Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Month-End Review, November

Just got back from the pool. Normally, Tuesday belongs to Kate but since my quads and legs, in general, are still tender from this situation, I took it to the water --a fitting choice in more ways than one since I was crabby and teary. I wanted to swim until my arms couldn't move anymore and I wanted to float the length of the pool.

One of the best things that happened this month was a feeling of being in sync while doing the front crawl; the breathing has been better and I worked my way back up to 25 laps.

And, oh, I got back on the treadmill for the first time in ages. It was strange hitting the machines after a long hiatus.

And one of the best things tonight? I feel renewed -- after swimming, floating, taking a hot shower with ginger and bergamot soap and pushing the boundaries of the speed limit.

Here are other things that invigorated me:

10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts

  • Ultimate Stretch, 1 x

  • Upper Body, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • Stretching, 4 x's

  • Cardio and Muscle Class, 2 x's

    Personal Training With Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 3 x's

  • Personal Training With Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training, 2x's

    Raking Leaves, 1 x

    Rock Climbing, 7 x's

    StairMaster, 1 x

    Swimming, 4 x's

    Treadmill, 2 x's

    Walking, 4 x's

    Wii Fit, 17 x's

    What did you find renewing this month?

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    When A Minute Lasts Forever

    One minute is an eternity in Jackie Warner’s world. I learned, at least, from previous experience not to wear glasses while attempting a Warner workout. So, before I popped in this DVD, I took care of eyewear matters.

    Warner aims to cut your workout in half by doing compound moves and she drives your body “straight into the cardio zone.”

    The warm-up consists of plié squats, running in place and reverse lunges with torso twists. At one point, Warner tells her cohorts that she hears them breathing (during the warm-up) and that they are going to be in a world of pain. While it's not technically a world of pain, be prepared for a gut check.

    The first segment is dedicated to glutes and shoulders. Every exercise is done for one minute and, as indicated above, I’ve never seen a minute last so long. You’ll get into a runner’s lunge while executing a rear delt fly while your ribcage is on your leg. To work on your balance, you’ll do a curtsy then a side kick with weights on deck.

    Don’t worry about delayed onset of muscle soreness since your glutes and, later on in the program, your quads will give immediate feedback.

    I really liked this shoulder circle move (that I'm doing in video). In fact, my shoulders feel pretty good after this routine.

    It’s good to document because it makes me realize that I’ve come far but there's still progress to be made. It’s good exposure therapy. Okay, I’ve been watching too much Obsessed on Netflix but exposure therapy is working...

    In addition to glutes and shoulders, quads and arms; hips, chest and back; core and more are all implemented in this time saver routine.

    During the hips, chest and back segment, I really liked two exercises – a push and pull with a row for the back and a kind of burpee move where you place the weights by your feet, walk your hands down, do a push-up then walk your hands back towards the weight and do a shoulder press. It’s taxing but doable.

    I’m not a huge fan of lunges and there are quite a few lunges to contend with but they are also doable.

    A bit of advice: I would not do this workout with anyone else at home. I had to get a bit noisy to gut it out…

    Are you a noisy worker outer? If so, do your housemates give you strange looks? Also, if you get through this workout without stopping, please let me know. I had to stop numerous times but it’s good to have goals you know…

    *Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    The Gospel According to Patti

    That's Patti a.k.a The Tenacious One over to the left -- lead climbing a route outdoors and what follows below is her gospel.

  • Do your hands ever get sore?, I asked in child-like wonder. My hands get so tender while climbing at times.

    Patti turned her hands over and discussed the merits of calluses that have fallen off. Yeah, they get sore but I just don't talk about them because my knees are sore, my back is sore and my elbows are sore. Your problem is that you're not sore enough....

  • If I start it, I'm going to climb it.

    Mike and I were trying to figure out the The Skull Cracking route which had a challenging beginning. It looked impossible to start so we called Patti over. Patti is like that Mikey kid in the Life commercials; she'll climb anything and, sure enough, she did. Once the belay was off, Patti said, That one's all about balance.

  • I was attempting to climb Girl Power, a challenging 5.9 route. I had attempted it several times before I concluded that maybe I wasn't tall enough.

    Patti: How tall are you?

    Me: 5'3

    Patti: I think you're taller.

    Me: (Crumpled brow)

    Patti: I certainly think I'm taller...

  • The move needs to be deliberate and controlled, more advice from Patti as I tried to ascend Girl Power, a 5.9 route.

  • What happened to muscle memory? Me after trying to get over the arête of Girl Power

    Patti: You gave it new memory.

