Too nice to be indoors

(017:  Peony.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I posted a version of this photo on my other blog.  I played around with it a bit in Photoshop later and this is what I came up with.  I’m not sure which one I prefer.

That’s it for now.  It’s much too nice outside for me to be inside.  I’m going out to the garden for another round of weeding.  I did finish thinning out the bok choy yesterday.  Once I got started it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  I was ruthless.

Thinning and weeding

(016:  Thunderstorm brewing.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

We had another line of gusty and wild thunderstorms move through yesterday evening.  It must have been ahead of a cold front as things cooled off considerably once the storm had passed.

The power was out when we woke up this morning.  I have no idea why.  It was on when we went to bed and still on at 6:30am when I first woke up (and promptly went back to sleep).  I’m not sure what time it went out.  Sometime between 6:30am and 8:00am.  I may have mentioned this before so pardon the repeat:  It’s not the lack of electricity that gets me so much as the lack of water.  The morning ritual takes on additional work when you have to haul water into the bathroom.  Fortunately Ohio Edison got things turned back on before it became necessary to really do some hauling.

Mother Nature has gifted us with another gorgeous day.  I have clothes out on the line to dry which shouldn’t take long with all that sunshine and a fresh, brisk breeze blowing.  As soon as I have some more of this laundry sorted out I’m going to spend some time in the garden which I’m sure is in need of care.  The bok choy needs to be thinned out, a chore I’m not too fond of.  I’m a bad gardener in that I hate to kill anything I planted.  And, as you may recall, I had a hard time pulling weeds last year if they were pretty.  The vegetables didn’t seem to suffer from my methods.   However, it’s probably not the best way to go in the long run.  Eventually the weeds would have the entire garden and I’d have to move elsewhere to plant vegetables where the process would start all over again.

So, I’ll be ruthless and thin out the bok choy.  I’ll pull the weeds, pretty or not.  And I’ll plant some swiss chard.  I bought the seeds a few weeks ago and forgot all about them.

While I’m thinking about it, have you seen the latest hardiness zone changes?  Pretty interesting.  We’ve gone from a zone 5 to a zone 6.  Before long, we could be in a tropical growing zone.

Wisteria perfuming the air

(015:  Kitchen art:  Wisteria.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

M brought in some wisteria yesterday.  The scent is wafting through the house with the lovely breeze coming in the open windows.  The air is fresh and clean underneath the perfume of the wisteria.

The weather has changed.  From yesterday’s much-needed rain showers:

To this:

Doesn’t it make you wish you were here?



(014:  Storm approaching.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

We finally got some much needed rain last night.  There’s more coming.  The trees, the garden, and the rest of the flora will all be happy.  Things are already starting to look a little greener.  The pond was at late-summer levels (low).  More rain ought to bring it close to where it should be.

I’ve been cleaning out closets, dresser drawers, and assorted shelves and cubby holes.  This mostly involves sorting out my excess of clothing.  I’d venture to guess that a good deal of the clothing I own is clothing I won’t now or ever wear.  Much of it includes fat clothes.  It’s almost horrifying when I hold them up to myself and wonder, “Was I really THAT big??”  The answer is:  Depends on the article of clothing.  For years I’ve been trying to hide myself inside of oversized clothing.  As it turns out, that made me look fatter.  I had to start wearing clothing that fit before I could figure it out.

It’s a relief to get rid of some of this stuff.  The fat clothes especially were like having extra weight to carry.  I knew they were there, waiting for me.  Getting rid of the fat clothes is more than just a release of the clothes.  It’s a statement, one I think anyone who has had weight issues can relate to.  I’m getting rid of the safety net, too.  No more going backwards.  Onwards and upwards, as they say.

Another part of that relief is that my closets, drawers, etc., will no longer be overstuffed with things I don’t need.  I suppose there’s a deeper component to that statement too.

So, onwards and upwards.  And back to the decluttering, cleaning, and organizing.  On all levels.

One more thing —

9 minutes on the step aerobics this morning.  No repeats.  That’s 3 minutes of improvement in just one day.  😀


(013:  Kitchen art — In the dish drain.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)


That’s how I sound right now.  Well, worse than that in that really gross stuff is being coughed up and out so there’s a nasty liquid quality to it all.  Add in the snorts and sniffs dealing with the sinus congestion and it’s not attractive at all.  That said, I slept well again last night and the congestion is loose and moving, an improvement over what seemed like a situation calling for dynamite to clear it out.

Yesterday M and I went out to the Blessed Mound of Consumerism (the mall area) where M was measured for a tux for the wedding and where I went to the secondhand sports store and purchased one 20-lb. dumbbell.  Yes, one.  I figure at almost $1.00 per pound, one will be enough for a month or so.  I’m not likely to be lifting two of those suckers anytime soon anyhow.  I can barely manage a few bicep curls with it, proof that I’m right about this.  I can buy its mate when I’m ready to be hefting two at the same time.

