate" level activity.

I've also started a food journal, writing down everything that I eat each day. I've seen several articles that said that the key to achieving and sustaining long term weight loss is keeping a food journal. It makes total sense: seeing everything you eat written down in black and white is good motivation to eat right. The same advice is given to people who want to start and stick to a financial budget. I've never been very good at journals, so I'm mentioning this here to give me some accountability.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Oh yeah, I work out too!

As this is supposed to be a blog about exercising, I should probably mention how I've been doing in that aspect the past couple days. I made it to BodyPump again last night, and I spent twenty-five minutes ellipticizing at home today (to the music of Disney's Aladdin--I love that Genie!). I had planned to go to BodyPump tomorrow morning, but I'm going to help my brother install his new kitchen cabinets instead. (I figure manual labor counts as a kind of exercise, right?) My goal for the next week is to do at least 30 minutes of cardio every day and to go to three BodyPump classes.

Home Demolishing

I gotta say, nothing releases stress and aggression like a taking a hammer to a wall.

My upstairs bathroom shower has been broken for a couple months now. The faucet handle broke and I have been too lazy and poor to get it fixed. But since I had to have the plumber out for another issue, I figured I ought to get this taken care of today too.


Oops!

In order for the plumber to get to all the pipes to repair the broken part, I had to remove the shower wall. I have a prefabricated shower, so the panels fit together like a big puzzle, which fortunately meant I wouldn't have to completely destroy a whole wall. I just had to knock out the drywall around the panel I needed to remove, take out a few screws, and lift it out. It was pretty easy and didn't take long at all.


Just getting started and Mission Accomplished!

I'm so excited that my upstairs bathroom is all working again! Now I have to get in gear about repairing the drywall around the panel. Drywalling is one home repair that I'm actually pretty good at and that I kind of enjoy. And I've been wanting to repaint that bathroom anyway.

And the best part is, the plumber didn't charge me for the other thing I had him fix, since I saved him a bunch of time by taking out the wall while he worked on that. So I saved myself probably $100!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Musical Workout

I wasn't hungry when I went home for dinner tonight (who's hungry at 4:00?), so I worked out instead. I ellipticized for twenty-five whole minutes! That's the longest I've done since I was sick, and it wasn't nearly as difficult as my other elliptical workouts have been lately. I think I figured out why. I usually watch a sitcom or a movie while I'm working out, but today I put in a musical. Not just any musical either, but the Sound of Music, my favorite musical ever. I've always thought musicals were a bit magical: the costumes, the romance, the crowds of people randomly bursting into big song-and-dance numbers. And watching a musical while I'm ellipticizing makes my workout magical too! I skip to my favorite songs and try to keep in time with the rhythm and the time just flies by! I first noticed this phenomenon about a month ago, when I ellipticized to another musical, Bride & Prejudice, but today's workout confirmed it. This is an excellent reason to pull out all my favorite old musicals, and I'm going to try a few of my favorite Disney movies to see if it has the same effect.

One other quick note: in BodyPump one of the triceps tracks they play the Gwen Stefani song Wind It Up, which is based on the song the Lonely Goatherd from the Sound of Music. I've noticed that the triceps track goes quicker and easier for me when they play that song.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Pump it UP!

I went to BodyPump again last tonight with Karrie, Jennifer, and Brandy. I find myself actually looking forward to those classes, even though they're really challenging. But I always feel really good about myself when I'm done; I know I'm doing something positive. Even though I've only been going for about eight weeks, I can tell a difference. I've increased the weights for several of the exercises and I can see and feel some muscle tone in my arms. I think over the next few classes I'm going to try to increase the weights for the other tracks as well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

"Don't worry, I'm doing something real good!"

I didn't make it to the gym today, but I did workout at home. I ellipticized for 20 minutes and then I taught my sister how to do some of the moves from BodyPump. So I did manage to get almost an hour workout. Ellipticizing was really hard; I still haven't totally recovered from being sick. N wanted to "help" me by getting on the machine too, or adjusting the resistance level to the highest setting. But fortunately Kate distracted him by showing him how to lift weights. He was so cute trying to do bicep curls--he can do about three with the five pound weight.

