Thursday, October 10, 2013

Changing and Adapting and Enjoying the Process

There is no doubt that the seasons are changing – the leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air and the skies are grey.  It happens every year but it always seems to catch me by surprise.  However this predictable change is also quite comforting.  I know that cooler weather is coming, what I need to do to adapt to it and approximately how long it will last.

So, what does this have to do with fitness and wellness?  In a direct way, these changes bring challenges to our ability to take care of ourselves.  Parties, food, and the disruption in our routines all come with the fall and winter holidays.  But we know this is going to happen because it happens every year. Therefore we can plan for it, adapt our habits and enjoy the process knowing that these seasonal fitness challenges will end.

However, I want you to consider changing how you view this time of year.  Rather than focusing on filling it with food and libations, focus on filling it with laughter and friendship.  Rather than rushing from store to store for last minute items, take time for a walk outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature as she goes through her ritual.  Rather than feeling constantly overwhelmed, set your intention to enjoy the opportunity to celebrate holidays with your friends and loved ones.

Start planning now for the challenges ahead so that you can enjoy the present moment.  Be aware of your triggers.  Be kind to yourself. 

The point of fitness and wellness is to be able to enjoy your life.  Have fun.  Celebrate.  Jump in a pile of leaves.  Throw a football with your kids or grand kids.  Meet a good friend for a cup of coffee.  Make a healthy vegetable stew to keep you warm on a cool night. 

Because this time will pass and the season will change again.  Don’t worry, the best part is, you get to do it again next year. 

Be well

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Serenity and Change.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."

This prayer came into my head this morning.  And it got me thinking about how we all try to change ourselves and our bodies.  Increasingly as a society we have accepted surgical modification as a way to either preserve beauty or to enhance it.  But what are the things we can really change without the assistance of a medical professional?

I cannot change my height but I can change how tall I stand.
I cannot change the size of my feet but I can change how rooted they are to the ground.
I cannot change the color of my eyes but I can change what they see.
I cannot change the shape of my mouth but I can change the words the come out of it.
I cannot change the length of my fingers but I can change the frequency of their touch.
I cannot change the placement of my heart but I can change how I often I extend it to others.
I cannot change my IQ but I can grow my emotional intelligence.
I cannot change the fact that my body needs food as fuel but I can change the quality and quantity of the fuel and how frequently I refuel.

And a fun one:

I cannot change my LOVE of chocolate but I can change the frequency with which I eat it.

Be well.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Jamming on a Rainy Afternoon

I love jam.  And rhubarb. And Strawberries. 

Since Tropical Storm Andrea is sitting over New Jersey right now I decided to combine the last two to make the first one.  I had all the supplies on hand except pectin so I searched the web and found a recipe made without pectin.  You can find the original link here - I modified it a bit because I had 3 1/2 cups rhubarb and 2 1/2 cups strawberries.  But, I figured the ratio was 3 cups fruit to 2 cups sugar so I used 4 cups sugar total.  After 20 minutes of continuous boiling it was ready.  Perfection.  Setting up beautifully as I write.  Generally I don't process my jam for canning so this will just go in the fridge and most likely be gone in a month or so!

Make something sweet today and keep dry.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A little pink to start the day

The nice thing about people knowing of my obsession with pink is that loveliness like this occasionally shows up at my house. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Getting the Rush Again

Four years ago when I committed to getting in shape I would get these "rushes" of adrenaline about 45 minutes into an intense workout.  This is often termed a "runner's high."  It felt like this: a rush of heat, then cool then a complete sense of calm and relief.  Then I could go about another 15 or 20 minutes and then my body was finished.  I felt tired and energized all at once.  To describe the experience as awesome is an understatement.

Over time this euphoria occurred less and less.  A kettle bell workout was about the only thing that would trigger the high and even so it wasn't consistent.  I suppose the good news was that I was getting in better shape, the bad news was that I was missing my euphoric rush

On the other hand, I had a general sense of peace after every workout, everyday.  I assumed that I was no longer going to experience the rush because I was living the the benefit of regular physical activity.  My body had adapted.

Until yesterday.

I'll be honest, I've been working out but hardly as intensely as I probably could.  My exercises have been like brushing my teeth a few months after seeing the dentist - I still did it but probably not for as long as I should or with as much attention to detail.

Back to yesterday.

At the gym we have a new trainer who's a few years younger than I am and in much better shape.  A couple of weeks ago I showed her some core exercises for postpartum moms and she showed me a few good exercises for the shoulder and upper back.  We discussed working out together in the future.  I was both terrified and excited by the prospect of exercising with her.