  • You know that part that you always get stuck on? Step on that rock instead, do a drop knee and it'll just shove you up to the top...

    Patti's advice after I climbed Pacman Revival, a 5.9 route whose crux continued to baffle me.

  • After not being able to get over the arête of a route...

  • Me: Are you going to show me how to do it?

    Patti: Well, I'm going to either show you how to do it or how not to do it.

  • The ladies at work told me that I'm a hypochondriac.

    I told them that I'm a conversationalist and I talk about what ails me.

  • Patti: That's like a dangling modifier.

    Me: Wow, I haven't heard that in awhile. Anybody see that comma splice? This conversation has really taken a turn for the worst.

    Mike: No, it hasn't; we haven't talked about colons yet.

  • Patti: You're doing excellent. It took me a year to climb 5.9's and, if I weren't climbing better than you right now, I'd be disappointed since I've been climbing for three years.

  • If I don't say it enough, it's because I don't say stuff like that. Remind me in nine months and I'll tell you again.

  • Remember, I'm the cool one -- after Patti gave me advice on how to tackle a burly 5.9*

  • I always tell my kids it's all about the attitude.

    Patti to me after a series of pep talks about climbing goals, not going against the grain of routes, having fun and not being hard on myself after I mentioned that I had hit the proverbial wall when it came to climbing.

  • Don't be a purist.

  • Patti to me after I struggled with Now That's More Like It, a 5.9 route; I insisted on going left even though I had lots of footholds on the right side. In addition, I didn't want to cheat my way up by using holds that didn't belong to the route.

  • Patti: I'm going to climb this (Now That's More Like It) even though it's hard.

  • Me: :o, That's mean.

    Patti: (Chuckling) Are you still surprised about that now?

    *Patti acknowledged her coolness after I told her what Gingersnapper wrote...

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Stuff That Moves Me

    My mother sometimes tries to get at my motive for eating certain foods like Greek yogurt and organic sugar. Does it have less calories?, she wants to know about the sugar.

    Well, I let my mother take a gander at a Cooking Light that I had because she had been looking for quesadilla recipes; she ended up cooking edamame succotash for me. I was so moved that I didn't even ask about the bacon type. I also have not knowingly had butter in ages; it's a slippery slope, you know...

    Edamame Succotash

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
    Cost per Serving: $2.47


    1 slice center-cut bacon
    1 tablespoon butter
    2 cups chopped sweet onion
    2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
    1 (16-ounce) bag frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
    3 tablespoons torn basil


    1. Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan; coarsely chop bacon.

    2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Melt butter in drippings in pan. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn kernels; sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Add edamame, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and next 5 ingredients (through bell pepper); cook 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bacon and basil.

    Nutritional Information

    Fat:12.1g (sat 3.3g,mono 3.3g,poly 3.6g)

    Julianna Grimes, Cooking Light, AUGUST 2010
    Cooked anything interesting lately or had someone cook something interesting for you?

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Squeezing My Toes

    I went to the library to get an acupressure book. After this post and this one and not to mention the other one and the last situation, who's surprised?

    I saw that The Acupressure Atlas was on the shelf and was too impatient to request it and have it delivered to my regular library. That could take days, after all. My decision to pick up the book was a good one since I haven't browsed the library's shelves in ages; it's such a cool feeling to slow down, look at all those spines and be tempted by a title, pick up one and it inspect it further.

    My eyes fell on such a cool book. Cooler than cool. Self-Massage for Athletes.

    I have found the routines for massaging feet, quads, hips, knees and shoulders extremely helpful.

    Here's an excerpt from the routine for massaging your feet:

    both hands over your foot for warmth.

  • Try gliding your knuckles over the bottom of your foot...

  • Squeeze all five toes together a few times, then roll your whole foot at the ankle, relaxing and surrendering to the sensation.

    Squeeze & Roll
    each toe, gently pulling, twisting, and stretching it...

    You'd be surprised how good squeezing your toes together feels. Or maybe you're not...

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    The Fun Dihedral or Overheard At The Gym, III

  • Male climber: You're selectively nice.

    Female climber: Silence.

    Female climber: More silence.

    Female climber: I'm going to be selectively nice and let you take Metrolink instead of giving you a ride.

  • He has a strength to weight ratio that I can only dream about.

  • Chris, one of my climbing partners, regarding his son who scampered up Grab the Jug, a 5.8 route.


  • On belay?, Climber

    Belay is on
    ., Person taking belay certification

    You can't answer that question
    ., An Upper Limits staff member

    The would-be belayer had not taken enough slack out of the rope.