While Kate and I were doing the BodyPump workout, N was entertaining himself elsewhere in the room. At one point we realized that he was being rather quiet, which usually means trouble, so Kate called out, "Bunny, what are you doing?" To which he replied, "Don't worry. I'm doing something real good!" in his innocent little voice, which of course meant he was doing something he shouldn't be doing (unwinding the thread from my sewing machine, to be exact).

After dinner tonight Kate and I had a cookie taste-off. She has a box of Girl Scouts Thin Mints (my absolute, all time favorite) and a package of Keebler Grasshoppers. I love, love, love the Thin Mints, but the Grasshoppers are only okay. Kate said that there wasn't really a difference, so we put that statement to the test. We both guessed right, and I believe even more firmly that the Thin Mints are by far the superior cookie. (I'm so proud of myself that I showed some will power and only ate three cookies, instead of devouring a whole sleeve, like I normally would.)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

What a difference a day makes...

There has been a definite correlation between the weather and my state of mind lately. Yesterday was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and the feeling that spring was just around the corner put me in a cheerful mood and gave me a kick of motivation. I met Karrie, Jennifer, and Brandy at BodyPump in the morning and had a great, challenging workout. Then I spent the afternoon in the sunshine, working on refinishing my new-to-me kitchen cabinets. The weather was so warm I was even able to wear my favorite sandals.

This morning started off promising as well. The sun was shining and I didn't even need a jacket when I went to church (I wore my sandals again, too). But by the time services were over, the sky had clouded over, the wind had picked up, and the temperature had dropped about fifteen degrees. And along with the temperature, my mood has plummeted. I am anxious again about all those things that constantly weigh on my mind lately, like money and family concerns. I feel restless and frustrated and at loose ends, and worst of all, I feel like things are never going to get better.

I have been trying to get stuff done today though. I'm baking bread, and I inventoried my grocery stock to come up with healthful meal ideas for this week. And I recycled a sweater, which means I unraveled the yarn so I can knit it up into something else. So this afternoon,

this:
$5 purple sweater from Old Navy

became this:
hanks washed and drying to be wound into balls later

I got the sweater on sale probably four years ago. It was a little small, but I always told myself, I'll lose weight and then it'll fit perfectly. Yeah, right. How many times have you told yourself that lie? As I was going through my closets a couple months ago, I realized that I could reclaim that yarn and turn it into something that actually fit me. The yarn is a nice purple tweed, 60% lambs wool, 40% nylon. I followed the instructions for sweater recycling detailed here. I'm hoping to have enough to make this Lush and Lacy Cardigan from SweaterBabe (the pictures on their website aren't that great, but there are lots of cute projects on Ravelry).

Hey, just talking about yarn and knitting has put me in a better mood. So has the smell of freshly baked bread wafting up the stairs from the kitchen. So, later 'gaters, I'm gonna go get a slice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I've finally gotten back into the swing of things

I've ellipticized for fifteen minutes the past two days and I made it back to BodyPump tonight (without getting sick again!). It's been so tough, but I'm glad I persevered. I think by the end of next week I should be back to where I was before I got sick. And the bonus from all this is that I'm excited about working out again. Okay, maybe "excited" is too strong a word, but I have a more positive attitude towards it at least.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No Go...

Well, I still haven't gotten back on the exercise horse. Now that I've emerged from the flu-induced haze, I realized yesterday how messy my house had gotten in the past week. So I spent much of the day cleaning: I swept the kitchen, washed the dishes, did some laundry, wiped off the dining room table, sorted the mail, and picked up toys. I figured that was enough for one day and I went to bed at 9 o'clock.

Tonight after work I'm definitely getting on that elliptical machine! Fifteen minutes or bust. Karrie, if I don't do it, I owe you dinner!

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My three-year-old nephew, N, loves YouTube. He and his grandpa (my dad) watch educational clips about snakes and music videos from unsual musicians. One day my dad came across a clip of a comical music group from Denmark, and N just loved it. They've watched it so many times he can sing along, in Danish! He laughs when they laugh, like he understands the joke. Maybe he does.


Anyway. My mom took this clip of him singing along with the video. There's no video, just sound, but I wanted to post it because it's the just about sweetest thing I've ever heard.