Work Outs: May 15 – 21, 2022 (Local Flora and Fauna)

My husband and I went for a slow, relaxing walk in the woods this week. We haven’t been doing much of that lately. Instead, we’ve been getting most of our shared workouts in our basement gym, which is pretty fun. But we did get in a walk on Sunday, albeit we didn’t take it too hard because we were both sore from leg day … and for me referee training, which as I am learning more is being more strenuous.

As you can see, we had a chance to say hello (and quickly run past as if our lives depended upon it!) our old friend, Thagomizer Tree. We keep wondering what nature spirit keeps this dead tree still standing. We’re beginning to suspect it’ll still be there when all of us are forgotten, even by our nearest and dearest!

Sun, May 15th

We went for a walk in the woods for about 40 minutes. I also stretched some in the evening.

Calories: 2529, Protein: 137 g.

Mon, May 16th

  • I went to the physical therapy office this morning for an appointment I had scheduled for my leg, but they ended up working on my back. My low back started hurting a fair bit this morning though I’m not sure why. I’m going to have to be careful of it for at least the rest of this week and only do stuff that doesn’t cause any pain/irritation.
  • I had to miss wrestling class tonight because of my back. I wasn’t too happy about that, but hopefully I’ll be able to go next Monday.

Calories: 1998, Protein: 125 g.

Tues, May 17th

  • Shortly after waking up, we followed along to The Jack Lalane Show, DVD 5, Episode 4. I had to be careful and modify some stuff, etc. because my low back is still sore though it is better than it was yesterday.
  • (Afternoon Workout) I warmed up with some light sets with the weights, dancing, and light indian club work.
  • CoC Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • Right Hand: Closed x 5 reps, Closed x 4 sets x 4+1 reps
    • Left Hand: 2mm x 2 sets x 5 reps, 2mm x 2 sets x 4+1 reps, 2mm x 3+2 reps
    • Challenge Gripper (0.5, 120 lbs.): Right Hand, 14mm x 5 reps, Left Hand, 16mm x 0+5 reps
  • Pinch Block Hold (Hand pronated for thumbs, each hand): 2.75 lbs. x 23 sec (left)/30 sec (right)
  • (Super Set) Arnold Press: 15 lbs. x 5 sets x 15 reps +
    • Tricep Pushdowns (v-handle): 30 lbs. x 5 sets x 15 reps
  • (Super Set) DB Bench Press (no feet): 15 lbs. x 2 sets x 15 reps, 20 lbs. x 15 reps, 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 15 reps +
    • Set #1: TKD High Block (each arm) x 20 reps
    • Set #2: TKD Low Block (each arm) x 20 reps
    • Set #3: 1 lb. Indian Clubs x One Minute
    • Set #4: DB Lateral Raises x 10 lbs. x 15 reps
    • Set #5: Wrist Roller (cable) x 15 lbs. x One full unroll and roll
  • (Super Set) Zottman Curls: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 15 reps +
    • One-Arm Reverse Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle): 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 15 reps
  • I did some stretching in the evening.

Calories: 1962, Protein: 142 g.

We like to go for short, weekend drives around the area … see the Pacific Ocean, drive through the forests, etc. This week my husband wanted to drive around a little through the University of California, Santa Cruz campus, which is very pretty. And since the theme is wildlife we had to stop for these little pedestrians out doing their thing.

Vultures are extremely common down by the ocean in the Santa Cruz area. Crows? They’re everywhere!

Wed, May 18th

  • We followed along to The Jack Lalane Show (DVD 5, Episode 3) shortly after waking up. Before the video, I balanced on the rocker board for 2:30 minutes. I did some stretching later in the day.
  • I went to physical therapy for my back. I didn’t do any exercises but they had me do a lot of stretching, and also some ultrasound and electric stimulations therapies, as well as heat.

Calories: 1998, Protein: 129 g.

Thur, May 19th

  • We followed along to The Jack Lalane Show (DVD 5, Episode 3) shortly after waking up. I did some balance board work afterward, and some stretching later in the day.

Calories: 1998, Protein: 113 g.

I really like vultures for some reason. Besides their obvious benefit, which they share with crows and the like, they are a study in grace and beauty when in the air, riding the currents looking for their next delicious meal.

Check out the pretty colors on this worthy vulture on the right. I couldn’t get a very good picture that did true justice to its wonderful, sienna plumage but you get the idea.