So, we made a date to train.  I let her decide what we would do.  She showed me two workouts she had designed.  Both looked like the work of the devil.  

"Which one do you want to do?" she asked.

"You pick," I replied.  I did not want to be responsible for picking my own method of torture.  I felt a little sick already.

"Ok, we'll do this one," she said showing me a sheet with a mixture of cardio, core, and full body exercises.  ugh.

OMG, what had I done? 

To be honest, my fear was that either a) everyone would see in real time just how bad of shape I was in or b) my certification as a trainer would be proven fraudulent or worse, c) I would vomit on the floor of the weight room.

Fortunately, none of the above happened.  Though I had to modify a couple of the exercises for my knee and achy shoulder, I kept up and I completed the entire set of exercises.  Plus, about 30 minutes in, I got THE RUSH!  Just like old times: an all-over sweat, heat then coolness with a surge of both energy and peace.  

So, I think we'll do it again next week.

But I'm still letting her pick the workout.  

Want to give the workout a try?  Well, here you go....

100 jumping jacks -(I did 75)
12 high knee lifts with elbow - each leg
12 single leg box step ups - each leg
12 single leg dead lifts - each leg

Then, this is where the fun begins:

For 10 minutes, do the following without rest if possible - I took breaks for water. And I used an assisted pull up machine.  After 3 sets, I switched to dips which may explain why my triceps ache a bit today!
12 pull ups/chin ups
12 ball crunches

We're not finished yet!  For another 10 minutes:
12 pushed ups with pike - I did mine on an exercise ball.  After 24 I switched to regular push-ups.

But wait, there's more!

2 minute sprint on treadmill.  Rest 90 seconds.  Repeat 2 minute sprint.

Stretch.  Hydrate.  

Be well and have fun.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How do you caffeinate?

My husband and I are kind of coffee fanatics. In our house there are no fewer than 8 ways to make coffee. Depending on my mood and the beans available I  choose how best to make my brew. 

Large party: plug in percolator that makes about 30 cups dunkin donuts
Smaller gathering: kitchen aid drip with Starbucks pike roast
Sunday breakfast for two: Bodum French press (glass or stainless steel) using Small World Love Blend
Quick hit: nespresso pod
Longer hit: nespresso soy latte 
A bit more time: Stove top Moka with Illy coffee
Traveling: pour over with French roast
Feeling retro: Stovetop ceramic percolator  
In storage for my future mid-century weekend retreat: Francis Francis mint green espresso maker. 

Clearly we are not the only ones who are this obsessed!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Putting it all together

I recently celebrated 13 years of marriage to my husband, Mitch.  It got me thinking about the early days of our courtship and something I said to him after just a few months of dating.  But first let me back up a bit.

Before I met Mitch I felt like I could only share parts of myself with certain people.  My nursing colleagues got the feminist interested in women's health.  My radio friends got the quirky indie music lover. My knitting friends got the yarn-obsessed stitcher.  My groovy friends got the yoga and spirituality dabbler.  A few guys at the gym witnessed my dead lifts and bench presses.  Another group of guys helped me buy comic books.  And then there were my fellow cinemophiles, bibliophiles and fashion-followers.

And so one day I said to Mitch, "I don't make sense. I'm all these different parts.  I like to shop at Saks but I read comic books and wear pink Birkenstocks."

His response, "It all makes sense to me.  You're Marisa."

And that's how I knew I had met the love of my life.

But yet 16 years later I am doing the same thing.  I parse out different parts of me to different groups and in so doing I often feel fragmented.  Plus I was doing it here, in the blogosphere.  I had one blog for crafting, another for fitness/wellness and I was just about to create another for dilettantism.

And then I thought, why can't I just be all of this in one space?  Where I can be me, Marisa.

Obviously I can and this blog, my original one, is the perfect place for it.  Here I will explore multiple themes: Creating, Exploring, Growing, Parenting, Thinking.

There will no overall theme other than my own interests and reflexions on life. 

Come along with me and let's have some fun.  It's a new day.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

So many books. So little time.

I saw this today at Barnes and Noble. 

Holy smokes!  I remember a time when the entire needlework section was a couple of shelves. Now it goes on forever. Embroidery, knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, felting, tatting, smacking, ribbon work. Crazy. 

Honestly most of these books have similar projects. Lots of aprons, many hats and socks and the requisite baby bag. 

But they still overwhelm me. I wish I had more time to stitch and create. 

So for now, I will dream of creating. And enjoy every minute of it. 

Happy Stitching.