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FANGFACEKITTY's Recent Blog Entries

May Day

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Aside from being the 1st of May it is a holiday in France (I don't remember which one). So I have the day off work.

Today, in no particular order, I am going to trim the 6 foot or more hedges that line 3 sides of the yard with my new electric hedge trimmer; edge the sidewalks with my decidedly low tech edging tool (a curved blade on a stick); use the Claw to turn up the ground along the fence line and plant my tulips; practice my saxophone; cook something for dinner; clean the house; work on work; if the garden store is open today find bottoms for my new pots so I can repot the hibiscus when it gets warm enough and then repot the mini roses and ornamental peppers, and get some sage, parsley and heirloom tomato plants...and keep up on SP.

I will need a holiday from my holiday when today is over.

I have been trying to avoid buying electrical things here since I can't take them back to the US with me in a few years but I have had little choice with the yard equipment. The yard; full of weed clumps that my reel mower won't cut down. And since I am renting I am not going to go to the trouble and expense of killing the yard and replanting grass. So I bought this tiny little toy electric mower. It is so cute, it looks just like a child's toy mower except it is a real one. It works though and last weekend I mowed the lawn for the first time since August. It looks a lot nicer now.

And I needed a weed wacker, primarily because I do not want to be crawling along the perimeter with a pair of manual clippers to trim the edges. And now the thing with the hedges. I got a pair of manual clippers first...but that is such a pain in the backside...the hedges are huge and long it was taking forever to do just one side of one hedge I broke down yesterday and got an electric one. I've never used a hedge trimmer before so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the shaggy hedge bits are the only things I cut off!

Of course, if I can chainsaw a 30 foot pine tree section that fell in my yard mere hedge trimmers (and cheap low power ones at that!) are no match for the mighty FANGFACEKITTY!

I am still anxiously awaiting my veggie and herb seeds to sprout, but it has only been a week so it is probably too soon. The lettuce has started coming up but that is the only veggie I did not have to replant last week so it has had a head start.

2 of my cats love to go outside in the yard and I have caught them in the neighbors' yards or in the field behind the house so soon I will have to get some wire fencing to attach along the bottom of the existing fences to keep them in my yard. Or at least try to, they will still be able to get out through the gate onto the sidewalk and road, which they have been avoiding so far. So maybe I will just leave things be unless the neighbors complain...mine are far from being the only cats wandering about the yards.

Oh yes, in addition to everything else today I will go for a run too.

I should certainly sleep well tonight!

Time to get to work.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOPEFULHIPPO 5/2/2013 12:06AM

    Pics woman! LOL Great job today on your holiday :o)

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MCJULIEO 5/1/2013 11:38PM

    Grow, Garden, Grow!

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FROSTY99 5/1/2013 4:46PM

    emoticon I got tired just reading your to-do list!

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ILOVEMALI 5/1/2013 4:38PM

    Have a great day today! I want to go home and do that stuff, too!!

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KAREN_NY 5/1/2013 12:01PM

We need more spring holidays in America. :)
Sounds like an excellent day in the making!

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GAILRUU 5/1/2013 9:00AM

    As I have gotten older I find that in order to continue gardening on the scale that I enjoy, I need to add some motors or electricity. While I enjoy the exercise I get in the garden, I appreciate the fact my 70 YO body does need a little more help than it did in the past!

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GETSTRONGRRR 5/1/2013 7:55AM

    Good on you...glad you enjoy yardwork....I rely on our teeanager!

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GARDENCHRIS 5/1/2013 7:27AM

    the land lord does not do the yard maintenance or par for a service? your only the renter...

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BROOKLYN_BORN 5/1/2013 7:26AM

    Whew! That's definitely a full day. Good luck getting everything done.

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PMRUNNER 5/1/2013 5:08AM

    Have a great day!

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Move yer bloomin' arse!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I love My Fair Lady; the blog title is a line from the movie.

