Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bar Method Two Months

I've been doing this for a little over two months now (minus my 10 days away in San Diego) and still really liking it.  It's become part of my routine.  This morning when I woke up to go to class it was JUST starting to grow light outside though, so I think the winter classes will be more difficult.  Especially once I have to throw on layers just to go outside.  But I love going to class and I definitely think I'm in the best shape I've been since I was 16 and running cross country.  Granted, that's not saying a lot...but I'm still proud of myself for going to this consistently.

The schedule I've set up for myself since returning from San Diego is 2 days of classes followed by one day of rest.  Some weeks this ends up being 4 classes a week and others 5.  I think that's a reasonable balance.  My progress since my last update has not been dramatic, but it's noticeable to me.  All the improvements are small and gradual.  I'm still on the 1 and 2 pound weights, but they are getting a little easier.  My flexibility is improving and I can put my leg on the bar easier.  I'm not shaking as much during the thigh exercises so I think I need to start going a little lower.  All in all, slow but steady!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Morning With Monkey Picked Oolong Tea

Insomnia is just the worst thing.  I don't know why I was hit with it last night but it was unpleasant.  I've learned the best thing to do is not to lie there and waste additional time, but to get up and do something.  So I decided to plant some lettuce and swiss chard seeds, make panna cotta and set some mung beans out to sprout.  After a bit of reading I felt drowsy and went off to bed but didn't actually fall asleep until 3:30ish, bah.  I had signed up for a bar method class today so I was up at 7:30 to give my bread dough one more knead for it's final rise (Cook's Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread) and then I was off.  I'm glad I went because now I feel totally energized, but I'm not sure how I'll stay awake all day.  Today will be busy with work earlier and fun later, but I really need to get some chores done as well - my house is such a disaster and I need to grocery shop in the worst way.  One thing at a time...

My sister got me a food processor for my birthday so I have all sorts of things I want to try making in it.  Top of my list: peanut butter and hummus! (not together)

(PS.  Neither cat nor garden shown above belong to me; both belong to my sister)

Update: Just a note on the monkey picked oolong tea.  I tried a sample cup at Teavana back when Ferret was visiting and decided to splurge on a little for myself.  The flavor is very light but pleasant and though the salesclerk told me I could brew the same leaves 5 times, I think it's maybe more like 3.  I have a hot water thing that my mom bought for me ages ago so having 195 degree water around is never a problem.  I'm not sure I'd buy it again, my tastes my run to something slightly stronger.  But I LOVE making tea via teapot instead of bags.  The little ritual and tinkering with the pot is all very relaxing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall Wardrobe Planning Over Morning Coffee

Summer turns to Fall rather quickly in Portland since I have been wearing jackets outdoors the last few days and am missing the sun.  As I mull over potential Fall resolutions, I am also accumulating a little pile of things destined for Goodwill and making a mental inventory of things to purchase in the coming year.  As usual the focus is on my closet.  A few years ago, I had the terrible habit of buying things simply because they were on sale.  I'm not the biggest fan of shopping so these trips were infrequent, but the cumulative effect over years gave me a closet full of things I never ever wore, either because the style was off or the fit was off.  So maybe two years ago, when I was approaching 30, I took stock and did a major purge and have been more thoughtful about shopping ever since.  There were some things I held onto for sentimental value (hand me downs from my mom when she was my age, actually younger!), and these things I have been considering this week.  I would never donate these items, but anything I am deleting will go back to California with me next week.

Yesterday I put on this blue shirt and decided that actually I love it.  I suspect the material is synthetic, but it's remarkably well-made and fits pretty nicely.  Today I will wander around in a burgundy-ish velvety blazer that I used to wear all the time in college (update: nevermind, today is not blazer-day).  As part of my critical sweep, I am also taking inventory of my shoes and find that: 1) I have one pair of black flats that are comfy but not particularly stylish and 2) I have one pair of black flats that are more stylish but not particularly comfortable.  Naturally I wear #1 all the time but today I will give #2 a whirl and it will go out if it does not pass muster.  On my "to shop" list then, I think I need to add a pair of black flats that is both comfortable and stylish.  The goal for this week then is to try to wear such little-worn items and make assessments and decisions.

I like clothes but I don't like having a lot of clothes and shopping is often frustrating - how to reconcile all of these things is beyond me, but that is an ongoing process.  Ideally I would have a few perfect uniforms for each season, feel good about it and not have to bother much about it all for several years.