31 January 2013

A to Z 2013

This may or may not bite me in the arse. I've signed up to the A to Z Blogging challenge in April 2013.


Join me....

30 January 2013

Thanks To My Friends

My week's been a bit up and down, and blogging about anything has made me want to tear my hair out. It was painful last week, garnering a well deserved criticism that what I've posted to be described as "flat".

Fair enough.

I was feeling flat and I got so fed up with my flatness that I went on a social binge. On a whim I went out for an early breakfast, had about three Skype dates, and a proper coffee date. This might not seem like a big deal for a lot of people and, to be honest, it wouldn't have been a big deal to me either last year around this time.But Bordon has been so isolating, even more so since the husband unit has started commuting to his new job. It's left me without a mode of transport to do anything unless I fork over my left arm to pay for the public transit here.

It started to get on top of me, that I had nothing but housework and training to do. Really, how inspired can you be when you wake up, eat porridge, check e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc, do some cardio, take shower, take a nap, wait for vehicle to become available, go train with minor variations from week to week.

I'm sad to say that I'm STILL waiting to become registered in the UK as a nurse and I could potentially wait up to another 50 days (There was some unmentioned legal clause stating they had up to 90 days to make a decision).So, while I am and always be an introvert by nature, I'm still a social creature and I like the company of people that can make me smile. My 7 Things in 7 Weeks until I'm 27 was an effort to break out of this rut and dullness but I've found that without the contact and subsequent inspiration from my friends (you know who you are, the ones that have put up with my excessive whining as of late) my list has also felt on the dull side.




So as a quick update, no, no more goals have been accomplished, however, I've had a much better start to this week than many previous weeks. I hope to carry this motivation and inspiration over to the next few.

25 January 2013

Alice Holt Forest

I can't tell you how often I've driven past a sign that said "Alice Holt Forest" and wondered what kind of a forest it was and if it would be nice to go for a walk there. So far, any time somebody in the UK mentions a "mountain" it turns out to be a big hill...


Turns out it's a very pleasant green patch randomly in the the middle of Hampshire. I had the adventure of wandering its paths (... "getting lost") the weekend before last, before the UK was blessed with snow fall. The husband unit and myself clocked up to 9km even though the longest outlined path was 5 km...

I don't know... But I'm badass for crossing the line


We found our way to the cafe at the entrance which was exciting in one breath because they had a variety of gluten free naughty bites and awkward in the next as there was a large group of moms with their newborns. Complete with a shed load of prams.



Me
The Alice Holt forest is nice...

Husband
Did you just call it the 'asshole forest'?

Me
Yes, the asshole forest is nice.


...Must be my accent.

24 January 2013

Reading Good

I may or may not have wasted a considerable part of my morning yesterday signing up to Good Reads and creating a "to read" list.... Some of you already knew this because you received notifications in your own Good Reads accounts, but for those of you who don't my name is, naturally, The Capillary.

Like all my other social media or facets of online presence, my profile needs work.

Please bear with me as this goal of mine was not on my 7 things in 7 weeks until I'm 27 list so it's not really a priority. I am, however, trying to make time to read "The Wheat Belly" which is on my list, and I just wanted a Good Reads account as a fancy way of keeping myself accountable to that goal.

There's a clip because I don't like the top page falling off...

23 January 2013

Measurements

Yesterday's blog post required me to do some digging into previous blog posts and I came across the 30 Days of Fitness blog posts. I had a good little chuckle re-reading them before I got to thinking that I never did re-measure my body after I finished the 30 Days of Fitness.

I know my weight has changed because I've been tracking my food and activity still at MyFitnessPal.com, but weight isn't the only way to measure health or health gains. So if you'll indulge me, I'll post my measurements again.

