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.

walk

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!

monday

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

thing bloggerin

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!).

8 years gym

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.

purple key fob.jpg

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!

183.6
scales
kicks1.jpg

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

autumn.jpg

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.

cold.jpg

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!

cold 2.jpg

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!

freeze.jpg

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?

charlie.jpeg

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

homer.jpg

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)!

bike.jpg

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)!

couch.jpg

Rare Saturday post: take a hike!

Hey, everyone, sorry I forgot about the “Friday Five” yesterday! Actually, I didn’t forget so much as … well … actually, I did forget, sorry! But to make up for it, here’s some photos from a hike I took this morning with a group of people from Anytime Fitness in Chatsworth, CA — enjoy!

Anytime Fitness 2.jpg

Out in the wilderness…hard to believe there’s a major urban sprawl just a couple of miles away!

Anytime Fitness 1.jpg

I’m a bit of a slow walker, so as usual I’m at the back of the pack. No worries — they didn’t get TOO far ahead!

Anytime Fitness 3.jpg

See, I’m catching up (pant pant!!)!

anytime fitness group photo with me! (2).jpg

Here we all are at the end of the trail. We’re smiling ’cause it’s OVER!! (Photo by Naomi Ruth Torres. )

This was all at a nice area called the Victory Trailhead Loop, part of the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve (depending on who you ask and which parking lot you’re in, I guess!). Apparently there are some caves on the property somewhere (the Caves of Munit), but since going there would have required more uphills than downhills, the majority vote was to save the caves for another time.
 

So all in all, it was a great morning for a hike, and a good time was had by all, even the dog.

dog hike.jpg

That’s all for now — see you Monday for yet another Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in!

Weekly Weigh-in: On Fluctuations and Freakouts!

(sigh) OK, let’s get right to it, shall we, ’cause this is one o’them “teachable moments” y’all’ve heard tell about. Ready? Let’s go!

Today’s Weight:  198.0
d'oh

And what was last week’s weight? Let’s see … oh yeah … 194.8. Which means since last week — a mere seven days — I’ve GAINED 3.2 pounds!

Oh no!! Could it be my diet is at fault??

die diet.jpg

Er, no. While I have to admit I was tempted to have a minor freakout at the number on the scale this morning, I realized that it wasn’t really as bad as it might seem. Here’s my rationale:

  1. I’ve been sticking close to my basic daily calorie allowance every day. Sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower, but on average, I’m okay.
  2. I’ve been going out on long walks, not every day but every other day. And since the weather’s warmer, I’m drinking more water than usual.
  3. Ipso facto ergo sum: the extra weight’s probably water, hun! (I know that doesn’t quite rhyme, but gimme a break, I haven’t had my coffee yet!)

This may well be just one of those dreaded “weight loss plateaus,” where you’re doing EVERYTHING right, but the scale doesn’t seem to agree. If you haven’t already, really, you NEED to bookmark this great blog, aworkoutroutine.com/blog, which talks you through all this stuff:

Problem is, most dieters (and I include myself, the last few times I’ve tried this!) get panicky when the scales don’t change, and after a while, they decide, “Aw, I give up! This diet isn’t working! Exercise is for suckers!”

sprinkles

And they head straight for the nearest KFC, order the Big Giant Fried Chicken O’Death (with Mac & Cheese AND Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, puhleese!), and go back to the way of life which led them TO the diet in the first place!

And guess what happens next? Yeah — you veteran dieters are nodding. We know this all too well, right? As Flora, a Weight Watchers leader, once put it (at one of the few meetings I actually sat all the way through), “All those pounds will come back, and this time they’ll bring their little friends!”

 

Hey, if it happened to Doctor Who, it can happen to anybody!

