Saturday, September 27, 2014

Something Peaceful

My week was a whirlwind of work, shopping for new health insurance and, cramps, so when I woke up this morning I just wanted to do something peaceful. That's how I wound up hiking around my new favorite lake.

I was pleased to see the first colors of fall appearing among the leaves and there was a telltale nip in the air. I have always loved autumn, so I couldn't be happier.

I wound my way around the lake for an hour or so before I got adventurous and decided to try out one of the uphill trails that meandered through the woods.

The trail was a little narrow in places and one misstep would have sent me toppling down a steep hill. Rather than turn back, I decided to press on. I was listening to Allegiant, the last audiobook in the Divergent trilogy, and I think the main characters' bravery rubbed off on me. 

I managed to get through the entire hike without tripping over any tree roots or breaking any body parts. I also discovered that the park has a drinking fountain and a real bathroom. Well done, Nashville. I love a park where bathroom is not synonymous with port-o-potty.

I would like to have stayed for a little while longer, but a bunch of volunteers and boy scouts were in the park doing trail maintenance. They weren't telling people to leave or anything, but there were dozens of them and they all seemed to have huge wheelbarrows. I didn't feel like dodging them anymore, so I finally made my way back to the parking lot and left. I got in a total of 5.11 miles for the day. If it doesn't rain, I'll aim for more miles tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Very Crafty

I haven't been feeling very well this week. It started with a cold that has been plaguing me since Friday and now I have cramps as well. I haven't been getting much exercising done as a result, but I have been doing a few craft projects while I lounge around. I mentioned on Twitter a while ago that I was going to try sewing. I've been practicing, and over the weekend I finished up these:

If you saw them up close, you would probably be horrified by the stitching, but I did my best and I'm kind of proud of them. I wanted some teal throw pillows for my office at work, but I didn't want to spend a ton of money on them. I was pretty sure that even I could make a couple of square pillows with enough time and patience, so I bought some fabric and stuffing and set to work. A few Netflix movies later and I was done. Hopefully no one at work will scrutinize them too closely. 

I also discovered that Walgreens will let you print Instagram photos ridiculously cheap. I ordered 11 of these little 4x4 prints and with a 35% off coupon I found online, I only paid $2.79 for them. They were ready in under an hour and they were perfect for another of my craft projects.

While I was in the craft section of Walmart, I found some little wooden picture frames for 97 cents each. I had been thinking about attempting  fabric covered picture frames like the ones I saw in this youtube video. I figured there would be a learning curve involved so I wanted some cheap frames to practice on and these were perfect. I bought a few of them along with some cheap yellow fabric and some mod podge and set to work. Once the glue dried, I added my pictures, and voila. Insta-office decorations.  Have you tried any fun craft/decorating projects lately?  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Trail Porn

This morning, I got up, went exploring in a new to me park, and took all the pictures. Scroll down for free trail porn.

After a brief stroll on a rustic trail, I found the lake. I stopped to take pictures because it was stupid pretty.

After that, I headed back to the rustic part of the trail and strolled through the woods for a while. There was a lot of gorgeous going on there, too.

I came across a group of turkeys just off the trail, and saw a deer not long after that. There were the usual squirrels too, and when the wildlife wasn't entertaining me, there was plenty of people watching to do.

There were signs for different trails, but I mostly stuck with the Lake Trail because I wanted to walk all the way around the lake. 

I didn't see the length of the trails on any of the signs, but the lake looked large-ish. I wasn't sure whether the Lake Trail went all the way around the lake, but I figured if it didn't and I had to walk back the way I came, it wouldn't be too bad with such a great view.

The good news is that the trail did wrap all the way around the lake. The bad news is that my phone died halfway through my hike and I had to commune with nature for half an hour without taking any pictures or listening to my audiobook.

On second thought, maybe that isn't the worst thing in the world. I heard a woodpecker going at a tree and overheard a toddler in a baby backpack talking to its parents. I saw what appeared to be a swamp and a dad who stopped to let his delighted little boy play in the dirt. Eventually I made it back to my car and checked my Fitbit. Just in case anyone is wondering, the Lake Trail is approximately 3.6 miles. Also in case anyone is wondering, all 3.6 miles were as pretty as the pictures.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What Would You Have Done? (Seriously, I Want To Know.)

This morning, I got up and went to one of my favorite greenways for a walk. The trail is a little over 3 miles with minimal hills.

I originally wanted to go to a different park, but apparently 32 teenagers from a juvenile detention center went all Prison Break somewhere in Nashville and have not all been captured. I'm sure I would have been perfectly safe in any of my favorite parks, but I decided to go to a higher traffic one just in case. Most of the jail breakers were caught immediately, but the ones who weren't are clearly wily and probably desperate. Better safe than sorry.

