29 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 14, January 18

This day on the calendar required me to commute an hour and 15 minutes to a clinic were I could finish one of my qualifications. It’s a commute I’ve had to do many more times since and it has proven to be a challenge to maintain and improve my fitness level.

Icy roads, driving in the dark, roaming wildlife and sometimes snow following a hard day at work makes for a challenging commute leaving me stressed out and more tired than I should. It has been hard to convince myself that I want to do anything except go to bed or vege online.

I’ve opted out of my gym or swimming workouts a few times over the last couple weeks and resorted to a 10-15 min walk or a quick pilates ab work out. I’m not going to shed pounds but any activity is better than none, and I always end up feeling better afterwards than before.

28 March 2012

"Drowning" by Sarah Blackwood

A couple of weeks ago I posted a video by Walk Off The Earth, and through various links I discovered that one member, Sarah Blackwood, actually makes music on her own as well. I quite enjoyed this song.

Another tidbit of information is that the whole group is Canadian.

Proud to be!

27 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 13, January 17

I went for a run on the indoor track today. Well, it was 15 min of running and 15 min of walking. I did about 20 min of weights for the legs. Probably one of my shorter workouts in the gym, but that was honestly all the gumption I had for that day: my whole upper body was sore for the previous day’s workout.

26 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 12, January 16

This was a fantastic idea, and gave me the kick start to start out my week great at the gym. This was a great idea to keep my time at the gym interesting too, since pumping iron is really, quite boring. I was able to switch up the cardio between the stationary bike, the treadmill, and the stair master.

23 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 11, January 12

Hopefully you don’t notice the gap in the dates above. It had been almost 2 weeks since I continued with the 21 Day Challenge. Not that I wasn’t active, I just hadn’t been following the cards. I can honestly say that I have been active at least 4 times per week, and for at least 45 min each time.

But Jan 12 I was struggling with motivation a little bit, despite having lost 3.5kg since October at that point (hurray!). Pulling out the cards and having Day 11 pop up was probably the best motivational thing that could happen to me. I whipped out my Pilates video and did the 20 minute routine at home.

I logged the exercise in at MyFitnessPal.com and it gave me a disheartening 60cal burned result. But I ignored it: I felt better after the workout, and I didn’t eat ridiculous that day, so I felt pretty accomplished all around.

I’m also happy to say that my core was really, brutally sore the next day. I vowed I would not make fun of Pilate purists for a while.

For a long while.

22 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 10, December 27

At this point of the year I was really starting to miss my outdoor runs. The days were so short that I left for work in the dark and then came home in the dark. While it was an unusually warm and snow free December, it still got really too cold to really enjoy running outdoors.

While I’m all for the idea of walking around in a mall for exercise, there were two problems I foresaw with running in the mall: the first is that I would get distracted by all the stores, and the second is that I would have to dodge all the elderly people that walk the mall for exercise. I did, however, recall that there is a YMCA with an indoor running track.

And so, the last 5km run of the year was accomplished!

21 March 2012

"Jump" by Madonna. Music and video when she was still cooler.

Around this time my younger brother introduced me to a lot of Parkour and free running videos on YouTube. They're fascinating to watch because of the movements people are able to accomplish with only their own body strength. I was jealous for a while because I wanted to be able to do those same things.

Then I had to remind myself alot of the free runners probably do this for hours a day whereas I spend hours a day doing other things I want to succeed in. And instead of feeling down about my lack of physical abilities I watch vidoes for inspiration: much of what we do with our bodies and our minds is training, and we can accomplish a lot if we have the right motivation.

I also watch parkour and freerunning videos when I need a little inspiration to write action and fight scenes.

20 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 9, December 23

You don’t really have to tell me twice to go for a swim. Seriously, if swimming would tone all the muscle groups in my body equally that’s all the exercising I would do for the rest of my life. My best time/distance is 50 lengths in 35 minutes. That’s 1.25km of my arms dragging my body through the water.