  • At this point, I'm not running my schedule; my schedule is running me.,Chris

  • I don't really eat meat but I'll eat Pappy's ribs., A woman's comment when a discussion about said ribs broke out.

  • So, it's better to have climbed and lost than to not have climbed at all?

    After explaining to Jerry (Mike's brother) that, while one should follow the designated route, sometimes we climb out of our comfort zones, get practice and make our way to the top any way possible.

  • This is horrible -- Sophie about halfway up a gnarly 5.11b.

    As Sophie got towards the top, she did this awesome move were she swung her body from right to left to get over the arch.

  • Sophie is strong., An observer watching Sophie climb

  • I don't like this route (Billy Goat Chips). I probably need to do it out of antipathy., Chris

  • That dihedral is really fun., a climber suggesting a route to Patti and me.

  • But, um, yeah; it's a 5.11a called Top Kill.

  • I saw the Reel Rock Tour and realized that I have been such a pansy. I'm going to take my climbing to the next level., Kristen

  • What are you taking to the next level?

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    GPS For The Body

    Most of the books about acupuncture and acupressure point this out but this gem is worth repeating:

    In ancient China, physicians received a fee only as long as their patients remained healthy. Treating someone who is already ill, they taught, is like starting to dig a well after you have become thirsty. We can learn from them to care for our own future health by eating well, exercising appropriately, and learning to calm the mind and body with relaxation and meditation...(20)
    I like this tip about how to apply pressure:

    9). Keep your pressure at a maximum of 15 lbs. (You can teach yourself what 15 lbs feels like by pressing on a bathroom scale with your thumb or fingers). (61)
    Finally, another reason to use the scale besides weighing myself.

    In chapter eight, For Best Results: Take A Holistic Approach To Your Health, I liked this advice:

    11). Be Happy. Make a conscious choice to be as happy as you can...In the long run, most difficulties tend to work out; bad feelings dissolve; a solution to problems is found. So get plenty of exercise, listen to music, dance, sing, visit friends, meditate...(78)
    If nothing else, besides fueling my curiosity about acupressure, this book reinforced, for me, how dangerous not dealing with stress can be.

    From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the main effect of stress on the body is the disruption of the smooth flow of ch'i or Life Energy, which is the forerunner of many illnesses...(361)
    I loved how this book described the pressure points. Plus, instructions are given for acupressure, reflexology and shiatsu to deal with various conditions. I felt like I had a GPS to the acupressure points since they were described so accurately. And what can I say? I have a thing for global positioning devices.

    What are you reading?

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Stuff I Like To Hear

  • Student massage therapist: You have muscles on top of muscles...

    Me (inside voice): Thank God; that explains the ten pound (three month) increase in weight.

    Student MT: I wish that I had 30 more minutes to work on your back.

    Me: (Vigorous laughter) Um, yeah, I wish you had 30 minutes too.

  • Me: Why do these things always happen to me? (regarding a colleague who gave a four day resignation)

    Friend (HC): As my mentor likes to tell me, it's not you; it's human nature.

  • Acquaintance: You look amazing. Do not lose any more weight; stay in the amazing business -- if you know what I mean. Okay, I'm going to stop before you think that I'm hitting you up for a loan.

    As we were leaving:

    Me: You don't have to walk this way.

    Acquaintance: Hey, don't try to monopolize all of the exercise.

    Me: (Chuckling)

  • Barber's mother: Look at you.

    Me: (I perform a 360 degree turn).

    Barber's mother: I'm talking to you; you've lost more weight. You don't even look like yourself anymore...

    What kind of stuff do you like to hear?
  • Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Filling The Well

  • Bought

  • One of my colleagues was headed to Target and, for some reason, I thought about washable markers and The Artist's Way.

    Filling the well involves the active pursuit of images to refresh our artistic reservoirs.
    I don't even know if this quote was the one I had in mind. Maybe it was something about pleasing your inner child.

    No matter, I had fun.

    I was headed to the climbing gym and was inspired to write mental tenacity on my arm after seeing this article, How to Push Past the Pain as the Champions Do?

  • Done

  • Self-Reiki Treatment

    While I'm not sure how much it helped as I was doing the treatment at 2:00 a.m. when I crossed that line between sleepiness and peppiness, some of the Reiki holds did feel refreshing.

  • Watched

  • Discovered gem while watching Acupressure Massage -- where to treat heat in the body; the point is on the colon meridian at the crease in the elbow.

    Recently, I've been hit with waves of heat in the upper body. Stress? You decide.

    FYI, if you were going out to lunch and wanted to suppress your appetite, you could use Pericardium Six which is two fingers up from the wrist crease in the center.

