The Bean Can Workout

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For several days it’s been just too hot here to go for a walk.  I vowed, after our ghastly winter in which it was just too cold and icy to walk, that this summer I would not complain about the heat if we were lucky enough to get some.  So I’m not complaining about that.

But of course if I’m writing I am complaining about something,  and todays topic is how sloth-like I’ve been feeling.  Only for a few days, though.  Last week I was so freaking ambitious it was scary.  I moved furniture around in the basement.  I cleaned the windows and curtains down there and vacuumed and dusted and even did a bit of painting.  I washed light fixtures and cleaned and rearranged clutter and tried not to think about how the carpet should be burned and how gross the ceilings are.  Then I imagined my grandchildren in the future reminiscing with each other about visiting and having to sleep in grandmas creepy old basement when they were young.  After that I sighed a lot and told myself the experience would no doubt build character.  Because just imagining the work involved in doing everything that needs doing is exhausting.

So, now that I’ve been sitting around for a few days resting and doing nothing except wondering what I should eat next, I’ve come up with a much better fitness plan.

I should mention my eye exam first, because I like to take a very meandering approach to getting to the point, but trust me, this is relevant.  Visual acuity was way down in my left eye and intraocular pressure was up.  My optometrist asked if my blood pressure was okay.  Well, we had just driven downtown on a Monday, so it was certainly a possibility that it was elevated. He asked me to come back early Friday morning before drinking coffee to have the IOP rechecked.  He also did a retina scan.    That Wednesday I went to my doctor to have a possible plantar wart on my foot looked at (it’s a whole other story, I know, we think it’s just a callous although she did the liquid nitrogen treatment just in case) and my blood pressure readings were high enough for her to be concerned and suggest that I monitor it for a month and keep a record.  First thing in the morning before coffee, last thing at night before bed.  I am also checking fasting blood sugar readings daily, so I suppose you could say I’m currently keeping the worlds most boring diary.

Exercise for helping to control both these things is very important.  The early rush hour trip back to the optometrist resulted in slightly less elevated IOP, normal enough retina scan, normal enough macula, check up in a year.  I also have early cataracts.  That’s pretty normal as well.  What would be even more normal is having an optometrist close to home instead of smack dab in the middle of the city.  And to give up all this “before coffee” nonsense.

But back to the exercise thing.  Finally.  I’ve lost a lot of weight since retiring and I don’t want it to creep back on due to lack of activity.  I’m way more clued in about diet and nutrition and smarter choices, so I’m pretty sure it’s not a huge leap to develop the same kind of commitment to keeping my joints from seizing up.

Walking is still the best.  Cutting the grass is equivalent to a walk.  Now for the days when I can’t make myself put on shoes and go outside, I will do a 30 minute bean can workout.  It’s actually a fifteen minute seniors low impact thing, but I’ve upgraded it slightly because I’m not ninety yet.  I found it on YouTube.  There are no doubt gazillions of these videos to peruse, but on this one I quite liked the nice young man (this is how seniors talk) who went through 10 different exercises, telling me how great I was doing before I even got off my butt to do anything.

He uses a chair in some of them for balance, does squats that don’t kill your knees, side to side steps that remind me of one of my random dance moves in high school, marching in place with swinging arms and high knee raises.  Killer stuff. I changed the wall push ups to fridge push ups because I’d rather have greasy handprints there.  Side to side twist and punch from the chin is exactly as much fun as it sounds.  But the best part was using “weights” which were actually water bottles,  for lifting and curling and pressing and whatever else you call messing around with heavy things in your hands.

I had to improvise with a can of black beans in one hand and a can of mixed beans in the other because I don’t have water bottles around when W isn’t home. Did I mention he’s gone fishing for the entire summer?  And is also looking after some things for his elderly parents on the side.  This is why the grass cutting here is all mine.

My preference in lieu of plastic water bottles is a refillable water container because there’s nothing wrong with our tap water.  I can appreciate the convenience of bottled water when it’s necessary but I think it’s a silly wasteful gimmick we’ve gone way overboard with for the most part.  I do have some bottles of Diet Pepsi in the cupboard but it’s probably not a great idea to shake those up for 30 minutes.  But the good news is it gives me an excuse to drink a couple of them and then fill them up with water to use instead of canned goods because they hold 710 ml vs. 540. And could conceivably make a bigger impact on my shoulders.  Which is where most people never think to concentrate when slimming down.