Stand on your head to view this as the writer intended...
  • Weight 144.4 lbs / 65.5 kg / 10.3 stone
  • Neck 12.5 in / 32 cm
  • Chest 34 in / 86.5 cm
  • Bust 31 in / 79 cm
  • Arm 11 in / 28 cm
  • Waist 30 in / 76 cm
  • Hips 36 in / 92 cm
  • Legs 20 in / 51 cm
If we'd like to compare to September
  • Weight: 151.6 lbs / 68.8 kg / 10.8 stone
  • Neck: 13.5 in / 34 cm
  • Chest 37.5 in / 95 cm
  • Bust 31.5 in / 80 cm
  • Arm 11.0 in / 28 cm
  • Waist 30 in / 76 cm
  • Hips 38.5 in / 98 cm
  • Legs 22 in / 56 cm
A 7 pound weight loss isn't spectacular in 5 months, however, when I look at the chest, hip, and leg measurements I shrank considerably. I have to admit, I got a bit giddy taking these measurements because I now fit in a US size 8 or UK size 12, a size I havent' seen since I was 14 years old.

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That makes me sounds like I'm obsessed with my image, and perhaps I am. I should ask the question then, aren't we all? I think we're all concerned with some part of our image, if it's not what we wear or how we look when we're not sitting at our various locations blogging, then we're concerned with our online presence.

I could go deeper with this, but we could be here all day. Instead, tell me what you're most concerned about regarding your image and why it's important to you.

22 January 2013

Crockpot Chicken & Taekwon Do

Every once in a while I need a reminder that just skimming a recipe is not a good idea, even if it is just a crock pot recipe. I have this notion that any recipe requiring a crockpot doesn't need anything more than all the ingredients to be chopped up and thrown into, set to low, and cook for 8 - 10 hrs.

So far in all of my crockpot recipes I have gotten away with that, but not with this one. It looks a bit like curdled milk by the time it was finished cooking...Surprisingly, the husband unit enjoyed it to the point of eating two bowlfuls.

In fact, that looks worse than curdled milk.

The taste wasn't awful and it was hearty without being too heavy (I did only put half the amount of potatoes into it) and a perfect meal before going off to train.

It's probably a blogging faux pas to not remember if you blogged about something. I had to go search my labels to find Day 22 of the 30 Days of Fitness I blogged only briefly about returning to Taekwon Do training. As I had mentioned in that post, I had always wanted to get back into training and eventually get my black belt, and I'm finally at that point where I committed.

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Through a series of connections, I started out training on camp in Bordon, with soldiers. That was intimidating. Eventually the instructor encouraged me to start training with his instructor, a little more traditional. And OMG, it felt like I was home so it didn't take me long to buy a dobok (the uniform) and start learning my patterns again. It's a bit intimidating in a different way because Mr Douglas (the head instructor) uses a lot more of the Korean language in his lessons.

I was a black stripe, and failed to pass the test for my black belt 8 years ago, but Mr Douglas was flexible and let me start at a blue stripe. I want my black belt more than ever so I've outlined briefly every step in my Master List what I need to achieve before I can get there. I'm likely to add more on if this is anything to go by.

21 January 2013

Movie Adaptations & Mash Ups

Friday night I finished watching the last of the Jane Austen movie adaptations, completing another goal for my 7 Things in 7 weeks until I'm 27. I didn't expect to finish watching everything because I had a surprise birthday party to attend, but alas, the UK loves its snow days and ended up staying home.

Finishing this goal has made me really curious to actually read the books mostly because I want to read the monster mash up versions of all her books. It almost seems the ultimate form of fanfiction writing, don't you  think?

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In all seriousness, though, I want to read the originals to get a better sense of Jane Austen. In college/uni I had a very nursing focused programme for the first couple of years and wasn't able to take a couple courses here and there that I would have enjoyed or made me a more well rounded post-secondary educated person. The opportunity was never there and then I've struggled with making time to read beyond what was necessary so I never did read any "classic" novels on my own.

Watching the movies was a good way to learn the plots of her stories and get a visual sense of the world she lived in and set her stories in. However, with each adaptation there was a different director, giving a different spin on her stories so I think I'm missing some subtleties about her works despite some of the obvious recurring themes in all the stories. Ie. getting married, securing a life, morals, manners, fitting into society, rank, women's place in the world, and so forth.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not really a romantic, but the movies did always make me melt a little. Men portrayed as gentlemen and at least one per story breaking rank to follow his heart. And some of the male leads dressed in period costumes it was hard not to swoon. Modern fashion has its points, but it had nothing on the 1800's regarding men's fashion.

