Friday Five: Just a bunch of photos

Happy Friday, everyone! Yeah, I know, not so happy for a lot of people. Well, when I’m sad, something in my brain clicks over and I start doing (or at least, wanting to do) new and/or creative things. Or maybe just go for a walk.

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All of which I’ve been doing, over the past couple of weeks. And it’s starting to show up in my daily weigh-ins, so Monday should bring me closer to those ever-elusive ’70s, y’all!

Anyway, without further adieux (as our French-Canadian neighbors might say, if they were grammatically challenged, which they’re definitely NOT — je vous aime, le Canada!!), here are five pictures I took recently:

  1. 1 - Art Journal

    On the first of the month, I decided to start ‘art journaling’ again. I’ve done it before, most recently 2015-2016. I ran out of ideas, and steam. However, after we lost Princess, I decided to go back to it, and just keep it simple and cheerful — so far, so good!

  2. 2 - First ever bike tire

    I’ve also taken up — ta-da! — bicycle repair! Well, at least the basics. I’m practicing on a super-old bike that was rusting away in our back yard. Yesterday I decided it was time to learn to change the tires — and I did! Here’s my very first ever replaced bike tire!

  3. 4 - Finished Bike.jpg

    Habemus bike, with both tires properly installed, mounted & pumped up, and a decent-looking seat as well! Looks really good with all those rays of sun pouring over it, huh? Still needs a lot of work, but it’s definitely looking better than it’s looked for, oh, the past decade!

  4. 5 - Fire.jpg

    Speaking of sad things, this is the view of one of the Southern California wildfires currently disrupting people’s lives. This is the Woolsey Fire, and if you follow that link, there’s some suggestions of how to help those affected.

  5. 1 - Grumpy Pumpkins.jpg

    Saw these in front of a neighbor’s house on my walk this morning. Aren’t these the saddest pumpkins you’ve ever seen? Don’t you just wish you could pick them up, pat them on the head and say, “There, there, it’s gonna be OK”? No? Me neither. Ick.

That’s it, a visual treat for your Friday Five. Hope your weekend goes well, and see you Monday for the weigh-in!

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Friday Five: New Secret Weapon…Revealed!

OK, as promised, here ’tis – my secret weapon for combatting the creeping return of Teh Fat:

What? (listens to off-camera whispers) Um yeah, it’s a bike. That’s right. YES, that’s what I meant by “secret weapon”! What did you think I meant?

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Heh, well, no, as much as I enjoy “The Red Green Show” (hey, it’s my second-favorite Canadian show!), and although I do plan to mention a practical use for duct tape later in this very post, I actually meant THIS:

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My totally AWESOME new folding bike, hereinafter to be known in this blog as “Little Blue”! And as soon as I get “Little Blue” all tweaked & ready, it’s going to be a permanent addition to the trunk of my decrepit ol’ 2005 Toyota Corolla (aka “Decrepit Blue!”).

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That way, when I’m out driving, enjoying the scenery and ignoring the omnipresent “Check Engine” light on the dashboard (and btw, here’s where the duct tape comes in handy!)
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and I notice a park with a really tempting bike path,

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I don’t just drive by, thinking, “Nice, but I forgot to bring ‘Big Blue’ [the Electra Townie] on my hard-to-use bike rack, so I guess I’ll just have to keep driving, and maybe eat some Doritos to console myself!” NOPE! Now I’ve got a bike! So I can stop, take it out, unfold it, et voila! I’m ridin’ – and exercisin’!

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And in case you can’t tell from the photos, I’ve already taken this lovely little bike out on one of the bike paths in the Sepulveda Basin. I kinda had to, because when I unboxed it and looked at it, sitting next to “Big Blue” (my venerable and super-comfy Electra Townie Cruiser),

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I wasn’t sure it had been such a good idea after all. For one thing, Little Blue has a slightly higher “stepover” than Big Blue, which means, being both short AND clumsy, I knew that at some point I’d trip over it and get some nice blue bruises on my shin(s).

