Random musings and activities of a 30 something mom, potential sprint triathlete, vegetarian, dog and cat owner, and a evolving urban homesteader just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us. If the blog seems random, it's because life is and hits us all at 100mph.
Monday, June 28, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Swimming : you just need to relax

Just a quick note, if you're tired of trying to remember to keep your head down, turn, breathe, kick less, kick more, etc. (all of which can be overwhelming to a new swimmer), I have a suggestion.

Don't think about it.  Seriously.

I was swimming laps yesterday at our community pool while my little one was discovering her newly found love of going off the diving board (first time!).  Luckily, the lap lane is next to the diving area, so I didn't miss much.  After all, I did catch the first dozen or so times.  But I digress...

While swimming a man I was sharing the lane with made a suggestion, relax.  Enjoy. (um, ok.)

He suggested either singing songs that don't require a lot of thought (such as Mary Had a Little Lamb) or coming up with games in my head, such as running through the alphabet.  For example, A is for Apple, B is for Bat, etc.  He says games like that require thought, and make you "think less" about swimming.

Seemed counter-intuitive.

I tried it.

Children Songs definitely pass the time a bit, but don't distract me too much from form.

Thinking games?  Maybe I need to wait until my form is a little more improved.  I definitely took on some water with that experiment.

What I learned:  I really do need to relax and while I'm not sure if my legs had less drag this workout, I went about 100 more yards than I normally do.  Win.

Conclusion?  Not sure if it worked, but I appreciated the advice and will tuck that nugget away for future use.
Friday, June 25, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Friday Book Recommendation 25 June 2010

Environmental hazards that are part of our everyday existence.  It's not everyday that I can tell you about a book the profoundly changed the way I look at what I buy and the environment (self-made) around me AND how you can buy that book for $5 and change.  I'm happy to be able to do that today (and frankly, bought 5 copies when I realized how cheap it was, hoarding for next Christmas season).

The Friday Recommend of the day is:

The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being

I realize that doesn't sound like a very exciting topic to most, but once you get into it, you'll be enthralled by what you learn.

Did you  know that the FDA does not test or check the submittals by chemical companies?  If the company submits XYZ is safe for your baby to lick, and can provide the reports to back it up, it is taken as truth.  That is, until someone gets sick or proves otherwise.

What do you know about what your family is being exposed to?

If you are worried about the rising rates of cancer, ADD, leukemia, autism, asthma, and other diseases, read this book.  Learn what the plastics we use in our baby bottle, the chemicals in our carpets, and other every day items do to us.

Do you think eating organic is worthless?  Then you should read the chapter on pesticides regulation in the US (or lack of).

Environmental hazards that are part of our everyday existence.  The question is, which ones can you control?

The book is full of documentation for you to follow up on and do your own research.  Baker's book traces the path of atrazine (a common pesticide), phthalates, flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), bisphenol-A, Teflon (perfluorinated chemicals) through their impact on humans and the environment, and through any relevant (though mostly absent) government regulation.

This book is also where I found the link to the website where I check the safety of my moisturizers, sunscreens, shampoos, and other personal care items: http://www.ewg.org/.  I certainly look at nail polish differently now.

In short, this book makes me angry and increases my resolve at the same time.  It reinforces the point of view, that as consumers, we really are at the mercy of corporations and it's up to us to make informed decisions the best we can. 

Each time I make a purchase, not only do I ask myself if it will end up in the goodwill donation box in the next 3 years, but also have started asking myself the impact on my house and my family if I buy this.

This bok is one of the reasons I bought a previous Friday review: Organic Housekeeping.  I felt I had to start with small steps with making the environment for my family better.  After all, what is the use of making my house organic dairy/organic produce, if I'm just going to introduce toxic chemicals when I clean up after dinner?  It all matters, and as the book points out, it's cumulative.

It's an eye opener.

It's definitely a "must read"

My Rules of Friday Recommendations.
1. I've read it (probably more than once)
2. I would loan it to you.
3.  I would then buy a copy in case you didn't return it because I loved it so much I want to keep a copy in my house.
4.  Even if you didn't return it, I would be happy to have blessed your home with its pages.
5.  I'm pretty sure you'll get something out of reading it too.
(rules subject to change weekly)
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PostHeaderIcon TI take 2. Day 1.


Tuesday June 15th:

It appears that not swimming for 7 mos did not improve anything.  (shocker I realize).

So, I googled once again, "learn to swim".  The google masters promptly took me to a post that I remembered reading in January(ish) 2009.


I remember buying the book from Amazon, but not the DVD (due to funds at the time).  MAny of the workouts I found on youtube and also found elsewhere.

The little one has outdoor swim lessons for every week in June Mon-Thursday.  I can work on finishing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and getting a little sun on my legs OR try and conquer this beast that seems to be mocking me.

I hate to be mocked, and the legs can get some sun while flying a kite with the kiddo at the park.

Game on TI.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

PostHeaderIcon It's good to be back, right?

My basil, rosemary, and tomatoes all doubled in size while I was on holiday.  The broccoli is showing signs of edible parts, and so are my pepper plants. 

My strawberries did not survive (it appears), nor did my arugula. 

My inbox is overflowing and if you don't hear from me in 20 min, you might check out my office.

I have over 300 unread emails in my box because I refused to be a slave to the blackberry while I was gone, and I'm not sure I'll go read them all.

