Tag Archives: exercise

That’s How We Roll

Ahh, Kansas. One of these days we’ll stop doing the little things that make us look bad to all the neighbors, and I’ll be so shocked I’ll have to sit down for a spell.

But that day is not today. Well, not a week or so ago, anyway; because it was about a week ago when the story came out that Leawood, one of the towns in the Kansas City metro area, was making a resident take down their Little Free Library. For the record, the little free Leawood librarian is nine years old.


A little free library, for those of you unfamiliar with the concept, is basically the “have a penny, leave a penny, need a penny, take a penny” of books–they’re boxes, built to withstand weather, usually shaped like adorable wee houses, and inside are free books. Want one? Come get it. Got some books you’re not reading anymore? Leave ’em inside, and the magical library fairies will pick them up and add them to the rotation. There’s a certain amount of work and upkeep involved–culling books that nobody ever takes home, keeping new and interesting titles coming out fairly regularly so people don’t give up on ever finding anything they want there, making sure the box itself stays sound, etc–so it’s a labor of love for folks who want to run one, but the word on the street is that it’s a hoot and a half, because you end up getting to connect people with free books and have wonderful book chats with your neighbors.

There are plans out there for building your own, but you can also buy premade Little Free Libraries through the organization's site. How adorable is this one?

There are plans out there for building your own, but you can also buy premade Little Free Libraries through the organization’s site. How adorable is this one?

Leawood’s argument against the kiddo who’s trying to run one is that these charming little boxes are prohibited by city regulation, as they’re free-standing structures unattached to the house–and those are banned, because they’re eyesores that bring down property values.

Please scroll back up, look again at the picture of the adorable blue bookhouse, and tell me how that’s an eyesore that brings down property values. /eyeroll

So you had to know that all of this was going to kick my Damn-the-Man/Hulk-Smash/Ain’t-Nobody-Got-Time-For-That self into overdrive. I mean, c’mon. It’s books.

So I looked into the bylaws of our own Homeowners Association (I have strong thoughts about even having an HOA, let alone what their bylaws say, but that’s a topic for another time), thinking that perhaps I should set up a nice solidarity Little Free Library in my own yard, and lo and behold–we also are prohibited from having any free-standing structures. Especially storage structures–they make a huge point out of that bit–so I’m guessing this won’t fly here either.

So, y’know, I did a bit of table-flipping and tantrum-throwing and generally making myself a nuisance to our critters, who were just trying to nap. And over the weekend we went to visit my BFF, and I vented about the whole ridiculous thing to her for a bit.

And as I was talking with her–about how perhaps I could still set up a Little Free Library and just, y’know, move it every day, bring it inside at night, put it in a different spot on the lawn every afternoon, etc–I stumbled upon what I’m reasonably sure is one of the smartest ideas I’ve ever had.

Are you ready for this? Hold onto your hat.

We talked a couple years ago about how Moon Man and I had started going to a nearby beach (by which I mean “lake”–we don’t so much have “beaches” here in the middle of the continent). This quickly became our Official Sunday Afternoon Activity, and as you probably know, these sorts of outings tend to come with a pretty good pile of accessories, towels and blankets and coolers and books and sunscreen and such. And since the parking area for our favorite beach is a good quarter-mile away from the beach itself, we soon grew weary of hauling everything via straps and handles and backpacks and things. I mean, c’mon, this is supposed to be relaxing.

So we went and got ourselves a wagon.

This wagon.

This wagon.

I bet you see where this is headed.

It occurred to me, as I was talking with BFF, that free-standing unattached storage structures are prohibited in our subdivision…but ain’t nobody got any problems with wagons. Besides, if I’m ever going to go on a dogsledding adventure (more on that another time–it’s been a while since we talked, so we’ll have some catching-up to do), I really do need to start getting into shape. Training for it, if you will. By, oh, I dunno, walking.

Around the neighborhood.

With, say, a wagon.

Full of books.


So there we have it: the birth of the idea of the Little Free Bookmobile. I still need to go through my bookshelves and pick out the first round of inventory, and I should really see if anyone I know can make me a nifty sign for it (I feel like a hand-lettered posterboard sign simply will not do for this endeavor); but once that’s done, Operation Circumvent Your Ridiculous Bylaws can commence.

