Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back in shape, blah, blah, blah...

I've worked out in the gym a couple of times in the week since renewing membership there. I started with ten minutes on the stationary bike both times, then continued to the circuit machines, in reps of five, various times (depending on the machine); I always do the complete circuit, which takes 30 minutes max, and I'm not rushing (and try to gently stretch in between sets, and definitely when moving from one machine to another). I lift the weights somewhat more slowly than most gym rats, in order to truly resist gravity (after all, isn't it referred to as resistance training?), but not so slowly as to become like torture (though truly slow weight lifting may be the most effective routine). This modest regime works for me, as I have no real aches two days later, although I certainly felt my muscles while working the circuit.

* * *
Of course, the continuing drama about the overpaid, arrogant, and possibly mentally unstable "member" of the 'skins, Fat Albert Haynesworth, makes my blood boil. In a time of high unemployment and recession, this person could not be bothered to make the effort to work out once in a while, and repeately failed to turn up to training camp. Haynesworth now says he has a condition, rhabdomyolysis, that makes him unable to participate fully in training. According to the rhabdomyolysis entry in the online Sports Injury Bulletin, athletes most at risk for rhabdomyolysis are: "Out-of-shape athletes who begin training seriously in the summer are thus at particular risk; their lack of fitness places more stress on their muscles, and their lack of acclimatisation to the heat raises the risks of heat stress and dehydration." Effectively, if he worked out in the off-season and attended training camp, he might not be suffering from this. Folks are saying that he should be traded, but what team wants his lazy, uncooperative behind?

No, spoiled athletes are not whom I admire--my role model in physical fitness is this shining senior, Ernestine Shepherd:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday funny...on the importance of eating your vegetables

Your mother told you to eat your veggies, scientists are telling you to get 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day, and now even canines are getting in on the act, as this little fella is letting his people know just how important cabbage is in the diet...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sense in the summer...

Finally returned to the community center to renew my (lapsed) three-month gym membership, and noticed the following on the side of the center, its small youth garden in full bloom:

beanstalk reaching for the sky Beanstalk reaching for the sky

grape tomatoes seriously leaning Grape tomatoes doing a Jackie Gleason impression

dwarf sunflowers Dwarf sunflowers

sage Sage

green peppers and marigolds Marigolds and green peppers

thyme bush Thyme (one of the three types there)

flowers amassed Name these flowers!

anise hyssop in bloom Anise hyssop in bloom

At least the community center (which is next door to an elementary school) had the good sense to keep a garden, unlike Bancroft Elementary in DC, which demolished its garden (which Michelle Obama helped the school revive). The little garden that could shows how much food can be grown in a small space; even most townhomes have this amount of space (if you count the front and back), and many of the herbs and tomatoes can be grown in containers. If I could only rip out the entire monster juniper the developer put in front!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Speedy summer supper: succotash

succotash in cast iron skilletNothing says summer like tomatoes and corn! A quick, tasty way to combine them is to make a succotash, which also traditionally includes lima beans, and is a light, but filling summer meal, especially nice served over rice.

Succotash (serves 4)

2 ears corn
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
half a large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup (thawed) edamame or (cooked) lima beans
salt, pepper to taste (sometimes use Season All instead, or add dried thyme also)
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
2 cups hot cooked rice

Cut the corn kernels off their cobs, and set aside. In a large frypan (preferably cast iron), heat oil over medium heat (swirl oil around in the pan a bit). Add the onion, stir and cook a few seconds, then add the garlic and stir some more, about another minute. Add the cut corn and stir some more to cook another minute. Add the edamame or lima beans, add the seasonings, and stir again to cook a couple more minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir, and cover the pan to let cook another five or so minutes, until the skins are slightly falling off the tomatoes and the mixture is thickened.

Serve over hot cooked rice and enjoy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday funny...

The importance of water safety for both people and dogs, demonstrated the fun way by Cooper the corgi...

(This video also emphasizes the importance of exercise, for the participants and the viewer, who can get aerobic exercise from all the laughing.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not for kids only, part 3 (back to school and other August sales)

It's that time of the year, when we're inundated with back to school sales ads, commercials, ad nauseum. Might as well take advantage of the situation, even if you don't have children. How so? Well, if you have a home office, like to do crafts, or volunteer with a community organization, or frankly just need to purchase something, this is the time to head to the store (mortar and brick and online), as many stores are now getting in on the act, like Costco and Staples, as well as the usual suspects.

For instance, last summer, the swivel chair I had in the den finally gave up the ghost, so it was time to find its replacement. As it happens, with all the back to school hoopla, I was able to find a cheap, decent chair. Actually, a few--a couple from Staples, and one from Target.

Of course, because college students must go fully equipped to college, just about anything conceivable is on sale at this time of year. So, Costco currently is having a such a sale, particularly for cell phones. As you might have guessed, Amazon couldn't be far behind, and it's participating in such a sale, too. (I was looking in its grocery section, and noticed such a promotion in the coffee area, presumably for college kids needing their caffeine fix. I'm sure it's having a back to school promotion in other parts of its site this month.)

I always have to make the pilgrimage this time of year to Staples, because office products that might be too pricey come down to earth, more or less. For instance, you get 100% back in rewards (rebate/discount) if you buy a ream or two of copy paper. The regular Staples copy paper is about $4.99; however, I buy the 100% recycled, which is normally $6.99. With rewards of 100%, I'll be getting a coupon for that amount (6.99) or more (since I recycle my ink cartridges, which automatically gets you $2 in rewards per cartridge[but it used to be $3--oh, the economy]). And other items are directly on sale, so paper clips, etc., anything that you might need, come and get it!

Now you too can be this excited, even if you don't have youngsters...