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But also, I knew that if I didn’t give it a fair chance – take it out for a real ride it in a safe place, and not just in the narrow confines of our back yard – I’d never ride it at all, and it would just sit back there, rusting away, taunting me. (It’s happened before!)

So I folded it up, lugged it out to the car, drove to the Basin, pulled it out of the trunk, and rode it — and it was WONDERFUL!! y’all! Really awesome! I was impressed by how sturdy and well-built it felt, the minute I hit the bike path. Initially, I planned to ride it for about 15 minutes – but I stayed out there for more than half an hour, just cruising along, enjoying the scenery, dodging the Canadian geese and the oblivious pedestrians.

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I don’t have a horn or a bell yet, and was tempted to do my Tim Conway, Jr. imitation,

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but I decided that might not be the greatest idea. The pedestrians might not have minded, but geese are notoriously violent when provoked.

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And in case you’re wondering – yes, I did, as predicted, trip and fall over the bike at one point. And of course, it happened at the moment I decided to stop under a shady tree, in full view of an L.A. Commuter Express bus that had, for some reason, decided to stop in the park. Since I learned a long time ago how to fall with a minimum amount of injury (hint: don’t lose *all* your butt fat – it’s there for a reason), I’m sure they appreciated the show.

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Nevertheless, like a true cowgirl, I got up, brushed myself off, and got right back on the horse – er, the bike! And I rode it back to my car, got off (WAY more carefully this time!), re-folded & packed it up, and went home, to a well-deserved afternoon of rest & “Victoria” binge-watching!

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All in all, I’m very pleased with my new Secret Weapon, and plan to incorporate it into my exercise regimen at least twice a week to start, though probably not on consecutive days, as it did kinda wear me out – but in a good way!

Oh, and for those of you thinking, “This is all well and good, but where’s the ‘Friday Five’ part?” let me see what I can do? How about this:

Part 1: Cute names for all my transportation options:

  1. Little Blue – the Euromini Zizzo Via folding bike.
  2. Big Blue – the Electra Townie cruiser bike.
  3. Decrepit Blue – my 2005 Toyota Corolla with the fading paint and the Check Engine Light.

Part 2: Two things I need to get for Little Blue:

  1. A bell or a horn.
  2. A basket and/or a rack.

There, feel better now? I sure hope so! Enjoy your weekend…oh, and if you’ve got a rusty bike in your backyard, why not take it out for a ride, and tell me about your experiences in the comments?

A few good reasons NOT to go to the gym today (even if you love your gym)!

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Uh, yeah, time to get to work, huh? OK (yawn, stretch) hang on! Sorry, I should be more awake than this — I did go to the gym yesterday, after all (hi, Kaily, Charles, and Nathan at Anytime Fitness Chatsworth, here’s your shout-out, as promised!).

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And I’m glad I went — it’s been a while, and I was beginning to worry I wasn’t getting enough use out of my pretty purple key fob.

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Actually, EVERYTHING there is purple … the signs on the doors:

purple door

… the workout equipment …

purple ball

… and of course, the weight lifters’ faces.

tired weightlifter

So it’s a good gym, and I have no complaints about it. However, I haven’t been using it much lately, nor any other gym, for one very good reason: THE WEATHER! Yes, as I mentioned last time, it’s finally FALL/AUTUMN (depending on your personal vocabulary preferences) with the cooler temperatures to go with it! Which means my PRIMARY reason for keeping my gym membership(s) active — the hot weather —

hot hobbit

is no longer viable! (Ooh, there’s another good vocabulary word for you! Who said this blog isn’t educational?)

So anyway, with temps going down, along with my weight (yay!), my energy levels are rising slightly, just enough to make me want to exercise, all right — but NOT indoors, or on a machine! That’s right — instead of walking on a treadmill, I walk OUTSIDE!

 

And instead of riding a stationary bike, I ride a REAL BIKE!

 

You can do all sorts of other “gym” exercises outside too, like carrying heavy stuff around:

Or just go for a long walk amongst the crunchy fall (autumn!) leaves!

crunchy

Whatever you decide to do, just remember: exercise is simply moving your body (preferably off the couch) in some way — whether it’s in a gym or outdoors, in the cheap showiness of nature, it’s all good! So find a way to move around today — indoors or outdoors — and enjoy this beautiful fall/autumn weather!

autumn

Monday Weigh-In: Finally, Fall!