I mean, really, I reckon somebody has to do something to balance out Kansas’s shenanigans, and this time it may as well be me. Watch for me, then come on out and borrow a book–or bring some of yours to drop off! If I’m on the big hill at the end of the neighborhood, the break will be especially welcome.



Filed under General Musings and Meanderings, Share the Toys, The Bibliophilic Buffalo

Buffalo Tantrum: The “H” Word

Ok, look.

We’ve talked before about how there are some words that will make me a very, very angry buffalo. And a quick Google search will bring you lots of links to discussions of other words–like “natural”–that are pretty much meaningless nowadays (thanks, advertisers!), so using them is less about understanding what they mean and more about getting people to buy into whatever you’re selling.

And today I have hit my breaking point, and need to add another word to the List of Words Which Have Become Meaningless Yet Simultaneously Infuriating: “healthy“. 

I have seen that word approximately eleventy-four billion times on Pinterest and Facebook today, and I. Am. Over. It. Not because I think it’s a wildly unacceptable word, like using “retarded” as slang (seriously, I will punch you in the neck for that), but because it’s become a fad word whose rampant overuse, misuse, and abuse has led to some truly bizarre–and in some cases deeply unsettling–things.

“Healthy”, as far as I can tell, used to mean “all my parts are functioning in a useful and mostly reliable way”. It meant that your body did what you needed it to do when you needed it to do it, and that you could generally assume that it would do so without catastrophic system failure at an inopportune time. If you needed to outrun the devil, you could probably do so without your heart exploding. You were pretty unlikely to be walking down the street and suddenly have your spleen rupture. Your temperature was neither too high nor too low, all your organs were where they were supposed to be and functioning like they were supposed to function, and you could climb to higher ground faster than the rising floodwaters or carry your groceries inside by yourself. You could walk to someplace reasonably close. You could sit comfortably.

But now it’s got this whole insane twisting thing going, where “healthy” apparently means “I want to talk about things that are actually pretty unhealthy, but I want to sound hip and with-it”. “Healthy” is the new “skinny”, and “healthy” is the new “natural”. And “healthy” has become utterly, utterly meaningless.

Let me give you some examples.

First, please consider the “Healthy” Peanut Butter Cookie craze, which has been making the rounds on Pinterest for a little while. Per the description–which tends to get passed along with the pin, so I see this with some regularity–these have “Only 36 calories per cookie! Ingredients: 1 Cup Peanut butter 1 Cup Sugar 1 TSP baking soda 1 egg Mix the peanut butter and sugar first then add in the egg and baking soda. Bake for 10 minutes on 350 degrees.”

/blink blink

Read that description aloud real quick and see if anything jumps out to you. I’ll wait.

…Did you spot it? The part where there are equal parts peanut butter and sugar in these things? And you know most people who are unfazed by that fact are probably not grinding their own sugar-free peanut butter, so there’s even more sugar coming from their store-bought stuff.

Now, look. I’m not a nutritionist, but I’m really gonna need someone to explain to me how a cookie that is roughly 48% sugar gets to call itself “healthy”. Basically what you’re doing here is taking a glob of sugary peanut butter, wrapping it in even more sugar, and calling it a day.

‘Cause, y’know, that makes sense.

And then at the other end of the spectrum, we have this little gem, which…well, take a gander:

No. This is *not* healthy, and if you're here because you searched for "healthy" and found this and thought it sounded great, please go talk to your doctor IMMEDIATELY.

No. This is *not* healthy, and if you’re here because you searched for “healthy” and found this and thought it sounded great, please go talk to your doctor IMMEDIATELY.

This is one that is not even pretending that by “healthy” it means anything other than “skinny”. It also got picked up by Pinterest, and is making the rounds as the “Healthy Skinny Girl Diet“, with comments like “this is a diet called the healthy skinny girl diet. it is 21 days and it takes 21 days to create a habit so good diet choice”.

But here’s the thing. I actually found this image first doing a Google search for “diet to be healthy” (sometimes research for these ‘Tracts makes me search for things I wouldn’t ordinarily), and the image was in my results.