    I also like this point which is a master acupressure point.

    Someone may need to take my markers and pens away...

    Have you bought, done or watched anything interesting lately? How are you filling the well?

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    The Gospel According to My Aunt Al

  • My cousin: Can you put on your glasses and take a look at this...?

    My aunt: You need to (drag on cigarette) get out of this house (i.e. go to the hospital).

  • My aunt was flipping channels when she landed on Lord of The Rings which I told her that I had really enjoyed.

    Me: Have you seen Avatar?

    My aunt: I don't watch that kind of s*@t.

  • My aunt: Come on, now, work with me...

  • A statement that my aunt makes when she feels someone is being too diplomatic.

  • About my Sunday malaise:

    You can't win; you have five days stacked up against two.

  • Mental illness is rough.

    A comment that my aunt will typically make in connection to difficult coworkers.

  • Regarding my cousin's possible depression...

    She (drag on cigarette) just gonna have to shake it off.

  • On why she will not loan people cigarettes.

    If you smoke, you need to have your own cigarettes.

  • You must not know how to hang up.

    After I got kidnapped into a rather awkward conversation.

  • How long have you been working? Ain't no end to work.

  • I don't see why they (commentators) are still discussing it; they gave them the points.

    On the Green Bay (28) Dallas (0) game (score) right before halftime on Nov. 7th when the Packers intercepted the ball and there was a question about whether the player's knee was down before the ball was swiped.
  • Saturday, November 6, 2010

    The Art of Being Called Out

    You know that route in your sleep.
    That's what Patti said as I walked towards Steller's, a 5.8 route.

    The rightness of her statement made me walk over to Have Fun, Be Fun, a 5.9 route that I had tussled with before and that I really didn't want to have anything to do with. I wasn't able to climb halfway up and that route, by the way, was no fun at all.

    While I was at it, I tackled Where The Beer Flows Like Wine, a 5.8 route that is quite, as Chris would say, burly.

    I felt such a sense of accomplishment after taking on those routes and the next time that I tried Have Fun, Be Fun, I made it just a little bit further along.

    Route Tally for Nov. 6th:

  • Kristin's Farewell, 5.8

  • Life in the Pack, 5.8

  • We (fear) the People, 5.8

  • Have Fun, Be Fun, 5.9 (rainbowed)

  • Photosystem, 5.9 (rainbowed)

  • Six Week Warrior, 5.9

  • P.S. Have, Fun, Be Fun still owns me but I keep going back for more...

    Is there something that you keep going back for more of?

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Avoid Stress Whenever Possible

    Since I went to this workshop, I've become occupied with acupressure and I would love to go to another workshop but, for now, I'll have to be satisfied with having read Acupressure and Reflexology for Dummies.

    The highlights:

    For maximum benefits to your immune system, use healing arts in conjunction with related techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing. In addition, avoid stress whenever possible. (21)

    And, by the way, I need to invest in two tennis balls.

    The easiest and perhaps best tool you can ever have is simply made up of two tennis balls and a sock. Put the tennis balls in the sock all the way to the toe, and then tie the end of the sock so that the balls are held tightly together. Voila -- an acupressure tool! (28)

    Another highlight:

    Breathe! Your breath is the best tool you have for relaxation. (38)

    In the chapter, Maintaining Good Health, I loved this definition:

    Optimal wellness is expressed not only by a lack of sickness or symptoms, but also by vitality, motivation, and general well-being. (107)

    Say hello to the Grandfather-Grandson Point:

    This point supports and nourishes all aspects of the body-mind and balances circulation. Use for grounding and emotional balance while relieving worry and anxiety. (112)

    And the Inner Gate Point:

    This point balances yin energy...protects the heart meridian from excess stress...(112)

    The Union Valley Point:

    (This point is good for so much, including headaches)

    Use to reduce muscle tension and relieve stress. Promotes downward flow of qi. (112)

    Last highlights:

    Like optimal wellness, emotional well-being is more than an absence of symptoms like depression or frustration. It's an appetite for life. It includes feelings of confidence and self-worth, a desire to fulfill one's dreams, and the motivation to do so. (122)

    Also, when your energy flow is in sync and you have emotional balance, you tend to enjoy more positive relationships with loved ones and interact better with professional colleagues. (311)

    Now, if I can just remember where all of the meridians are and avoid odd stares when I take my socks off, I'll be golden...

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    The Happiness Project

    My second attempt to read The Happiness Project stuck -- not that I wasn't digging it the first time around but I was reading several books at once and The Happiness... was non-renewable at the time.

    I love this book. Absolutely love it.

