Monday, March 31, 2008

Sidewalk Series: Some time in North Berkeley

Sidewalk Series: North Berkeley

I spent a couple hours in Berkeley last Friday, so chose to use the opportunity to expand my sidewalk series to a new neighborhood. Right where I parked my car, was this charming fence with peeling paint and a fully-in-bloom wisteria crawling over it.

Want to play with Sidewalk Series? The rules are simple:

1.Take a photo in some neighborhood. It must be something visible from the street/sidewalk. Ideally the photo gives us a hint about the people living in the house.

2.The photo must be taken from the sidewalk. No, you may not step up on the driveway or the lawn. Public space only. No trespassing.

It's fun; it makes you look at your walks in a whole new way; it's creative.

Go for it!

I also blog at: A Stitch In Time throughout the week and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ReVisiting a Photo Theme.. and an Invitation

Buddha in the Bushes
Buddha in the Bushes, part of the Sidewalk Series.

The last couple years I've taken my camera along when walking the dogs through neighborhoods. I devised a simple set of rules for taking a photograph and called the results my Sidewalk Series.

The Rules:

1. Take anything that is visible from the sidewalk. The photo should still have artist value or make me stop and think about something. Especially, try to imagine that the photo tells me (and other viewers) just a little about the people who reside in the house.

2. Do not step off the sidewalk to get a better composition. Get creative any way I choose, but I cannot leave the sidewalk. Now that I'm working through PhotoShop, I think I'll be spending lots of time erasing mis-placed electrical wires, irrigation drip lines and neighbor's junk cars.

I stopped this series because I walked the exact same streets all the time. I got visually burned out and failed to see the minute changes and the details in different light. I stopped LOOKING. This time, I have decided that when I'm heading to a new neighborhood, I will plan spend a few minutes walking around and looking at neighborhoods. Looking at new to refresh my eye.

My goal is to post a series of photos every weekend from here through to the fall. Make this my spring and summer of sidewalks.

Care to join me? Leave a comment. If anyone responds, we can set up a Flickr group to share these...

I also blog at: A Stitch In Time throughout the week and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Really only of interest to the gals

About 5 years ago, I was within hours of a needle biopsy for a mysterious spot on my left breast. The radiologist would find the spot, then lose it again (you've heard this before, I'm sure). The final conclusion was a lump of fat that would fold over on itself.

When I started losing weight.. oh, 16 months ago?... one of my goals was to lose of that fat in my breasts. I had spent years as a 34B-34C. Growing to a 40DD was NOT something that made me happy.

I seem to finally be losing fat in my boobs. ('Bout damn time).

I bought myself a couple new bras a couple months ago; the fitter assured me I was a 34 band.. but the measurements still made me a D cup. Yeah.. it's smaller than I was, but at the same time, it wasn't.

This week, almost suddenly, there seems to be a lot of extra room in those molded cups. Maybe a cup size smaller? Now I'm trying to figure out if there's a way to "take in" these bras. I hate the idea of replacing them so soon, but I love the idea of needing to replace them.

I also blog at: A Stitch In Time throughout the week and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tale of the Scale: Real World Workout

Every Saturday evening or Sunday morning, I plan out my week. What are my commitments, where do I need to go? How will I get 2 days rest in a row but not more?

That last one is more challenging than it sounds.

This week, I hit the gym on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning, I contemplated heading into the gym; a simple walk around the house had my body complaining: Have you heard of rest, lady? With plans for Friday and Saturday, it looked like I would go three days without a workout.

That 3 day break makes me edgy. Actually, I worry about committing mayhem and murder. I could argue it's justifiability, but would a judge "get it"? "Your Honor, I just had to push something!! HARD!!!"

Fortunately, it is spring in Northern California and my garden needs some word done: beds need turning, plants need pruning, compost needs spreading, garden waste needs hauling. Yeah, this is steady-paced work, not the intensity of what I do in the gym.

Re-read that list of work: there is squatting, pushing, pulling. There is moving in all directions. There are challenges to limbs and the constant requirement to engage the core. Because it isn't as intense, I can work longer. Because it's not as intense, it doesn't feel like work.

Add sunshine to that. It's all good!

So until I've worked my way through all my spring chores, I'll be adding an almost daily dose of real-world working out to my plans. Wonder what this will do to those rest days?

also blog at: A Stitch In Time throughout the week and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why Twitter?

Twitter factors regularly into discussions of my day. And evening. And television viewing. And special events.

It is like crack for the conversationally starved brain. And my blogs have suffered for it, I know.


A blog post can take me 10-45 minutes to write. Brain dump a thought and develop it as far as I want to go. Go back, reread, edit out, change things around, cut, add, spellcheck.

It's a great way for me to work through something I'm thinking about. If I'm cleaning the kitchen and one idea stays in my head the whole time, it's worth blogging so I can get it out of my head. Thought-processing 101.

When blogs began, we imagined they were conservations. It wasn't the initial post that mattered as much as the post and the comments that accompanied it. But people rarely comment on posts. If everyone who read a piece left a comment, maybe (maybe) blogging would be what it always promised to be. It appears that way if you look at some of the "bigger" blogs. Getting 50 or 200 comments, while overwhelming I'm sure, is definately the way to get a conversation going.

My blogs are much too quiet to be conservations. They feel like monologues. Like I'm talking to myself (which I do all the time anyway, so why take the time to record it?)

Anyway, back to Twitter.