Do you want to know where it came from?

Brace yourself.

It came from here: Skinny Girls: A Pro Ana Community. The article is titled “Learn to Hate Food”.


/runs around in little circles


You can’t see it from there, ’cause you’re reading this on a screen of some sort, but I am literally, physically shaking with rage here. There is nothing–nothing–you can say that will ever make me believe that anyone should ever, under any circumstances, ever ever ever in life take advice, especially diet advice, from a [zomg such a rude word] PRO-ANOREXIA WEBSITE.

Ok, that’s not entirely accurate–at the top of that site is a little disclaimer, and I can agree with the first half of it: “WARNING: Anorexia is a harmful disease that could lead to death. Please research the dangerous effects of anorexia and other diseases before reading this blog.”

So could we please, please please please, please as a personal favor to me, agree that perhaps this whole “healthy” thing has gotten a tiny bit out of hand? Can we agree that we need a definition reset? Can we agree that a word that represents an ideal that people are striving toward, once it has reached the point where it is simultaneously describing cookies that are 50% sugar and a seriously dangerous eating disorder (overeating and undereating? BOTH UNHEALTHY, GANG.), has perhaps become just the teensiest bit jumbled beyond all sanity or reason?

Maybe we go back to a different way of looking at things. Maybe we reconsider the “does my body perform the way I need/want it to?” measurement approach, and drop the compulsive calorie counting and BMI measuring and scales and charts and graphs and tables. Maybe we take a second to consider that opting out of the MUST BE HEALTHY madness is actually a pretty healthy step in and of itself, since a goal which represents such extremes and such all-consuming obsession is…y’know…maybe not so hot after all.

I for one am going to go take a walk, because I want my body to be able to get to places on foot in case my car breaks down in the middle of someplace where I have no cell phone reception.

And because I need to clear my head.

“Learn to hate food”, indeed.


Preach on, Sister Michelle.

Preach on, Sister Michelle.

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Filed under Don't Make Me Come Down There, General Musings and Meanderings

A Million

Dear Moon,

I don’t know what’s happened to time lately. We were just talking about this the other day, how time seems to have been doing these weird slip-skip things, so that one minute we’re toasting the New Year and then suddenly we’re baking the turkey for Thanksgiving. All I really know is that one morning I woke up and took a shower and put on fancy clothes and went and stood in front of a room full of our closest friends and family and promised to have adventures with you as your wife, and then I blinked and somehow a million minutes have passed and it’s our second anniversary.

I did the math–if a year is ~525,600 minutes, then two years is more than a million. Yowza.

A million minutes as your wife, your partner in crime, your sidekick. A million minutes as your first-line support system. A million minutes as your fashion adviser (ha!), your personal chef, your cheerleader, and occasionally your very own in-house Grumpy McGrouchyson (sorry about those).

A million minutes.

And I was thinking about all those minutes, and since a million minutes is a little abstract, I converted them to dollars. Y’know, like if we won the lottery or something. And if I think about it that way, something kinda jumps out at me: suppose we were told that we were going to get $1 million deposited in a bank account every other year for the next, say, 40 years; but if we put aside $20 a day, like into an interest-bearing account or something complicated involving stocks or something, we can get an additional few payouts. So, y’know, mo’ money, honey. We like mo’ money. And that’d be pretty easy–we could set up an automatic transfer, maybe–and even if we had to hop into the car and take 20 minutes to run to the bank and make the transfer manually, I reckon we’d still do it, ’cause, y’know, money. Money money money. And it’s only 20 minutes. Maybe we could make an adventure out of it, or a ritual.

Now convert that back to minutes. Still with me? No more money (boo), but now we’re talking about time. I’ve had about a million minutes with you so far, and I’ll be delighted to take every additional minute I can get; and from the quick googling I just did, it looks like using 20 minutes per day to exercise instead of sitting in front of the television can add between 2 and 14 years to our lives together, depending on which article you want to believe.

2 to 14 years. That’s up to 7 million additional minutes.

