Comrades in Classes

A couple of years ago I was enjoying belonging to the most fun gym ever! Since they took things in a different direction I have been wandering aimlessly trying to find the fun again. While I am not there yet I do feel like it’s getting better. I have to face facts, nothing will ever be as much fun as Just Results.  Unlike most gyms where everyone pretty much does there own thing without even a “Hey there”, Just Results was a family.  We laughed and cheered and clapped and yelled and moaned and groaned together. We lifted each other! (literally and figuratively). If someone was struggling to push the sled, we would wait for you. If someone dropped a weight ball, we would pick it up and hand it right back to you, because you were going to DO THE WORK like it or not. When we heard the “Sally Song” come over the speakers EVERYONE would groan in unison because we all knew that meant Wall Squats! UGH!

Now that I have landed at a gym not far from home I am doing my best to find that camaraderie, that fun. I realize it won’t happen in the pool, that is a solitary event. It also won’t happen in the cardio room where everyone is wrapped in the cocoon of their own machine, be it treadmill, elliptical, or what have you. I thought about signing on with one of the personal trainers and I still may. I have been watching them periodically while I workout and so far they all seem to remain individually bland. My hope is that I may stumble into a group, that could be cool.

I have deduced that what I need to focus on if I want to find the fun are the group classes. I have been spinning my way through those different classes and instructors searching for that right fit. An instructor can really make or break a class.  I took one class where the instructor would have been better suited to teach yoga. She had NO energy! I think she was trying to portray a calming presence but it was brutal, I could not take my eyes off the clock. Doesn’t it figure the 5:30 am class has a good instructor, the only problem is I have to set my alarm for 4:30am which is just so darn early, even for this bird. Now the Sunday morning class is really good!  There is a good mix of people, 50/50 men and women. They all chat and exchange ideas. The woman on the bike next to me this morning was singing with the music, Yes!  ENERGY!!! In addition to the group dynamic, we rode through a bunch of different exercises, some I had never tried before, it was great! I will definitely continue with this class as well as the 5:30am class one day a week….I can do one day a week…yes I can!

There is another class offered at my gym called “Group Fight”.  The write-up makes it sound really intense which has me wary.  I have been trying to sneak peeks through the glass when it has been happening.  I think I have enough intel now and I am going to plan on jumping in this week….there I said it now I have to do it!

Hey, have you ever done this? Plank with the stopwatch turned over so that you can’t see it.  Just hold that plank for as long as you can.  When you finally crash down check your time, you may surprise yourself!  I typically just hold a plank for one minute.  For some reason the other day I flipped over my phone and this happened!

 

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Don’t Peek, that’s cheating!

Here is one of my guilty pleasures.

 

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Don’t judge!

It’s true, I buy my eggs already hard boiled.  It is just so handy to have them all ready for whenever I want them.  Sometimes I grab one or two before that EARLY spinning class.  I don’t want to go on an empty stomach and these offer such good protein. I also use them to make Egg and Avocado salad.  You heard me.

 

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It may not look pretty but it tastes oh so good!

I chop up six eggs to one avocado.  Then I simply add about a tablespoon of mayo and one to two tablespoons of mustard, whatever you like. You can also add pepper but try to stay away from the salt. YUM!

Speaking of Yum, have you ever sautéed tomatoes? I like to chuck a handful in with my green beans just to warm them a little.  Try it, go, now, try it.

 

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Just a dash of pepper and your good to go!

 

Spring has officially begun here in New England.

 

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Before you know it, it will be Summer….probably next week!
  • Do you prefer to work-out alone or with someone? Or in a group?
  • Any quick and easy food/meal ideas? Please share 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Be Smart, Be Safe

I recently changed gyms. You may recall that I was less than enthusiastic about the gym that I had chosen after the one I belonged to for years changed hands. Once I realized that months (plural) had passed between visits I decided it was time to make a change!  I concluded that I should just bite the bullet and shell out a little more mullah for a better facility. You get what you pay for right? Now I have the luxury of a gym with a pool…Yay!

Anytime you join a gym you will most likely receive a couple of complimentary sessions with a personal trainer. Last week I had my second session working with the very nice man who was trying to kill me.

Trainer

I had actually worked with this dude a couple of years ago so it was in reality my fourth session with him. The dude is the senior trainer at the facility, Score! We spent time discussing technique and proper form. One thing that I have going for me is that I can interpret directions into actions. “Place your feet like such, pivot at the waist, lift your back heel slightly, turn your shoulders forward, square your hips, etc, etc, etc….” I can do that!