Anyway it will be a few days before the Pepsi bottles are ready because I try to limit my sodium and artificial sweetener intake, so it will be Bean workouts until then.  The beauty of this series is there’s nothing bouncy or heart attack inducing.  Always a plus.  You do as many repetitions as you can of each one, and go through the routine twice.  It was kind of fun!  I think I might even be able to break out in a sweat if I try hard enough!  I like the concentration on stretching and gentle movements, a combination of yoga and Tai Chi for the very lazy.

Now when I’m feeling like a slug and think a snack will perk me up, I will do as many fridge push ups as it takes to change my mind.  Hey, it could work!

Okay, I gotta go and get started on one of those bottles.  I love a project.  Maybe one day I’ll graduate to real dumbbells.  But then where’s the fun in that?

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Sharing My World 80

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Share Your World – April 30, 2018

Do you use paper money? If so is your money organized sequentially according to denomination?

Well, sort of, in answer to both questions, although the organized part is a bit hit or miss.  A couple of weeks ago I had two five dollar bills, both folded in half and probably right side up and facing forward. If I still had them I would go and check to verify this information, because that is exactly how busy I am.

I like to have some cash on hand, especially if we’re travelling, for small things like coffee or snacks, but that’s just a long ingrained habit, because now everywhere takes cards for everything.  But if they don’t, or their machines are down, it’s good to have an emergency stash of a couple of twenties stuffed into some obscure zippered pocket of your bag so you can rummage around in a panic trying to find them, praying you didn’t use them for something already.  Also a suitcase full of paper money hidden under your floor boards would be nice.

You are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

I am comfortable doing nothing for long stretches of time.  Yes I am.  I am also able to sit perfectly still without fidgeting.  Normally I am a very patient and calm person and don’t mind waiting.  I can be relaxed to the point of passing out.  I used to call this severe laziness, but now I’ve decided it’s more like energy efficiency.  I am conserving my power.  Fully charged and on standby.  Except not actually standing if there’s someplace to sit down.

What is your greatest strength?

I honestly don’t know.  I’m pretty ordinary.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

I appreciate the weather for finally figuring out what season we’re supposed to be experiencing, although today started out overcast and windy.  It’s not snowing.  Woohoo.  That’s something to smile about.

When the snow finally took a breather W was able to drive east to see his parents and take care of some things for them.  We haven’t communicated much for a couple of weeks but I’m assuming it’s all going well and I expect him home some time tomorrow afternoon.  Our lawns at last look to be dry enough to be raked and poked and prodded and whatever else he plans to do to them.  Apparently he has a system.  He told me that when I offered to help.  So I’m assuming he meant I should just stay out of his way.  Stirring up the grass just stirs up my allergies and I really hate yard work anyway.  I don’t even know why I offered.  Sometimes I carry this trying to be nice thing way too far.

The sun is just now coming out from behind the clouds!  All the green emerging from the greys and browns is a beautiful uplifting sight.  It IS May, after all.  Which means we have about three more weeks before we can put out our bedding plants here.  I wish I was kidding about that, or that I bothered with bedding plants, but I gave that up a long time ago because I got tired of spending money to watch things die.  Maybe that’s my greatest strength, knowing when to give up.  Ha.  Like that one made the list.  Although when you think about it, it is a concept some people can’t grasp.

Give it up.  Let it go.  End this blather.  See how easy that was?

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The Mysterious Can Opener Caper

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The very new and the very old and why are those apples so shiny?

It’s obvious to me by my title choice that I have been reading way too many crime stories lately, featuring detectives who are enamoured of their own wit in naming cases.  I download sometimes up to three free e-books a day with not a hope in hell of ever reading all of them.  But I do it for a couple of good reasons.  One, they’re free.  And two, if I can’t get past the first chapter I have a minimum amount of remorse hitting “home” and choosing another title.  Because hey,  they were all FREE.

As usual, I digress.  I have a can opener story.  I mean, come on, doesn’t everybody?   It wouldn’t surprise me to find authors giving them away for free on Amazon.  Get Book One of the Suspense Filled New Can Opener Trilogy Thriller!  I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.