My knee doesn't hurt anymore, so will also resume training today.... although does it count if all I want to do is 90min of yoga?  What if I do 90 min of yoga, and a quick 1.5 mi jog?  After all, I should probably ease back into it after 10 days off... (or so I'll say).

All in all..... the dog missed me, the kiddo missed me, and my routine is back.  Bonnaroo is checked off my bucket list.

Yes, it's good to be home.

Now, what trip do I plan next.....?
Thursday, June 10, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Workouts and Your Period. Different Perspectives.


I realize this may not be the most fun topic to tackle, but it's worth a post in my opinion.

About a year ago, I bookmarked an article so wittily called "Cycle Training".  (insert groans here).  There is no earth shattering news in this article, but gives a good breakdown of what your body may need during each phase of your cycle.

A few days ago, I was reading in Yoga Journal about inversion poses and menstruation, which I thought gave good balance to the argument of doing (or not doing) inversion poses during that "time of the month" (hereby known in this post as TOTM).

That got me thinking about in all of my preparing for a triathlon last year, and my years attempting yoga ..... surprisingly this topic rarely comes up.  So I thought about it and of course Googled.

In short, there is lots of advice out there, and more information than I care to think about.  Most of these studies and "rules" were done by men (who probably didn't bother to ask their wives for input).  What it boils down to is that, as with most things, you need to exercise your individual choice for what works best for you.  Listen to your body, maybe write down changes in your workout log, and go with whatever you decide.

From my experience, Western (or at least American) culture has deemed our period as "dirty" or almost like a disease to be cured (take this pill and skip your period, which I'll admit to have doing in the past).  But the reality of it is, it is a natural process and we should embrace it and try to understand how it affects us.  That includes our workouts.

I found this article to be interesting regarding TOTM and Yoga: http://yogapilates.suite101.com/article.cfm/practicing_yoga_on_your_period

TOTM and Triathlon Training and Racing: http://www.trifuel.com/triathlon/triathlon-training/the-challenging-periods-for-women-in-training-001342.php

Iron Deficiency and Nutrition: http://www.trifuel.com/training/health-nutrition/triathletes-and-iron

And on a lighter side, of course I run across a similar musing by a triathlete who wonders if you have a greater risk of being bit by a shark during TOTM and open water ocean swims.  http://www.triathlontrainingblog.com/post/for-females-do-you-swim-in-the-ocean-while-mentruating/

Be sure when you (if you're a woman!) line up at the start of  Tri, or in a room full of women waiting to do Downward Dog or Warrior, be assured you're not alone when it's TOTM.  As with anything, be sure to listen carefully to what your own body is telling you and work with your body, not fight it. 

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Lunch Today. Goodness in a box. Yes, I said it.....

Yes, Giraffy  , I'll admit... Pacific Soups in a box.  I guess I can't claim, "there's no good lunch that will come out of a box" anymore.  The tomato soup is also good (and can be bought at Costco!).  It's a little runnier than I make my black bean soup, but is still delish.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air."~R.W.Emerson
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Friday, June 04, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Friday Book Recommendation 4 June 2010


Today's Friday Recommendation.

 Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

To give you an idea, I refer to this book at least once a month.  It's starting to look like it too.  I'm fighting the clutter-bug urge to keep a "clean" copy around.

Chapter Highlights:

Chpt 1 - First Things First, Everything in Moderation
(what I tell A on a weekly basis)
Chpt 2 - The Kitchen: You Are What You Eat
Chpt 3 - The Low-Maintenance Bathroom
(maybe I need to read this chapter weekly...)
Chpt 4 - The Bedroom
(this is your space for nightly renewal, does your room bring you peace?)
Chpt 5 - Laundry
(*sigh*  that's it. How can 2 people produce so much?)
Chpt 6 - General Cleaning
(Martha Stewart I am not, but let's do it as organically as possible!)
Chpt 7 - Indoor Air Quality
(did you know  most homes have more chemicals in the air than the outside air?)
Chpt 8 - Hazardous Material, Fire Safety
(all those pesky home chemicals and stuff for automotive repair)
Chpt 9 - In and Around the Garden

There is a recurring theme in the book about decluttering and routine, which for some may seem second nature, but for me is a struggle.  Not only do I want my home to be physically as chemical free as possible, I would like it to be peaceful as well.  Clutter is my burden.  I'm shooting for the healthy body / healthy mind connection.  It's definitely a journey, not a destination.  I consider this book one of the top 5 books for that journey.

If you're interested in how to clean more with vinegar, and salts, and lemon, and more natural ingredients, then this book is for you.  Mother Nature provided us with some natural anti-bacterials and cleaning agents.  Let's leave the laboratory created chemicals behind.

In short, it is uncommon good sense for protecting our health and the planet.  If you have interest in being more green, then your own home is a place to start.  Under my kitchen sink used to have as many chemicals as a chemistry lab, and now I can say we've reduced that amount by half and each month work on eliminating more.

Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

Ask your local library if they have it.

It is my understanding it is available on the Kindle as well.

My Rules of Friday Recommendations.
1. I've read it.
2. I would loan it to you.
3.  I would then buy a copy in case you didn't return it because I loved it so much I want to keep a copy in my house.
4.  Even if you didn't return it, I would be happy to have blessed your home with its pages.
5.  I'm pretty sure you'll get something out of reading it too.
(rules subject to change weekly)

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Quotes as I come across them......

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it last forever.” ~~~Lance Armstrong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." ~~~Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.~~~Denis Watley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. ~~~Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)