Near the end of the session the dude looked away briefly then very quietly said, “Look in the mirror, do you see what’s going on in the back of the room? That’s scary stuff!”. It was scary! I watched as a young, new trainer stood by as his client, a man a little older than me I imagine, swung a heavy kettle bell over his head, back and forth with no stopping, YIKES!

 

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These bells do not ring!

The client was obviously losing balance and trying to correct his stance while continuing to swing the bell. Folks, this is not safe! If you are not in complete control of what you are doing then you are risking injury! In this scenario it was the young trainer who was risking injury not only to his client but also to himself, the mirrors, the windows, and anyone within a ten foot radius. Guys, if it doesn’t feel safe then it probably isn’t.  Challenge your trainer and ASK!  You are trying to improve your health not risk it, be careful!  If you are not confident with your trainer then switch, you are responsible for you! Okay, hopping off my soapbox now.

I went to the Dentist this week and got an A+ whoo hoo!

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I save these for travel.

My dentist recently changed from Oral B brand to Colgate, this makes me sad. The Colgate brush feels like it is falling apart when I brush. Now I go buy my own Oral B brush and save the Colgate for when I travel.

Yesterday when I pulled the mail out of the box the flag fell apart and hit the ground!

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Couldn’t have picked a warm sunny day to mess with me?!

Naturally it was raining at the time.  No worries, I was able to rebuild.

I am currently working on this puzzle.

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I know, the excitement level is off the charts!

Am I the only person left who still enjoys a good jigsaw puzzle?  You never hear anyone talk about them. I like the 1000 piece puzzles, that’s my jam! Of course when I spread everything out on the dining table I wasn’t thinking about Easter. We don’t really celebrate but it was a good excuse to get everyone together. Fortunately we managed to balance our meals on our knees so no pieces were harmed!

  • Jigsaw Puzzles? Yay or Nay?
  • What is your toothbrush preference?

 

 

 

St. Kitts

Every now and then someone will ask me “What is your favorite port?” Until this year I have always answered, “Haiti, St. Croix and St. Lucia”. I guess I have a top three….except, now I have a top FOUR! I have added St. Kitts to the list of favorites.

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Dinner bell?  Nope

We parked the ship in port and wove through the maze of Tour guides looking for their charges for the day.  Our guide was a tall Island Native wearing rainbow sunglasses named “Zulu”.  Our destination was twofold. The Caribelle Batik house and also the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.

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Caribelle Batik

 

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Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, view from the top.

We began our journey driving through St. Kitts while Zulu told us about his homeland.  I have decided that in the future I really need to bring a notebook for these adventures!  I apologize that I cannot remember what all of these buildings are, shame on me.

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Those are called “Travelers’ Palms” because they grow east to west.

 

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Coca Cola anyone?

 

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“Her Majesty’s Prison”

 

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This tree is over 200 years old!

 

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Goats are let out in the morning to roam the island and they come home at night.

 

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Monkey’s by the side of the road.

I felt bad for those Monkeys, it doesn’t seem like a happy existence.

After about 45 minutes we started heading UP UP UP to the fortress.

Brimstone Hill Fortress

The Fortress was designed by British Army Engineers and constructed by African Slave workers.  In 1690 in an effort to recapture Fort Charles from the French Occupation on the coast the first Canons were mounted by the British.

 

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YIKES!

Although the clouds were threatening the desire to climb to the top was strong. We made our way up the long ramp/steps to the gun deck.

 

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The view from the top was worth the climb!

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I couldn’t help thinking “Game of Thrones?”

Some more from the top.

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That’s our bus!

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There was another even higher level about six or eight steps up. I made it to the top step when a big gust of wind blew and I chickened out and went back down.

 

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How’s my hair?

That Wind!  All week!!  In addition, it started to rain while we were at the top so I headed back toward the bus. Once we were all back onboard we took off down the hill toward the Caribelle Batik House. Christine climbed into the co-pilot’s seat and quickly discovered that the narrow mountain roads made for a nail biter of a ride.

 

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Hang on Chris! Zulu is in control!

 

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Going down!

The ride to and from the fortress took us past a HUGE lime kiln.

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We also drove past the limestone outcropping.

 

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Limestone

Then we were off to the Batik House.

Caribelle Batik

On our way we passed a beautiful tree FILLED with Egrets but sadly I was not in a good position to take a decent picture.

Caribelle Batik is a short ride from the Fortess in the forested hills.  We saw remnants of sugarcane crops and many beautiful trees and plants.

 

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Chicken!

 

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Forest

When we arrived we wandered the grounds a little before heading inside for a short demonstration on how Batik is made.