Anyway, this little black electric can opener I’ve had for many years was on sale for less than ten dollars way back eons ago.  I never thought at the time what possible reasons there could be for such a low price, but I wonder if the freaking racket the thing makes had something to do with it.  There can be no stealthy opening of cans in my house.  Unless you want to root around in ‘the drawerfor the hand held quiet ones.  We still have three of them I think.  Pretty sure two of them still work.

As with many such incredibly cheap items, this thing refuses to die.  If I’d picked up a forty dollar deluxe model it would have broken down in six months.  There is no doubt some Murphy’s Law about that very thing.

With use, however sporadic,  the little blade gets gooped up with the liquid from whatever I’m opening, and the little wheel that turns to rotate the can also gets grungy, as does the handle I press down to start the gawd awful wake-the-dead noise because I normally open a can only when I’m in the middle of some kind of complicated messy food prep. Like making tuna salad sandwiches. Trust me, I can make that complicated and messy.  So my point is, the thing gets dirty. And although I always have good intentions of cleaning it up in a timely fashion, the task does get overlooked.  Until it’s so disgusting I can’t do that anymore.

Yesterday afternoon I realized a soapy wipe was not going to be good enough this time around, so I armed myself with a pointy paring knife, dish soap, an old tooth brush, and super hot water from the sink sprayer, thinking if water somehow gets into the motor and ruins it, well it is old and cheap and who cares unless I electrocute myself later.

As I was scrubbing away and cursing the man who designed this impossible to clean piece of crap (it’s always a mans fault when something is hard to keep clean, have you ever noticed that?) the silver handle popped off and clattered into the sink.  And suddenly it was super easy to wash, and the little wheel was now exposed and clean in no time.  Seriously. And it all popped back together again.

It was one of those eureka moments.  The piece comes off so you can throw it in the dishwasher.  The guy who designed it (probably a woman) was not such a moron after all.  This is the second time I’ve been dumbfounded in the kitchen this month.  (Contrary to popular opinion, this does not happen on a daily basis.)  My son unscrewed the top from my immersion blender so it’s easier to clean the blade half.  I did not know it was meant to come apart.  Well, now I know two new things.  I wonder what other totally obvious things I’m missing.

This is why life for some people is a continuing exciting adventure of discovery.  In which a small thing like getting your can opener cleaned up can be the highlight of your day.

Okay, so this wasn’t really a caper, and also not particularly mysterious.  It’s about a kitchen utensil, so I don’t know what you were expecting.  I did hint at death by can opener, and that was pretty exciting, right?  And the story is free.  So we’re all good.

Happy last day of April.  Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine.

Breakfast Soup

It is perfectly fine to have soup for breakfast.  I am the (self-appointed) soup queen and I know these things.  Here is a picture of my butternut squash soup all ready to be pressure cooked.

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Here’s the list of ingredients:

One small chopped yellow onion, minced garlic, fresh minced ginger sautéed in olive oil;  one butternut squash, 2 carrots, 2 apples, 2 little old shrivelled up turnips you need to get rid of (optional), cinnamon, vegetable seasoning, about 4 cups vegetable broth, salt and pepper.

The reason I have listed these first is because usually you can tell from the ingredients whether you have a chance in hell of liking the results, and there is nothing more annoying than scrolling down a page chock full of photos of every conceivable step in the process until finally there’s a bar at the bottom that says click here to go directly to recipe.  Wow.  Too late, I hate you.

I know what a potato looks like before and after it’s peeled and chopped.  There is really no reason for you to chronicle its demise, thanks anyway.  The way to stay sane while researching a recipe is to click the link, copy the URL and then open up your Paprika ap.  There you download, save and create.  Poof, done.  Minimum amounts of grief and cursing.

My Instant Pot category on Paprika is growing daily with recipes I want to try.  There’s a lot of prep work involved and usually a big mess of peelings and seeds and cups and bowls before getting to the Instant part.  Some degree of kitchen chaos is normal for me no matter what I’m making, but with the Instant Pot,  how fast things cook and how tasty everything turns out is SO worth it.  Normally I would never attempt to prepare soup for breakfast but the instant pot makes it possible.  Also a touch of eccentricity helps.  Why does breakfast have to be all eggy and boring, hey?  Ever asked yourself that?  Me neither until just now.