As part of the Spring into Summer 5% Challenge we were tasked to :
“Prepare yourself for success by having the words that will move you to action and keep you on track for the 8 Weeks of the 5% Challenge. What can you tell yourself every morning that will give you a sense of purpose for your day? What can you tell yourself when you are thinking of skipping a walk or a workout? Is there something you can tell yourself when you are reaching for that second helping or that cookie?”

So, in addition to words of wisdom from My Fair Lady here are some of my motivational quotes, from the SP resources

Some speak to fitness, some to life in general. In no particular order :

Just keep going

The only real disability is a bad attitude

A great pleasure in life is doing something others say you cannot do

Being defeated is often temporary; giving up makes it permanent

It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide that your problems are your own; you realize you control your own destiny

You are successful the moment you start moving toward a worthwhile goal

Things turn out the best for those who make the best of the way things turn out

Stop searching for strength and willpower…start creating them

You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go

A year from now you will wish you had started today

If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.

And from the patented FFK tough love motivational series :

Suck it up buttercup and do it anyway
emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALISWALKER 4/29/2013 5:51PM

    Let's get our 5%!

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AWOOD1973 4/29/2013 2:59AM

    These are great! :)

I like this one in particular... "Don't complain, unless you intend to do something about it"! and... "You only have 1 life, make the best of it"!

Thanks for the insight! emoticon

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HOPEFULHIPPO 4/29/2013 2:58AM

    Love them all!!

Suck it up buttercup LOL

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MCJULIEO 4/29/2013 12:18AM


A year from now you will wish you had started today

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FROSTY99 4/28/2013 10:09PM

    Thanks for sharing.

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VONBLACKBIRD 4/28/2013 4:37PM

    Love all these!!!

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KALISWALKER 4/28/2013 12:47PM

    These are great! I really do tell myself these things.

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CODEMAULER 4/28/2013 12:36PM

    "A great pleasure in life is doing something others say you cannot do"

That is one of THE GREATEST pleasures... I love "I told you so" when it's the person that doubted my ability.


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Spicing it up

Friday, April 26, 2013

Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so that is what you're getting in this blog...a little bit of this & that.

My spice grinder (aka repurposed coffee grinder) works here with the adapter/converter, which is a very good thing. I like to mix up my own spice blends and spent an afternoon recently grinding away. I needed to replenish my chili and Italian seasonings, mixed up some pumpkin pie spice (note to self, skip the all spice next time), created the ground versions of some herbs and spices (garlic, cumin, nutmeg, ginger). And now that it is spring I am planting my herb & veggie "garden" again, although everything has to be in pots. It's a good thing too since I am running out of some of my dried herbs and need to replenish.

Did you know that when you dry your own herbs they last longer than the store bought? At least it seems that way to me. Mine still have a good smell and flavor which I don't remember ever having from store bought before I started growing my own.

I'm excited this year, I found cumin seeds at the store so I can try to grow my own. With some veggies/herbs there is a lot more variety here than in SE Michigan...there were over a dozen varieties of beets for example. And in other things...nothing, or next to it. A single or very few varieties of eggplant and pumpkin and corn; no tomatillos, no watermelon, no catnip. I will be home in the US in June so I will have to pick up some seed packets to bring back with me.

A few of my spices, most of which I grew myself:

I love these little spice jars, they have the magnets on the bottom so I can keep them out and always see how much I have. I need more of them, I have again as many spices stored on a shelf and would prefer to have them out where I can get at them easier.

My search for steel cut oats has ended. I find regular oatmeal back when I first moved here. There are several varieties of the "flacons" for various types of grains. They are like the old fashioned oats and take a while to cook, and even more "old fashioned" than we are used to having grown up on Quaker. They are kind of chewy.

But I haven't been able to find steel cut oats anywhere so I have been having my son mail them to me which is much too expensive to do long term. Finally last month I went into the organic food store and found "gruaus d'avoine"...whole grains of oats. Just like steel cut oats before they are steel cut.

