Inspiration Near and Far

Inspiration Number 1: my own pain. When I came back from that trip at the beginning of June, and not just my knee, but my whole leg and various other body parts hurt so badly, I instinctively knew I needed to move more, not less. I have been more disciplined about exercise in the past month than I have ever been. I did all the things I thought would help with mobility and range of motion, and kept a very disciplined schedule every day. The only thing I didn’t do was walk as much. I did the bike, water jogging, swimming, and my P.T. exercises. As I started feeling better, along came–

Inspiration Number 2:  Its not new, but dang, she’s so consistent. Shelley has been getting up EARLY in the morning to run for a long time. I always get up early, but I don’t get dressed for quite a while🙂 One day I decided it wouldn’t hurt me to get dressed and get out for a walk before it got hot and before people started driving out the dusty dirt road to get to work. It was WONDERFUL! I’m happy to report that I have now taken 6 early morning walks. Working towards 21 to make it a permanent habit. And this morning, I took an extra long walk, because of–

Inspiration Number 3:  I had lunch with a friend to hear about her recent trip to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. She is about my age, in very good physical shape. But people, SHE WALKED 500 MILES IN 35 DAYS!! Between 11 and 19 miles each day. And partway through the walk she developed some serious back problems, but she kept going, just a bit slower.

She told me about two movies, and I have watched both of them in the past week. One is a documentary, and was very good. Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago followed six people on their journey. Almost everyone suffered some sort of pain or injury. That’s just a lot of wear and tear on the body. The other was a regular movie, called The Way. It was also very good, although none of the main characters suffered any kind of injury🙂

This kind of thing has always inspired me. I read Walk Across America many years ago, and it made an impact on me back then. I know I will never walk across America, or walk the Camino de Santiago. But I can do better, with the inspiration of those who do.

The Camino inspired me in other ways. I wrote about it on The Other Blog.

Saturday Fun Day

Shelley mentioned on her blog that she was going to run 9 miles on Saturday, and that that would allow her guilt-free lazing around the rest of the day. That appealed to me. Yes, the guilt free lazing, not the running🙂 So I estimated that it would take me at least 2 hours 15 minutes to run/walk 9 miles, if I was even able to do that, and decided that I would spend that much time working out in the gym.

Of course, I didn’t get up at o’dark o’clock, like Shelley does when she runs. First, I had to try out a new recipe idea I’d been wanting to try for a while. I wanted to make some strawberry scones, using my basic Bare Bones Scones recipe. But strawberries get too juicy when you bake with them. So I had the idea to semi-dry them the night before. I just cut them into little pieces, and put them on a baking sheet in the oven with the oven light on for the night. That worked out splendidly! The strawberry pieces were a bit dryer, and the scones were delicious, IMO. Sometimes I eat them with plain yogurt and pretend it is clotted cream.

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Okay, so then I was ready to go to the gym. But I made the mistake of checking the garden first. Two days without water, and there were some plants I could not ignore. While I moved the hose from place to place, I made good use of my time, and scrubbed the bathroom down, and then made some fresh salsa, motivated by Helen’s salsa blog! I love shrimp salsa, and decided that that would be my special dinner after my big day at the gym.

Finally, I got off to the gym. So fun to not limit my workout time. I spent 30 minutes on the bike, then went upstairs worked out on the weight machines. Back downstairs, and did some more aerobic work on something called a NuStep–kinda a cross between a rowing machine and an elliptical, only recumbent. Then, it was out to the pool, where I did 20 minutes of swimming, and then finished with 30 minutes of pool running. Its not as intense as running 9 miles, but it sure did feel like a good workout.

I did kind of laze for the rest of the day, but since I got such a late start to the gym, it was 3 pm by the time I got home. I treated myself to a new-to-me knitting pattern, and started a new shawl/scarf (copied this from Shelley too!)