And the first thing that’s falling is — my weight! Let’s start with that, shall we? ‘Cause I’m pretty happy about it! Remember last week when I was up to 186.2, post-potluck? Well, feast your orbs on THIS!

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Yes, the weight is falling — and that’s appropriate, ’cause it’s finally FALL, y’all!

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OK, yeah, I know, Fall actually started a couple of weeks ago (September 22, to be exact), but out here in sunny Southern Cal, the temps were still climbing up into the 90s (even close to 100) for several days after September 22, 2018.

fall cat.jpg

So it didn’t really feel “fall-like” (or “autumnal” for those of you still trying to expand your vocabulary — never too late to fulfill those New Year’s resolutions!) if you know what I mean — till this morning, when the thermometer finally broke the 60-degrees barrier.

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Yes, it’s a chilly 57° Fahrenheit out here in the Valley, and while those of you in West Yellowstone, Montana (current temp: 28° F) and the Vostok Station in Antarctica (current temp: -62° F) may sneer at the idea that 57° F is in any way “cold,” it’s definitely coldER than we’ve been used to for quite a while!

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And as I always say (well, as I always say NOW, because I’ve started exercising!), cold weather is great walking (and biking) weather! So no matter how cold it is where you are — even if it’s colder than 57° F, which is hard to imagine …

vostok

… why not go outside today and walk, run, bike or just generally move around a bit? You’ll warm up in no time!

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And oh yeah, a belated happy Fall, y’all! Get ready for the deluge!

bracepumpkin

Friday Five: A little late and a little short!

Hmm, I keep calling these posts the “Friday Five,” even though, from time to time, I can’t come up with five things. Wonder why?

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Yeah, but as Homer Simpson once said, “Hope springs internal,” so I’ll keep giving it the ol’ college try!

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Anyway, without actually getting into the numbers game, I did a lot of walking and BIKING this week! I’m particularly proud of the latter because I’ve been letting my poor ol’ cruiser languish in the garage for months, not even taking it out to wipe off the spiders.

But last week I decided it was time, so I’ve been puttering around the Valley (or at least my part of it) and getting slightly better at dodging traffic, not to mention running errands — groceries, post office, etc.

Gulch.jpg

So it’s been a productive week all around, and I’m looking forward to more bike/walk adventures in the near future (though preferably not at the same time)!

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That’s it — I guess the Friday Five will just be five memes, loosely connected by the fact that they’re on my page! Oh well, I’ll be back Monday with a weigh-in — a good one this time, I hope! Have a great weekend (and try to get outdoors, if you can)!

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Friday Five: Yes, you CAN get in shape without a gym — here’s 5 ideas to try!

While it’s true I’ve been going to the gym a lot more lately, it’s NOT because I think going to the gym is the only — or even the best — place to exercise. Au contraire, Pierre! As a matter of fact, during this past week, I haven’t set foot in a gym, and yet I managed to get some perfectly cromulent exercise under my belt!

See, out here in sunny Southern California, we have this annual weather phenomenon known as “June gloom.” According to the always reliable Wikipedia entry:

 june.jpg

June Gloom is a Southern California term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer.

It’s usually in June (duh!), but sometimes, like this year, it stretches its icky tentacles back into May. The City Council unanimously voted to rename it “May Grey” (though they continue to dispute the “Grey/Gray” spelling), and it seems to have become a more or less permanent fixture out here these past couple of years.

may grey june gloom.jpg

However, as depressing as all those icky clouds may be, there’s always a silver lining, and that silver lining is that May Grey (Gray) and June Gloom (Glüm) are GREAT for outdoor exercisers! I’ve actually enjoyed bypassing the gym this past week, and ambled all around the achingly beautiful San Fernando Valley.

