Sunday signage, wind, and flurries

As seen on a hike at Quail Hollow

As seen on a hike at Quail Hollow

Maybe it’s just me, but… doesn’t this make you wonder what kind of youth they were hunting?

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10,000 steps

My Mountain Trail. Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Back in the 1960s, a team of researchers in Japan, led by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, figured out that the average person walks about 3,500 to 5,000 steps a day.  It was then recommended that if people were to walk 10,000 steps a day, you would have thinner, healthier people.  The 10,000 steps program might also be related to Dr. Hatano’s marketing of a pedometer called the manpo-kei (meaning 10,000 steps meter).

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343: Five A Day


I woke up this morning feeling bleh.  It has not been a good week health-wise.  I had some tummy troubles for about 24 hours earlier in the week, and now I seem to be catching the cold that is going around these parts.


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224: Round

Before leaving on my latest trip, I was cleaning off some of my exercise equipment and realized the items pictured above would fit this week’s WP photo challenge very well.  The challenge is round, and the balls are a good representation of round.

A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away.  He must have time to modify his shape.

~ Mark Twain

Morning Dew

(Morning Dew.)

I used to love night best but the older I get the more treasures and hope and joy I find in mornings.

~ Terri Guillemets

This was originally set up as a scheduled post but we have a few minutes this morning before we have to catch the train home so I figured I’d go ahead and post.

The photo is another from September 29th.

Yesterday we went out to visit Mom, so to speak.  She’s not really there, of course.  It’s just her grave and the place where her body now resides.  Dad wanted me to see the permanent  grave marker which, as you may recall, was not in place when I was there in April.

(Mom’s grave and the flowers we brought.)

It was a beautiful day to be outside.  M and I took a couple of half hour walks throughout the day just to enjoy it.  I almost complained about the heat of the sun at one point but stopped myself just in time with the reminder that we are not likely to experience many more days like this once we go back to the Bogs.  Clouds rule the late autumn and winter months.

On our way back from the cemetery we stopped off at the church where I was baptized in 1959.  I don’t know how many times I have passed that church and never knew I was baptized there.  Dad happened to mention it on our way to the cemetery.  He also showed us where Mom lived when he was dating her and the first place they lived when they got married.  He told a few stories about me.  Apparently I did not like grass when I was a toddler.  I refused to walk on it.  Funny.  Now I love to walk in the grass.  Barefoot, if possible.  Maybe I was worried about hurting it.

I took photos of the outside of the church and might post one when we return home.  As we were walking around the outside a man who was working in the church invited us to come in.  He introduced us to the priest there and Dad explained why we had stopped.  The priest showed us around.  The worker who let us in had just built a new altar for the church, hand carving all the woodwork.  It was beautiful work.  Amazing, really.  The church itself is 130 years old and suffered from some structural problems (buckling) that they managed to repair quite nicely.

I’m glad we stopped.  I’ve always wanted to see the inside.  The stain glass windows are dazzling.  It’s not a very big church but it is packed with simple, beautiful statues and icons.  They are getting ready to restore the Stations of the Cross which have been peeling and chipping over the years.

The afternoon was spent watching the Gamecocks beat the Crimson Tide (football — on television).  Now that was a BIG surprise.  Being USC fans (for good reason — M graduated from there and I was a student there for a year), it was a well-received surprise.

My sister and her husband did this yesterday.  I see they are having an event in Ohio next year.  It kind of looks like fun, and my sister and her hubby had a blast getting muddy and climbing around.  Might be worth considering if I really feel the need for a challenge (and a viking helmet).

Today’s outdoor adventure took me back to the park near the hotel where we stayed.  The morning was sunny, clear, and a little chilly.  M and I jogged a bit and then played on the exercise course.  Someday, if I practice, I might be able to do one chin-up.  Today I actually jumped high enough to hang from the chin-up bar.  That’s a vast improvement over the other day when I couldn’t reach it.  (Go ahead and laugh.  I did.)

I’d better wrap this up and pack up the computer.  It’s almost time to head to Philly, return the rental car, and hop on the train.  I wonder if the trees in the mountains have gotten a little more color in the past few days?


(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.

I’m not very good with titles

(Yesterday’s sunset from the 5th floor. February 2007. Photo by Robin)

It’s true. I’m not good with titles for these things. I sometimes think I’d be better off just numbering my posts to the blog. It would save me the time and trouble of thinking up something brief to describe whatever I’m rambling on about.

We’ve been having some gorgeous sunsets here in Sabbaticalville. The view from the apartment is marvelous. From the fifth floor we can watch the sun slipping behind the trees on the far off horizon. The sunsets have been coming in all different colors, an impressive array of blues, purples, golds, oranges, reds, and pinks adorning the sky.

There’s not much new to write about these days. M and I have pretty much settled into the routine of sabbatical life. While he gets ready for work, I start my day in the gym, hoping to go home in better shape than when we arrived here. I did an easy 3.26 miles on the treadmill this morning. Yesterday I decided to try one of the programs on the treadmill. The “5k run” would’ve been too much. The “9 holes of golf” would’ve been too easy. So, like Goldilocks in the house of the three bears, I decided on the one that seemed just right: Weight Loss. I tapped the button and the treadmill responded by asking for my weight and the amount of time I wanted to work out, as well as what level. I had no idea what level I should pick so I went for level 2. Somewhere hidden in that treadmill is one badazz personal trainer. I’m convinced of it. The Weight Loss program, a series of intervals using both speed and incline (in other words, going up and down hills, usually at a good clip), kicked my butt. The sweat was POURING off of me. I can’t remember the last time I had such a good workout. Probably never. I don’t usually push myself that hard.

The challenge was good for me. I did have to slow it down a little in the very beginning because there was very little warm up time. My body needs about 5-8 minutes of warm up time. The Weight Loss program only provided 2 minutes worth. Once I was warmed up, I kept up with the program, even somewhere in the middle when I wasn’t sure I would make it. It helped that someone else showed up to use the gym. Spurred me on, it did. Not that the guy was even paying the remotest amount of attention to me. Still, it’s easier to push myself with someone else there.

M tried the same program yesterday evening and didn’t find it nearly as challenging because the top speed he was given based on his weight and time was 3.0mph. That program had me going at 3.5mph. This disparity, even though we’d both picked the same level, is what has me convinced there’s a badazz personal trainer (BPT) hidden in there. The BPT must have taken one look at my weight when I entered it and decided to whip me into shape.

While M is at work I spend my days doing a variety of things. I take walks around town when the weather is nice enough for a walk. “Nice enough” to me is pretty broad. As long as it’s not raining or cold enough to cause immediate frostbite, it’s usually nice enough. Even then, I’ve gone out and taken some short walks either in the rain or blustery cold.

I’ve been reading a lot. It’s nice to have the time to read again. I used to be a voracious reader, gluttonously devouring two or three books a week. My reading speed has slowed a bit. One book a week is about my upper limit these days. Perhaps it’s the bifocals, but my eyes get tired and I can’t read for as long as I used to.

I’ve been drawing, collaging, and painting. I’m currently working on something that I thought would be simple. It seemed simple when I thought of it. But the actual doing has turned out to be more work than I anticipated. I’ll post a photo when I’m finished. In the meantime, I’m keeping it to myself.

I continue to have Mormon sightings. M and I went out for a walk on Monday and there were the Sisters, wearing long, black capes, walking towards us. At least it didn’t turn out to be another laundry discussion.  (Is it just me or this beginning to sound a little like Seinfeld and Newman?)

M and I are going away on another weekend trip. This time we’re going to the Washington, DC area to visit with friends. It should be fun.