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Making Batik

In a nutshell, Batik is all about waxing the material. First, wax the parts that will be left white and then dye the entire fabric the lightest color of the design.  The next day after the fabric has dried wax the part that is to remain the lightest color and dye the entire fabric the next shade darker and so on.  If your design has five colors it will take five days to dye. Once the dying is complete scrape off most of the wax for reuse and boil off the rest.

 

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This piece took five days.

 

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Drying in the wind.

We popped out on the other side of the building and enjoyed some more of the landscape.

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Then it was back to port. There was so much to see on the Island of St. Kitts, if you haven’t been you should go, take notes!

  • Have you been to St. Kitts?
  • Favorite port(s)?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruise 2017

Wheels down, let the vacation begin! We landed in Ft. Lauderdale on a breezy Friday morning where we would meet the rest of our “Cruise Peeps” to embark on our latest adventure. Who knew ‘breezy’ would turn into ‘WINDY’ and plague us for the better part of our trip?

Saturday morning was the traditional breakfast at the hotel followed by the bustle of dragging luggage on and off transports until handing it over to the porter at the Cruise port.

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View at Breakfast

After checking in and a SHORT wait we were able to board the “Freedom of the Seas” . This is the ship that we would call home for the next week.

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One of the largest ships in the fleet.

As we pulled out of port the captain made his embarkation announcement and advised that we were going to have ‘moderate to heavy seas’ that evening (3-8 foot swells) and ‘heavy seas’ (8-12 feet) overnight and the next day.  I didn’t think much of it because as large as these ships are you really don’t feel the rocking of the ocean.

Later that evening Christine and I were walking down the hallway on deck ten and couldn’t stop laughing because we kept crashing into the walls on either side.  Okay, so you can feel the rocking a little bit.

The following day was a Sea day which we typically spend on deck by the pool.  Unfortunately it was very windy out with some light rain.  We were also still in heavy seas which had the water slopping out of the pools. Instead we found our entertainment indoors. We took in a movie in the theater and Dana, Bill and I worked on getting Christine’s necklaces untangled.

 

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That’s some fancy knitting!

Bill finally managed to free those little buggers! Then it was time for lunch so off to JOHNNY ROCKETS!

 

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Singin ‘Johnny B Good’

Have you been to Johnny Rockets? It is fun, the wait staff lines up and sings and dances.

The next day we were due in Labadee, Haiti and had some big plans. Sadly we had to bypass the port. The captain announced that due to the now ‘rough seas’ (12 – 18 foot swells) the pier was mostly under water and the waves would make for an unsafe docking. So we had another sea day that we spent mostly indoors.  We were starting to feel a little down. We are troopers though so we made the best of it. The evening shows alone are worth the trip! Imagine ice skating on a moving ship in rough seas! Now put yourself in a hamster wheel on that ice and roll all over the rink!

Or maybe you could perform a cirque de soleil style act instead, really, these guys were phenomenal!

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Just getting warmed up!

On our third day we were finally able to dock. We were in Old San Juan for the day.  We had a tour of the forte planned for later in the afternoon but we all decided to wander around a little bit before lunch as well.

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Sort of wishing I had tried this coffee.
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Old San Juan

 

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Random lady covered in Parrots!

 

 

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As seen from the ship.

As we were heading back to the ship for lunch it started to rain a little.  I had not packed any rain gear and even forgot my hat! What the heck kind of sailor am I to not pack any rain gear?!?! (Hangs head in shame)

We left to meet our tour group and immediately encountered a steady rain. I decided that I was not going to enjoy a hike up the hill in this weather and bailed. I have already added rain gear to my packing list for next year!

The following day was St Maarten where I had already planned to stay onboard.  I always take one of our port days to myself and stay onboard. It is very relaxing to have the pool and hot tub to myself for a few hours.

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These parrots are not real.
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St Maarten port
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Not a pirate ship

This was the turning point in the weather. We finally started to see some sun and the winds lessened a bit. Looking forward to St. Kitts tomorrow!!  I will write more about St. Kitts in another post, it was such fun and deserves it own post.

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St. Kitts!

Yes, we did get caught in that raincloud but honestly didn’t care!

We finished off our trip with two more sea days where we were finally able to relax by the pool together. Dana and I went to the Mexican restaurant onboard called Sabor where we watched a demonstration of how to make guacamole and also margaritas.

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Two please!

They served all of the above (including three different margaritas) with our lunch.

Later that day was the DreamWorks parade in the Royal Promenade.  I love this parade! It starts out with just one stilt walker and ends up with EVERYONE on their feet moving to the music!