Most of the things I ponder don't stay with me long enough to spend 45 minutes on. And, though I've done it before, I'm over the idea of blogging tv shows or events. What I crave is to share a simple thought with some people and maybe have someone react right away. A little give and take. Some conversation.

And twitter does that.

It does that for me. It does that for Amy Gahran. It does that for Adam Stewart.

I am not saying that apps like Twitter ring the death knell for blogs. I think they widen the scope of the conversation and place blogs into a spectrum of conversational tools. More open than email or forums, more detailed than microblogging, more essay than conversation. It's easy to begin an idea on Twitter, develop it more thoroughly on a blog, then return to Twitter and invite others into the conversation. This tends to result in a mix of comments and tweets... conversation on two planes from one post.

If you twitter, how much of this is true for you?

I also blog at: A Stitch In Time throughout the week and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tale of the Scale: Move It or Give It Up

Note to the idiots in the gym:

A gym is a place to work out. That means you should be walking, running, biking, pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging or whichever verb you choose to use that indicated ACTION. Yes, there are rest periods between sets when you are not actually moving something. These rest periods, however, should last for only a minute or two. Most of the time you should be active.

A gym is also a place of finite resources. There are only so many benches, and fewer incline benches. There is only of each machine, and limited spaces on the cable bar machines. There are often only one set of dumb bells for each weight setting.

So the thoughtful and polite person respects that others work in the gym WITH them. The thoughtful person does not hog equipment. They use it or give it up.

I've seen several completely thoughtless people in the last couple weeks. I am wishing them completely frustration (or on a bad day a different punishment) because of their behavior.

Example #1. I wanted the 20# hand weights and I really wanted the incline bench. There are actually 2-3 set of these weights floating around the gym, but this particular day there was only one set back in the weight section. They were on the floor in front of an incline bench where a young woman was sitting resting her feet on the weights. She was using the bench as a chair; she was using the weights as a foot rest. She was using her phone.

I waited a bit on my flat bench, hoping she would either use the equipment or give it up. Finally I gave up, grabbed the 17.5# weights, reclined on the flat bench and got my workout in. When I finished, about 10 minutes later she was STILL sitting on the bench, feet on the weights playing with her phone. May she drop a weight and break her fingers.

Example #2: Occurred last week. This time I wanted the 15# weights and once again there was only 1 set on the entire floor. (how does this happen? Everyone uses the 15# weights! There are 3-4 sets of these yet they regularly seem to vanish). The couple using them as part of a complex set of movements had stopped to chat. And chat. And chat.

This time I asked if I could have while they visited; the woman agreed that they might stop talking and get back to their workout. She'd give me the 15# set when she finished. Instead, I grabbed the 20#ers.. and got my workout in with heavier weights than I'd intended to use. I completing my final set when walked over and placed the lighter weights down next me. Gee, thanks. I did use them later for some bicep curls, so I guess I'm happy I eventually got them!

Isn't it just common courtesy, though, to notice how you fit into a whole and make adjustments so that the everyone gets the most from limited resources?

I also blog at: A Stitch In Time throughout the week and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Preposition Me.. Part One

Simple exercise. Take the prepositions and use them to describe yourself. One individually or several grouped together could then become the basis for a great work. Here are the first 10, or all the "a's" as it works out.

Alternately, a great way to organize and store descriptive phrases that you use/hear during the day.

  • About as happy as I appear at any given moment.
  • Above catty gossip, but not above the occasional snide remark.
  • Across the political spectrum.. socially liberal but fiscally conservative. This makes me ??
  • After Peace of Mind
  • Against assumptions, Reactive behavior, the dismissive use of "whatever"...
  • Along San Pablo Bay in California
  • Amid black dogs
  • Among a couple strong communities of women.
  • Around the block from predictableAt the best stage of my life (I hope).
  • At the best stage of my life. (I hope)

I also blog at: A Stitch In Time throughout the week and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tale of the Scale: week of 3/2

I spent the first weekend in March at the beach with some friends. Two long walks on Saturday, one on Sunday were great restoratives for soul and mind. They didn't do my legs any harms either.

Monday I did a simple leg workout on my own. I was a bit disappointed in myself; I set the weights at a level where it possible to do 3 sets of 15 reps on each machine. I was feeling the burn by the end of the 2nd and 3rd set, but I go through them. Which means I set the weights too light. I let myself off easy instead of challenging myself to go a bit further.

There is something about increasing weights that scares me. It makes my chest tighten and breathe catch. I don't trust myself. When I push through and accomplish something, I feel proud. Wish I could remember that emotion when I'm dithering with 30# or 35#?

When my confidence and trust in myself is low at all, it shows in my workout. The physical becomes a manifestation for the mental. Hmm.. Another way to attack my confidence issues.

My workout Wednesday with Guido was all stability and balance. I was a bit unhappy at the end, because my body didn't feel pushed to the limit. However, I'd begun the day feeling very raw and emotional and on the edge. The concentration involved in having to balance for the better part of an hour pushed my brain to another place. I was more focused when I left the gym.

Another piece of the puzzle. I know hitting the cardio HARD when I'm feeling that uncertainty and edginess helps, now I've got real memory that balance work can be a tool then, too. OK, I'm checking out the yoga classes!

As part of my Shake It Up challenge, I've had 2 workouts in the late afternoon this week. Today I'm surprising my body by showing up a day later, but less than 24 hours later. So far, all the effects of this have been mental and not physical. Still not a waste.

I also blog at: A Stitch In Time throughout the week and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.