Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This and That

Half way through July already! I actually did start posts a couple of times in June, but never got around to finishing. Seems to be the way it goes these days.


We had Rib Fest in Saint John. I'm not really a fan of ribs myself, but Husband was very happy with the whole thing, and I can manage to enjoy some pulled pork once in a while.

This sign at Rib Fest made me think of a certain blogger...

We had a raccoon visiting and helping itself to peanuts in the middle of the night, so we are back to closing the window with the cat door again (so much for my sleeping through the night), and we have bought a fancy new one that can be activated my microchips; the cats are slow to get on board with that though.

I happened to look out the window at work one afternoon and see this rainbow stripe across the sky. It was really pretty, and I wished I was outside somewhere with a real camera, but I snapped this through the window with my iPhone.

Apparently, it is a rare phenomenon, which I did not realize until I saw the news story later.

We've been having some really nice weather lately, and I finally have all of my tomatoes and peppers transplanted into containers (as of Sunday!), and I have my little veggie bed planted. I still have some ornamental plants sitting around waiting to get in the ground, but I'll get there.

The peas might do better if Frank would refrain from sitting on them.

I love this time of year, I love going outside and being surrounded by so many green things. The slope above us is covered in daisies right now. It's pretty amazing.

Last Saturday I impulse-bought a flat of strawberries, so spent a good part of the weekend making freezer jam and strawberry shortcake and generally stuffing my face with strawberries. I'd been thinking I wanted to make jam, then I saw some beautiful looking strawberries, and so...

No regrets.

So when I started to write a post around the end of June, I transcribed my workout log from the notebook I write it all down in, going back to the beginning of March. A lot of yoga, mostly.

I started adding in short walks during the day, usually around lunch time. I work in an office that is part of a larger complex, via pedways, so even in the winter I can easily get in a short stroll, and break up my eight hours of desk job every day. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes, but it can't hurt. And I've been seeing articles around to web to reinforce that view:

I don't know why, but last week my exercise motivation suddenly kicked in and I am giving Les Mills Pump another try, alternating with PiYo. Who knows how long the motivation will last, but right now I'm feeling pretty good about it.

01: 25 min Mall Walk + YDL Gentle Hatha Flow #1
02: 25 min Mall Walk + PiYo Define: Lower + Upper
03: 25 min Mall Walk
04: 25 min Walk + PiYo Sweat
05: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1 (noon)
08: 25 min Mall Walk
10: 25 min Mall Walk
12: YDL Moon Salutations Flow #1
13: PiYo: Define: Lower Body
15: 25 min Mall Walk
17: PiYo Sweat
19: PiYo Define: Lower Body
20: Garden
22: PiYo Define: Lower Body
23: 20 min Mall Walk + PiYo Define: Upper Body
24: YDL Moon Salutations Flow #1

05: YDL Gentle Hatha Flow #1
06: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
07: 25 min Walk
12: PYL Pilates
16: Spring Garden Cleanup
18: Spring Garden Cleanup
19: 25 min Mall Walk
20: 25 min Mall Walk
21: 25 min Walk
22: YDL Moon Salutations Flow #1
24: Spring Garden Cleanup
25: 25 min Mall Walk + YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
29: Spring Garden Cleanup

07: YDL Sun Salutations #1[AM] + YDL Moon Salutations #1[PM]
08: 25 min Mall Walk
09: 25 min Walk+ PYL Pilates
11: YDL Moon Salutations #1
13: 25 min Mall Walk + YDL Solar Flow #1
14: 25 min Mall Walk + PYL Pilates
15: 25 min Mall Walk
16: 25 min Walk + YDL Solar Flow #1
17: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #2
18: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1 + Moon Salutations #1
21: 30 min Mall Walk
22: 30 min Mall Walk + PYL Pilates

09: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
10: YDL Lunar Flow #1
12: 25 min Walk
13: YDL Gentle Hatha Flow #1
??: YDL Gentle Hatha Flow #1
??: YDL Gentle Hatha Flow #2
24: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
25: YDL Gentle Hatha #1
26: Jackie Warner Power Circuit Lower Body
28: Jackie Warner Power Circuit Upper Body
30: YDL Gentle Hatha #1

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ups and downs. Sun and cloud.

