Walk This Way….

So on Friday, the walking initiative at my workplace officially ended. The goal was to get all participants to hit 10,000 steps a day, and as an individual participant, I think I kicked ass. Between taking daily walks and hitting the elliptical for 30 minutes every workday morning, I totaled roughly 967,687 steps from May 13th through August 2nd. I say roughly because sometimes, I forgot to attach the pedometer (like when I woke up at 2 in the morning to pee). That’s 82 days, and that averages to roughly 11,801 steps per day.

So yeah, I kicked ass. 🙂

Part of it was great weather. While we had rain, more often than not I was able to squeeze my thirty minute walk in at some point in the evening. On weekends or vacation days/holidays, when I didn’t force myself to do the elliptical, I did two laps around my neighborhood instead of one lap. I discovered that I prefer walking in the heat (with plenty of sunscreen) rather than the evening when it cools off. Sweat is far more preferable to bugs.

On weekdays, I learned that getting up at 6:00 am to jump on the elliptical for thirty minutes actually wasn’t that bad. I thought for sure I’d hate it, but really? While I wasn’t like, Woo-hoo, EXERCISE!!!, I still felt pretty good. I was awake and mobile in the morning by time I got to work, and that led to me feeling far more productive. Also, short of vacation days/holidays (of which I took a handful), I only missed two elliptical sessions: once because I was up for nearly half the night and didn’t think that jumping on the machine the following morning would be good for me, and the second because somehow I slept through my husband’s obnoxious alarm not just once, but TWICE that same morning, which prompted me to set my own alarm from that morning onward. You know, just in case.

Also, to keep up the steps, I set a chime on my phone to go off hourly while I was at the office, a reminder to get up and move around, which involved me walking the inner parameter of our office, just to stretch my legs and back.

My best day I hit 22,390 steps: not only did I do the elliptical that morning, but I took two laps around the neighborhood that afternoon because I felt like it. I think that day was also a grocery store day.

My worst day was 3307 steps: it was a vacation day, so I shrugged off the elliptical, but it also rained all day, so no walking.

So now that it’s over, the big question is, will I keep it up? I want to. I know there’s going to be a part of me that’s like, “I don’t have to record my steps any more… I can shrug this off….” but I don’t want to do that. I’m rather attached to my pedometer, the bulky thing, even though I don’t have to use it anymore. Yet I know what I need to do during any given day to reach a minimum of 10,000 steps, so it’s not like I need it. But it’s an accountability tool, you know? Without the elliptical or my daily walks, I’m lucky to hit 3000 steps in a day, which just goes to show you how lazy and sedentary I can be when I put my mind to it.

So yeah: Monday morning, I keeping the alarm set at six. I plan on dragging my ass out of bed and getting on the elliptical, even though the official, work-related challenge is over. Because it’s better for me, and I might as well do it while I can, you know? Who knows what winter will bring, and I’d really like to drive this habit home.

Today, a list!

1) Yesterday, I saw two dead animals: one was a rabbit at the entrance of my neighborhood. I was all like, “Awww, cute bunny!” because I thought it was just SITTING THERE and then as I passed, it didn’t jump away, and I saw its leg. Poor bunny…. the second dead animal also was discovered in my neighborhood: a snake that ran afoul with a lawn mower. Except I didn’t know it was dead when I came upon it in the street while walking and nearly had a heart attack. I’d say “poor snake,” but… yeah. It’s a snake. Poor bastard is better.

2) The teaser trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has been released, and I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl. If I were still in college, or if I still had my ginormous crush on Legolas, I would’ve found high-def screencaps of this sucker and already made Live Journal icons out of all the Legolas shots. Because that’s how I used to roll.

3) Speaking of The Hobbit, I’m totally excited about Evangeline Lily’s character Tauriel. Yeah, she was made-up for the movies, but you know what? I’m cool with that. The books will always be the books and the movies will always be the movies, and damn it, the movies need more girls! And this one brings me a kick-ass elf. So yay. However, I have a theory: she and Legolas will somehow have a RELATIONSHIP (either closely platonic or verging on romantic or actual romance) and he’s all sELFish (see what I did there?) about not helping others except elves and she’s all like, “We have to defeat evil no matter what.” and then? MY THEORY: poor girl’s gonna die. Just you watch: she’s going to die (hopefully heroically), and that will soften Legolas’ heart enough to volunteer for the Fellowship come Frodo’s quest. JUST YOU WAIT.

4) Oh, you probably want a trailer now, don’t you? BEHOLD! The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug teaser trailer.