Everything considered, my favourite movies were Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility and my least favourite was Northanger Abbey. And when I look at the years of all the release dates, even the movie "Becoming Jane" that was pieced together about Jane Austen's life, they were all released around the same time, most in 2007. ...Was there a Jane Austen revival that I missed?

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18 January 2013

200 Sit Ups

You know those days where you wake up hungover and think to yourself, "I must have had more than this last weekend and didn't feel nearly this bad."

This is one of those days.

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I did manage to watch the BBC interpretation of "Sense & Sensibility" which I really, really enjoyed. I had seen snippets before and never realized it was a Jane Austen adaptation. I loved the fact that in "Pride & Prejudice" Penelope Wilton played the Aunt and in "Sense & Sensibility" Dan Stevens played the love interest. I kept thinking of Downton Abbey and yelling loudly at my screen, "It's cousin Mathew! It's Cousin Isobel!"

...It's like period actors are recycled, aren't they?

Yesterday I blogged about completing the 200 Squats programme. I'll just give a brief mention that I also completed the 200 Sit ups programme, level 2 and I have reset to week 5, level 3.

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I was mentioning to the husband that I can feel my abs to which he only said "No wonder". But my body fat percentage is still too high for them to show. I know wine and gin aren't going to help me get them to show and I'm contemplating the pros and cons of going on a restrictive diet to make them show, even just for a day.

So far, there aren't enough pros.

17 January 2013

200 Squats

When I saw that Billie Piper was cast as Fanny Price from Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park" I had clashing visions of the pop star that I had been introduced to as a tween and Rose from Dr Who.



In retrospect, it seemed to be a precursor for her time spent on the Sci Fi series:



All I have to do is watch "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" to really have a jumble of images accost me all at once when someone says the name "Billie Piper".

Anyways, back to the goal I have accomplished, the 6 week 200 Squats programme. I'm pretty sure I set out to complete this about two years ago when I first heard of the 100 Push Ups programme.




Just a minute, let me start from the beginning. A couple of years ago, I wanted to become stronger, but I could barely manage to do more than a handful of full length body push ups. Naturally I turned to Google and found the programme for pushups (which I'm still working on...). Not long after programmes for 200 squats, 150 tricep dips, and 200 sit ups was also released and I thought, "Why not, if I do all the programmes back to back it's a work out!".

It's true, it is a good work out, especially when I'm traveling and don't' have any equipment with me. But when I do have access to the gym, I give this programme up. Which is silly because I've probably gotten stronger a lot faster just doing this body weight routine than I have with any routine at the gym.

I've completed level 1 of the training and I've reset the app to level 2, the beginning of week 5 to see if I can get to doing 200 squats without a break and I'm challenging for anybody who reads this blog to start one of the programmes in this group.

16 January 2013

Counting Calories

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Watched Pride & Prejudice yesterday, the 2005 version starring Keira Knightley. I have to admit that I didn't know the story that well but I enjoyed the movie all the same. The witty comebacks that Elisabeth had were amazing and it's made me wonder how witty Jane Austen must have been.

Or she was just good remembering the comebacks she heard in her life.

Anyways, onto what I was actually going to blog about: continuing to log into MyFitnessPal.com.


 As you can see, I haven't logged anything yet today...

I usually do it at night now, recap everything I've eaten. But I had to start off tracking my food as I ate it because I had no idea how many calories was really in the portions I ate or how quickly your daily calorie allotment could be used up. After I did a bit of reading on the calorie counting and food diary subject (some people reporting that counting doesn't actually work - the idea now that not all calories are the same, to which I can only saw "Duh") I eventually made the decision to use MFP consistently last year. I found I lost weight more steadily than when I skipped counting because I had this notion I knew what was a healthy limit.

And it's not that I didn't know what was a healthy portion, I just got lazy when I started skipping logging into MFP and over indulged in the healthy and not-so-healthy foods. While just logging my food in at night doesn't give me the instant feed back of over indulgence, it still does keep me accountable. I feel like I've become far more disciplined with my food than I was this time last year, so the end of the day feedback is sufficient.