Three times now I have started to write a post only to abandon it unfinished. Here I go again. This time I mean it.

We're having an on-again-off-again spring. It gets warm and sunny, then turns cold and dreary.

We had a lovely warm, sunny stretch for a bit in April and I had energy. I was doing yoga. I was feeling great. I was thinking: "I've got this! I'm back!"

Then it turned cold and dreary, and my energy disappeared, and I was back in my comfy chair with my e-reader.

Spring is just so slow in coming this year.
 (April 22)

Heading towards the end of April, Husband came down with a chest cold and cough. He was trying to blame me, he says I started coughing first, but he was definitely sick 3 or 4 days before I was.

April 25 I volunteered at a fund raising walk for the community Autism center here. I manned a photo booth for the kids, which was fun. It was freezing cold. There were still patches of snow around and ice in the lakes at the park. I shivered the whole time.

By the following Monday, I definitely had the chest cold. I spent the week working from home, to spare my co-workers from having to listen to me cough all day.

I found crocuses in my garden though.

See how they are inside the fence?

Lasted about a week and then something (deer-can-jump-really-high-when-they-want-to) ate them.

The cough actually took a couple of weeks to go away. My energy to do things was still missing.

Two weeks ago on Monday (May 11), I was at work. It was late morning, getting towards noon, and Husband calls me to tell me he needs me to take him to the hospital because he thinks he broke or dislocated his finger. So we spent about 3 hours at the hospital, and since then he's been wearing a splint and waiting for a call from a plastic surgeon because they think the has damaged the tendons and/or ligaments.

Slowly coming to life.

This past Monday was Victoria Day Holiday. I took the Friday off, so I had a 4 day weekend. Sunday was rainy, so we went for brunch and did shopping, but Friday, Saturday and Monday were warm and sunny. Hello energy! Nice to see you again! I had a very happy weekend doing things around the house and yard. Cleaned and refilled bird feeders. Put out the hummingbird feeders. Spent lots of time digging in the garden. It was pretty fabulous.

And now we are back to dreary. Or sunny. Then dreary. And rainy. But maybe the sun might peek through for a while. Mother Nature can't make up her mind.

The birds are back, and I am once again obsessed with my camera and trying to get the perfect shot of whoever happens to be hanging around a feeder.

Tree Sparrow
(May 10)

White Crowned Sparrow
(May 14)

First hummingbird sighting of the year - Frank and I were sitting right there on the deck.
(May 18)

 Ever wonder what it looks like when a hummingbird is flying straight at you?
(May 22)

So. Slow.
(May 22)

 Irate Chickadee as I use the table which formerly held a bird feeder to pot seedlings.
(May 22)

Hummingbird just went for the far feeder.

All is forgiven when I place the feeder at the corner of the deck railing.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring! We miss you! Please come back!

Once upon a time, we in the land of Atlantic Canada experienced this magical time called "Spring," but now this is just a distant memory....

10:30 AM ADT Thursday 09 April 2015
Special weather statement in effect for:

  • Saint John and County
Snow, ice pellets, and freezing rain expected on Friday.
Another blast of winter weather is on its way for New Brunswick on Friday. Precipitation will begin over Western New Brunswick as snow and ice pellets early Friday morning, spread eastward throughout the morning, and then change through freezing rain to rain by afternoon. Current forecast amounts for rain and snow remain below warning criteria, but there remains some uncertainty regarding the duration of the freezing rain across the province at this time. Environment Canada will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as the situation becomes more clear.
The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as warnings may be required or extended.


Our Easter Weekend
Friday was sunny and warm. After that it turned cold again, and we got rain and snow flurries. The snow is definitely shrinking, but not fast enough! 

The birds are coming back, poor things. Fortunately most of the snow is melted off our deck, and the bird feeder that was there has been rediscovered. And the cat basket too!

Plan for April (I can't believe it's April! We are still buried in snow!):
- Lots of yoga + some Pilates
- Trying to take a break during the day at work to go for a stroll through the mall complex (can easily get a 20 minute walk this way)
- Hoping that by May I will be up to trying PiYo again

And because I need to get this off my chest:

Dear Google, why must you treat me this way? I love my Nexus 7 tablet. It is the perfect size for reading and carrying around with me every day. Unfortunately, I think mine might be dead. I want to replace it, but I can't. I don't want a 6 or a 9, I want a 7. There is no 7. Why, Google? Why?