Obviously, the Friday after returning from holidays my time wasn’t that good, but I felt pretty good anyway.

Aquatic aerobics just isn’t my thing, but if you have trouble with your joints this is a good cardio workout for all levels (it all depends how deep you stand in the water) and avoids a lot of the impact of a regular step class. But if swimming laps or joining water aerobics isn’t your thing, just walking back and forth in the water is a great work out because of all the resistance.

19 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 8, December 22

Not wanting to lose the momentum of my activity started on vacation, the day after my husband and I got back from Hawaii we made a point of going to the gym together. It was probably the best workout both of us had had in a while, being refreshed and recharged.

It is interesting that most exercises I completed could be done at home, using soup cans or resistance bands. In fact, there are many “gym” routines that don’t require you to step foot in a gym. Exercises such as push ups, squats, crunches, and dips can be done at home, and you work out most of the same areas the complicated gym routines provide. I mean, why make working out more complicated or really very long? The 100 Pushups Programme would take maybe 10 to 15 minutes of your time.

Just keep it simple, yes?

16 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 7, December 20

Seeing as how our flight was this day, and at 9 at night, my husband and I were quite limited to what we could do with our day since we had already checked out. So we resorted to walking. One last walk up and down the beach walk, once more into the shops, and up and down the airport halls before having to board. The total number of steps was something above 7000, pretty good for being cooped up in an airport.

15 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 6, December 19

My husband and I booked nothing for our last day in Hawaii, but had a vague notion of spending the day lying on the beach. Or surfing. We ended up doing both.

Though, lying in the warm sun didn’t really count as “warming up” as much as I would have liked it to have been. Moving and stretching the muscles and joints used in the activity helps prevents injuries, especially if it’s a new activity or you’ve been sedentary for a while.

My husband and I should have really thought about this when we decided to try out surfing. Seriously. Our shoulders and were so sore the next day: there was a considerable more amount of paddling involved than anticipated.

14 March 2012

"Undisclosed Desires" by Muse

I feel like these guys are getting a bad wrap now because Stephanie Meyers listed them as part of her writing playlist. Well, and it was taken a step further and some of their songs were included in the Twilight soundtracks.

But give them a chance! They've been around for a long time and their music is pretty catchy and quirky.

13 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 5, December 18

Rising bring and early for the second day in a row for snorkeling. My husband and I were a bit disappointed about how little time we ended up spending actually in the water in all of the Pacific salty goodness, but we did get to see some cool things.

Even though we ate alright, we didn’t feel like we had been active enough that day as we had wanted to be. The decision to wander around the city again wasn’t difficult to make nor did either of us really drag our feet. As my husband likes to describe it, I got my German on.

And if you ever get the chance to go to a city in Germany and walk through a train station or through the shopping districts, you’d understand.

12 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 4, December 17

When you picture a vacation in Hawaii, getting up at 5:45 AM is not really what I had in mind. However, my husband and I wanted to go on a tour of Pearl Harbour while we were on Oahu and the tour start time was 6:45 AM

The tour took us to the decommissioned USS Missouri battleship (which was massive), walked around the portion of the harbour where you would have been able to see the attack Dec 7, 1941, and then we were on taken by ferry to the USS Arizona memorial. The tour finished by 2 in the afternoon and had clocked about 7000 steps well before noon. Despite having such an early start, we felt pretty good the rest of the day and it didn’t take us long to clock another 3000 steps by the end.

There are articles online debating on the merits of changing an exercise routine, either time of day or the exercises completed. The thinking is that you could get bored and lose motivation if you exercise consistently the same exercises or at the same time of the day. But if you’re looking for “results” then apparently you don’t get any because there are no benefits.

Really, in this day and age it comes down to whenever you can get your workout in is when you should do it: whether it’s consistently in the morning or at night, or a combination of both. At the end of the day how a work out makes you feel is more important than “getting results”.

Any activity is better than no activity.