Don't get me wrong, even though I count calories, I don't always stick to the calorie goal (sometimes you just get cravings, you know?), and sometimes seeing the end result of a particularly indulgent night can be painful. But everyday a person gets a new start, and I think it's important for myself and anybody else who wants to lose weight to put yesterday's missteps behind me and just try again.

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15 January 2013

Donut Ban

Before I get into the donut thing (which I know, I've talked about before), I'm reporting that I watched the first of four Jane Austen Movie adaptations: Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. I tried to find a way to watch BBC's more recent adaptation but it wasn't even available on the iPlayer. It kind of struck me as shocking that between 1996 and 2011 there wasn't another remake before then, since the movie industry is all about remakes lately.

In October, I reached 999 days of the last time I had a donut, and I wasn't far off of my health goal of last January of not having anymore donuts for the whole year. I actually started this goal (an actual New Year's Resolution) January 1, 2010, having had my last donut December 31, 2009. I would have started eating donuts at the beginning of year but I've found out that I have a mild allergy to gluten last summer...

It didn't seem to make any more sense to keep this as a recurring goal since I've cut wheat, flour, and so forth out of my diet anyway. And after three years, it's time for something new. I mean, I have a long list to get through.



And if there happens to be a gluten free donut shop, I'll allow myself to indulge.

14 January 2013

Sweet About Me

I don't think I explained the rules of my 7 Things in 7 Weeks until I'm 27 very well, so allow me to explain because even I was going to get confused about this.

  1. Create a master list of goals... aka Bucket List
  2. Choose 7 things you want to accomplish
  3. Focus on those 7 things, but if you manage to complete other goals from the Master List, hurray!
  4. Put 1 pound in the bank for every goal accomplished.
 While I've been drinking 8 glasses of water a day over the last two weeks, I can't actually count that as being "complete" until the end of the seven weeks. But I'd say this is a good start to it:



The subsequent goal that I've accomplished is kind of a controversial goal, Only drink diet pop or sugar reduced juice, which has shown up in lists of yesteryear.

When I first made the decision that I was going to finally lose weight at 19, I cut out all pop. I was drinking possibly 1 to 2 litres a day by then because it was cheap and easily accessible in my household. When I cut it out completely I dropped a couple of pounds in a month. Spurred on by my initial success I cut out juice as well and dropped some more weight.

By the following year my beverage consumption consisted of black tea, water, and wine. Since I could only drink two of those three choices during the day (I'll let you guess which two they were...), I began to crave those sweet, sugary, calcium robbing beverages again. But, I didn't want to have the extra calories so I opted for the "diet" versions containing sweeteners and thus, no calories (which I found hard to believe considering the long list of chemicals). To satisfy the occasional craving I thought this was perfect.

During Uni and through my nursing classes I learned that artificial sweeteners were and still are recommended for diabetics, particularly if they were brittle. Then more and more people started to catch on that if they wanted to lose weight, using sweeteners and sugar substitutes that measure like sugar was a great idea. A recent wave of news has cropped up on how bad sweeteners are.

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A quick scan of the usual suspects, The Canadian Diabetes Association, MayoClinic, and Diabetes UK, don't mention what exactly is so wrong with sweeteners but have mentioned there is a RDI (recommended daily intake), with a dangerous level of sweeteners being 88 cans of pop consumed in one day.

That's a lot. I'd like to see someone set out a challenge involving 88 cans.
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 What's scarier is linking to sweetener use to an increased risk of cancer and birth defects. While many websites I've come across keep mentioning a lack of proper long term studies on sweetener use, I'd like to mention that maybe somebody should get on that...

What's funny is that when I threw in "weight gain" next to "sweetener" Google gave me far, far more articles about that then about a possible link to cancer... The Daily Mail had two easy ones to find, then there was MedicineNet , Science Daily , BBC News , various health magazines, and so forth. I know obesity is a growing problem and it's important to tackle that (because of the multiple system effects), but it seems somewhat typical that people place more value on their weight than their overall health.

It's got me thinking again as to what exactly am I putting into my body? Since last year I started drinking coffee, two sugars and a lot of milk. Sugar naturally substituted with whatever sweetener we had at work. I drink about four cups of coffee a day and I'm deliberating either drinking far less coffee in general or learning to enjoy a cup of coffee with milk only.

