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?

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.

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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: Themes Like A Mighty Long Time

Sorry if you missed the Friday Five last week, folks. I was sitting in a hotel suite — and before you get jealous, it was the La Quinta in Phoenix, which means it was basically two standard hotel rooms with the wall knocked out between them, and the same really uncomfortable furniture and crappy cable TV, with only 38 channels available and only 37 working at any given time, never the only one you really want to watch (TVLand).

Anyway, this week’s Friday Five doesn’t have any overriding theme.
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But since it all happened to ME, maybe that’s enough, since, as we all know, the universe revolves around me. Anyway, here goes!

  1. Yesterday I went to this grocery store in West Hills, Fields Market. I like it ’cause I hate shopping at crowded, big box grocery stores, and this one, although it’s a normal-sized store, is hardly ever crowded.
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    However, yesterday the usually empty parking lot was filled with that sight that makes everyone in California except the most wide-eyed tourists wince: a parking lot full of “Star Waggons” and other film crew vehicles.
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    Apparently, they were filming a movie in my lovely, non-Ralphs grocery store today. Groan!! Well, the sign out front assured me “All business open during filming!” so I decided to chance it, parked at the outer fringes of Crew City, and walked over, careful not to trip over the big giant electrical cables.

    Inside, the store was COMPLETELY dark. A crew member (maybe the producer, or one of them) came over and whispered that they were just about to start rehearsing. I whispered back that I just wanted to get some cat food and pasta, and should I just come back tomorrow? No, no, she assured me, hang on, let me get someone to help you. She goes off in search of a store employee, while I hang around in the dark, trying to figure out just what they’re filming — a commercial? a TV show? a movie? a porno? You just never know around here.

    Finally she comes back with “Suzie,” a checker I recognize, and she tries to be helpful, asking me what I want (in whispers), and tiptoeing into the aisles, helpfully bringing back everything except what I actually asked for. Example: “I want to get one of those little pouches of cat treats.”
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    “OK!” (five minutes of tiptoeing and rustling later) “Is it one of these?” (pant pant) and she’s carrying three giant bags of dry cat food.
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    “Um no, the little ones — but you know, since you went to all that trouble, leave one of those and I’ll buy it too.” “Are you sure?” (pant pant) “Yeah, we’ll use ’em sometime.” “OK, and what else?” “Um …”

    and basically we went through that conversation for about 20 minutes, till I got tired of seeing her haul back all the wrong stuff, and said I’d just buy what she’d brought up and come back some other time for the rest. As she rung up my bill (ssh! They’re rehearsing!) I asked what they were filming, and she said (whispered!), “It’s a movie with Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich, but I don’t know what it’s about.” After leaving with my purchases, I checked IMDB, and sure enough, Sandra and John are currently working together on “Bird Box,” by Josh Malerman.
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    It’s described as a “dystopian thriller” based on a novel I haven’t read, but which, according to Goodreads, features a woman’s “twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears.” Now I have to ask you, does that sound like a grocery store? Maybe Hollyweird’s just up to its old tricks. (Or maybe I should just read the book.)

    Anyway, if you’re a celebrity freak, you might enjoy knowing that you’re reading the blog of a woman who was just on the other side of a darkened grocery store from Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. You’re welcome.

  2. Oh come on, I have to come up with four more? You people are insatiable! I haven’t even had my breakfast yet! (sigh) Oh, all right.

    Well, I dragged my old bike out of the garage the other day, wiped off the cobwebs and the dead spiders clinging to them, and carted it up to the local bike shop. It’s supposed to be ready today, so my plan is to WALK up there and RIDE back. This is a big deal for me because I haven’t actually ridden my bike for at least five years, primarily due to all the weight I gained after losing my job back in 2012. Now that the weight’s coming off, I decided it’s time to get back in the saddle! I’ll keep you posted on how that all works out.
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  3. I’m also proud to report that I am walking for at least 30 minutes, almost every day! And on the days when I don’t walk, I feel funny. Kind of disconnected, like there’s something I forgot. Something important. Then I remember. “Oh yeah — walking!” And I go outside, and I walk, and I feel better. Sometimes I even just go out in the back yard and walk in place for a little while. I highly recommend doing that if you’re in the middle of a highly important binge-watching session.
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    (And don’t forget: popcorn has fiber!)
  4. Finally, we can start watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music without some self-important know-it-all snottily whining about how “it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and you’re listening to Christmas stuff?”

    And since that self-important know-it-all is usually ME, that means I can stop talking to myself now. Bonus!

  5. Oh yay, finally, it’s the last one! Let’s see. What should we throw in now?
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    Well, since she and my husband are the only relatives I know of who actually read my blog, how’s about I take advantage of my position as a powerful member of the media to wish a VERY happy (if belated) birthday to my wonderful cousin, Kathy H., a totally cool person who urged me to keep trying, and never give up, till I did it — I FINALLY managed to actually READ “Lord of the Rings” all the way through! Thanks, cuz!!
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Whew — that’s it! Anyway, that’s definitely all I could think of. And I did all that without caffeine! Well, ahem … OK, I’ve had caffeine, but just a little. Now for the deluge!
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And, as my cousin Kathy likes to say, “Have a sparkling day, everyone!”