Fri, May 20th

  • (Wake-up Workout) We followed along to The Jack Lalane Show (DVD 5, Episode 3). I stretched a little afterward and did 2:30 minutes on the rocker board.
  • (Wake-up Workout) We followed along to The Jack Lalane Show (DVD 5, Episode 3). I stretched a little afterward and did 2:30 minutes on the rocker board.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, RPMs 75+, Manual Program, Level 7.
  • (Super Set) Monster Walks (blue band): 2 sets x 20 reps +
    • Lateral Walking (green band, each direction): 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Squats with Resisted Hip Abduction (blue band): 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Step up with Knee Raise and Raise women’s basketball (each leg): 2 sets x 10 reps
  • (Super Set) Standing Hip Abduction (green band, ea. leg): 2 sets x 10 reps +
    • Standing Hip Extension (green band, ea. leg): 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Bird Dips (each leg, with support as needed): 2 sets x 10 reps +
  • TKD Snap Kick/Leg Extension Exercise (ea. leg): 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Alternating Single Leg Curls (2-ct): 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Standing Calf Raises: 20 reps (straight legs), 15 reps (bent legs)
  • Squats: I did 10 squats, rested for 10 seconds, and then did 10 more squats and so on for a total of 50 squats.
  • I balanced for 2:30 minutes on the rocker board. I also experimented with doing some band-assisted partial lunges, but I’m going to talk to the physical therapist next week before I incorporate them into my workout. I did some stretching after the workout and again before sleep.

Calories: 2000, Protein: 130 g.

I saved my personal favorite for last, which are some more pictures from the same hike as our latest visit with Thagomizer Tree. How long will it take you to spot our friend in the picture below?

Sat, May 21st

  • (Wake-up Workout) I warmed up with the 1 lb. indian clubs. I tried to keep the rest breaks between sets short (no more than 30 seconds between sets) like they have me do at the physical therapy sessions since most of the exercises I’m doing here come from PT.
  • (Super Set) Cheerleaders (lime band): 2 sets x 15 reps
    • Seated DB Front Hammer Raises: 5 lbs. x 2 sets x 15 reps
  • Bilateral External Shoulder Rotation (blue band): 2 sets x 15 reps
    • One-Handed Bent Over Row (each side): 10 lbs. x 2 sets x 15 reps
  • (Super Set) Standing Rows (purple band): 2 sets x 15 reps +
    • Shoulder Extensions (purple band): 2 sets x 15 reps
  • (Super Set) Prone “M’s” (DBs): 1 lb. x 2 sets x 15 reps +
    • Prone “T’s” (Plates): 1 lb. x 2 sets x 15 reps
  • (Super Set) Zottman Curls: 15 lbs. x 15 reps, [(15 lbs. x 12 reps + 12 lbs. x 3 reps) x 3 sets] +
    • Set #1: Push-up to Elbow Plank (4-ct) x 15 reps
    • Set #2: Dead Bugs (2-ct) x 25 reps
    • Set #3: Crunches x 25 reps
    • Set #4: Wrist Rolling (cable, flexion) x one full winding
  • I did some stretching in the evening.

Calories: 2229, Protein: 111 g.

I lost 0.875 lbs. this week. My total loss is 19.625 lbs. over fourteen weeks for an average of 1.40 lbs/week. My calorie intake for the week was 14,714.

Here are a couple of closer shots in case you couldn’t find our new lizard friend in the picture above. Click on them if you want to see a larger picture–particularly the first one where he has this sort of cheeky smile as if to say, “You’ll never find me, you stupid human!”

Work Outs: March 27 – April 2, 2022 (Wyatt saying, “Sup!”, moles, and statistics)

You know it isn’t a huge week when the highlight is getting a picture of one of your cats (in this case Wyatt) having a “Sup!” moment, but sometimes small victories can be sweet and I like to savor them in addition to the larger ones.

The workouts continue to go well and I’m still making excellent progress toward reaching my goals.

Sun, March 27th

Had a nice rest day with my husband.

Calories: 1891, Protein: 130 g.

Mon, March 28th

  • (Morning Workout) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Aerobic Program, Level 7, RPMs: 80+ during the warm-up and end stretch, and 70+ RPMs otherwise. Afterward, I did one set each of:
    • Standing Toe Stab Hip Raises (each side): 15 reps
    • Standing Toe-Up Hip Raises (each side): 15 reps
    • Lateral Stepping With Band Around Knees (each side): 20 reps
  • In the evening I went to wrestling class for 2.5 hours.

Calories: 2016, Protein: 134 g.

Tues, March 29th

  • We followed along with Jack Lalane, DVD 2, Episode 5, shortly after waking up. Otherwise I didn’t do any working out other than a little stretching.

Calories: 2016, Protein: 136 g.

We were walking around in town this week and this sign outside of a local business caught my eye and made me chuckle.