I high fived the Lion, I’m cool like that, no big deal.

Our seventh cruise together was not one of our best but at the end of the day we simply enjoy being together. The weather made it a little bit difficult and like all close families there was some bickering. That said, we are a tight unit who truly enjoy these annual trips. We have already booked next year and cannot wait to spend another week exploring the Caribbean together!

  • Any raingear recommendations?
  • Do you cruise? What is your favorite port?

Winter Fun

There have been a bunch of Birthdays Happening around here lately, mine included. Peter turned ?!?!?! and there was fire!

 

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Let’s pretend Peter is actually in this picture! Fun right?!

You guys remember Peter, he is a good friend and our Awesome Travel Agent! There was a super fun celebration at a local Hibachi Grill.  I love Hibachi!

I turned another year older, (chronologically at least) and there were bananas!

 

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They don’t call me ‘Annie Bananie’ for nothing!

A while back I mentioned to Dana that I had never been to “Stew Leonard’s” a fancy and FUN local grocery store. She made it her mission to get me there!  Dana, Peter, Chris, J-Dawg and I made the short trip on my birthday and had a blast grocery shopping! Really fun!

I helped Hannybell celebrate her day of birth with cheese and coffee.

 

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I do what I can!

DOM’s Coffee House is like our own local ‘Central Perk’.  There was also pastry involved…it happened!

I am still chasing J-Dawg down to celebrate her Birthday!

 

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She is elusive!

Derek turned the big 30!!  THAT was a celebration!

 

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How do you choose??!!!!

Derek works SO hard and we don’t get to see him often.  It was great to sit and visit with him for a while. Because our Birthdays are only a couple of weeks apart there are usually a lot of cupcakes running around this time of year!  We can handle it!

There are a few more Birthday’s in the near future, but then again, I suppose there always are!

The Fitness Front:

Honestly, I’ve got nothing new going on, or even anything old going on. I am in my usual Winter limbo.  The most I have done over the past couple of months is take a bunch of long walks.  Don’t worry…don’t worry…I plan to get back at it in March!  I may even sign up for a race or two!  I am feeling really good right now and would like to run in something official this year.  I will keep you posted!

The bunnies have been getting busy with their Easter plans.  They have spreadsheets and travel logs strewn all over the place!

 

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Always thinking, always planning.
  • How do you like to celebrate your Birthday?
  • Spring race plans?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catching Up

Remember that blog that I used to write?  I pretty much stopped writing it because, well, I guess I felt like ‘who really cares what I have to say?’  I am not a professional runner or trainer by ANY stretch of the imagination, it is simply something that I enjoy and have a little bit of experience doing. Many of you have asked me to start writing again so I guess you are interested, and I truly appreciate that!

My plan is to try to give you one or two posts a month (maybe more). Some posts may not have anything to do with running or fitness and others will. Cool?

Let’s catch up!

The Fitness Front:

I changed gyms. It’s true and I am not thrilled about it believe me!  I had been going to Lori and Sue’s gym for years but between some changes that they had to make and some that I had to make it was no longer convenient.  I am not going to share the name of the gym that I am currently using because frankly, I am not crazy about it.  I do however enjoy the ‘Bodypump’ classes that they offer and I love being able to workout with my buddy Nancy!

I had stopped running for a while because I was battling allergy induced asthma.  I won the battle and am back on track!

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“Hey There!”

How do you feel about layers?  There is such a fine line to having the right amount that will keep you warm and not so many that you start to overheat. I think I was right on the money today!  The temps were in the low 30’s so I went with a thick tech sweatshirt and running vest along with both a hat and gloves.  I don’t really like wearing hats or gloves but some days require them. The rule of thumb is to dress as though it were ten degrees warmer than it is.  I ran a little over two miles with zero breathing issues Yay!

I hope to enter a couple of races this year.  I have not run a race in over a year and I sort of miss it.  Just to be clear, the only person I am racing is myself!

As I mentioned above I have been taking ‘bodypump’ classes.  If you are not familiar ‘bodypump’ is a weight lifting class set to music.  Nope, not dancing around the room with weights on our shoulders, get that image out of your head. The music is there mostly to keep the tempo of the lifts and time the sections ie; legs, arms, back, etc.  I have been wanting to build my upper body strength for a while now and this class does the trick.  I am still using relatively lite weights but I have seen improvement.

I have also managed to make it through a few ‘Zumba’ classes without hurting myself or anyone around me.  ‘Zumba’ is nuts!!

In Other New:

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Phoenix for business.