So, I REFUSE to freak out and make any radical changes to either my diet or my exercise plan. I *will*, however, make the following (re)commitments for the week ahead, and see if that makes any difference next Monday:

  1. Be more diligent about writing down my food calories. I’ve allowed myself to get a little lax in the past few weeks, sometimes just keeping a running total in my head. Writing everything down, even those 15-calorie Ricola cough drops, may seem overly nitpicky, but that way I can be closer to 100% sure I’m in compliance with my daily calorie allotment.
  2. Go to the gym at least twice this week. Yeah, yeah, yeah, walking outdoors is more fun, exercising outdoors is more fun … I’m the one who always says that stuff, right? Still, going to the gym is good because you’re less likely to be distracted by interesting stuff along the trail (SQUIRREL!) and lose your exercise mojo. Plus, it’s gonna be super hot this week (yay!) so I’ll get to enjoy that sweet, sweet air conditioning.
  3. Weigh every day, check the averages. Again, from aworkoutroutine.com:

…if you weigh yourself every day and then take the AVERAGE at the end of the week (and base your decisions on THAT weekly number)… then you’ll have the most accurate figure you could possibly get. Doing it this way actually serves to eliminate the potential of daily weight fluctuations throwing things off. (from How Often Should You Weigh Yourself & When Is the Best Time?)

So — MAJOR BLOG FORMAT CHANGE! ALERT THE MEDIA!! — starting today, I’m going to post my morning weigh-in EVERY DAY!!

Wow — bet you didn’t see that coming! Guess what — neither did I! But ya know, it seems plausible, so I’m gonna try it for at least this coming week. (If it gets to be too much of a hassle, I’ll pretend I never said it, like people used to do in pre-Twitter times.)

Man, sounds like the week ahead is gonna be hard … I better get that coffee going! OK (deep breath) … see you TOMORROW then!

annie.jpg

The “Saturday Some” — a new thing, kinda sorta

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you may have wondered what happened to my regular “Friday Five” post.

uh.jpg

Yeah … well, the long answer is, “It was sunny and bright, so I decided to go out for a long drive to a wonderful place I haven’t visited for quite a while,” and the short answer is, “I got lazy,” so feel free to take your pick.

Anyway, in lieu of the “Friday Five,” let me offer the very first “Saturday Some,” which is basically just a bunch of stuff I’m rambling about, off the top of my head. Plus memes! Lots and lots of memes!

memes.jpg

Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot more walking lately, and really enjoying it, too. Now that the weather’s getting nice and hot, though, I may have to go back to the gym and hop back on the treadmill. Which doesn’t particularly bother me. As I’ve said before, I do enjoy the video treadmills at Anytime Fitness (AF).

However, it does bother me in the sense that, given a choice, I’d MUCH rather do my walking outdoors. There are so many great places to walk in Southern California (yes, people actually DO walk in L.A.!) that I hate to give that up.

But once the temps start climbing up above, oh, 85 or so, it’s either the treadmill or the pool. And I do love me that 24 Hour Fitness pool, too, as you may recall!

image10

Still, it’ll probably be the AF treadmill more often than the pool, mainly because it’s much closer to home, and also right next door to a Ralphs. Which means I can do a couple of miles on the treadmill, then trundle over to the grocery store and do ANOTHER half-mile (I measured it!) in the store.

(And get cat treats, of course. That’s the main reason humans go to the store, according to certain purrsons.)

cat.jpg

Where was I? Oh, yeah, walking! And walking, although it probably doesn’t burn anywhere near as many calories as, say, kickboxing or weightlifting, if you do it every day … or every other day … or at least on a fairly regular basis, you’ll burn a few calories. Even if you can only walk around the block a couple of times, that’s some quality exercise there, my friend.

block.jpg

More importantly, you’ll relax and enjoy life a little bit more. There’s just something about seeing the world at two or three miles an hour that makes everything else seem oh, so right. Except maybe your knees, if you have arthritis. Which I do. And I have to admit, my knees do get a bit sore the day after a really long, satisfying walk.

knee.jpg

Still, it’s the price I pay for staying in such fabulous shape! And we’ll find out how that translates into actual weight loss on Monday. Hope you’ll join me then! Meanwhile, have a GRRRREAT rest of your weekend!

