Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Today & tomorrow are holidays in France, so no work. I had fully intended to start my speed training again since it is Wednesday and today is the first day of Track Time...a running coach offers training at a local track back home once per week. Coach Ken is the one who got me up to speed (pun intended) for my 2 mile run. Although I am here across the ocean I still get the e-mailed workout plans and was going to go to the local track this afternoon.
The weather had other plans. It rained all morning...so I read a new book and took a long nap. When I got up again it was no longer raining but it was dinner time & I was hungry so I decided to eat first, then run. But, at the end of dinner...it started raining again. It has again stopped but the track is now closed and it is getting dark.
Running workout for the day totally busted.
But overall mental health...maybe a good thing. I took a day to do absolutely nothing and it was nice.
Monday, May 06, 2013
Stupid Dog, aka Munchie Bear, after his walk today.
Back in December I was taking Stupid Dog on daily 1 mile walks. He was constantly pulling and lunging and other dogs, trucks, etc. Once he somehow managed to slip the leash and actually jumped out into the road and missed being flattened by a cement truck by mere inches. And don't even ask about his reaction to motorcycles.
In short he was not a well behaved doggie on his walks, and that's without taking into account bathroom habits.
Fast forward to now with his harness & leash, a stylish brown leather imprinted with blue salamanders. He is a different, dare I say well behaved?, dog in the harness, happy to trot at my side with nary a lunge or other misdemeanor. All it took was putting the harness on, no special training or anything. I'm guessing he had worn one in his previous life with one of his first owners. So we are now back to the daily walks. Which he desperately needs because he is also fat. The walks will help that problem.
And he's still stupid too, but I don't think walks will help that condition.
Today I took a Fitness Personality quiz, which is based on the Meyers-Briggs. Based on how you answer your questions you are assigned a main color type, and then one of 4 sub types.
I am White Canvas...a Trailblazer on Familiar Paths
"Whites approach exercise as they do everything else...with planning & structure after sufficient reflection time...disciplined & independent, Whites are self-organized & attracted to physical exercise they can structure at their own pace..."
And further breaking it down I am actually a White Efficient and expect trainers to have a high level of proficiency and knowledge & will challenge them with tough questions.
So Mr. Trainer, basically do not try to pawn me off with platitudes and simplistic "answers" because I will see right through you...save your touchy-feely stuff for those White Harmonies who want to be friends. Give me a kick ass take no prisoners trainer every time.
And my personal favorite part of the analysis..."At times they may enjoy being accountable to a fitness trainer as long as they've had a role in directing the activity..."
Yep, that's me....yes Mr. Trainer I'll do what you say...as long as I've told you what that is!
Sunday, May 05, 2013
There was a bit of fuss in the SP community this week about an article someone published elsewhere on the web titled Women Should Not Run, are something to that effect. I have not read the article but from others' comments it sounds as if the message - only doing the same cardio exercise, i.e.. running, without cross-training and strength training, is not a good idea for anyone - got lost in the in-your-face title, author's presentation and the fact he may have been selling something. Presentation is everything people...come across like an ass and your good message is lost; come across as more boring than watching paint dry and the same thing happens.
Hence the blog title! Got your attention didn't it?
There is actually a point to the title; several points in fact.
Today is May 5, or Cinco de Mayo. Last year at this time I was in Queretaro, Mexico visiting a supplier with some coworkers and we asked our contacts how they celebrated the holiday. They looked at us blankly and said "What?". They explained that maybe further south, around Mexico City or Puebla, that people might celebrate but it is not a big deal or holiday in Mexico (or at least in that part of the country). They were astounded when we told them in SE MIchigan it was becoming a bigger "holiday" each year. They just could not understand why we would celebrate a minor holiday of another country...until we explained it was an excuse to eat ethnic food and drink beer (kind of like St. Patty's Day too).
There is no real Mexican food in France, at least not that I have found yet. I miss it a lot. The closest you can get is an Old El Paso taco or burrito kit, which is just not the same thing. The salsa isn't even medium, let alone hot. Making your own Mexican food & salsa is an option...but not all the ingredients are available. Refried beans, jalapeños, habaneros, tomatillos, cactus, etc....not to be found. It is a tragedy. I will be smuggling seed packets back with me after I visit home next month. And I will be visiting the local Mexican restaurant, probably more than once, while I am there.
