Sunday, July 24, 2011

Let's call it a draw

There are three evergreen trees in my yard - one on each end of the lot by the street, and one in the backyard. They all could use trimming, but one in particular needed work.

The problem tree is right beside my neighbour's driveway. When I moved in, there were Christmas lights woven around the tree.

There's no outdoor plug end on that end of the house. I have no idea who put the lights on the tree or how they turned them on. (Did I mention I moved in in June?)

Anyway, the lower four feet of that tree were dead on my neighbour's side. One of my other neighbours had volunteered to trim the lower four feet of the tree last summer, but it didn't happen, so today I went out with my awesome hand trimmer from Lee Valley.

I trimmed for a while, then, Wanda was kind enough to join me. She trimmed while I worked on bundling the cut branches.

We worked until I ran out of string. There's still some work to do, but it looks a million times better already.

My arms and legs are covered in scratches and a rash (guess I am allergic to that tree after all), but I'm glad I got it started.

Like other projects I've procrastinated on for years, it look about an hour.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


As I mentioned, I went camping last weekend. There were 10 of us in total - 6 adults, 4 kids.

There were a few mishaps (a downpour on Friday night, a child who woke up with the sun at 5:30), but everyone had a good time.

On Friday night, I noticed a trail to the Lusk caves, 3.5 km away. Saturday morning, some of us decided to go for a hike. We didn't plan to make it all the way to the cave and figured we'd turn around whenever we got tired.

Now, when I picture a hiking trail, I think of a path that goes up and down, one that curves and meanders through the woods.

That was not this path.

This path went up, then curved, then went up, then flattened out for a few feet, then went up ... it was basically 45 minutes of walking up a hill. (We didn't make it to the caves, we just turned around after 45 minutes.)

Do you know what comes after 45 minutes of walking up a hill? That's right, 45 minutes of walking down the hill.

Now, I'm in pretty good shape, but by the time I got to the bottom of the hill, my legs shook when I tried to stand still.

I joked that my legs would be so sore by Sunday that I wouldn't be able to help pack up, but that wasn't the case. I was fine while we packed up.

Getting out of the car when I got home was another story. My calf muscles were stiff. So stiff, in fact, that every step hurt.

I didn't walk much on Sunday.

Monday was a bit better, but my legs were still sore. By the time I got to boxing on Tuesday, I was fine.

Tonight, I tried a spinning class for the first time.

It was an excellent workout, but I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

I guess I never learn.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Blog out loud

When I looked at my schedule for this week, there were a lot of things that
needed to happen. I'm camping tonight, so which meant I had to pull all of the
camping equipment out of storage and go through it to make sure there were, for
example, enough plates. I had to pack my personal gear. I had to take the car
in for an oil change so that they could figure out why the brakes sometimes
sound like metal scarping on concrete.

Of course, there was the usual life stuff as well. I had to clean the house.
Since I'm gone for the weekend, I had to buy groceries - there's no way I'll
want to do it when I get back on Sunday. I had to fight the jungle of weeks in
the yard. While I was out there, I noticed the tomatoes needed staking (which
somehow makes them sound like vampires, which they are not).

And, of course, Thursday night was BOLO - Blog Out Loud Ottawa. I wanted to go,
but I wasn't sure it would work amidst everything else that had to happen.

Spoiler alert: I went.

It was a good time. Like last year, I had to duck out early (due to the
aforementioned packing). Also like last year, I wasn't reading, just sitting
around and listening, but somehow I was more relaxed - in part because I
recognized more people. I also recognized more people's name tags.

(No one's delusional enough to think I'm going to link to last year's post,

I met people I've only know through the internet. I chatted with people I'd
never heard of before. I listened to people who brave enough to read - they did
a great job. I wish I had been able to stay until the end.

Maybe next year.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Timeline of a Bike Ride

4:45 I know, instead of going to the gym, I'll go for a bike ride
5:00 Sitting on the couch checking twitter
5:10 Clean dust of bike helmet
5:11 Locate appropriate footwear (well, sports sandals, not really appropriate footwear)
5:12 Wrangle bike from the basement to the backyard
5:14 Pump up front tire
5:15 Fill water bottle; place on bike
5:15 Put on bike helmet; notice it is far too tight
5:16 Deduce helmet problem is caused by ponytail; change to low ponytail
5:17 Notice front tire is flat. Crap.
5:17 Take off bike helmet, grab keys
5:25 Purchase new tire tube
5:26 Stupid traffic
5:38 Take of front tire; pull out old tube
5:38 Read size of old tire tube; note it is 2 inches bigger than the newly-purchased tire
5:43 Back at Canadian Tire
5:45 Correct size tire located; waiting in line at customer service
5:55 Tire successfully exchanged
5:58 Traffic successfully avoided
6:05 Tube replaced
6:05 Notice part of mechanism that attaches the tire to the bike is missing in the lawn
6:06 Found! Attach tire to bike
6:07 Put on bike helmet
6:07 Get on bike
6:12 Adjust seat
6:15 Hmm, the seat is slipping
6:15 Ignore moving seat
6:23 Why is everything uphill?
6:40 Home at last
6:41 How does this bike fit into the shed again?
6:42 Hey, I didn't have any water! *inadvertantly pulls the entire lid off and spills it*

Monday, July 4, 2011

Colette's Exercise Tips

1. Figure out what activities you like.
If you don't know, try lots of things. Personally, I've tried step aerobics, low impact aerobics, water aerobics, archery, boxing, strength training, cycling, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, Irish dancing, belly dancing, ballroom dancing, yoga, zumba, gliding ... there are probably more. Sometime this summer, I'm going to try spinning (*cough*).

2. Figure out why you like them.
I like boxing and strength training because they make me feel strong. Everything else I do is to support those activities, because that's what motivates me. Maybe your thing is yoga because you like feeling flexible. Maybe you like biking, because you like the wind in your face. Figure out why you like what you like and you'll know what motivates you.

3. Figure out when (and how) you like to do them.

Are you a person who is fine with exercise first thing in the morning before you're fully awake? Do you like doing 10 minutes here and there? Are you the kind of person who needs to exercise on the way home from work? Do you need a class because, like me, it's too easy to make excuses to stop or work less hard if you're on your own? Do you like the freedom of being able to start and stop on your own schedule?

4. Put it together and come up with a plan.
Maybe you're going to swim at lunch 3 days a week. Maybe you are going to get up 1/2 an hour early and spend 20 minutes on the elliptical. Decide what you're going to do and commit to it - maybe to someone else, but mostly to yourself.

5. Follow your plan.
If your plan is to swim 3 days a week, pack your swimming stuff the night before so that you're ready. Change your alarm clock so that you get up 1/2 an hour earlier. You've committed to exercise, and it's as important as any of the other day to day things you have to do, so treat it accordingly.

6. Stuff happens.
Yes, exercise is as important as the other day to day things, but sometimes it's not the most important thing. People get sick. Cars break down. Sometimes there are urgent things that derail the plan. That's OK - start again the next day.

7. The Yoga Corollary
If stuff always happens at the same time, you need to rethink the plan. Either you didn't pick the right time, or you didn't pick the right activity. Personally, I dropped yoga after I noticed that days I had yoga were always the days I had to work late. Work wasn't the problem - the problem was that I was doing yoga because I thought I should, not because I liked it.