If it was cash we were talking about, I think we can both agree that it’d be no problem at all to wedge in a quick daily bank run–20 minutes, or $20, isn’t very long / very much / very difficult, in the grand scheme of things. We’d do it without even thinking about it. But somehow when we talk about time, and more precisely about time spent looking after our health, it becomes this big giant bothersome irritating thiiiiiing, and we doan wanna do eet. I’m guilty of it, and let’s face it, so are you.

But y’know what? One million minutes doesn’t even come close to the amount of time I want to spend with you. It doesn’t even scratch the surface of how many times I want to sit on your parents’ porch and watch the waterfall with you, or how many times I want to play in the lake with you at Grandpa’s house, or how many times I want to watch you show Mom how to use a complicated gadget, or how many times I want to hear you read a story to our nieces’n’nephews. It doesn’t begin to cover the number of minutes I want to spend watching you skritch the critters or put away the dishes or drive us to some new and exciting place. It doesn’t even come close.

So maybe it’s not the sexiest anniversary present a man could ever want, but this year my present to you is my workout pants. They say the second anniversary gift is supposed to be cotton; so this year you’re getting my exercise clothes. T-shirts, tank tops, pants, shorts, socks, the whole shebang. And in return, I want yours.

And I don’t want them pristine. I want your workout clothes in the clothes hamper, sweaty from use and smellin’ weird. It’ll give me an excuse to use that homemade laundry detergent I’ve become addicted to (seriously, have you smelled it? It’s sooo niiiice). And eventually I want new workout clothes from you, because the old set is too big.

I want us to not spend 20 minutes together each day, because we’re busy spending those 20 minutes by ourselves, doing whatever it takes to earn the extra 2-14 years. Sure, sometimes we can do activities together; and this is a family show so I’m not going to get overly descriptive here, but I know I can think of a fun workout we can do together in 20 minutes or so (longer if we’re feeling particularly–ahem–motivated); but I also want us to cultivate a pattern of exercising even if the other person isn’t around to be a cheerleader.

I want to put those 20 minutes into a timey-wimey bank account and let the interest start growing, because dammit, I want my extra 7 million minutes. Especially if they’re going to go as quickly as these first million have gone.

So happy anniversary, sweetheart. Thank you for the first million minutes, and for all the adventures and misadventures and laughter and love we’ve shared so far, and please know how very, very much I look forward to all the millions of minutes we have ahead of us.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go gift-wrap my socks.

I choose you every morning and I love you more each day,

–Your BW

…seriously, though? Two years already? WTH?


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Filed under General Musings and Meanderings, Play Nicely

Debbie Down-But-Not-Out

So. Today happened.

Mom’s car shot craps last week, so she’s got my van and will be bringing it back on Thanksgiving. No problem, I figured, since I don’t usually go anywhere during the day, so Moon Man can take our car to work and I can just chill here at the house.

Except tonight’s menu calls for shepherd’s pie–got the lamb all defrosted and everything–and I realized I didn’t have any veggies except some sad old celery and the potatoes for the topping.

No problem, I figured; the grocery store is about a mile away, and a mile is a totally reasonable walking distance, and the weather is quite nice.

Except that somewhere in the last year I lost all my motivation to exercise and started eating everything that didn’t move out of my way fast enough. We did the Paleo thing for a while, with the idea that we would splurge on weekends, but it didn’t take very long for “weekend” to be defined as “starting sometime Friday and ending when the last of the leftovers were gone, usually on Monday or Tuesday”. Pro tip: diets don’t work very well when you only do them three days a week–especially when the diet in question says you’re free to eat protein and fats and only have to cut out carbs. But setbacks be damned; I was going to walk to the store.

No problem, I figured; I’ll just get my exercise clothes on and walk to the store.

Except that as a result of my “eat everything, exercise not at all” plan I’ve gained enough weight–and girth–that most of my exercise clothes don’t fit right anymore. I tried on everything in the closet and everything in the drawers and had a minor meltdown when I realized that the one thing that fit the best was my shoes, and even they never really fit exactly right in the first place.

No problem, I figured; I’ll decide to stride out boldly in my ill-fitting clothes, because if people want to judge me, then that’s fine–I know that these clothes will fit better if I keep at the exercise, and I’ve exercised five out of the last 7 days, so I’m on the way to something here, and if passersby are smart, they’ll be able to see that I’m wearing ill-fitting exercise clothes while I exercise, which is the only way to make them fit better, and they will applaud me.