Wed, March 30th

  • (Wake-Up Workout) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 9, RPMs: 80+, 90+ for last 9 minutes.
  • (Morning) CoC Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.): The X+Y reps means that I achieved X full reps and Y partial reps. So in the case of my left hand, I wasn’t able to close the gripper to 2mm but I did 5 partial reps.
    • (Left Hand) 2mm x 5 sets x 0+5 reps
    • (Right Hand) Closed x 1+4 reps, 2+3 reps, 3 sets x 1+4 reps

  • (Morning Full Body Circuit Workout) I warmed up by dancing around strangely to Rob Zombie music for about 10 minutes.
    • (FOUR SETS: No resting between exercises or sets, though the balance board was a bit of a rest.)
    • Arnold Press: 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Leg Extension Machine: 25 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Crunches: 12 reps
    • Standing Ring Rows: 12 reps
    • Light Spring Bar (alternating sets supinated and pronated): 2 sets x 12 reps. I didn’t like how my elbows were feeling so I switched to Bicep Curls: 15 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps. I realized I had left direct bicep work out so it came together ok.
    • Incline Push-ups (4th Cellar Step): 12 reps
    • Vertical Leg Press: 100 lbs. x 12 reps, 125 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
    • Calf Raises (VLP, alternating sets of straight and bent legs): 100 lbs. x 12 reps, 125 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
    • Tricep Kickbacks (DB): 5 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Lateral Walking With Band (each side): 12 reps
    • Alternating Sets of Standing Toe Stab Hip Raises and Standing Toe-Up Hip Raises: 12 reps
    • Foot Dorsiflexion (cable, both feet): 30 lbs. x 12 reps
    • 2 lb. Indian Clubs: Different exercises each set x 20 reps
    • Balance Board: 30 seconds
  • After concluding four sets of the circuit, I did two more sets of bicep curls with 20 lbs. for 12 reps each set. I also realized I left out the direct hamstring work I was planning on doing as well so I’ll probably make sure I do something for that tomorrow or Friday. The physical therapist called and told me someone canceled so they can fit me in for tomorrow and so I begin my knee PT.
  • I did two short Tae Kwon Do lessons: “Jab” and “High Block” on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • I stretched in the afternoon for 30 minutes.

Calories: 2168, Protein: 153 g.

Thur, March 31st

  • I went to physical therapy in the afternoon for my knee. They did an assessment, had me do some exercises and stretches, and gave me some exercises that I need to do on average 3 times a week. We ended the session with ice and with some muscle electric stimulation therapy.

Calories: 1962, Protein: 131 g.

Muscle Electric Stimulation Machine at the PT Office

Fri, April 1st

  • (Afternoon) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 9, RPMs: 80+. Afterward I did Dead Bugs (2-ct) x 20 reps and Crunches x 20 reps, Elbow Plank for 30 seconds.
  • I stretched for 40 minutes and interspersed through the stretching session I did some basic Tae Kwon Do drills, working on the moves I’ve been practicing this week:
    • High Block (each hand) x 3 sets x 20 reps
    • Low Block (each hand) x 3 sets x 20 reps
    • Jab (each hand) x 3 sets x 20 reps
    • Snap Kick (each leg) x 3 sets x 10 reps

Calories: 1934, Protein: 160 g.

We stumbled across a small mammal excavation project when we were out for a little walk on Saturday. I couldn’t help but think that they picked an unlikely spot right in the middle of the trail (though I’ve seen them do this before) when they have a whole forest around them, but I guess they know what they are doing … hopefully!

Sat, April 2nd

  • We went for a short walk in the forest this morning for about 35 minutes.
  • (Afternoon Workout) CoC Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Left Hand) 2mm x 2+3 reps, 2 sets x 1+4 reps, 0+5 reps, 1+4 reps
    • (Right Hand) Closed x 2+3 reps, 1+4 reps, 2+3 reps, 0+5 reps, 1+4 reps
    • After I finished five sets with the trainer gripper I performed one set of 5 partial reps with the 0.5 Gripper (120 lbs.)
  • (PHYSICAL THERAPY EXERCISES GIANT SET)
    • Monster Walks (blue band): 2 sets x 10 reps
    • Lateral Band Walks (green band): 2 sets x 10 reps
    • Squats with Resisted Hip Abduction (green band): 2 sets x 10 reps
    • Standing Hip Abduction (cable): 7.5 lbs. x 2 sets x 10 reps*
    • Standing Hip Extension (cable): 7.5 lbs. x 2 sets x 10 reps*
    • Step Up With Knee Raise (alternating legs, 2-ct): 2 sets x 10 reps
  • I did a minute on the balance board and then my husband came down cellar and we took turns working out with the striking mitts. He worked on some Wing Chun-style chain punching while I did Tae Kwon Do-style jabs, jab/cross, and snap kicks. I also worked a bit on low and high blocks.
  • I finished the session with some stretching, including the specific stretches the physical therapist gave me, which I will do every day going forward for now.

Calories: 2020, Protein: 138 g.

I lost 1.625 lbs. this week. My total loss is 12.375 lbs. over seven weeks for an average of 1.77 lbs/week. My calorie intake for the week was 13,765.