Today I learned that I have been assigned to the Teddy Bears in Spring team for the 5% Challenge. Last year I was a Cat, which make sense, but now I am a feline amongst the ursines. Go Teddy Bears!
Wednesday I worked some more on my hedges with my new hedge trimmer. It is VERY loud but does the job. Unfortunately I also discovered that I need a longer extension cord and a step ladder. My little household step stool is just not high enough. So my hedges are kind of weird looking right now. I'm going to borrow a step ladder from a friend next week so I can finish the trimming. Here is a picture of a portion of them; it does not really give you an idea of how much there is to do :
And here is my little "toy" lawnmower. I swear my son had one when he was small that was this same size, only with a shorter handle. Despite its size it works well enough for the size of my yard. Having to drag the cord around is very annoying but I'm not going to pay a lot for something I'm only going to use a few dozen times and can't take home with me.
When I'm home I'm also going to see if I can get a rolling edge trimmer for the sidewalk & bring it back. Here the only thing I have been able to find is basically a flat blade on a stick...which takes forever to use and really does not do that great of a job.
Some other spring pictures :
View from my backyard:
Start of my container garden :
View of the front of the house :
Close ups of my hibiscus and the other flowers I can never remember the name of :
Every Saturday in Compiegne there is a farmers' market in the town center. I mean every weekend, even in the winter. They set up in a row down one of the streets; I was not able to get a good picture because of the set up. They have veggie stands; trucks selling rotisserie chicken and potatoes and others for meats and fish; cheeses and breads; and clothing & shoes. Now that it is warmer there are more vendors so they are starting to branch out into the cross streets.
I had to go into the town yesterday morning to wash our comforters at the laundromat and wandered around the market. It all looked and smelled amazing. I was brave and stopped at the truck that had the giant wok thing of paella and ratatouille and bought a small container of paella. Next week I will be even braver and buy some veggies, they looked so much better than the ones in the store.
Since I couldn't get a picture of the market here is the Hotel de Ville in Compiegne, kind of like the town hall / government offices. The market is set up right across from the little park you can see :
A new store opened on Friday called Carre des Halles that I wanted to check out, which is part of the reason I didn't get anything at the farmers' market. The store is kind of like a Nino Salvaggio's or maybe Trader Joe's. All fresh fruits / veggies and meats and a small section for other cuisines. They had some ingredients there that are not at the regular grocery stores (still no Mexican though) so it will be a regular stop for me now. I also had to go to the Biocoop, which is the organic store, to get more groats. I also got some red lentils, so I can try the recipe that was in the SP e-mail a few weeks ago, and some buckwheat. No idea what I will do with it yet but it is something new to try and I never saw it back home so I'll take advantage of the opportunity. I bought some Japanese style buckwheat noodles, green olives and arrabiata sauce for another recipe.
I also checked out a few different garden stores and bought the flowers I can't remember the name of, some Roma tomato plants and an heirloom yellow pear tomato, and sage & parsley plants. My parsley seeds are not germinating, I think they are too old, so I got tired of waiting.
And I now have a drying rack for clothes so I can hang them up outside. I have always been jealous of the people who have clothes lines and now, while I don't have a real clothes line, at least I can set up my rack on the deck and hang up my laundry. Every little bit helps the environment; I try to be green when I can.
Today I have my version of Chef Meg's Kentucky burgoo in the crock pot for tonight's dinner. I kept mostly the same recipe but was tired of chicken so I used beef and veal to go with the pork. AND...I now have a bay plant so got to use a fresh bay leaf instead of a dried one, along with the parsley and thyme from my garden. I found the thyme growing in the tiny little flower bed the owners had planted at the bottom of the driveway. It is 1 foot wide and about 5 feet long and has mini daffodils in most of the space. But when I was weeding it the other week I found the thyme hidden amongst the weeds.
My running is progressing again, slowly it seems, but progressing. Last Sunday I did 2 miles without knee issues; today I did 3.5 miles. I'll build up my mileage this month and if all is still well start running the HMs again in June.
And now I am going to sit outside and enjoy the sun! TTFN!
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 here...sucks...basically; 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.
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