So I run them through my spice grinder and voila! My own steel cut oats! Sort of. Good enough for me anyway.

AND...I figured out how to make them in the slow cooker. The first few times I tried I cooked them overnight on low but they would burn on the sides and stick to the crock pot and the top would be all crusty...yuck. I'd lose at least a third of whatever I made. Finally, with the new crock pot I bought here, I tried just leaving it on the "warm" setting instead...and it worked beautifully. Life is good. Now if I could only find my White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter here too...

I started training in karate again a few weeks ago. My style is not taught here, the class I've been going to is in Shotokan. It is similar enough to Tang Soo Do that I recognize many of the techniques, they are just executed differently. Which is weird, especially since the class is (of course) in French, so I end up staring a lot and am generally a beat or two behind everyone else. Several people from work attend this particular school, and the class is small, so I will continue with it for a while to see if I want to stick with this style. I've always wanted to learn kung fu, which is also available here, but mostly so I could legitimately use an old on-line id bestowed by my kids when they were small, "kungfumomma".
emoticon emoticon

I haven't run in the last month, waiting for the knee twinges to go away. I think this weekend I am ready to try a run and see how it goes. I want to get back to running the HMs. I am changing one of my goals to move up a moon level as a Half Fanatic and I want to improve my "speed", although even my fastest is still pretty darn slow.

Over Christmas I read the book Running for Women. It had some good advice for exercises, which is why I'm keeping it for now, but other than that I had some issues with the book. There were several perfect gems like..."Muscle weighs more than fat"...ummm, a pound is a pound the last time I checked. Or "Runners should not do yoga because they will become too flexible to run well"...what? Or "Always wear sunglasses so you won't get wrinkles"...OK, sunglasses yes, but giving wrinkle avoidance as the reason?

And my biggest gripe is that all the women profiled in the book, included the author, spent time bemoaning their fate in growing older and how it slowed them down to previously unimaginable the slowest of them running a 10 minute mile.

Poor women. So sorry, but if I was a new runner reading this book I would be unimaginably discouraged because these women were all so fast and now suffering the horrid fate of...still running a hell of a lot faster than me. So not motivating.

Good thing I am not a new runner and only compare myself to myself.

Back to the garden. I can't dig in the ground here so my garden will be all in pots this year. I planted all my seeds 2 weeks ago, and then replanted them this week because the wind blew over my greenhouse rack. I have all the usuals...tomato, eggplant, varieties of peppers, zuccini, onions, chives, garlic, lettuce, spinach, lots of herbs, papaya and pomegranate (gotta try something new!) and more than I am not remembering right now. I have catnip & tomatillo seeds ordered since they are not available here in France and I hope to be able to still get peanuts when I go home in June.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/29/2013 12:01AM

    What a lovely bit of this and that in your blog! I need to try steel cut oats in the slow cooker. I use it for everything else!

I envy your gardening skills and your super organized spice "rack"

( ¯`♥ ´¯) ♥'
.`•.¸.•´ ♥ Spread the SPARK!!! *`*•.¸¸.•♥
¸.•´¸.•´¨) ¸.•*¨).•*´. ♥¸¸.•¨ •♥
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .• •♥¸¸.•¨¯`•.♥.¸¸.•¨¯`•¸. •♥

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AWOOD1973 4/28/2013 8:43AM

    Sounds like you are enjoying life, in all aspects!! Way to go!
Love the spice grinding that you are doing, and those jars are too cool!!!

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ILOVEMALI 4/28/2013 2:15AM


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MCJULIEO 4/26/2013 9:53PM

    Does Customs let you bring in foreign seeds?

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GETSTRONGRRR 4/26/2013 9:07PM

    Good to hear an update! Cool shoes about doing your own spice grinding.