Here’s my shrimp salsa. If I don’t have the little salad shrimp in the freezer, I just cut the big ones into bite sized chunks. So yummy. But, note to self, I simply cannot make good chips myself. They always come out either burned or chewy.

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And just like Lori, who bikes for cupcakes, I decided to end my day with a sweet treat. I made a single iced sugar cookie. Most worthy.

It was a super fun day. I’m hoping I will make this more of a regular occurrence on Saturdays.

Good Clean Fun

I don’t seem to have much to post these days, but I thought I’d share life in general, and a few fun things (food🙂 ) that I have enjoyed in the past few weeks.

Those 9 pounds I gained on vacation? Six pounds came off quickly. I’m still working on the last three.

I didn’t mention it, but the steroid shot I got for my knee only lasted a month. It was a very sad day when it stopped working. For a while it seemed like things were worse than ever, but that seems to have leveled out. The brace still helps on short walks and especially when I am working in the yard, so I am grateful for that. Next doctor’s appointment is in less than a month. We’ll see what they say.

No more three mile walks for me. Right now I’m not even walking Noah every day. Its hot, so he doesn’t seem to mind. He spends 95% of his day lounging. The other 5% he is racing around like a mad man to bark at the “marauding neighbors.” He’s still getting his allotment of aerobic exercise🙂

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For me, I have embraced the gym! I really enjoy going down for my (at least) 20 minutes on the bike and (at least) 20 minutes jogging in the pool. I swim occasionally, but I am enjoying the jogging so much, and I do not like getting water in my face, so swimming has taken a back seat for now.

Yesterday I went to the lawyer’s to finalize the trust on my estate. I was very reluctant to do this. The wording on my dad’s trust was very misleading, and it seemed like if I made a trust, nothing would belong to me anymore. I know that’s not true. It just seemed like that to me. But in general it makes life much easier for the folks that are left after you die, so I do recommend it to anyone who is thinking about that. The lawyer I went to specializes in estate planning, and I was surprised that she could make a personalized trust so easily with just a little bit of information from me (where I wanted stuff to go.) Now on to the burial plot!! LOL.

Its been hot hot hot here. It still cools down in the early morning, so I get up (early) and open all the windows for a couple of hours. I try to get out in the morning to water the plants, and sometimes do a bit of watering or weeding in the evening. Tomorrow MLG comes to put in the patchwork path, so I need to get out there and decide how/where I want the stones to go. I foresee some sweat in my near future😦

Here’s a couple of fun food items. I found the 85% chocolate in the bins again. I made a mix of: 4 oz melted chocolate, 2 oz dried cherries, 2 oz dried apricots, 2 oz raisins, and 4 oz walnuts. That came out to about 2000 calories, so I divided it into 20 clumps and made my own healthier chocolate candy treats. The 85% chocolate makes it so I am not tempted to eat more than one of these at a time.

Not a great picture, but I wanted to show it in my hand for size comparison.

Not a great picture, but I wanted to show it in my hand for size comparison.

I made myself some protein pancakes the other day, and used my smashed strawberries and some laughing cow lite as a topping. Yummy.

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And last but not least, I found these little lovelies at Trader Joe’s. The tin actually says there is one calorie per piece. I usually only grab 3 or 4 pieces at a time–they have an intense chocolate flavor and a little crunch to them. The other day I wanted to have some chocolate with my cherries for dessert, so I counted out 50 of them. VERY satisfying.

Put my finger in there for size comparison.

Put my finger in there for size comparison.

Every day when I go into the studio, the little girls fight over this square of sunlight coming in through the front door.

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And that’s about it for news around here. Hope your week is going well, and you are staying cool (or warm, depending on how the weather is near you!)

Three Miles!

Its funny to me that I could be so excited about walking three miles. I used to walk 5 miles fairly regularly. But for the last couple of years, walking has been unpleasant, and so I have walked most days, but it was much shorter. More of a stroll. Just enough to keep Noah happy.