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Voilà, the end result after 9 minutes on manual, normal pressure release for 25 minutes because I was doing something else and forgot about it (10 or 15 minutes is probably fine), quick pressure release and then everything smushed up with an immersion  blender.  I did some swirly things on the top so you can see how lovely and thick it is, and added some freshly ground pepper.  Because people are always adding stuff to the top of soup and that’s all I’ve got.  I suppose I could dig out some parsley, but come on, parsley for breakfast?  I don’t think so.  It’s important to draw the line somewhere.

I’m not a big fan of squash but this is delicious.

Vintage Me

IMG_3264There are times when my memory gets jogged but for the life of me I cannot reconstruct the details.

My sister noticed this newspaper photo on our vintage hometown Facebook page.  Yes, I am officially one of the vintage people now I guess!  The article mentioned “centennial year”‘ so clue number one, it’s 1967.  This morning I rummaged around until I unearthed my five high school yearbooks.  I knew there had to be an excellent reason for hanging on to them all these years.  Leafing through the 1967 edition in an attempt to put names to these faces, this turned up.

filename-1Centennial year must have been a popular time for not listing identities of grade twelve students who went on bus trips.  I recognize myself, back row, third from the left.  I can name a dozen more.  Batting 500 so far.  But here’s the mysteries.

If thirty-four students attended, where (and who) are the other eleven?  Bathroom breaks?  Lost?  Smoking behind the bus?

Why was looking at furniture considered educational?  Maybe it was, but who made that decision? And thrust it upon us?

Did we voluntarily agree to this excursion? Seventeen and eighteen year olds in 1967 be like hey, let’s hop a bus to TO and check out carpeting and new age dining room sets.  Yeah!  I don’t know. And on a Saturday too.  Very curious.

Was that thing I’m wearing a precursor to my furry grey winter coat that a few years later W would say resembled a dirty polar bear?  Like he had seen a great number of dirty polar bears in his lifetime up to that point?   It’s not a very flattering look, but then when you consider everyone else is wearing similar versions of the same boxy big collared giant buttons style, I guess in respect to small town centennial year Canadian winter fashion, I fit right in.

Did we dine at the Westminster Hotel, or the Town and Country Restaurant?  Or was the restaurant IN the hotel?  What did we eat?  I had a friend once who ordered lobster and then couldn’t figure out how to eat it and was too embarrassed to ask, so she shoved the whole thing in to her purse and took it home.  Like that would fool our waiter into thinking we were so sophisticated.   But I’m pretty sure that happened on a different trip altogether.

I don’t think any of us furniture voyeurs went on to become famous designers, but many of us made it to the vintage stage of life, Fifty One Years Later.  Sheesh.  That’s either remarkable or depressing, I can’t decide which.

So many details about this trip elude me completely.  My brain is no longer able to recall the things that happened or the things we saw, or who I sat with on the bus or why not one of us is wearing a hat in January.

Chances are good that my mind registered very little of it all in the first place, having been known in high school for a lot of zoned out day dreaming. The little poem written about our 12B class includes the line …”while Linda is thinking of whom we can’t guess…”.  Understood to mean also “or of what or where or when or even why”. Mystery woman.  Or vacuum head.  Could go either way.

Sharing My World 79

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Share Your World – April 23, 2018

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Sick.  And very fat.  Assuming I go with my first choice which is chocolate lava cake with real whipped cream.  And the only reason I thought of that is because I saw an Instant Pot recipe for it on Facebook, source of all indispensable information.  Good thing I don’t have a cake pan insert.  Phew.

I also want to say coffee, but that’s not exactly a nutritious staple either, so my final answer is soup.  You can have a mad variety with that one.  I’ve always said I could live quite happily on soup alone forever.  Not sure if it’s true, but it’s a fun thing to say.

List at least five movies or books that cheer you up.

It’s a rare thing for me to watch the same movie twice, but I did it with Bridesmaids.  Twice in a movie theatre and at least twice on Netflix after that.  If that one doesn’t make you laugh out loud more than once then I’m thinking you might need more help than a movie can give you to cheer yourself up.

I also can’t think of any book I’ve picked up to re-read in an attempt to improve my mood.  So I guess I’ll take a fail on this question.

Something I do like to watch though is multiple seasons of tv shows, because that’s like a book or movie that never freaking ends and can keep me up until ungodly hours in the interests of finding out what the heck god forsaken thing happens next.  And although I profess to prefer comedies, I watch a LOT of crime shows.  They’re not all that cheery normally, unless they’re badly done and then they’re hilarious and obviously listed in the wrong category.