Except that getting into said exercise clothes turned out to be a minor crisis when I discovered that I have gotten so fat and non-flexible that putting on my socks required weird yoga and tying my shoes involved a certain amount of hopping.

No problem, I figured; the people on Biggest Loser come from this exact place and get all healthy and stuff, and if they can do it, I can do it. Heck, that one guy started at over 500 pounds. He had to lose an entire person just to get down to my starting point. I’ve got this.

Except that they have trainers and stuff, and I have only my shame and my determination to get me going.

No problem, I figured; shame and determination have worked plenty well for plenty of people, so off I go.

…So off I went, and made it to the store in a very reasonable 20 minutes, and got the veggies, and made it back home in a very reasonable 20 minutes, and came inside and let the dogs out and got out of my exercise clothes and got some water.

…And heard dog tags jingling in the front yard

And went to the backyard

And discovered that the gate was open

Because we never did fix the latch when it broke a coupla months ago and the bungee cord holding it closed had finally given up the ghost

…So I went to the front yard, chased down the smaller dog while the larger dog started planning his escape route

And he’s a “flight risk”–we adopted him from a shelter where he’d been brought as a stray

And he’s never quite got the lure of the open road out of his system

And he’s not very good about coming when he’s called

And I don’t have a vehicle to go chase him down

And I was all tired from my walk to and from the store

…So I took the smaller dog inside and stood right inside the screen door and gave him skritches and loud praise, because the bigger dog is deeply jealous and cannot bear the thought of anyone else getting lovins

And it worked

And the larger dog barreled in the door

And got skritches and praise

…So while today technically counts as a victory, because I exercised and walked to the store and back and the dogs did not run away forever, it still feels a lot like a crappy, crappy afternoon

And Thanksgiving is in eight days

And we haven’t gotten a turkey yet

And right now I’m not feeling very thankful.

No problem, I figure; there’s always tomorrow, when I can try this whole damned thing again.

Thank goodness.

I heart Anne Shirley.


Filed under General Musings and Meanderings, Play Nicely


I know, I know, pride goeth before a fall and Ego will keep you from true Enlightenment. I do, in fact, believe in humility and having a servant’s heart; I believe in knowing that you will never know all the answers and that there will always be someone who is doing the exact same thing you’re doing but with more success; I believe in accepting that we are all part of a big cosmic web, where no one part is inherently more or less important than any other part, so we should all play nicely and share the toys.

I also believe in celebrating your own victories, because a) you can’t always guarantee that someone else will celebrate ’em for you, and b) sometimes hearing about someone else’s triumphs will provide that little boost that one needs to get him/her out of a slump–kind of an “If she can do that, so can I!” sort of thing.

So today I’m totally braggin’.

Approximately two months ago–on January 12, according to the little tracker thingie–I joined Fitocracy. You may have heard me mention it before; basically, it’s a site that makes exercise kinda-sorta game-like: you exercise, then you come tell the site what you did and it awards you points, which combine to let you Level Up. You can get bonus points by completing quests–usually sets of pre-selected exercises–which help you level up faster as well as giving you nifty online badges to show off to your friends. And as we all know, I’ll do just about anything for the promise of points and leveling up and getting completely real-world-valueless prizes (stickers, anyone?), so Fitocracy has been a fantastic tool for me.

Now here’s where the bragging comes in.

Today I went scrolling back through my activity on Fitocracy, because it stores the workouts you’ve entered and I wanted to see if I could remember the name of that one exercise I did that one time (for the curious, it was “Bodyweight Close Squats”). And suddenly I had an urge to play Pin the Sticker on the Awesome Lady–so I went back and looked at my first workout. I wanted to see how far I’d come, y’know, because I knew I’d made progress, but wanted to see the numbers fo’ realz.