I did shotokan karate many, many moons ago. I really liked it. The emphasis is on staying very low to the ground and punch, one kick and end it! Not like Tae-Kwon Do's big high flying kicks or kung-fu's spinning sweeps and turns....either way, enjoy the different techniques and learn from them what you can grasshopper!

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FROSTY99 4/26/2013 9:01PM

    That is quite a garden you are growing in pots. Hope the 2nd time is a charm!!
My DH likes to grow different things in pots-we now have a 20 ft tall avocado tree he started in a pot!! Also a lemon and a loquat tree are doing well - the loquat is going to have to go though, I don't want the mess. Looking forward to the lemons and avocados.

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CODEMAULER 4/26/2013 10:52AM

    If we ever get spring around here, I'll be planting my herb; love 'em!

Just make sure that the spices you are storing outside of the cupboard are kept away from heat and light. Those two situations will effectively shorten the shelf live of your prized blends!


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TANYA602 4/26/2013 9:33AM

    You've inspired me to get more involved with the decisions about what goes into our garden - I usually leave it to DH. But herbs could be a whole new adventure! I'm laughing at the running book - I'm reading one on weight lifting for women. According to that book, I can expect to put on weight due to the muscles I build. aagh! I'm also a believer that a pound is a pound. What an argument that I can't even begin to wrap my head around! Should I be wearing sunglasses while I lift to avoid wrinkles?!
Have a great weekend!

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GARDENCHRIS 4/26/2013 7:08AM

    where ifn the world did you get the spice jars .... they are so cool.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 4/26/2013 6:27AM

    This is very interesting to me since we've begun growing spices indoors. So far I have a bumper crop of basil, some oregano and parsley. The plants are outgrowing their pots and seed pods have formed so I should investigate drying them.

Following the trail I see a home & garden team in your list. I think I should investigate that as DH & I get serious about organic gardening.

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PMRUNNER 4/26/2013 6:05AM

    Great blog! Love the spice jar idea, love that you grow so much of your own and mix so much of your own too.

The comments about the running book are spot on. I have tried to read several marathon books, but they are mostly geared to people who are already super human gazelles, not actual/recreational runners. I did find one called something like "the non-runners marathon trainer" which was a bit more realistic for the rest of humanity.

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HEALTHYGRAMMY49 4/26/2013 2:54AM


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SKYEPHOENIX 4/26/2013 2:24AM

    They're called oat groats up here (Canada), and I LOOOOVE them, eat them all the time. You can cook them whole, same way you would the steel cut except with a bit more water, they tend to kind of split open as they absorb--firm texture and less slimey than cut oats. :)

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Marathon update

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Paris Marathon was last Sunday, April 7.

I did not run.

The weekend before my knees still felt wonky so I made the decision to not run the marathon and avoid the possibility of doing real damage to my knees.

I am resting them for another week or two and will then start training again. Depending on how the training goes I will pick a different marathon for later this summer or fall.

It was the right decision but I'm not happy with it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLCRC 4/17/2013 8:29AM

Sometimes the best decisions are hard.

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PIXIEMOM13 4/16/2013 6:27PM

    I know you're disappointed, but I think you are smart to listen to your body and err on the side of caution. There will always be other races...but who knows how long it would be if you had seriously injured yourself!

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BOILHAM 4/16/2013 4:52PM

    Sorry you didn't get to do the marathon. Hope you can pick up another really soon, I know you don't want to waste all that training!!

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AUNTWILLIE 4/15/2013 11:48PM

    Not that anyone any opinion but your own matters, here, but I think you're right. I once had to pass up a Black Belt test for similar reasons. I think part of training is using your brain.... the way you just did. emoticon

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AUNTWILLIE 4/15/2013 9:55PM

    Not that anyone any opinion but your own matters, here, but I think you're right. I once had to pass up a Black Belt test for similar reasons. I think part of training is using your brain.... the way you just did. emoticon

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DOODIE59 4/11/2013 9:22PM

    You made the right decision, even though you're bummed out by it. There will be other races, and you don't want a temporary annoyance to become a permanent problem. Give your knees the break they need now (and check it out with a physician) and hit the road when your knees have recuperated. You will run again.