ETA: Apparently I am not the only one:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I Give Up

Well, not really. 

I come here and I complain about not exercising. My motivation has absconded (possibly for tropical climes). Plans keep going awry.

Often, when I come here and complain, I realize why things are working, I correct, and go on my merry way. At least I think that used to work? But that's not happening.

So I give up. Meaning I don't want to talk about it anymore. I will still try to figure this out. I was actually feeling a bit more energetic this weekend, which makes me a little hopeful. And I am going to leave it at that for now.

In case anyone is interested, we had 6 feet of snow land on us in February. It's been pretty impressive, I must say. I was pretty okay with it, but I am ready for it to start melting a way, and for the weather to start warming up now. I am getting tired of winter coats and boots, and the cats have definitely had enough.

I gave in and shoveled a path on the deck a couple of weekends ago...

So that the cats could at least go out and scratch their deck post.

Then it snowed some more, so last weekend I shoveled again. Notice how the steps down from the deck end in a drift now?

But it was at least a sunny and relatively warm day...

I think Frank is maybe catching a whiff of spring in the air?

And then it snowed some more, so I went out and shoveled again today. We've had a few warm-ish days, and I can definitely see that the snow on the deck is shrinking a bit. The deck stairs still end in that monster drift, but I have hopes that spring is coming.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


That is how our recent weather has been described - East Coast Snowpocalypse. We had 3 snow storms in the space of a week. And then a little more snow after that. The total was something like 130 cm of snow in ten days. Everyone is running out of places to put the snow - roads are getting narrower, entire lanes are gone in some places, driveways and parking lots are shrinking.

I really have not been minding so much. We are fortunate to have an easy drive to work, on the stormy days we can work from home. As we were driving to work on Wednesday morning though, I said to Husband that I am very glad I am not still living in my old apartment, which had a tiny parking lot accessed by a narrow alley...If I were still there, I would have no hope of seeing my car until spring! And I feel for all the people who rely on street parking, because it is pretty much non-existent at the moment. The city had actually declared a state of emergency because the streets were inaccessible to emergency vehicles.

So we've been sort of hibernating, and I've been lazy...Though I really can't use the weather as an excuse because there is plenty I could be doing a round the house.

It took almost a week, but my back seems to have recovered from whatever it was. But I am kind of reluctant to restart Les Mills Pump right away. I had been avoiding yoga, because I feel like I am still not quite walking normally in bare feet, and thought I should stick to activities I would wear sneakers for. But I've reversed my opinion on that, and I'm thinking maybe yoga is where I should start, to try and get everything back to where it should be.

So far, that is as far as I've gotten. I keep telling myself: "Tomorrow I will do yoga."

But this week I will. JavaChick has spoken!

What does our snowpocalypse look like? Well, there has been a lot of this:

Adorable deer, in their winter coats.

Fabulous Felines wondering why we won't open the patio door to let them out.

It is pretty. As long as you don't have to worry about shoveling. We don't. We do, however, have to pay the guy who plows our driveway.

We've changed our minds. Close the door.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

First Week of Les Mills Pump. Ish.

"Ish" is getting to be a thing.

I've had the Les Mills DVDs & barbell sitting around for a few months. I'd been eying the package - I admit it, partially because I wanted a barbell of my very own - and when it went on sale, I ordered it, though at the time I was still hobbling around on my bruised-and-possibly-sprained foot.

Finally, I am getting to it. Ish.

Did you catch that "Ish" there?

Week One.
They start you off easy, which is good. I'm just easing back into this workout thing myself.

First off: Pump Basics
This is a short intro, demoing how to use the equipment, explaining how the workouts are structured, etc.

I did this the Friday before, and then did the first actual workout - Pump Challenge - using the bar without any weights. I felt this was a good preview to get me going. I would call Pump Challenge a beginner workout. Most of it was very familiar to me, being exercises that I have done often using dumbbells. The one completely new move would be the Clean and Press - still working on the coordination for that one. In addition to that, I'm finding Squats & Lunges with the barbell held across the back of my shoulders feels awkward, but I am hoping I will get used to it (I keep hearing Chalene's voice in my head, from PiYo, explaining how some things are just physics).