Frankly, it was a little more dramatic and impressive than I’d anticipated. Here’s what the record shows:

Workout 1, January 12, 2012:

  1. Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 8-lb weights, 3 sets of 8 reps
  2. Bodyweight Squats: 2 sets of 8 reps
  3. Seated Bent-Over 2-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: 8-lb weights, 2 sets of 8 reps
  4. Standing 1-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 8-lb weights, 3 sets of 8 reps

That workout earned me 53 points (remember that number–it’ll be important in a minute), and I remember feelin’ pretty cute at the end of it, because by gosh, I’d exercised for realsies. I’d gotten up and done something, and while I was fairly pooped by the end, I felt very accomplished, because I had in fact accomplished something.

And I am not here to mock that workout. It was real, and it counted, and I’m still proud of myself for doing it. It marked a day of very real change for me–the jogwalking had been fun while it lasted, but it didn’t have any real staying power; this whole “working out in my living room” thing, on the other hand, has been happening 4-5 times per week for the last two months, so we seem to be on to something here. January 12 was a big day for me, and I earned every one of those 53 points.

But the bragging part is coming up … now.

Here’s the workout I logged yesterday:

Yesterday’s Workout:

  1. Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 15 lbs, 5 sets of 10
  2. Dumbbell Shrugs: 15 lbs, 5 sets of 10
  3. Tricep Kickbacks: 15 lbs, 5 sets of 10
  4. Dumbbell Step-Ups: 15 lbs, 5 sets of 10
  5. Weighted Calf Raises: 30 lbs (2 15-lb dumbbells), 5 sets of 10
  6. Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlifts: 15 lbs, 4 sets of 10 (something in my hip went “spang”, so I ended up switching to some gentle stretches and calling it a day. Hence fewer sets of everything from here on out).
  7. Supermans: 30-second holds, 4 sets; total of 2 minutes
  8. Leg Lifts: 4 sets of 10 (I need to get some ankle weights)
  9. Weighted Crunches: 10-lb medicine ball, 4 sets of 10
  10. Side Crunches: 4 sets of 10
  11. Short Bridges: 4 sets of 10
  12. Stretching (for cooldown): 10 minutes

That workout earned me–wait for it–1,355 points. I got nearly as many points (49) in one set of weighted crunches–remember, that’s one set out of four–as I did in my entire first workout.

The moral of this story is twofold:

1. I rock the casbah, and am slowly but surely excavating an inner bad@$$ who’s significantly stronger, bendy-er, and more hardcore than I would’ve realized, and

2. If I can do this, You can really very a lot truly totally 100% absolutely do this. 

My scale and I are still having trouble relating to each other. I tell it that I did a 1355-point workout yesterday, and it tells me that I’ve lost a total of 8 pounds over the last two months, and have lost exactly zero since last week. I tell it to shove off, because lookit how much better my clothes are fitting and please observe that I can wear this jacket that I couldn’t zip two months ago, and it tells me to go away and stop pestering it.

So according to the scale, I am still at almost 350 pounds…but by god, those 350 pounds can do some pretty impressive things. No, I can’t outsprint a zombie yet, but I can pick up a cinder block and bash it into his head 50 times or so (and if that doesn’t do the trick, then I can serve as a great warning for the rest of the survivors). I don’t have the stamina yet to hike 5 miles to the nearest water source in the Zombiepocalypse, but I can haul the water, 30 pounds at a time, up into the fortress once you come back with it. And I don’t have six-pack abs (well, maybe I do, but you can’t see them under the insulation yet), but I can … y’know, actually, never mind. This is a family show, so we’re just not going to talk about things I can do on my back.


So you’re darned right I’m bragging about myself today. I’ve earned it; I’ve sweated and cussed and worn myself out again and again, and I’m coming to love the feel of achy, well-worked muscles and the endorphin rush that goes with ’em. I can do this, and you can do this, and as I’m learning fresh every day, we are all more bad@$$ than we think.


So go! Have your 53-point day today, and I’ll be ready and waiting to celebrate with you when you have your 1350-point day. You can do this. Trust me.


High-fives all 'round!


Filed under General Musings and Meanderings, Play Nicely

Fine, Fine, It’s Important. (Harrumph)

I found this the other day when I was nosing around Pinterest, and I re-pinned it to my own wall because I figured it was just the sort of thought that would help motivate me on days when I wasn’t really feelin’ the whole “work out, get healthy, try life in a different bodyshape” thing:

So, y’know, it’s pretty much perfect for days like today.