5) I’ve decided that when I take a day off of work, the office also has to close. Because when I’m gone, all sorts of crazy crap comes out of the wood work, and seriously, why does this stuff WAIT until I’m gone? Tuesday was DEFINITELY my Monday. I did not appreciate that. :-/

6) Fans of Johnny Cash might know that he and June Carter did have one son together: John Carter Cash (hey, John Carter… of Mars?). Well, that son has apparently written a book (by the cover, it looks to be children’s/middle-grade, but I could be wrong), and what I’ve read of the review on Tor.com indicates it’s actually really good. Color me surprised, if for no other reason that I wouldn’t expect a novelist to come out of those two singer/songwriters. 🙂

7) This week I’ve been spending my lunch breaks watching Moonrise Kingdom. I’m not done yet, but it’s weird, quirky, and has both a kitten and Edward Norton. Those latter two things alone make this movie a WIN.

8) I wish this Ariel Makeup Kit from Sephora had come out when I was still an undergrad. Not only did I have shirts and stuff in those exact colors, but I also had the balls to match my eye shadow to said shirts and rock it. Nowadays, I have some shirts to match the eye shadow and nail polish, but it’s not such a good idea for a professional look. But who am I kidding? If I had this kit, I’d totally try it!

9) I’ve decided: if I use the elliptical, then I’ll only do a single lap around the neighborhood. If I don’t use the elliptical (like on weekends or days off from work), I’ll do TWO laps around the neighborhood. Laps are, of course, weather permitting. So weather, permit it, damn it.

10) We’ve started to reach that point in summer where I may need to ignore my own hatred of how my legs are shaped and walk in shorts instead of my usual yoga pants. On the plus side, I’ll be much cooler. On the negative side, my legs are showing. Also, bugs. :-/

Podcasts versus Music (On the Elliptical)

When I started getting my sorry ass up at 6:00 am to work out on the elliptical, I filled my Nano with podcasts. I liked putting on something that woke up my brain while I was using the elliptical to wake up my body. Well, this morning, I’d run through my available podcasts and was too lazy to download a new one to the Nano, so I put on a music playlist and started working out.

And I’ll be honest: with the exception of the FIRST day I did it (by it I mean waking up at six am, getting on the elliptical for 20 minutes, and feeling my body go OMG-WTF-WHY?!?!?!?!), this is the hardest workout I’ve had. I mean that in a good way: I didn’t feel sick or tired after, but I definitely worked up more of a sweat than usual, and my pores still felt like sweating even after I showered and dried off. Definitely got my heart-rate up, which is the whole point of exercise, right?

Which makes me realize that while I like stimulating my brain first thing in the morning, music may be the way to go. 2-3 minute songs also make the 30 minutes on the machine go by faster, especially since my pace is more determined by whatever beat I’m listening to.

For those of you wondering what I’m listening to, here’s the breakdown: Continue reading

Calico versus The Elliptical

For those of you curious how my crazy idea to end all crazy ideas worked out, here’s the rundown:

Tuesday (Day One): put in 20 minutes on the elliptical, kind of wanted to die, definitely felt a bit sick to stomach. Walked two laps around the neighborhood that evening and my legs felt like they belonged to Gumby afterwards.

Wednesday (Day Two): put in 25 minutes on the elliptical, but sipped some G2 (different than regular Gatorade as it has lower calories) before, during, and after the workout. Didn’t feel like dying, not sick to stomach. Walked one lap around the neighborhood that evening but kind of felt guilty for not doing two, as my legs felt like they could handle it.

Thursday (Day Three): put in 30 minutes on the elliptical, sipped the G2 at appropriate times. Still don’t feel like dying, nor do I feel sick. This is progress! The decision will be for my evening walk tonight: one lap or two? I’ve usually been doing two laps when I don’t have enough steps in during the day (there’s an initiative at work to reach 10,000 steps every day), but now that the elliptical is part of the plan, two laps aren’t necessary in that regard (hence why I only did one last night). So we’ll see.

In short, so far, so good. My body’s getting used to me putting it through hell. And while I’m not woo-hoo! EXERCISE!!! afterwards, the recovery period isn’t taking long and I’m pretty awake and alert. The trick will be on the weekends, when I don’t plan to work out on the elliptical (but still plan to walk), or on mornings I’m really not feeling it (due to sinus, headache, or just simple bad sleep).

We’ll see how it goes!

Crazy Idea to End All Crazy Ideas

There are people in this world who adore working out. They’re the kind of people that can do a grueling workout or run and feel more energized afterwards than when they started. They’re full of energy and joy and happiness and do everything in their power to convert you to the Church of Workouts Are AWESOME.

I am not one of those people.

But I have been walking daily since the weather got warmer, and I’ve made a specific point to do so when my employer announced a fitness initiative that encouraged staffers to walk 10,000 steps a day. Pedometer provided, incentives every week, and I signed up, because it was just the thing I needed to make sure I didn’t put off the daily walk.