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Cacti

I had never been to the desert before so this was an interesting trip for me. It is very brown. I saw a lot of lovely conference rooms!  Really though, the resort that we stayed at was beautiful!

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Lazy River

The food and banquet facilities were equally wonderful.

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Thirsty?

This was the first time I had ever seen cacti in their natural habitat!

Although I have seen palm trees on many occasions, these were pretty impressive.

We finished up the week with “Western Night”.  We all donned our plaid flannel shirts and jeans and sat down to eat some tacos!  It really was a fun night watching a bunch of Insurance Geeks learn to rope and such!

 

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For tonight’s theme….PLAID!

All in all it was a fun yet busy week. I got to know some of my co-workers a little bit better and was able to put faces with names.  The best part is always hanging out with my buddies who just make me laugh all day long!

The bunnies are all well, here is Felix watching tv with us one night.

 

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Snuggle Bunny

 

There you have it!  That is the teeny tiny nutshell of what I have been up to.

  • What’s new with you?
  • Have you been to the Desert? 

Thanks for dropping by!

 

 

 

 

Beatrix

What do you listen to (if anything) while you work out? Like many, I prefer happy up beat music when I run down the sidewalk.  Occasionally a comedian pops in which is a nice break but I can’t take listening to comedy for my entire run.  Why are people laughing when I am working so hard?!  Lately I have been favoring podcasts while on the treadmill.  Let’s face it, treadmill’s are just boring so something a little headier than the top 40 helps to pass the time.  I became a history buff as an adult and was delighted to discover two history based podcasts.   One is called “History Goes Bump” which is fun and interesting in a slightly twisted sort of way, topics include haunted lighthouses and the like.  The only problem is “History Goes Bump” is difficult for me to hear….I need a better Bluetooth speaker.  My favorite podcast is “The History Chicks”.  I find their choice of topics a little bit off-center from the norm which is right up my alley.  For instance, they are not repeating everything that we learned and subsequently have forgotten from our High School History classes.  (A deep apology to all of my high school history profs!!)  Instead they talk about the likes of, Mary Todd Lincoln and Madame Curie.  Recently the topic was author Beatrix Potter!  Are you kidding?!!  Beatrix was my very first favorite author!  I spent hours and hours and hours  listening to my Mom read me the stories of Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and the rest.  Ultimately I learned to read myself and spent too many nights reading the Beatrix Potter stories way past my bedtime.

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Beatrix Potter and “Kep” (Courtesy the National Trust)

I have always appreciated the ability to disappear into a story, become part of it in my own way. While tromping along on the treadmill one particularly drizzly day I realized that it was Beatrix who played a huge role in that!  She had a knack for making those furry little creatures come to life.  I learned that she studied her pets closely and learned their patterns, personalities and idiosyncrasies .  She also studied their physical make-up but I won’t go into that, it’s disturbing.  Moving on!  Thank you Beatrix (and Mom) for feeding my love of reading, learning and enjoying a world outside of my own!  Thank you for creating and allowing me to live in a world beyond my own vision and to cherish those stories.

 

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Peter Rabbit

As much as I try to avoid treadmill workouts, these new (to me) podcasts are making me almost (ALMOST) wish for the cold winter days that put me on the mill.

Randoms:

Autumn is Falling upon New England and with that, Halloween.  Halloween has never been an especially fun Holiday for me, even as a kid.  However I AM a fan of Sugar Skulls!

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Sugary Sugar Skull, Score!

After indulging in a very necessary cookie one recent afternoon I came home to find that my new running gloves had arrived!

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These will make me run very fast!

Why am I so enamored with Sugar Skulls?  The best explanation that I have is ……just because.

Speaking of indulgences, a certain local chocolate store is celebrating their 70th anniversary!

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Soooooooooo gooooood!

I spent five years behind the counter at Munson’s as a young adult.  Congratulations guys!!

A little extra exercise was necessary after all of these treats recently.  Some of my co-workers and I travelled downtown and raised some walls for Habitat for Humanity.

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“On Three…”

Six hours of pounding nails in the blazing sun equals a healthy exhaustion.  We were the first crew on the project and managed to erect two of these walls.  When all is said and done there will be six more homes which will mimic those in the background.  This organization does some really amazing work with some really amazing people.  If you have the opportunity to take part in a build, do it, you won’t regret it!  Just be prepared for HARD WORK!

  • What do you listen to, any podcast recommendations?
  • Sugar Skulls, yea or nay?
  • Have you ever been on a Habitat for Humanity project?

Thanks for visiting, enjoy your day!