So with the steroid shot, the new medicine, and the brace, I have been looking forward to trying to walk to the end of my road again. And if anyone new is reading, walking to the end of my road is more like hiking. You’re either walking uphill or downhill.

Anyway, Friday Noah and I set off. Once we got halfway up the big hill, I knew we would make it. Here we are taking a rest stop at the end of the road:

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And the road back:

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I don’t know how often I will do this. The brace is for my right knee. My left knee was complaining halfway through, as well as my back and other joints🙂 But best of all was how very good I felt about myself all day. I know its not that far. But for me it was a great accomplishment.

I’m not sure how Noah felt about it. This is how he looked for the rest of the day.

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And Speaking of Blips…

A nice new reader kindly informed me that she would like to read my archives, but she was wondering how to get the pictures to show up.

Gulp.

I made a big goof. I’m so sad about it. My “media storage” was getting full (well, I do put a lot of pictures on my blog.) About a year ago the same thing happened, and I simply deleted some of the first photos from my media storage. I thought that at the time I had checked, and the pictures still remained on the blog, they just weren’t in my media library. But that is not what happened. And this time I was quite gung-ho, and I deleted all the photos in my media library between February and November 2014. And sure enough, ALL of those pictures are gone from my blog posts! So I am very sorry if any of you are reading older posts and the pictures are missing. I hope to be able to re-build those posts, but that will take a lot of time. In the meantime, I figured out how to buy more storage for not much money, so I won’t have that problem again for a long time.

And so now I’ll share some more pictures from the week with you!

I found a small, but very sturdy round table at a local antique shop for my dining room! Its just the size I wanted. And, there was a set of 6 chairs to go with it! The table is really only big enough for four chairs, but it is nice to have extra chairs now, instead of scrambling when my sewing ladies come over.

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The chairs are so delicate. I love their cane seats.
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I really like the wood grain of the table. DSCN2470

And I like the foot of it too. Its sturdy, but more delicate than most of the tables I’ve seen like this.DSCN2472

Here is an idea I had last summer. I chose several of my best close-up photos of my flowers and had them enlarged to 8X10’s via Snapfish. One of my friends bought this neat frame for me for my birthday–we found it at Home Goods. I love how it looks.

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Regarding my previous blip, I have gone back to the gym. One day I got in a good bicycling session and worked out on the weights, and today I did the bike and got in the pool! And sure enough, it did make me feel better about myself.  I’m back to logging my food and making good choices. I made some of Shelley’s granola, so I can have it with my greek yogurt, and yesterday I made my low-cal version of my favorite beef stew. Did you know you could “healthily” almost any recipe just by adding more vegetables to it, using lean cuts of meat, and decreasing the amount of fat you use? Well, don’t bother correcting me. I know that that is my version of healthifying something–decreasing the fat and calories in a dish. You can do it however you want. I just like to have a bigger volume of food to eat. Maybe someday I will change. Fat chance. Haha. I crack myself up.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Bess completely enjoying herself. She is giving Pixie a run for her money as the queen of relaxation. The little guys love that I’ve moved their doggie beds over next to the wood stove.

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Decision by Decision, a House is Built

Long time readers will know that making decisions is not my strong suit. I knew going into this construction/renovation project that this would just be a part of it, and that I would indeed have a lot of decisions to make. Its been a good exercise for me. Its required a lot of looking and learning. Learning some stuff I didn’t really want to learn. Like what is a bullnose tile? Now I know. Like grout comes in many colors. Really? Is that REALLY necessary??? At first I refused to make that decision–“just get white” I told J. the contractor. And then I looked. And now I have “French vanilla” grout. I chose the kitchen floor tile, and four different kinds of tile for the bathroom (that doesn’t include the edge tiles or the bullnose tiles🙂 ) I have chosen light fixtures, paint colors, cabinet wood, cabinet style, oh, and then hardware for the cabinets. I have had adventures choosing the kitchen sink. The bathroom sink was a cinch.