Well, now I’ve gotten a crazy idea: Continue reading

To Hunt an iPod Nano (6th Generation)

On Monday, I returned from my daily walk and announced two things to my husband:

1) 30 Seconds to Mars’ new album would be releasing the next day, and he needed to get it for me.
2) I needed an iPod Nano.

Now, let’s talk about why I needed an iPod Nano. I currently use the iPod Classic. It was a hand-me-down from my hubby when he transitioned over to using his iPhone as his iPod (via the Cloud) and my old iPod (the rather awesome U2 Special Edition) used up all its memory and I had to pick and choose stuff to upload to it. The old iPod had a case with a clip, which was great for when I used to work out using the elliptical. My current iPod has a case but no clip, nor do I want a clip for it, because it spends most of its time in my car, and a clip would get in the way.

When I started making the effort to walk daily, I grabbed my U2 iPod and clipped it on my pants and started it up. Only the battery was dead. So I charged it and just put my current iPod in the pocket of my hoodie.

The next day, I took my fully-charged U2 iPod and started it up. It allowed me to scroll around a bit, and then the battery died. Again. Okay…

So what I’ve been doing is carrying my current iPod. The one with no clip. And because of the size and shape differences between the U2 iPod and my current iPod, I couldn’t just switch cases.

Carrying the iPod in my pocket is fine. When I have a pocket. Which happens when I wear my hoodie. Given the warming temperatures, that’s not always an option unless I want heat stroke. And workout clothing, for some reason, hates pockets. So I’d have to carry the thing, paranoid I’m going to drop it (it’s a rational fear, folks).

Hence, I need an iPod nano. It’s cute, it’s small, and it clips on to whatever I’m wearing. Only, when I started researching it, I realized the nano doesn’t look like this anymore. It looks like this, which is the 7th generation.

Which is cute and small, but does not clip onto whatever I’m wearing. In order to take it with me, I’d need pockets or one of those armband thingies, which, after reading reviews for, I wasn’t excited about.

However, iPod does offer the shuffle, which looks just like the 6th generation nano I wanted, but no touch screen and a smaller memory. But it’s cute, small, and has a clip.

So I did my research. I kept concluding all I NEEDED was the shuffle. But I wanted a touch screen so I could search my music. And the nano offered this really cool built-in fitness app sponsored by Nike. Which was tempting… really tempting, despite my having my own (bulky) pedometer that I’ve been wearing 24/7.

I couldn’t make up my mind. My hubby couldn’t help either, because he saw the pros and cons of both. Saturday, we went to Target, but beforehand, he went to a website that talked about the likelihood of the iPod getting an update soon (the keynote speech announcing new products and upgrades is in June). For the iPod shuffle? Upgrades are LONG overdue. But my husband is convinced they’re gonna phase out the Shuffle, which means no upgrade.

So picture me, sitting in Target, my eyes roaming back and forth between the Shuffle and the Nano. Neither is exactly what I want, but both have things I want. What I really needed, I knew, was the 6th generation iPod Nano, which had the size and clip of the current Shuffle, but the touch screen and fitness app of the current 7th generation Nano.

We decided to wait. I thought there might be places that sold used iPods and I might get lucky. We had to go to Hastings to return a book, so while I was handling the return, my hubby went back to the music section to see if there were any used 6th generation Nanos.

There were. But better still, Hastings still had unopened, brand-new, 6th generation iPod Nanos.

My husband finds me at the counter and asks, “What color do you want?” In which case I did a mini giddy-clap/happy dance, scaring the poor teenager trying to ring up the return.

I got it in green. I’ve had two walks in it, and it’s exactly what I wanted.

Thus concludes the great, epic hunt for the iPod Nano (6th generation). And yes, for those of you wondering, I got my 30 Seconds to Mars album. It rocks.

Our Daily What?

Yesterday, I was Skyping with a friend of mine and I was telling her how I have a small list of things I’d like to do and/or am doing daily. They are:

1) Read one issue of Hellblazer.

2) Walk the neighborhood (weather permitting).

3) Write one page in current project (which is Space Vampires).

4) Write a blog entry at Calico in Transition.

So, how’s that working out for me? Continue reading

Middle School Moment

The following post will be put behind a cut (or, for you email readers, you’ll have to click through to read the full post) for the sake of the squeamish, particularly men. The following post is not graphic in any form or fashion, but it does discuss the visitor women get every month, so even though the story I’m about to tell is funny in a “thank god that wasn’t me” kind of way, if the existence of how a woman’s body functions (or how my body functions) grosses you out, stop reading now (especially if you’re reading this on a feed).

Continue reading

Cat on My Head

My cat has a few pretty regular habits.

He almost always gets on my lap when I’m reading at lunch.

He almost always gets on my lap when I’m reading before bed.

He almost always lies on my head while I’m asleep.