    About 50 pages in, I felt like if I didn't read another page, I still would have had a remarkable reading experience. It's just so solid and thorough. I could talk about economy of language, tone, fluidity -- whatever, Rubin's book is excellent. As my cousin, Chiquita, would say: dot, period, the end.

    Being a fan of quotes, I even like the way that Rubin effortlessly incorporates them.

    Then I thought of a line from William Butler Yeats. "Happiness," wrote Yeats, "is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing." (66)
    Rubin goes on to say:

    Of course. Growth. Growth explains the happiness brought by training for a marathon, learning a new language, collecting stamps; by helping children learn to talk; by cooking your way through every recipe in a Julia Child cookbook...(67)
    Rubin's book has twelve chapters:

    1 January: Boost Energy

    2 February: Remember Love

    3 March: Aim Higher

    4 April: Lighten Up

    5 May: Be Serious About Play

    6 June: Make Time For Friends

    7 July: Buy Some Happiness

    8 August: Contemplate the Heavens

    9 September: Pursue a Passion

    10 October: Pay Attention

    11 November: Keep a Contented Heart

    12 December: Boot Camp Perfect

    I liked Rubin's Twelve Commandments; her first one: Be Gretchen. The Secrets of Adulthood also resonated with me and, again, number one beckoned:

    People don't notice your mistakes as much as you think. (11)

    Along the way, Rubin makes a commitment to exercise and to unclutter. Rubin classifies clutter along these lines: nostalgic, conversation, bargain and freebie clutter.

    I did suffer from freebie clutter -- the clutter of gifts, hand-me-downs, and giveaways that we didn't use. (27)

    A phrase that stuck with me long after I read Rubin's book was cut people slack:

    During this month of friendship, I happened to read two memoirs that reminded me of something that's easy to forget: people's lives are far more complicated than they appear from the outside. That's why, as apart of my resolution to "Be generous," I meant to cut people slack. (152)
    Rubin posed questions on her blog and included reader responses in her book. I completely related to the husband who hired a professional organizer:

    I have never been so happy to write a check in my life. (175)

    The money that I spent to partially organize my bedroom was money well spent and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    At one point, the author says something about a six second hug -- six seconds being the time for those feel good hormones to kick in. I was telling my friend about The Happiness Project and, one day, when she was feeling stressed-out, she asked me where her six second hug was...

    When I told my colleague that I was reading The Happiness Project, she responded with this question. I followed up with a synopsis of the book and I tried to answer her weighty question:

    What’s that happiness book about? Do you ever feel like with all the happiness/career/lifestyle improvement books (especially from sources like Oprah) that there really must be something wrong that you haven’t been able to transform your life by now?


    The Happiness Project
    is written by a former lawyer who realizes that she’s happy but feels like, given her circumstances, she could be happier and more grateful. So, she takes concrete steps to be happier. Like, she read somewhere that being well-rested is key to being more balanced. So, she took a lot of electronic devices out of her bedroom etc. and noticed that she was more pleasant when she had enough sleep.

    She resolved to stop nagging her husband. She also agreed to do more things that her husband wanted to do. Like, her husband wanted to watch The Shield and she didn’t see sitting side-by-side without communicating as fostering intimacy but she agreed to watch it with him and said that while it wasn’t intimate, it felt intimate.

    Also, she likes children books but thinks she’ll be ridiculed for not liking something more lofty but ends up finding adults who have similar taste. They form a reading club and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.

    She makes rituals for her kids – like setting a day aside for them to spend with their grandparents.

    When she gets a bad review of one of her books, she decides to write a letter to the reviewer letting him know that he did have valid points etc. etc.

    I could go on and on but it seems like her happiness project entails not being so defensive, finding out what makes you happy, being dedicated to having more fun etc. etc.

    I’m so simplifying the book but it’s been a great read so far…

    My answer

    Physically, I’ve been working on myself for three years but I’ll have to say that, even though I need to make more changes, 2010 has been huge for me.

    I would say that the number one change has been to be kinder to myself which includes but is not limited to calling myself names i.e. you are such a dork; you are so blah blah blah…

    Another game changer for me was a commitment to being less defensive which, of course, I’m not always successful at but I try.

    I broke down and got someone to help me to organize my bedroom which was mortifying and something I would not have done in the past.

    Another huge change for me is doing something like asking for what I want. So while some of the changes have been intangible to a certain degree, it’s been huge for what peace of mind I do have…

    Have you read The Happiness Project? If not, what was the last book that you read?

    P.S. Pardon the use of like and so but those appear to be two of my favorite words and definitely popped out in my spontaneous email to my colleague.