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 Clearly, less coffee is not an option.

11 January 2013

Blog Revamp: Complete... Mostly

Ta da!

It is a template from Blogger, I know, but it's a new template. Ok, ok, don't rain on my parade, I also know I've had it up for a few days already. But I've reorganized a few widgets and topics which taxed my decision making and organizational skills.

Granted, the redoing of my blog isn't complete, not if my list is anything to go by. I'll likely add more to that list this year if I decide to work through more of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, but I feel like this is a good foundation to build on. I didn't realize how limiting the old templates were until I changed, but I am sad that I couldn't have taken the colour scheme with me.

And who knows, perhaps I'll look at this blog in a month and decide to change the template again (I did reorganize my whole kitchen on a whim, after all...).

Anybody else complete a goal yet this year? Or have you already faltered on your New Year's Resolution?

10 January 2013

Lists of Goals

All of yesterday I spent typing up and modifying a master list of goals that I'd like to achieve. Think of it as a bucket list of sorts, but instead of the top 25, I've put down EVERYTHING I'd like to do. This won't be contradicting what I said in my first post of this year, where I'll only be tackling 5 or 6 goals at a time. It's just, I needed to see the bigger picture.

I wanted to put down on paper, or in this case computer screen, as little or as much detail about any goal I have wanted to achieve but haven't yet. There are some goals there that I have put back up after I took them off for not achieving them. I've had this notion for a little while that I should just forget about goals that I had set out for myself but didn't achieve. I know I have said in the past that certain goals had become irrelevant which is why I didn't try to accomplish them, but I think I was lying to myself. If I was still thinking about those goals then clearly they were irrelevant, they just had become a lower priority.

That being said, they abandoned goals such as completing a colouring book or participating in a half marathon, will never become a higher priority in my life if I don't have some sort of reminder, which for me is having it as part of a list. I would even say Pinterest would be a legit way of making something a priority. I've learned how to make better goals, keeping the SMART strategy in mind.

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I've also learned how to be somewhat more focused and disciplined as the years have passed. Though by no means am I a shining example (rather a work in progress), I would like to think my persistence in trying to achieve any of my goals and to try new things speaks positively about me, even though I make some obvious blunders.

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Anybody else have a bucket list? What are you doing to cross items off?

09 January 2013

IM Inspiration

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Me:
I am running out of gin, Clifford is not back yet, not much packed yet, and we are leaving at 6am for the ferry.

Terias McKlay:
The biggest problem I read there is running out of gin.







08 January 2013

New Years and Birthdays

Well, that hiatus was unplanned.

But I liked it. Not at first, mind you. I had moments of extreme guilt and anxiety because it was unplanned, longer than expected, and was so busy that I didn't even have time to fire off a quick post along the lines of "UNPLANNED HIATUS". I came to enjoy a couple weeks of non-internet related activities. Mostly because I had no choice, not having any internet.

It was chance to do some reflecting about 2012, where I started and where I ended. I think I say this every year, but the end of the year did not end the way I planned at the beginning. You'd think I'd have figured that out by now and learned not to stress over this fact as much. Somehow I have in my head this notion that my life is dull and I'm like a character in a comedy whose daily grind is dull, and in the dullness of their life wishes to have an un-dull life.

Note to self, this does not apply to self.

That being said, my updates will be sketchy at best for this year while I redo my blog (I'm taking the opportunity to experiment here, not all results will be good. You've been warned), work on some content, work on some non-blogging content, and try a different strategy for achieving goals, great and small, the first of which will be "7 Weeks Until I'm 27".

That's starting to look like a lot of candles...
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I realize it's now six weeks until February 25, but I came up with this plan a couple days before New Year's and started implementing it Jan 1, not the 8th. Instead of giving myself a whole year's worth of goals, I'm going to tackle two(ish) months at a time, breaking down larger goals if needed. I'm still going to put up a master list of goals to choose from, but I'll focus on five or six at a time.

I call this challenge 7 Things in 7 Weeks until I'm 27