After that, the schedule for the week, with Monday being day one, looked like this:

Monday: Pump Challenge (Did the squat section with just the bar, no weights, everything else with 5 lbs; didn't quite make it through the lunges).

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Pump Challenge (Squats with 5 lbs; up to 10 lbs for the middle section - back, deadlifts, chest, triceps; put down the bar completely for the lunges, back to 5 lbs for shoulders).

Thursday: Flow + 45 minute walk (I did not have time for the walk, but I did the Flow, which is a short yoga workout)

Friday: Pump Challenge (Same as Wednesday, except I went back to the 5lb weights for lunges) + 25 minutes walking on the treadmill (toward making up for Thursday).

...And Saturday morning I could barely roll out of bed. My lower back was just completely seized up. Could not bend over for anything. Could barely get up and down from a seated position. I spent the day taking Advil and sitting on a heating pad.

Today was better, but I'm still sore and moving carefully. We went out for groceries this afternoon; we went to Costco and then Superstore, and by halfway through Superstore I was ready to be sitting down.

So, it's looking like I will be taking another break from working out -  hopefully a short one. Oddly enough, the same thing happened to my baby sister not long ago; she went to bed one night feeling perfectly okay, and the next morning could barely move.

It could have been something to do with the workouts, but I honestly have not been pushing myself at all so far. The workouts have been short, I've been sticking to lighter weights, I haven't even been sore. The only different thing I did was to add the walking on Friday. I felt perfectly find when I went to bed. Husband said maybe I did something in my sleep; who knows?

First Impressions of Les Mills Pump (after not quite a full week)
Just thought I would share a few more comments, as these are the kind of things I would like to know if I were googling around the internet, researching a workout program. I won't blame you if you don't read them all...I think this is a hazard of having done so many different workout DVDs over the years...You can't help but rate them and notice all the things you don't like.
  • I know not everyone enjoys working out with weights, but I do, particularly if I find the right program. I think Les Mills is going to be fun. Once you get going, it keeps moving along and I  found the workout went by quickly (though admittedly, the first one is short). I like the music so far, and the cues are easy to follow.
  • Nitpick #1 - The lunge section in Pump Challenge is not quite even. This is obviously the introductory workout, they spend a lot of time on proper form and foot position (which is good). You do some single count lunges on the first leg. You switch legs, start in on 2 count lunges, go through a set of different counts on that leg, then switch legs and repeat from the 2 count. You never even out that first set of single counts. Honestly, it's not a lot - this workout is pretty short anyway - but this always bothers me when I see it in a DVD.
  • Nitpick #2: The chest section includes triceps. I don't know about you, but I can do a much heavier weight for chest than I can for triceps. So do you go low, and not get the benefit of the chest exercises? Or go high, and not be able to complete the triceps? Again, this is the introductory workout, maybe others will not be the same...but this is a pet peeve of mine - routines that don't give you a chance to switch weights between exercising different muscles that might not be able to handle the same load. Then again, maybe I just have really weak triceps (actually, right now it's not the muscle, I can feel strain on the joint - probably from too much computer time lately).
  • Nitpick #3: This one is really not a big deal, it just confused me the first time through...The last section is shoulders, and they use weight plates without the barbell. Now, I know I have small hands, but I was watching them gripping the plates and wondering how the heck anyone could wrap their hands around them like that...until I realized the ones they use in the DVD have 3 spokes and the ones that I received with my Les Mills package have two wide spokes and there is just no way I can wrap my hand around them. Not a problem, I have dumbbells. It definitely bugged me the first time through though, until I figured it out.
  • Finally, I wasn't crazy about Flow...But that is probably due to a couple of factors: a) my bad hearing, and b) I have yoga workouts that I really like and any new ones I do are going to be compared to the favorites. It's not fair to judge on one time through, and I will try to give it a chance, but...With yoga, verbal cues are very important;  you spend a lot of time in positions that make it hard to look at the screen. I have hearing problems, so there is already a challenge right there. Unfortunately with the Flow workout, I found the music fairly intrusive, and yoga instructors don't exactly belt out instructions for poses...So it was mainly frustrating. 