It was a good walk and I decided to complete my workout with 100 kettlebell swings when I got home. I had finished my swings and taken my shower when I heard someone just outside the door to my apartment. I hear my two closest neighbors going in and out of their apartments all the time, so I didn't think anything of it until I kept hearing someone try the lock on the door across the hall without opening the door. Normally my neighbors don't linger in the hall too long when they get home so I got up to look out the peephole in my door. This guy I didn't recognize was standing in the hall with a bunch of keys trying them in the lock and cussing under his breath when none of them worked. I thought it was weird, and was relieved when he finally left. I was about to go downstairs and ask the security guard at the front desk about it when two other men showed up and started trying to get in the neighbor's door. 

I felt completely nosy as I was watching all of this through the peephole in my door, but let's be serious. I chose my building because there are security measures to keep random people from walking in off the street and roaming around. As I was watching three men try and fail to get into the apartment across the hall, my imagination went wild. It couldn't be a work crew doing renovations I decided because they should have a functioning key. Then I decided someone who used to live here was trying to break into their old apartment for some reason. Then it was an abusive ex-husband trying to break into his ex's condo. Then it was a band of thieves. I was full of theories, but the only thing I could make up my mind about was that as soon as they got the away from that door, I was marching downstairs to notify the guard that there were three suspicious men skulking around my neighbor's apartment. 

Long story short, the security guard already knew they were in the building and they were supposed to be working in the apartment they were "breaking into." My question to you is, what would you have done if you were me? Ignore them? Tell security? Call the police? Open your own door and ask them who they were and what they were doing there? On a scale of reasonable to extra cray cray, where does my reaction fall?   

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fun with Kettlebells

If I am ever going to have the toned body that I want, I'm going to have to do more weight lifting. The problem is that I have no idea what I'm doing around weights and I don't have the money right now to hire a trainer. I bought a beginner kettlebell DVD a few months ago and I finally decided to pull it out and start using it again.

Using kettlebells without proper training is probably a bad idea (don't try this at home, kids), but I'm hoping that since most experts suggest that women start with a much heavier kettlebell than I'm using, I won't hurt myself too badly even if I'm doing the exercises totally wrong. 

Anyway, my current goal is to do the following workout at least three times per week:

Deadlift--10 repetitions, 2 sets
Two hand swing--10 repetitions, 2 sets
One arm swing-- 10 repetitions, 2 sets
Squat thruster--10 repetitions, 2 sets
One arm high pull--10 repetitions, 2 sets
Figure 8--10 repetitions, 2 sets
One arm clean and press--10 repetitions, 2 sets

At the moment I am using the 15 pound kettlebell for most of the exercises, but I probably need a heavier kettlebell for deadlifts, two arm swings, and figure 8s. I can't tell yet if I'm building any arm muscle, but I think all the squatting is making my legs stronger. There's that at least.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Popcorn, Polenta, and Crohn's

It's shark week and in addition to the usual violent cramps, I'm feeling fatigued and Chrons-y. I'm going to attempt a kettlebell workout later, but for now, I'm going to talk about food.

I've mentioned my ileostomy before, but I haven't talked about what it means in terms of my diet. Immediately after having ostomy surgery, there are a lot of foods that you are supposed to avoid because they are known to cause blockages. Some of the foods include nuts and seeds, vegetable and fruit peels/tough vegetable stalks/any vegetable that isn't really really well-cooked, foods that cause excessive gas, and, particularly hard for a lot of people to give up, popcorn. I have read a lot of ostomy patient forums online and it seems like most people do a little experimenting with the prohibited foods after they have had their ostomy for several months. I was no different.

My early experiments taught me that even several years post-op I have problems if I eat too many vegetables, particularly broccoli stalks, even if they are very well cooked. I can have small amounts of nuts and beans, and I do well with most fruits. The one food I haven't really experimented with is popcorn. At least, that is, until now. 

I was in the store last week and decided to buy a box of those snack size bags of popcorn. I ate one of the bags yesterday, drank a lot of liquid, and waited to see what would happen. Long story short, I didn't end up in the hospital. I probably won't be making popcorn a regular part of my diet, but I just like to know that i can have it on occasion if I am watching a movie with friends or something. 

I've also been experimenting with polenta again. Last night I sprayed a skillet with coconut oil cooking spray and browned some sliced polenta from Trader Joe's. In another pain, I cooked a turkey burger and made some gravy. When the turkey burger was cooked all the way through, i served it over some of the polenta medallions with plenty of gravy. It was delicious. Next up, I'm thinking I'll try deconstructed tamales.