Now that the stresses and fun of the past month or so have passed, I’m looking forward to the mixed blessing of a flexible summer schedule.
I mean, I love having my evenings free and since I work for myself, at home, I can shift things around to take advantage of good weather or some pop-up fun.
Since my brain has a very casual relationship with time under any circumstances, the flexibility of summer can also be a challenge for me. If I don’t make my decisions in advance or if I don’t pay close attention to how I spend my time, I can suddenly find myself at the end of summer, frustrated about all of the things I missed out on for no good reason.
So, one of my projects for this weekend is to figure out how I want to spend my summer.
I’m considering when to work and when to rest (and thinking about what ‘rest’ includes). I’m figuring out what to include in my day-to-day and which larger summer activities I want to organize and do. I’m thinking about the projects I want to complete in the house and in the yard and deciding when I’d like to work on them.
Basically, I want to make sure that I actively choose a shape for my summer instead of just reacting moment by moment.
(By the way, if a summer of reacting moment by moment is your ideal, please have at it! Do what works for you.)
I’m planning to include things like revising my novel, practicing my TKD patterns outside where there’s more room, hula-hooping, going swimming, reading in my hammock, taking a few hikes, taking Khalee on longer walks, going for longer bike rides, creating some zines, and spending a lot of time hanging out outdoors with my friends.
What do YOU have planned for your summer? Let me know in the comments!
Or if it isn’t summer where you are, what do you have planned for the next few months?
The weather here in Newfoundland and Labrador is tricky at any point and doubly tricky on the May 24th weekend.*
I have spent May 24th weekends wearing shorts, I have been rained out of planned adventures, I have shoveled snow from in front of a tent. And, on several occasions, I have worn shorts, a raincoat, and then mittens all on the same day.
So when Saturday rolled around and the weather was beautiful, I knew that my usual Saturday stuff inside could wait.
I had to get outside ASAP just in case things took a turn.
Normally, this would be cause for a scrambly brain of indecision – Should I do yard work? Bring inside work outside? Make plans for my garden? Take Khalee for an extra walk? What is the BEST use of this time?
This time, though, I bypassed all of those questions and just asked myself “What would be the most fun to do right now?”
And that’s how I found myself in the sunshine, doing yoga on my patio, laughing at the way my shadow makes me look like a fur ball or some sort of tendrilly sea creature.
PS – For the record, Khalee and I took a long walk later in the day… and neither of us had to put on our mittens.
*Apparently, the May long weekend in Canada is not called ‘May 24th’ everywhere but that’s what we’ve always called it – no matter which date it falls on. If your brain hates that, imagine that I have said ‘Victoria Day’ instead.
A friend has a daily goal of 15 minutes of movement, so I thought she might enjoy tracking her efforts as part of the Facebook group 222 workouts in 2022. She wrote back that she didn’t think it would be a good fit because people who do 10k hikes and own Peloton bikes would not be interested in her 15 minutes of stretching or struggles with a 20 minute dance routine of warmups and isolation exercises.
My response to her original post this was to share this cartoon, and the comments below it.
“If you read all the posts, there are plenty who are doing 30 minutes of yoga (I am doing that series and it is a lot of just sitting and breathing). But many of them won’t finish the 30 day series. I know I didn’t finish until about May last year. Late last year there were a lot of “I took my elderly dog for a slow shuffle” posts, and through most of the year many of us posted #slmsmph (stupid little walk for my stupid mental and physical health). The thing is, it doesn’t matter what you do, except to you. The rest of us are just there to be cheerleaders. There are weight training, indoor cycling and gymnastics workout posts that are irrelevant to my interests and abilities. But I like to look at the pictures, especially when people go outside to do a walk or bike ride. Having it pop up in my feed every day helps me remember I want to move, even if it is just to walk to the park and back (takes me about 20 minutes).”
She wasn’t convinced, but that’s okay. The year of tiny pleasures is also about doing what works for you.