Today I went and chose the granite for the countertops. gulp. That one made me a little nervous. I’ve been to the granite place three times. Its a huge warehouse, and of course they have the display pieces up, but then to choose the actual piece you want, you have to let them flip through the slabs of granite and peer at them sideways, and then run back and forth between stacks in the warehouse, and then finally say, “Okay, these two.” And the granite I settled on is called Delicata Cream. And I still wonder if I chose that one because I love Delicata squash?!

Who knew that shower doors were so expensive? For some reason, I thought they would cost about the same as the closet doors we buy at Lowes–$60. Hahahahahah. Well, I saved money on the kitchen sink and the bathroom tile. And today, unbelievably, the granite countertops were $2000 LESS than I had estimated. So I guess I can spend a few of my remaining dollars on a shower door.

I celebrated the granite decision with a lunch/dinner at Chevy’s.  At 3pm, I was just about the only one in the restaurant. The salad I got was so pretty, I had to take a picture of it.

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It tasted every bit as good as it looked. The waitress suggested using their salsa as a salad dressing. What a brilliant idea!

Tomorrow the sheet rock begins. And then I guess all the finishing stuff will be done in a week? To me, it doesn’t seem possible. But all the inside stuff (plumbing, electrical, etc. [etc. meaning stuff I don’t even know about]) has taken almost 2 months. So it doesn’t seem possible that the part that I am most interested in will take only one week.

Here’s what it still looks like tonight:

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Since the sheet rock work is irritatingly noisy, and it also involves my one bathroom being unavailable to me, I decided (with the encouragement of good friends,) to take a little trip. Now that I’ve decided to do that, I am excited about it. I am going to Lake Tahoe, and am considering it a spiritual/creative retreat. I’m all packed and ready to leave in the morning. Mr. Noah is already at his “camp,” and the little dogs are enjoying one last snooze in the house. Of course, its not a whole lot different in their “dog house,” what with their piles of doggie beds and a wall heater. They particularly like it when I buy them a new bed, which I do fairly frequently–they are such a bargain at Home Goods.

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Oh, and look what I got? Ever since I wrote on here about not being able to exercise enough, I’ve made a concerted effort to do my exercise more consistently. And I finally ordered a yoga mat so that I wouldn’t have to do my P.T. exercises on the hardwood floor.

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Well, I guess that is enough for tonight. I have a crockpot full of Lori’s Potato Chowder cooking. I had the idea of taking some with me on my little retreat. That way I won’t need to eat out quite as much.

The Feel Good Factor of Exercise

I’m back in the pool finally. It took a few days of 100plus temps to convince me it was hot enough to go for a swim. Right now I alternate between 40-50 minutes of non-stop swimming, or splitting my time–20 minutes on the stationary bike and 20 minutes of swimming.  Now that I’m swimming more, I’ve cut out my weights workout. Swimming for me is mostly an upper body workout.

But what I’ve been musing about for quite a while is that “feel good factor.” After any kind of exercise, I feel good. I feel stronger, younger, not so lame. And I always wonder, is is truly a physical feeling, or is it more of an emotional response to having worked out? Or do I feel emotionally well because I actually DO feel physically more fit? Do you know what I mean?

And I realized as I wrote this that the runners are saying “Doh.” They’ve known about the endorphin thing forever. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that feeling! I don’t think I workout hard enough to muster any endorphins.

But I really do like feeling that good after exercise, even if it is for a short period of time. Its a motivating factor the next time I face the drive to the gym.

Conversely, I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t say that there are days when I feel really bad (every joint in my body hurts–all I can chock it up to is barometric changes.) And on those days, it is just about impossible to make myself do any exercise at all. Fortunately, those days are the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, just wanted to encourage some of you to keep on trying with the exercise. If its not enjoyable, or you feel really bad afterwards, change it up. Lighter weights, increased reps, a different machine… it took a long time for this “natural non-exerciser” to make exercise a regular and enjoyable part of her life.