11 March 2012

11 More questions!

Theresa Small Sneed tagged me this time. I feel quit fortunate to be tagged by my fellow Campaigners. I also feel quite bad that I haven't been able to reply to many people's comments or visit too many blogs. I will! I promise! Even when the campaign ends I will still visit!

1. You're on a deserted island for six months with one person ~ who would it be and why?
My husband. He's got skillz, also in the survival department.

2. You were caught in a meteor shower which left you with strange abilities. Now every time you eat chocolate, you can ... what?
Become invulnerable and have telekinetic abilities. This sounds like a Mary Sue, but since I don't like chocolate I wouldn't be able to access these powers too often.

3. A friend takes you to an abandoned castle that has been hidden for centuries. She heard a rumor that great treasure was hidden in the sixth tower. Would you venture inside or turn it over to the authorities to investigate? What would you find?
I would definitely venture inside myself. I suppose I would find something that's either really priceless and invaluable, like a missing family heirloom, or like proper treasure where I could cash in on millions, or! rediscover some historical relic that would require history books to be rewritten.

4. You can only drink one type of beverage for the next year - what would it be and why?
I was going to say water as I drink that to a large extent anyway. But then I would be excluded from wine and that were to happen life would almost not be worth living.

5. Have you ever had to face a fear of yours? What was it and how did you overcome it, if you did?
I have a fear of heights. I don't like going up ladders and I stay at least a foot away from railings that overlook anything higher than 2 feet. I wouldn't say I "face this fear" in the sense that I make an effort to get over it, but I do carry on going into malls and fly in airplanes. Ignoring your fears helps sometimes.

6. Have you enjoyed certain ages in your life more than others? What is your ideal age and why?

At every age I've been I've enjoyed them for what they've been worth. I have to say that my mid-twenties have so far been my favourite for the simple reason that I enjoy being an adult and look like I actually could be.

7. Has anyone totally amazed you in life? Who and why?
My grandparents. They've got a number of hang ups and flaws, but they're survivors.

8. Have you ever written in a character in a story patterned after a real person ~ out of spite, because that person ticked you off?
I have. But then when I shared that story I didn't feel good about what I had written.

9. Do any of your characters make you totally crazy because they have a mind of their own and take you places you hadn't planned on?
Yes, but I kind of like it. So I try not to get too uptight about it.

10. What is your most favorite phrase/paragraph that you have written? Can you share it?
I can't say that I have written anything that profound that falls into this category.

11. If you could sit down and talk shop with any writer from any time period - who would it be and why?
Possibly Isaac Asimov. His stories seem like he had a glimpse into the future and knew almost exactly the struggles we were going to face with technology. I would like to sit him down and find out his thought process at the time.

09 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 3, December 16

Luckily enough, my husband and I ended up experiencing some awesome weather in Hawaii ended up being outside for most of our trip. At night and back at the hotel, however, I have to admit that we both looked at the TV with temptation in our eyes, you know, just watch for 15 min before we went to sleep. I am happy that out of the 8 days we were there we turned on the TV only once for about 15 min.

I don’t have a TV in my bedroom, and haven’t had for years. When the TV is on I have a hard time fathoming how it can lull anyonhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gife to sleep, though I’ve heard many people tell me that they can’t fall asleep without it on or without music playing. I said things very similarly, if I think back to it, during high school: I insisted that I coulhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifdn’t relax or fall asleep unless I had my headphones stuck in my ear and blaring music. Looking back, I’m sure that’s what contributed to my sleep deprivation during that time.

Granted, when looking for music and it’s effects on sleeping, there are more studies that pop up about how music is good for getting a better sleep. It helps you relax before hand, but the type of music has to be considered as well: shttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifcreamo, shouting, angry sounding music isn’t the ideal choice. Something between 60-8http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif0 bpm and without lyrics is recommended to relax before you can fall asleep, but the music needs to shut off or else you can never quite get into that REM stage of sleep that’s so vital.