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Old Stagecoach Trail, Santa Susana Pass

And there’s lots of other stuff you could do outdoors, too, thus seguing neatly into my Friday Five list:

  1. Walking. (See above!) In case you didn’t already know, walking outdoors is my all-time fave exercise. Mainly because it’s so interesting — you can walk around the same area multiple times and see something different every time. Whereas on the treadmill, I’m pretty much seeing the same thing: a TV screen and a brick wall. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, given a choice, I’d prefer this — wouldn’t you?
    path.jpg
  2. Biking. Pull that rusty ol’ Schwinn out of the garage, wipe off the dust and spiderwebs, pump some air into the tires, and roll! More and more cities have dedicated bike paths, so if it’s been a while, you should be able to find someplace to practice without worrying about evil bike-hating drivers.

    bikehating

    Don’t Shoot the (Bike) Messenger,” by Eben Weiss, Outside Magazine, 05/02/2018 

  3. Exercise with a friend, or perhaps just a casual acquaintance. I go to the Sepulveda Basin sometimes to do my walks. It’s a great place — basically a big giant neighborhood park on steroids. But even in the smaller neighborhood parks, there’s groups of people who work out together. Some groups do yoga or Tai Chi, others do more strenuous stuff.
    exercise.jpg
    The basic idea, I guess, is that if you’re embarrassed to move your body around in public, you’ll be slightly less embarrassed if a few other people are standing next to you doing the same thing. (Hmm, wonder if that’s how churches got started!)
  4. Get your game on. I’m definitely NOT a sports aficionado, but I understand there are people who enjoy throwing or hitting balls, aiming for things like nets or bases or goals or some such nonsense. Maybe you can find some other like-minded people who want to throw or hit things, gather them onto an appropriate field of some sort, and throw/hit some balls together. It may not be MY thing, but it’s definitely exercise, so go for it!
    jd scrubs.jpg
  5. Swimming. I left this for last, because honestly, who wants to jump into an icky, ice-cold lake or, God forbid, ocean when it’s cloudy and gloomy? Still, there are a lot of nutty people out there who prefer the cheap showiness of nature to that beautiful, clean (or at least clean -LOOKING!) pool at the gym. So, if there’s some form of water near you that’s big enough to swim in, go for it! That’s definitely some good cardio there, if you don’t get eaten by sharks, which, as I understand from my TV viewing, happens quite a bit.
    sharks

So definitely, enjoy the outdoors before the temps zoom up into the stratosphere and we have to go back to the air-conditioned treadmills. Just watch out for the sharks!

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Unused WordPress Daily Post Prompt: Archaic

 

Friday Five: Five Reasons to Quit Your Gym Membership (well … maybe!)

Happy Friday, everyone! As promised, here’s my unvarnished list of five reasons why I keep wondering if I should just quit my gym membership.

  1. Expense. Granted, I belong to one of the cheapie big-box gyms (24 Hour Fitness), so my monthly payment isn’t that much – only around $35 a month. Still, I’m on kind of a fixed income these days, what with my job being “outsourced” a few years ago. My primary source of extra spending money right now is freelance transcription, which doesn’t pay that much, but at least it keeps me home, where I’m less likely to overspend. Still, every penny counts!
  2. Clothes. Confession: I wear a skirt almost all the time, except when I’m on a bike or in the pool. The skirts I tend to favor are long, comfy, soft, and most importantly, have nice, roomy POCKETS. I guess you’d call them “cargo skirts,” although they weren’t called that when I originally started buying them or their equivalents, back in the previous century. This all goes back to when I was working full-time in downtown L.A., and had to putter around the office, carrying card keys and actual keys and change for the snack machine, which I visited a LOT, which is partly why I’m dieting today. Now I pretty much live in my comfy skirts, and having to change out of them into quote-unquote “workout clothes” is just a big fat pain in the butt.
  3. Parking. Every! single! location! of my fitness club has a big, crowded parking lot which you have to deal with before you can even get NEAR the actual exercise equipment. Now that I’ve lost a bit of weight and am a bit more mobile, I’m following the classic “passive exercise” advice about parking farther away and walking the extra distance. But ya know, sometimes I just find myself thinking, “Why not just park in the WAY less crowded parking lot at that beautiful, tree-lined PARK a couple of miles down the road, the one with the attractive dirt trails, and just WALK – in my nice, comfy skirt?” And more and more often, I find myself doing just that.