(unused WordPress Daily Prompt: all of them! read here if you’re interested in some kinda “inside baseball” stuff!)

 

 

 

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.

stagecoach

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!

careful.jpg

 

 

 

Unused WordPress Daily Post Prompt: Archaic

 

A different kind of Friday post

Well, it took me a little longer than usual to haul my a$$ out of bed this morning, so I’m temporarily abandoning the “Friday Five” format. Just for today, how’s about I tell you what my week has been like?

So far, so good. My weight is still hovering around the 200 mark, in spite of the fact that I’ve been indulging in all those yummy goodies that were forbidden during Lent. Some more so than others (Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese, I’m lookin’ at YOU!). But overall, I’m keeping the calories more or less under control!

However, I regret to report that I’ve been temporarily sidelined from my favorite exercise, walking, for a while, due to a sore bunion and a meddlesome bone spur. But never fear! Did you know that taking a hot bath can burn as many calories as a leisurely walk? (Especially if you use the right soap!)

obesity_soap

And it was on Fox News, so you know it HAS to be true!

So anyway — between the long, leisurely, calorie-burning baths, and an increase in the number of weekly visits to the gym (which I still hate, but can tolerate), I figure I can hold my own till the Amazon drone drops my my new, comfy shoes onto the roof sometime next week.

the_ladies27_home_journal_28194829_281478636047329

Meanwhile, I’m heading out today to enjoy the sunshine! Hope your weekend is a good ‘un. See you Monday for the weigh-in!

Friday Five: Take a hike, pal!

Let me set the scene for you:

1) it’s raining;
rain.jpg
2) my husband’s home from work with a terrible cold;
sick.jpg
3) the cats are extremely annoyed by all that water falling out of the sky;
catsrain
4) I’ve got a delicious pile of “Big Nate” books to enjoy;
big nate books.jpg
and
5) most important of all, my Friday Five blog post is overdue!!
blogging

So as you can see, I’ve got a lot of very, very good reasons NOT to go for a walk today!

However — as I just told my husband, who’s arisen from his bed of pain to cough up the *other* lung — I might go out later anyway, if only to the library, a paltry half a mile. Even though it’s raining, I kinda sorta wanna DO it!

That’s what makes walking, as your primary and regular exercise, so appealing, so addictive, and so below the radar as far as some of the more active fitness gurus are concerned. Sure, they’ll concede that walking is “nice,” you know, good for the elderly and the senile. However, as a way to lose weight, they’re the first to point out that walking only burns a few calories compared to their OWN exercise of choice: hoisting a ’57 Buick above their heads.

carson.jpg

But let me tell you something that people who walk regularly — if not every day, at least a few days a week — learn pretty quickly: walking is ADDICTIVE! in a way that other, more calorie-burning exercises are not.

And don’t get me wrong — if you enjoy running, weight-lifting, swimming, cycling, etc., then Mazel Tov, I say! Go for it! However, for me, I just find it way easier to put on my comfy shoes, grab a water bottle, and saunter down the block towards whatever adventure may await me, than to do any of those other things.

Walking just seems way more “user-friendly,” if that makes sense. And even though, yeah, on an hourly basis, it does burn fewer calories than those other, more strenuous exercises, I just don’t really want to DO any of those other exercises for more than an hour or two at a time, if that. Whereas I DO want to walk for a long, long time, and every day, if possible! So, ipso facto ergo sum, over time, I’ll burn more calories long-term just walking than I will with any of those other, “better” exercises.

Well, I’ve rambled on enough for this blog/hike … and my hubby and kitties are clamoring for my attention … so I’ll just stop here and give you my unsolicited advice: if you’re looking for the best exercise, take a hike. Yes, even if it’s raining!

catrain.jpg