My tiny pleasures right now are all things that don’t require me to leave the house because it is too cold. I am focusing on my on-line ballet classes, with some yoga offered by a work colleague, and the occasional gentle movement class with a local studio. I have abandoned that 30 day yoga challenge already.
As soon as it gets a little warmer, I look forward to getting outside with friends. A short walk with some duck watching, as I did with my buddy April recently, was a joyous hour of connecting with someone I haven’t seen in too long. That shared time was more precious than the thing we did (though 5km on a frosty day was nothing to sneeze at).
I am holding these two images close to my heart for 2022. The first reminds me that not every fitness activity needs to be exciting or a big challenge. The second reminds me that the best part about being active that I get to spend time with friends.
2022 isn’t shaping up to be a great year on the global scale, but I intend to make it as pleasurable as possible at my tiny scale. I will make opportunities to connect in person for walks or outdoor swims. I will continue to draw inspiration from my virtual friends at 222 workouts. And I will garden (good workout, good for the planet, good way to spend time with friends and neighbours). Mostly I will grow food, but I will also plant some flowers.
That kind of makes me sound like I’m starting a band, doesn’t it?
If that was my band name, what would our first album be called?
Back on topic:
Wednesday was my birthday and I had a great day.
Usually, on my birthday, I’m trying to cram in so many fun things that I actually end up amplifying my usual feeling that I *should* be doing something else.
I always have fun but I tend to feel a bit tightly scheduled and a bit frustrated.
This year, I noticed that feeling creeping up the day before my birthday and I made a conscious decision to get over myself and be clear about the facts:
I don’t have to limit my fun to one day a year. *
In fact, I can add more fun to every week.
I can even add a bit more fun to every day.
I can take my birthday attitude into the rest of the year.
In a surprise to no one, making that decision took all of the pressure out of my birthday.
And instead of keeping a tally of accumulated fun, I just did what I felt like doing in any given moment.
And that’s how I found myself dropping everything to take Khalee for a walk while the sun was out (instead of at a more ‘logical’ time.)
And, it’s how I found myself sitting peacefully, all by myself in the 5pm darkness, watching the small fire I had set in our fire pit.
Normally, I would have talked myself out of lighting a fire just for me. It’s a little bit of hassle and I didn’t have a lot of time before supper, but I had that bit of birthday ‘permission’ going for me so I crumpled some paper and got the kindling from the shed and settled in next to the fire.
I felt calm and restful and so very grateful for all of the good things in my life.
I even felt a bit more patient about the challenges I tend to encounter
It was a wonderful way to round out a day of giving in to my whims.
And, my birthday gift to myself is the decision to prioritize things like an early evening fire far more often.
I challenge you to do the same. 💚
*To be clear, I do take time to relax and do fun things on a regular basis. But, on my birthday, I give myself permission to maximize my fun.
If you substitute “biking” for “walking” (which given the state of my left knee, I have to do) I think our long weekend worked out pretty well. We rode bikes, raced sailboats, and connected with friends. It’s the weekend before the university opens to students and classes and so it wasn’t all leisure. But I feel like the work/rest blend was pretty balanced.
On Friday after work we biked in Prince Edward County with our friend Alex. The trip included three of my favourite things–connection and conversation, observing alpacas, and eating ice cream. The Millennium Trail is pretty wonderful. This time we rode from Wellington to Bloomfield and back, just over 20 km all told.
And then on Saturday Sarah and I raced our Snipe in the Guelph Community Boating Club flat water race. Usually it’s out to the damn and back but the wind died and the course was cut short. We’re getting better and working lots on our boat speed. We finished in the middle of the pack, 5th out of 10 boats.
And then we snuck in a short 15 km ride on the riverside bike trails in Guelph with our friend Rob who stopped by for a bike ride and pizza.
Sunday was a fun day on campus for me. I was part of the team greeting parents and first year students moving into residence. I rode my pink Brompton. My sparkly bike helmet got a lot of positive attention. The bike allowed me to move between residences saying hi to a lot of the new University of Guelph students.