If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing?

Not much.  So little in fact,  I would not be surprised if the mouse rather quickly passed out from boredom, or left altogether in search of a more stimulating environment.    W watches stuff on his computer.  I watch stuff on my IPad.  We yawn a lot.  We go to bed.  For a bit of excitement we might discuss the weather if it’s being its normal shitty self.  But that just puts us in a bad mood so mostly we skip it. Or he goes on and on about it and I don’t listen.  Yeah that sounds more like it.  Important to get this boring shit right.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

There was a question a week or two ago – Been anywhere recently for the first time? – and I’m going to answer it now because I actually did leave my house for an extended period of time.  We are talking hours.  Holy.   Imagine living here for so many years without ever visiting these two places –

Muttart Conservatory and the Art Gallery of Alberta.  I greatly appreciate Son and Daughter-in-law and grandkids who took me to see these places because they were both lovely.  Kind of makes me wonder what else there is that I haven’t been paying attention to in this city.

Then of course there’s my new books which I’ve mentioned already, pictured above.  I had to scrounge up a bedside lamp to start reading ( in bed, my favourite place to read), having forgotten that real books don’t light up in the dark.

Hope your world is also filled with wondrously magical things worth sharing. Oh, did I say “also”?  Okay I did, so I must have meant to, right?  Right.  More equally thrilling stuff to come I have no doubt.  Even though you might.

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Something About Some Things

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Yay for The Daily Post!  And yay for the word “vague” and Savage Chickens being vague.  I don’t know why all of that is inspiring for me today.  I suppose I could dream up some vague reasons, but why, right?  It’s  got me writing.  Good enough.

I had it pointed out to me that my last post was in December.  Well it’s kinda been January ever since, but finally (Finally!) I think the snow is giving up and going away.

So here’s a few things I’ve been up to in this hundred and some days-long month from Hades.

  1.  Crocheting.  It all started with my sudden desire for an old lady shawl.  So I made one.  It looks like half of a giant doily and is not particularly warm.  My attempt at making a “shrug” was somewhat more successful but it was big and bulky and annoying to wear so eventually I took the seams apart and did a border and turned it into a blanket.  I have it on my lap as we speak.  And then the slippers began.  I don’t know if I’m up to fifty pair, but it must be close.  I guess you could call it an experiment gone out of control, but I do love messing about with patterns and sizes and different yarns, and my vague goal at this point is for my immediate family to have slippers for life.  They’ve all been very nice about it so far.  Even W has been wearing shoe box size monstrosities and professing to love how warm they are.  Now I’m working on the last sleeve of a rather interesting sweater and that’s maybe all you need to know about that.
  2. Shopping the yarn sales at Michaels.  Sometimes two and three days a week using coupons and vouchers and going to the checkout getting the same unlucky lady almost every time, who would probably like to ask me WTF I’m doing with all these random colours bought in fits and starts but is too polite to ask.  Or more likely she’s seen it all before and does not even care.
  3. Instant Potting!  Thanks to my son who brought his Instant Pot when they all came for a visit at Spring Break.  My mother was not a fan of pressure cooking and instilled in me a healthy fear of blowing up the kitchen with one of those things.  But a week of watching K use his (and eating all the delicious stuff you can make in it) was enough for me to find the courage to buy one.  I’ve been using it almost every day since.  Yay for more experimenting!  But, you know, on the cautious side.  I sit in another room while it’s working because if it blows I don’t want to go with it.  Childhood fears are really hard to shake.  But the soups are to die for.  Well, not literally.

The sun is shining, the temperature is almost balmy, and it’s getting harder by the day to justify my reluctance to get the hell out of my house and go for a walk.  Ice on the sidewalks has been a powerful deterrent.  Probably wouldn’t be able to find any now.  But I also have a ton of reading to do, many free e-books and three new actual real books from Chapters that I’m saving and savouring and slavering over.  Well that sounds vaguely disgusting.  I don’t even care if they were bad choices and are stupid stories, they are REAL BOOKS.  Yay for real books.

So, am I back to blogging?  Who knows.  Hope so.  Seems possible.  Time will tell. I love being vague.  Kind of the story of my life.  Or not. I don’t know.