Studies are now showing that having a TV, computer, or even a cell phones can prevent or disrupt sleep: Looking at screens can rile us up instead of calming us down. LED lights on our electronics can also have the same effect as looking at a computer screen.

Despite not having a TV or computer in my room I still find it difficult to get all my sleep in, and in looking at my habits, I discover I am on the computer until the very bitter end of the day. I find myself sitting at the computer at that time during the night when you can tell yourself the easiest that you should have gone to bed ages ago. So when I got back from Vacation, I made it a point to shut the computer off every night and to set a timer for when I should be getting ready for bed. So far I have managed to cut between 20 to 100 min of screen time daily (Yes, that is how much time I spend on the computer AFTER having spent all day in front of the computer) and getting to bed at a much better hour at night.

08 March 2012

21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 2, December 15

I suppose people may have their doubts about this challenge, but I invite all to try this challenge, even if you think your living space is clean. And while you’re at it, throw on a pedometer.

Putting everything you own where it belongs, downsizing, moving, painting, vacuuming, doing all your laundry, mopping, etc. While none of these activities are considered “exercise”, all of them consume more energy than sitting. Naturally, frequent tidying means frequent energy usage, so it’s possible to make a goal to clean 30 minutes daily for this year you’ll be doing yourself a two fold service: energy usage and a tidier living space.

As I said yesterday, I was on holiday when I started the Challenge and I was living in a hotel, or out of a suitcase for 6 days. I had one room to look after, and the cleaning and bed madeup already looked after (the most energy consuming tasks of cleaning up). But because it was only one room it can get cluttered pretty quickly, especially with two people occupying the same space.

In many previous hotel stays I had left everything in my suitcase and just pulled out what I needed. Of course, not much ever stayed there: half of it always ended up spread around the room. Many hotels have closets, or at least a bar with hangers, something which I use in my own house too, but for whatever reason have never used hotel closets. I have to say how remarkable it is you feel when everything you have is put away properly.

As my husband and I were on vacation we naturally bought souvenirs and worked through our clean clothes that needed placing and rearranging. It’s a practice I intended to carry over when I got home and I think I’ve done pretty well since. I’m also in the process of downsizing and packing up which is keeping me pretty busy.

07 March 2012

"Somebody That I Used to Know" covered by Walk off the Earth.

I saw this for the first time on my brother's FB page. In honour of his birthday, I've posted it here.

Happy Birthday Daniel.

06 March 2012

The second challenge is underway!

There were a whole lot of options available for this challenge, allowing participants to make it as easy or as hard as they chose. I've decided to go for the easiest as possible so as to give myself the most amount of time to read everybody else's entries.

I used prompt #1 and wrote a quick flash fiction for it. The other portion of the challenge I will pursue is asking for critiques from my followers and other campaigners. I will then edit the flash fic and then post the edited version a week after the challenge closes.


At 203 words...

- - -

Molly and Cyrus leaned against the cement remains of bridge, breathing heavily. Molly winced as pain shot up her leg when she tried to curled her legs closer to her body. She placed her hand over her leg where the pain was originating from and felt a warm wetness. She brought her hand to her face to inspect what she felt and swallowed hard at the sight of blood.

“Dammit, my hair’s all wet.” Cyrus said as he tousled his hair with both hands.

Molly stared at him, “You’re worried about your hair?”

“What?” Cyrus asked, turning to face her.

She held up her hand for Cyrus to see. His reaction was to squint at her in the fading sunlight and then raise an eyebrow before he asked, “What’s on your hand?”


“Where’d it come from?”

“Not from you, obviously.”

“Did it come from... her?” Cyrus asked looking paler than a moment previous.


“I think I’m going to puke.”

Molly’s sigh finished seconds before a high pitched howl erupted from the quiet dusk. She and Cyrus froze, the hair on the back of her neck standing on end instantly.

“I don’t think you have time to be sick.” Molly whispered hoarsely.

- - -

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