I know the next few weeks will be much less balanced. More work and more stress as we navigate our way back onto campus for the fall semester. It’s a time of vaccine mandates and hybrid meetings and long work days. But it sure felt good to get outside and have some fun this long weekend.
How did your weekend work out on the balance front?
Owning this item has also spawned three new things that delight me:
1) My son J connected my hat headphones via Bluetooth to my phone under the name ‘hatphones.’ It makes me laugh every time I see it. HATPHONES! HA!
2) I get to say ‘Oh, I have to remember to charge my hat!’
3) I get to say ‘Hang on, I can’t hear you yet, my hat is still talking to me.’
Yes, I find my fun where I can.
PS – I sometimes wear my hat inside for practicing TKD patterns or doing yoga. Unlike my other wireless (in-ear) earphones, my hatphones are sitting comfortably OVER my ears and while they reduce how well I can hear other sounds they don’t block them entirely. Also, I can easily pause (by pressing on the button over my ear) the video without having to scramble for my phone or for the remote control.
Wakeout, which bills itself as ‘Exercise for busy people,’ delivers exactly what it promises – short, fun workouts to do in a variety of settings.
As you probably know, I find it challenging to decide what exercise to do when and how long to do it for. Wakeout helps me sidestep those issues because I can set a reminder in advance (always useful for me!) and then I only have to choose the location and duration of my exercise.
The duration choices are short – one, three, or six 30-sec exercises (although you can do multiple Wakeouts in a row) and the settings are limited – you can choose home, office, travel, or outdoors and then select different categories within each. Even though there is a lot of possibility contained within each category, I find the process of choosing to be quite straightforward in this case.
I really like that the exercises are done in 30 second bursts instead of by reps – I love a timer but I hate counting reps. I appreciate just sinking into the movement and not having to focus on counting.
And I like the types of movements the app gets me to do.
It’s not just bicep curls or squats, it’s movements on all sorts of different planes. For example,
In a recent Wakeout, I was holding a pillow and moving sort of sideways figure eight with my arms – as if I were in a pillow fight and had an opponent on either side of me. This exercise had me moving my arms in a whole different way than I would normally do and I felt like my range of movement increased over all.
I am much too used to working forward, sideways, or up-and-down and I forget about making more circular sorts of movements. Wakeout’s prompt to move different, helped me to engage different muscles or at least to engages the same muscles in different ways and that really really felt great.
One of my favourite exercises that I had to do involved standing in front of the counter in the kitchen and reaching upward into a high cupboard. That specific movement felt great for my arms, my back and my legs and I have repeated it often even when I wasn’t doing the app – sure, sometimes I was just reaching for something in the cupboard but mostly it was for a little extra stretch.
The app keeps track of your workouts and tells you your accumulated minutes and how many minutes it will take to reach the next level. I also enjoy this encouraging feature and it’s rewarding to push a little hard to get that visible (on the screen) result. One of my ongoing challenges with consistent exercise is how hard it is to SEE the benefits of my efforts. This small visual makes a big difference for me.
Often, I will shy away from short workouts because of the decisions involved – trying to figure out what is ‘enough’ to do is especially tricky for people with ADHD. The Wakeout app removes some of my obstacles to bothering with a short workout – I can just open the app and do what it says and not have to think too much about it.
Obviously, I would have to either do a lot of Wakeouts to become seriously fit but I find these small bursts of activity encouraging and rewarding and they really feel great.
I haven’t been through all of the workouts yet, of course, but from the ones I have seen so far, I would like to see a greater variety of body types/sizes and abilities represented in the demos. (To be fair, though there may be greater variety than there currently appears to be. I may just not have seen everyone yet.)
I like that the demo models aren’t all white but not having seen the entire range of workouts yet I cannot comment on whether the diversity of the models is truly representative or just a nod to inclusion. I am hoping that it is the former rather than the latter.
