Thursday, February 28, 2013

Find Your Real Nature

When I don't feel well, I tend to like watching cartoons (Monsters, Inc. is an all time favorite) or nature shows. I guess I find them calming.

Well, when I recently was down for the count for 11 days (a bad cold with a chaser of gastroenteritis), I remembered my luck with streaming This Old House episodes and went back to PBS to see what else they had.

Well, among other shows (including Downton Abbey) they had a number of shows from their Nature series. So, I got my tea, and my blanket and I settled in for some adorable animals.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspire Yourself

I often put inspirational messages near by bedside, so that when I wake up I am extra motivated to workout. My previous message was "Exercise is medicine" (from Men's Health Magazine) but I decided it was time for something new. I created this word cloud with a theme of "Reasons to exercise" and now have it printed out and near the bed.

I noticed that I didn't use the words that describe how my body looks, but how it feels and performs. And I like that. A lot.

Want to make an inspirational word cloud of your own? Try Wordle, like I did, or search for a word cloud generator you like better.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Being Lazy Can Taste Good

Hey Lia, what are you eating for lunch these days?

Ah, good question. I like easy but tasty food, and just created another dish (based on a much more extensive recipe) that I plan on adding to my rotation schedule.

Quinoa with Shrimp and Avocado

About 10 small pre-cooked shrimp (I am lazy)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used a mix of red and regular.)
1/2 sliced avocado
1/2 cup black or garbanzo beans (rinsed)

Soy sauce

I was able to make 5 of these at once (portioning them out into plastic containers, but leaving out the avocado until the day I eat them). I splash some soy sauce on the mixed up beans, quinoa, and shrimp, microwave it (not in the plastic container), and then top it with the avocado. I'm sure I will eventually get more creative with this recipe (hot sauce? salsa?) but for now it works great.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tweak Your Workout

Why Lia, I can see what you are doing each week for fitness (you've thoughtfully listed it in the sidebar of your blog) but can you break down the actual routines for me?

Why sure!
1. Swimming (or swimmaling, as my husband calls it)
3x a week, about 45 minutes each time
This routine comes from Janet Evans' Total Swimming book, but I have added the items in bold because I am a sick and twisted person. No, actually, I really like the rush I get from going really fast, so I bookended some fun in between the boring stuff.

Note: One pool length is 25 yards, so doing a 50 is doing two lengths of the pool without stopping, a 75 is 3, and a 100 is 4.
Total length: 750 yards (almost 1/2 mile)
2x50 freestyle with 15 seconds rest
2x25 DK freestyle w/fins (I push off from the wall, streamline underwater and do dolphin kicks (DK) to see how far I can go before needing air.)

(3 minute rest)

2x75 with 20 seconds rest
-Freestyle One Arm Drill (R)
-Freestyle One Arm Drill (L)
-Freestyle normal

(3 minute rest)

1x25 with 20 seconds rest
1x50 " "
1x75 " "
1x100 " "

2x50 S&M w/fins (sadomasochism swim: do a slow 25, then a 25 as fast as humanly possible.)

4x25 freestyle with 20 seconds rest

Update: I drove me crazy that I was only 50 yards away from a 1/2 mile, so I added them to the workout by adding another 1x50 S/M w/fins. So now I swim 800 yards.
2. Weight Training 
2x a week, 60 minutes

I am currently doing exercises from the Personal Training With Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training DVD. I love the routine, but am not too thrilled with Jackie, so I put the exercises into a spreadsheet, watched the video a few times, and now do it on my own. Each week I switch between heavy weights and low reps, or light weights and high reps.

In a few more weeks I will move on to the next routine in Janet Evans' book (adding my tweaks as necessary) and to the Men's Health Spartacus Workout (Jan 2013 issue).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Friends Come In All Shapes And Sizes

One of the reasons I started swimming at the local pool was to meet new friends.

Mistake #1: Swimming is a solitary activity.

Mistake #2: 7pm is not a popular time to be at the pool.

Mistake #3: Fighting for an open lane can make people, let's say, cranky.

But somehow, I still have made a motley crew of friends.

D. - Probably 15+ years older than me. I taught him how to breathe properly when swimming and now he spends his time doing laps instead of "oh my god, I'm drowning!" gasps.

V. - 10 years my senior, retired veteran who dreams of sailing. Although quite obese, he smokes most people in the number of laps he can do. He helped critique my swimming and gave me some good ideas. We often have fascinating conversations when the lanes are already full.

K. - Loquacious and spunky 10 year old girl. Seems to fear nothing. Hilarious to talk to. Our birthdays are 3 days apart.

I had hoped to meet a band of smart, athletic, women my age, but as usual, I found friends from different age groups and genders. And I'm fine with that. I learn more about myself that way.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Take Your Medicine

I have been getting allergy shots (immunotherapy) for the last few months and I thought I would share with you what I have learned.

1. Do not assume that your doctor uses the word "shots" because he is talking about them over a span of time. He means you get a shot in each arm each time you come in.

2. Do not try and plan out exactly how long it will take until you are done with all of your shots. Illness, vacation, and "bad" reactions will put a wrench in your chain (thus driving you c-r-a-z-y.)

3. Books are too hard to read in a busy waiting room, try magazines instead.

4. Set an alarm for your 30 minutes of post shot "hanging out" time. The nurses get busy and may never come to retrieve you.

5. Make friends with the check-in desk person, you will end up seeing her more than you see your mother.

6. If your injection site gets inflamed, ask the nurse to tape an ice pack on it next time. (My doctor's office has ravioli sized ice packs) It helps a lot.

7. No matter how cutely you ask, they will not give you a "Buy 10 shots, get 1 shot free" punch card.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stream This Old House

I have been a fan of the TV show, This Old House, for as long as I can remember. I can even recall watching it at my cousins' house in Needham, Massachusetts in the little den on the first floor of their house.

More recently, Martin and I watched it on Sunday afternoons after returning from the day trips we took via airplane.

Now don't get me wrong, I would rather get a massage (or do most other things) than do demo, remodeling, or painting, but I enjoy watching This Old House and Ask This Old House. Why? Well, both shows have taught me that, with a little imagination, there is a solution for everything. And this lesson transfers easily to other parts of my life.

Since we stopped flying and spend our weekends differently now, our This Old House watching had become sporadic. If I happened upon it on PBS, I am psyched. A few weeks ago, I finally had the brilliant idea to see if the episodes are posted online. They are. So now I can watch to my heart's content.

Note: Having been born in, attended college in, and married in Massachusetts, the home base of TOH, also means a lot to me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lay Low

Although this blog is purely for fun (and hopefully educational) purposes, and although I do not make a dime off of it (notice any ads? Nope!), I wanted you to know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

My allergy shots are making me tired, and I find that the energy I do have needs to be channeled to vital things like: exercise and "chores" and there just isn't any energy left over. Although I often compose blog posts in my head, they just don't seem to get officially posted.

So, I will do my best to entertain you on a more regular basis, but if that doesn't happen (Well, does it ever really happen?) just know that it is because I am using my energy for other things. And once I feel a bit better, I will be back.