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MCJULIEO 4/11/2013 1:01AM

    Wow! Just think how you would feel reporting a serious-er injury to us..... that was a close one!

Hang in there... you know we're rooting for you!

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GETSTRONGRRR 4/10/2013 9:07PM

    never regret a decision you make for staying healthy and avoiding injury....but eep having issues, this might be the trigger to go see a doc

Good call!

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DOGSTARDADDY 4/10/2013 6:05PM

    Gotta go with what your body tells you to do.
There will be other chances to run.

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FROSTY99 4/10/2013 3:54PM


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MARGARITTM 4/10/2013 2:23PM

    Sorry - but find another right away...... probably the best decision but a hard one to make.

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HOPEFULHIPPO 4/10/2013 12:51PM

    there will be more runs in Paris I am sure...take care of those knees!!

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ILOVEMALI 4/10/2013 12:39PM

    I agree with Rebecca. Right decision. I represent injured workers. You do NOT want to make bad knees worse!

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REBECCATKD 4/10/2013 12:26PM

    Definitely the right decision. Pushing to do the marathon with an injury has the potential to knock you out of running for life. Not worth it.

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CC3833 4/10/2013 11:55AM

    Well... I'm happy with you for making the right decision. You will rock your next one. But you know your knees are soo important! Good luck with the resting and training!

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VONBLACKBIRD 4/10/2013 11:33AM


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KAREN_NY 4/10/2013 10:11AM

    Sometimes wisdom isn't any fun at all. ;) Here's to rockin' the next one!

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CODEMAULER 4/10/2013 10:05AM

    Making the right decision often isn't the choice that makes us happiest. I know that one all too well. I'm glad that you are taking care of yourself, even at the cost of (some) happiness. The payoff will come later, I'm sure!


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March Goal Results

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


1) Maintain my weight at +10 / -14 pounds
Met although right at the upper limit allowed

2) Maintain my budget and pay off 1 debts (revised)
On track

4) Resume saxophone playing and look for a band to join
Missed – achieved 80% practice

5) Travel
**5Q1 – met; Normandy, Paris, Compiegne & Oise area in January with my son

7) Improve sleep habits
Met; 81% in March

8) Eliminate the Snooze
Met – 78% in March

9) Learn French
Have not yet determined how I can measure this so for now it is subjective. This month I went to the music store to buy reeds and supplies for my saxophone & the running store to buy new shoes and was able to communicate what I needed without only pointing. I also visited a dojo & had a limited conversation with the sensei, and started training again.

10) Have fun and stress less; list other monthly mini-accomplishments
10a – ran 2 HMs
10b – submitted my tax organizer & calendar to D&T for preparation

SCHEDULED GOALS (not yet in progress)
3) Finish my 1st Marathon
6) Set Triathlon goal date, start training
goal to be revised, more on this later

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ILOVEMALI 4/4/2013 8:00PM

    Great work. I should set some goals.

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MCJULIEO 4/3/2013 10:13PM

    Saxophone, eh?

Hope you get that going!

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FROSTY99 4/2/2013 9:32PM

    emoticon job

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HOPEFULHIPPO 4/2/2013 5:02PM


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CC3833 4/2/2013 4:29PM

    Great job! Seems you are doing awesome! Keep up the great work!

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NINJA_SMOO 4/2/2013 2:39PM

  Wow! It sounds like you had quite the March :)

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/2/2013 2:35PM


Always good to hear of progress. Did you ever update us on your BIL? Pardon if I've asked this already or if it has been answered. Just think of him when I see you on the Team Streams.

(¯`♥´¯) .♥.•*¨`*♫.♥
.´*.¸.•´♥ Spread the Spark!

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