That's not exactly a comprehensive review. Basically I've done two different workouts at this point. My instinct is that I will like this program. You know, once I actually get to give it a try.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wherein JavaChick has a conversation with herself

Say! Whatever happened to that 21 Day Fix thing you had going on?
Oh yeah, that didn't happen.

Monday of week 2, I came home from work with a headache of monster proportions; I curled up in my living room chair and tried not to move too much because it made me dizzy. Tuesday was better, but I was extremely tired. "That's okay," I thought. "I'll just pick up where I left off and do as much as I can." Somehow that didn't quite happen. Vacation was coming up and my attitude was somewhere in the vicinity of IwishIwasonvacationalreadyandIdon'twannadoanything.

I think, when it comes right down to it, I just don't love the 21 Day Fix workouts. They aren't bad workouts, mind you, and they are the type of workout I usually like, but I just didn't look forward to doing them at all. I will give it another try someday.

So how was your much anticipated vacation?
I had two weeks off over the holidays, and enjoyed every minute!

I was sorta lazy - I didn't work out at all - but I was on my feet a lot more than usual, puttering around the house rather than sitting behind a desk. It's nice to pick away at things without time pressure.

Hardly noticed that the new year rolling in...I mean I noticed; the date changed and all that; it just happened without any kind of fanfare. Dec. 31st is our wedding anniversary (Happy 13 years!) and normally we do something fun, but Husband was on call, thus had to work...I was at home, puttering around the house, doing cleaning and sorting...didn't even make a special dinner or anything. It was just a normal day. But that's okay...It has been a happy 13 years.

Husband looks so young! I, of course, look exactly the same...*cough cough*

Well what are you going to do now that you are back to the normal work routine? Time to stop being lazy isn't it?
Husband is back on the get healthy kick. He sounds quite serious/determined this time. He's looking at kind of a strict plan, which makes me worried that he will get discouraged. I am currently walking the line between supportively-going-with-it and gently-sharing-advice/opinions...I think some of it you just have to learn on your own from experience though. The good thing about it is he is obviously thinking about it, and we've been having some good conversations (where previously he was more likely to brush off any comments I made). We shall see how it goes.

I am participating in a Facebook challenge group - sort of a January get back on track and change your life thing. I am mainly doing it because I am planning to start a new workout program, and I had good success doing PiYo with a similar group over the summer. My foot is a lot better, though not completely back to normal...Maybe not quite as improved as I had thought; it seems like it has been bothering me more lately, probably from spending more time on my feet over the holidays...But I am hoping I will be okay as long as I am careful.

How is that going then? It's the middle of January already, you know.
Well.  Let's just say I've been doing a lot of mental ranting for the past week.

Week 1. Back to work Jan 5. We started our healthy eating effort - which at this point mostly has me packing lunches & snacks for both of us every day. There were still some leftover treats being finished up at this point, but we were trying to be conscious of moderation.

Workout wise, I am planning to do Les Mills Pump. I was kind of excited. I own a barbell now. I've had dumbbells for years, but now I have a new fitness toy to play with, and I'm hoping the workouts will be fun.

The challenge group does not officially start until next week, but I plan to at least try a few workouts ahead of time...Except when I try to play the DVD I get a disk error. I tried disk 2 with the same result. They work upstairs in our Blu-ray player though, so Husband says we will replace the DVD player downstairs which is old anyway.

Week 2. The challenge group officially started Jan 11. Leftover treats are gone, getting a bit more serious about this clean eating thing. What sounded like a simple, straight-forward solution to my workout woes ended up dragging on until Wednesday evening due to unforeseen technical difficulties.

Wednesday afternoon/evening I could feel another monster headache coming on (I lost my bite plate; I think I'm going to have to get a new one). I had an early-ish deploy on Thursday morning, so I decided to work from home. I was all mentally prepared to jump up from my comfy living room chair at the end of my workday, and try my first Pump workout...And then Husband called and said "we're going out to dinner." Oh well. At this point, what's another day or two?

Next week there will be workouts! You know, if I don't come down with the flu or get hit by a stray asteroid or something. 

Anything else?
We had warm weather (relatively speaking) until late in December. Snow finally made an appearance on January 9, and shows every sign of sticking around. It seems that winter is here.

I am not tired of my fairies yet. Fortunnately, there is no one to say that I have to be!