The latter is one of those things that truly tests whether or not you’re a cat person. As long as he does this while I’m asleep (in other words, he doesn’t make a beeline for my pillow while I’m trying to fall asleep), I’m good with it. The problem I have is when he wakes up and decides to start biting my hair, or sticking his wet nose in my ear or on my face.

The bigger problem is that he’s a BIG cat. 17-18 lbs worth of cat. And if I wake up in the middle of the night and want to readjust my position, getting my head out from under those 17-18 lbs is difficult. And sometimes, I lose my pillow in the process.

Last night was one such night: woke up at 3:30 am with a migraine (yay, sinuses!), and I knew I needed to take something. So I did. And when I came back to bed, the cat was completely sprawled all over my pillow, with a leg hanging off the edge of it. It was rather cute, and I proved my cat person-ness: instead of forcing him to move (and therefore meow in protest, and therefore waking up my husband), I simply hauled myself to the living room, grabbed an extra blanket and a space heater, and tried to sleep off the migraine on the loveseat. I halfway succeeded.

I love my cat. 🙂 But here’s hoping that he spends tonight beside us on the bed, rather than on my pillow (and therefore my head). 🙂

Movie Ramblings, with a Side of Headaches

Currently, my husband and my cat are getting more sleep than I am. Admittedly, this is my fault, because it’s hard to say no to a good margarita, and then you really, really wish you’d said no after you wake up in the wee hours of the morning to worship the great porcelain goddess.

That, and stealth headaches. These are headaches I’ve dubbed stealth because I wake up, and there’s pain, so I get up to take something, realize the headache isn’t bad at all, really, but when I lay down again? PAIN! Stealth headaches: you don’t know they’re there unless you’re horizontal, which puts you in the unfortunate position of trying to figure out how to sleep vertically, because those headaches always how up in the middle of the night.

ANYWAY. It’s been a productive weekend so far: Friday, the hubby and I watched Argo, which I really liked, but I find myself disappointed now that I’ve learned that Ben Affleck’s character, Tony Mendez, was actually latino. It’s especially painful since, in the credits, the film makes a big deal to compare the real life counterparts to the actors, and honestly, the resemblance was uncanny for most of them. Except they didn’t do it for Mendez/Affleck. The Book Smugglers, in their post devoted to the Oscars, have the comparison picture here.

The more I think about it, the more it frustrates me. I didn’t have a problem with Affleck in this role or his acting before I learned this. I left the movie feeling great, warm, fuzzy feelings for the man he was portraying, and now that I know the man he was portraying was latino, I’m pissed, because so many people who watch the movie are going to think a white guy saved the day. And even though I’m a white woman, it pisses me off: race relations can be so tense in the US that we need to see heroes of all shapes and sizes and colors. Having a latino hero in a movie that’s based on a real latino hero who did a great service to the US? Who was one of the most important operatives in CIA history? That would’ve been beyond awesome.

Anyway. Argo was still really good, a really tense movie, but that just bugs me to no end.

We also watched Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. I’m pro-Steve Carrell, but not a huge fan of Keira Knightly lately. She’s a good actress, and I’ve liked her work in the past, it’s just that I can’t look at her now without wishing she looked healthier. She’s so thin it’s frightening, so I tend to avoid her films. Shallow of me, I know, and it’s not like I have a vendetta against skinny people (when I was growing up, my mother had a whacked-out metabolism that kept her super-skinny, the kind of super-skinny that made you realize being super-skinny wasn’t awesome. To get jeans, she had to get them from the boy’s department — not men’s, boy’s — and then hem them in using a sewing machine). Anyway, I still really wanted to see this movie, so that was Saturday’s entertainment. And it was good. It was really, really good. I was surprised by the end, and I loved seeing an alternate take on the apocalypse. We always assume sheer anarchy and mutiny, but seeing other ways of coping was a fascinating study of human character.

And while I’m babbling about movies, I did watch Battleship last weekend. It was no where near as bad as I thought, and I thought I’d have to be drunk to enjoy it. I wasn’t drunk, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Going in with low expectations really helped, but it’s quite entertaining for a big, dumb action movie with dubious source material. Also, I admire Battleship utilized a super-diverse cast without it seeming contrived. At any rate, it was fun to watch. It was also free to watch (via HBO, so it’s not FREE, but I didn’t pay extra just to watch that particular movie), so that helped too.

Tonight is Oscar-night, which I’ll be watching despite not having yet watched as many of the nominees as I would’ve liked. There was a time when I was in college when I’d make a point to see every film nominated for Best Picture. Of course, that was back when only five films were nominated for the category, but still: I wish I had that time now. Yesterday, it was super-tempting to go to the theater and do a marathon of The Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty. Maybe even Life of Pi. Oh well, I’ll get to them eventually.