Overall, I really enjoy the workouts and features in this app. I didn’t it like it much when one of the reminders made me feel entirely responsible for our sedentary society but that’s on my overdeveloped guilt reflex, not on the makers of the app!
I don’t know if it would be helpful or frustrating for someone who already spends a large part of their day exercising. It might be enjoyable to try some different movements – especially if any part of their day was spent at desk work – or it might be annoying to do these small exercises that might not work their bodies hard enough for their liking.
As far as I can tell, Wakeout is only available for Apple products so far. You get a 7 day free trial and then you can purchase a monthly plan for $6.99 which you can share with up to 6 people. I enjoyed it enough to sign up for the monthly plan but I wish I could include my family members who use other non-Apple devices.
Thanks Google for animating the images of me celebrating the book launch on Sarah’s front porch. Photos taken before breakfast and the drive to London.
This was a great weekend. So good. Very very good.
It began with an interview on live television, on Global TV’s morning show. Tracy will tell you more on Tuesday but for my part I need to let you know that the experience was actually fun. Even the make up part wasn’t awful. Tracy and I are getting pretty good at communicating our body positive, age inclusive fitness message!
Here’s me wearing television make up. It was fine.
And here’s a link to the interview. You can watch us here.
Then I went to get a haircut and color with the wonderful Grace who also has her own TV show as it turns out.
I’m so blonde. Spring is here!
Then I went out in the evening to see a movie at the Hot Docs film festival. It was called “The Artist and the Pervert.” Here’s the description: “Georg is a famous Austrian composer, his wife Mollena a renowned American kink educator. Together they live in a public kinky relationship. This film documents their lives between perversion, art, love and radical self-determination.” I recommend it.
Saturday began with breakfast at my favorite Toronto breakfast place, Bonjour Brioche. Here’s blogger Cate and our friend Steve basking under the patio heat lamps.
I found out an interesting fact about Bonjour Brioche over breakfast. It turns out this is the location where they filmed the scene in the Handmaid’s Tale where Elisabeth Moss discovers that women no longer have credit when her credit card is declined. It’s a bit ironic to locals because this breakfast place is a cash-only establishment and never takes credit cards.
After breakfast we drove to London for the London launch of our book. I’ll let Tracy tell you more about that too but it was a super moving event was standing room only they sold out of books but more importantly there was a real warmth and energy in the room
Here are some photos of us signing books talking and standing around with our mothers. I love that photo best.
Sunday was the second bike ride of the season. We ramped it up a little bit from 50 km last week to 60 km this week but I say that the wind was the bigger challenge rather than increased distance. The wind was pretty intense. We all got some Strava personal-bests on the downhill tailwind segments and really struggled into the wind on the way back. I was also sad to discover that the local Starbucks in Byron has closed and so we had to ride back under caffeinated and a little bit late for our movie.
Dinner was a quick slice of pizza and popcorn with the movie, not the healthiest choices, but hey Infinity Wars was a lot of fun.
This chart might help!
“I was explaining the MCU to my coworker and she asked me to just write it down for her.”
In the last two days, I’ve had flashes of childhood fun that have made me really happy about moving more.
A last-minute invitation to go to family roller skating at a local arena led to me feeling like this:
Rollerskating is fun. Wobbly, old school fun. Family roller skating is a mix of ages and skill levels, and proof that “YMCA” by The Village People gets everyone skating at the same time. It hardly feels like exercise, but somehow two hours happens and you leave the rink with your legs wanting to skate instead of walk.
Then, yesterday, a last-minute change by the Bootcamp instructor to use weighted skipping ropes had me smiling for a full hour of interval training. I love skipping. Having the rope in my hand brought me back to being on the playground. I haven’t skipped that much in years – but the body remembers. Pretty soon, I was doing pretzel crosses (where you cross your arms in front of the body and jump through the space of the ropes) — eventually with my left (non-dominant) arm remembering what it was supposed to do in order to lead the cross. I was playing.