Here’s what’s been going on at the Buffalo Moon Ranch during the last 24 hours:

1. Yesterday, in a fit of Healthy Lifestyle Madness, Moon Man and I went to the little park a few blocks away to play “woccer” (which is soccer for people whose maximum speed is a vaguely hasty walk). We were having a grand and glorious time, getting our heart rates up and laughing like spastic hyenas, when I managed to find a clump of grass approximately 2 microns tall, and twisted the bejeezus outta my ankle. I can still walk on it, etc, but it’s painful–so things like jumping jacks are right out, as are any step-based exercises. The good news is that now I have an excuse not to do lunges for a little while. I hate lunges.

2. Last night before bed, I went to give the dogs their nightly 1/4 cup of overnight crunchies (they go into full-on hysterics if their dishes are completely empty at bedtime, but if you toss ’em a little something, they ignore it and go happily to bed. Crazy dogs); since the dog food dishes live on the floor, I had to bend over to do this and, you guessed it, my back made a fun little “spangggg!” sound and kinked up.

So as of bedtime last night, my back was tweaked and my ankle was twisted and my left wrist, which flares up sometimes just for the fun of it, was in full-on “NoDon’tTouchMeOwOwOw” mode.

Obviously, this does not inspire one to anticipate performing feats of athletic greatness the next day.

The good news is that I woke up this morning with my back mostly settled down (I’m still being mildly cautious, but all the telltale “you’ve hurt yourself” pains have been replaced with my usual daily “oh, so that’s what they mean about how being overweight does bad things to your back” pain), and my wrist has decided that maybe we’re not going to have a massive pain party after all so it may as well back off too. My ankle is still giving me grief, but that just needs some time (and rest, and anti-inflammatories, and periodic ice packs) to heal of its own accord.

But still! I have an owie on my ankle, hints of an owie in my back, and an owie-when-it-feels-like-it wrist! And all of those would make for some absolutely terrific excuses if I wanted to give myself the day off. I mean, you’re not supposed to risk further injury, right? And given that I rolled my ankle while trying to be all sporty, maybe that’s a sign from the cosmos that I should just sit out the next few rounds, right?


The problem is that I’ve learned about a lot of exercises lately, and they’ve all been conveniently broken down by body part. Sure, my ankle is out, but that doesn’t mean I can’t lie on my back and do leg lifts. If my back wants to get snippy about it, I can sit in a chair and do leg lifts. Heck, if my back and legs go into tantrums together, I can use my dumbbells to work my chest and arms. And if those don’t work, I can ruddy well sit here in this chair and squeeze my abs back toward my spine in a sort of Ultimate Lazy Woman’s Crunch.

Because as it turns out, it is important to me. So I will find a way, even when the excuses are so convenient that they pretty much write themselves. This is the shape of my new life: activity is something that I do at least 5 times per week, even if it’s not pretty, even if it’s not easy, even if I have to do a lot of pre-planning and pre-thinking and problem-solving.


I am an active person. And as it turns out, being an active person takes too much time for me to have any hours left for making excuses.


Filed under General Musings and Meanderings, Play Nicely

Laissez les Bon Temps Lift Weights

I have a love-hate relationship with our bathroom scale.

Ok, let’s be honest, it’s more of a “how much do I hate you today?” relationship, with periodic moments of love sprinkled in just to keep things interesting. But I seriously think sometimes that the dratted thing is sentient and just likes to toy with me; this weekend, for instance, I went to weigh in, and it said I’d lost 3 pounds. Hooray! I hopped back on to confirm it (I don’t entirely trust the thing, so I tend to double-check), and the readout went up by 2 pounds, for a new net loss of 1 pound. Boooo. Left the room and grumbled to Moon Man about it; he went and weighed and showed a loss, so I went back in and the readout told me that apparently I’d lost a half-pound during the time it took me to grouch to MM. So according to the scale, my hard work last week netted me somewhere between a 1- and 3-pound loss, unless you count the time I weighed in midweek, when I’d evidently gained 2 pounds.