I also purchased a step.  I had to go to The Big Department Sports Store for that.  They had a grand total of three steps in the store, one of which was part of some complete workout system As Seen On TV and the cost was more than I was willing to shell out.  Fortunately, they also had two packages with just the step and an intro to step aerobics DVD (also As Seen On TV).  It wasn’t until I was standing in line that my memory kicked in and I realized the step is part of Cathe Friedrich’s workout program, the same Cathe Friedrich responsible for a workout DVD I recently ordered after reading a review written by a friend who recently gave it a try (“Cathe Friedrich’s Hardcore Series:  Muscle Max DVD & FREE Resistance Band).

Funny, ha.  I guess I didn’t watch enough infomercials during my middle-of-the-night television viewing over the past two weeks.  (Actually, I watched the Outer Limits and World News Now when I wasn’t reading.  For those not in the know, I was up for a few hours every night during the worst of this cold, unable to sleep due to the cough, sore throat, and stuffiness.)  Until my friend mentioned the Muscle Max DVD, I’d never heard of Cathe Friedrich, much less seen her on TV.

I watched the intro DVD last night so I’d be ready to give it a try today.  While watching it I had a feeling, deep down where it counts, that I was going to be an uncoordinated mess when it comes to step aerobics.  It’s good to know that my gut instincts are still spot on.

This morning I flailed around for a grand total of 12 minutes.  The sweat was pouring off me and I didn’t use the risers for the step.  My feet were cramping and my legs were yelling at me.  12 minutes!!!  I knew, deep down where it counts, that I was cheating myself when it comes to cardio.  It should be noted as well that those 12 minutes were actually the first six minutes twice.  Yes, I had to repeat the first six minutes.  I couldn’t get the steps coordinated the first time around.  When I got to the point where I was standing there staring at the television suddenly unable to control or figure out which direction my limbs were supposed to be moving in, I stopped the DVD, hit rewind, and started over.   In fact,  and I’m not sure this is even possible, but I think my limbs were trying to walk and/or flail themselves away in four opposite directions just to get away from what the nut in charge of the body was subjecting them to.

I’ll probably be doing that same 6-minute loop for a few days before I can move on to the next couple of minutes.  The workout, so sayeth Cathe, is designed to be done three times per week.  I think it will be a few weeks before I can make it through the entire 30 minutes so it won’t hurt for me to practice every day until I get the hang of moving my arms and legs while I step up and down, maintain my balance, avoid injury, try not to trip over my own feet or kill — be killed by tripping over? — whichever cat has decided to camp next to the step and watch me make a fool of myself.  I’ve long suspected that I’m a great source of entertainment for the kitties.  Now I’m sure of it.

Shoes may be a factor here, too.  Cross-training or step aerobics shoes are recommended because, the instructor says, running shoes don’t have the correct kind of support.  She may be right.  Although I can attribute some of the foot cramping to the way I position my feet when I’m learning new steps (I curl them up into claws, as if that will keep me from falling down), the shape of my running shoes may also be a factor since they’re designed for a different foot movement.  I’m going to search my closet.  I may well have a pair of almost unworn cross-training shoes from when I tried aerobics in the past and gave up due to my lack of coordination.  I don’t want to have to buy new shoes right now since I just paid a ridiculous amount of money for new off-trail running shoes.  Plus that step wasn’t cheap-cheap ($50 for the step and two sets of risers, plus the “free” DVD).


The step workout, short as it was, warmed me up for the treadmill where I did a 2.22 mile walk/run in 40 minutes (5 minutes warm-up and 5 minutes cool-down).  The step itself can be justified in that it will multitask, becoming a weight bench (that I can even put on an incline) when I do weight training.

In other news…

Today’s photo is courtesy of the way the light was hitting the clean dishes in the dish drain.  I tried several different settings, including messing around in manual mode.  I need to start taking notes when I do that because I forget which is which and the next time I try something similar I have to go through the entire learning process all over again.

Busy day

(012:  Under the willow tree.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Lots to do today so I’d better get to it.  Just wanted to get my photo for the day posted.


In bloom

(011:  In bloom.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

The rhododenrons are blooming.  Aren’t they pretty?  I particularly like the colors.  We bought the plants last year so this is the first year we’ve seen them with flowers.

We’re having another gorgeous day here in the Bogs.  It has cooled down a little.  The winds shifted from southerly winds to northerly winds yesterday evening, causing the temperature to drop about ten degrees in a short time.   We are badly in need of rain.  If you know a rain dance, please do one for us.  My garden will thank you.