    So*, more and more, I find myself not wanting to even get into the car to make the drive to the gym. The closest location to me is at least a 20-minute drive, and has the absolute WORST parking of all their locations. It’s tempting to just stay home, which brings me to:
  4. Agoraphobia. It’s mild, but I do have kind of an aversion to large crowds. And gyms tend to have lots of people in them. Not so much right now, but give it a few weeks – all those New Year’s resolutions tend to fill up those prime treadmill spots for at least a couple of months.
  5. Non-Gym Exercise. As previously mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot more walking, at least every other day, for my regular exercise. In addition, last week I dragged my abandoned, but still quite functional, Electra Townie Cruiser bike out of the garage, where it’s been waiting patiently for the past few years, gathering cobwebs and desiccated spider corpses; took it up to our local bike shop; and had it all fixed up, spandy new and purty as a picture! After my husband helped me adjust the leopard print saddle – very picturesque and exquisitely uncomfortable – I’ve had three short but increasingly delightful rides around our neighborhood, and am really looking forward to the next one. Plus, I’ve got a whole bunch of free weights (well, they weren’t really free, but they were cheap, nyuk nyuk!) scattered around the back yard, to take care of those underarm wings we fat middle-aged ladies seem to sprout.

So – there you go. My five best arguments for quitting my gym membership.

Still, there are some good reasons for keeping it active, and next Friday, I’ll give you those.

Meanwhile, what do YOU think? Do you belong to a gym? Do you use it, or just keep it in reserve in case you can’t think of anything else to do, or there’s nothing new on Netflix? Let me know!

(*by the way, if you’re also a freelance transcriber, you’re probably shouting at me, “Hey! Never start a sentence with ‘and,’ ‘but,’ or ‘so’! That’s … that’s just so wrong!!” And you’re right. But I did it anyway. So there.)
 

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, and Dig (Out) That Bike!

Well, good morning, all! Happy Monday to you and yours. Ready? Let’s not waste one more second!

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A little better than before
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Only 0.4 pounds lost this week, but hey, I’ll take what I can get! Especially considering that I overindulged a little this weekend (what, again?), this time treating myself to some Taco Bell, as a reward for visiting my gym for the first time in over a month. And it’s so conveniently located, right next door. How could I resist?

tacos

Which is maybe another good argument in favor of quitting my gym membership and just exercising on my own. But then again, I’ve quit twice in the past several years, only to rejoin a few months later, with my tail between my legs, whimpering, since it usually winds up costing a little bit more each time, not to mention having to redo the fingerprint scan thingie with a different digit than before. 24 Hour Fitness has both my thumbs AND my forefingers in their system already, and who’s to say they aren’t reporting my suspicious activities back to the gov’mint? It’s theoretically possible. So maybe I’d better leave well enough alone, while I’ve got three unidentifiable fingerprints left.

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Hmm, sounds like it’d be a good Friday Five kinda thing, though, don’t you think? Five reasons to quit the gym, and then five reasons not to? I’ll let it percolate in the hopper and see what comes up. (I’m sure you’ll be waiting on tenterhooks for the results.)

I may also do some stuff about my trusty, rusty ol’ Electra Townie, a bike that’s been sitting in our garage for at least five years, acquiring a nice patina of dust, cobwebs and desiccated spider corpses (eww). Last week, I dragged Ol’ Blue out of what seemed to be its final resting place, wiped off the spider corpses, and hauled it up to the local bike shop. Three hundred smackeroos later, it’s back, clean as a whistle and waiting in the driveway (behind a fence, don’t worry), waiting for me to toodle around the neighborhood looking geeky.

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I love it, although I may replace the cool-looking leopard print saddle with something less cool-looking and more comfy. (This one might be helpful, if I find myself jonesing for Taco Bell again:)

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Have a great week, everyone!