So, y’know, pooh on the scale. It is either inaccurate, capricious, or an outright liar, and regardless of which of those is the truth, at the very least it means that all its “information” should be taken with a grain of salt (but not right before weighing in, because then it gets all confused by water weight).

The other suggested method of tracking results is via measurements–just grab a tape measure and go to town. But here’s the problem with that plan: the last time we tried it, we realized that things like thighs are not particularly conducive to consistent measuring. They are long, and certainly not stick-straight, so where exactly do you measure? And perhaps more importantly, how do you remember where you measured last time, so you can check the same place next week? We tried the “measure up X inches from the knee for your starting point, and measure circumference there” approach, but that just made the entire process long and boring; we tried the “aim roughly for the same spot” method, but we could never seem to hit the same spot twice, so we ended up doing a lot of re-measuring because occasionally we’d get a number that indicated we’d gained, like, six inches during the previous week. That’s no good. I was >this< close to drawing dotted lines on myself with Sharpies when we finally gave up on that plan altogether.

So this time around I’m telling all the tracking plans to go jump in a lake, at least for now.

Here’s why: I can see my feet. Not consistently, oho, absolutely not. I’m one of those folks who carries the bulk of my weight around the middle, in what would probably be called a “beer belly” on a man (I think the term for women is “apple-shaped”, which to me mostly sounds like I should be tempting all sorts of people out of Paradise), so I haven’t been able to look down and see my shoes in ages. But this weekend I was doing a naked vanity check in the mirror, and realized that not only am I starting to see some progress toward a more hourglass-related shape (a wide and very lumpy hourglass, to be sure, but an hourglass nonetheless), but I am suddenly able to suck in my gut, look down, and see my feet. Right there at the bottom of my legs, where I left ’em. As it turns out, the mirror counts as a measuring device too, as does the fit of, say, one’s pants; so I’m scrapping the others, because I can just look down and see the difference with my own two eyes, and that totally works for me.

And this is very exciting news, ‘Tracters. It means I’m making progress, regardless of what the scale may say about things. It means my efforts are paying off. It means I’m starting to see real results, and while I can’t speak for anyone else, I can say for myself that seeing results is the quickest way to motivate me to keep putting in effort. I have a hard time with the vague idle threats of the medical community, but I can absolutely get behind real, practical outcomes: come to me with something like “Excess weight makes you [random number]% more likely to die of [dire-sounding disease], but losing X pounds cuts that risk in half!” and I’ll stop listening before you finish your sentence, but tell me that “The weight you have lost enables you to see your shoes without a mirror, making you significantly less likely to leave the house looking like a crazy woman”, and we can do business.

So how does this fit into the title of today’s post?

Today, as you probably already know, is Mardi Gras, a day known for celebrations of excess and gluttony. Plus it’s just another Tuesday, which has been Splurge Day around here for ages (we ran into trouble when Splurge Day became an everyday occurrence, instead of once a week). So in theory, I should be spending the day eating everything I can think of, indulging every whim or craving, and generally pigging out.

But here’s the thing: I can see my feet. For the first time in a long time, I can verify, without use of mirrors or contortionism, that my feet do, in fact, exist.

So I doan wanna pig out. I doan wanna eat everything that comes within arm’s reach, and I doan wanna go to the store later specifically to buy as much junk food as I can fit into one cart. I’m sure I’ll have a little splurge later–I mean, c’mon, I’m not a saint here–but I doan wanna see if I can consume the caloric equivalent of the GNP of Spain in a single day.

Instead, I’m going to spend my Mardi Gras laissez-ing my new habits rouler. I made good choices for breakfast, and will make good choices for lunch, and will aim toward good choices for dinner. I will do my exercises, and get my Fitocracy points. Seeing my feet is bon temp enough for me, and I’d like to let that particular bon temp keep on rollin’ as long as it can.

So I think my Mardi Gras this year is going to involve splurging on some extra reps during my workout, and maybe standing in front of the mirror and playing the “suck it in, pooch it out” game a few more times.

…And then it will probably involve some ice cream. Let’s not lie to ourselves.

Let the Good Times Roll

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Filed under Play Nicely