* They showed me these exercises with a band but we happen to own a basic cable machine so I used that instead.

Work Outs: February 28 – March 6, 2021 (“Tale of the Rings”)

I’ve walked or run by this display of a cross section from a redwood probably hundreds of times since I’ve lived near Henry Cowell Park. It is a pretty popular spot for people to take pictures. The first time I saw the display I have to confess I frowned a little because I thought it was a cross section from a tree that had been cut down.

While I understand the need for paper and wood products, I figure they can be produced without hacking down a tree that has been minding its own business for 2200 years.* Fortunately, once I looked more closely I saw that the tree fell (wasn’t cut) in 1934. (This was confirmed by the rangers I talked to in the information area.) So that gave me a warmer feeling about this display.

This display greets one at the main entrance to the Redwood Loop.

Sun, February 28th

(Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Eleven) Tricep Pushdowns (rest-pause as needed): 50 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps

Calories: 2334, Protein: 160 g.

Mon, March 1st

  • Morning Walk: 1.81 miles.
  • I warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian club work. Then I did the MV Steel Mace Workout.
  • I reviewed the “Stances” lesson and then followed along with “White Belt – Class 5” (solo drills) on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Twelve) DB Cheat Curls with 4 second eccentrics: 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps. (The program calls for a barbell but I don’t have one yet so I used dumbbells.)

Calories: 2177, Protein: 150 g.

Close up of information sign in the display.

Tues, March 2nd

  • Warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian club work.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 10 reps, 3 sets x 8 reps
  • DB Bench Press: 35 lbs. x 12 reps, 40 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Spring Bar: Heavy x 2 sets x 8 reps, Light (over head) x 12, 10 reps
    • Alternating sets with hands supinated and pronated.
  • EXERCISE COMPLEX: Face Pulls 12.5 lbs. x 20 reps, Incline Push Ups 3rd step x 10 reps + 4th step x 10 reps, [2 SETS: Hindu Push Up Stretches x 10 reps, TaeKwondo White Belt Solo Drill #2 x 10 times**], Knee Hover (2 seconds) x 20 reps, Bell Tower Crunches (each side) 25 lbs. x 20 reps, KB Alternating One Handed Russian Swings 15 lbs. x 20 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Thirteen) PJR Pullovers with 4 second eccentrics: 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Ended the workout by picking up my 100 lb. sand bag from a 16 inch platform and walking 30 steps with it and then doing some more indian club work.

Calories: 2408, Protein: 183 g.

Here is a close up of some of the little markers denoting where the tree was in its growth during certain historical events. Apparently the tree predates the historical date of the birth of Jesus by a couple of hundred years or so.

Wed, March 3rd

  • Morning Walk: 4.07 miles.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Fourteen) Rest Day.

Calories: 2167, Protein: 154 g.

Thur, March 4th

  • Morning Walk: 3.51 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 6 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 2mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 4 reps, Right = 2mm x 7 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 6 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 5): Left = 4 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = Closed 0 + 5 reps
    • (Set 6): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper 15 times with my right but couldn’t close it completely with my left after 10 reps. I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Fifteen) DB Incline Waiter Curls with six pulses each rep: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9 reps
  • I did an afternoon jog-walk for 7.15 miles. I stayed mostly on pavement and there were substantial hills. Total mileage for the day was 10.66 miles (17.13 km).

Calories: 3286, Protein: 151 g.

Fri, March 5th

  • Morning Walk: 3 miles.
  • I did some indian club and steel mace work. I also worked on a couple of mace exercises I’ve never done before. The first was the Half Kneeling 360’s, which were pretty easy since they were the 360’s I’ve been doing just from one knee. I like these because I have to go outside when doing standing 360’s so as to avoid hitting the basement rafters. The other exercise was the Swing and Catch, which was a little trickier.***
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Sixteen) Bench Dips with 6 pulses each rep: 4 sets to failure. (I forgot to write down how many reps I did.)
  • I worked on some Taekwondo high and low blocks from a ready stance.

Calories: 2048, Protein: 159 g.

I’ll have to put up some pictures of the Fremont Tree in a future post.

Sat, March 6th

  • I followed along with Jenny Ford’s “Beginner Step Aerobics Fitness Cardio” video for 30 minutes.
  • I practiced the Swing and Catch exercise with my 5 lb. steel mace.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Seventeen) Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls (rest-pause as needed): 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 43 reps
  • Stretched and did some foam rolling, etc. in the evening for about 35 minutes.

Calories: 2410, Protein: 150 g. (I lost 1 pound this week, so my total loss is 28.2 lbs.)


* I figure once you make it to that age you deserve some special consideration. 🙂

** White Belt Solo Drill #2 is two low blocks, two high blocks, and two front kicks from a ready stance. You alternate arms and legs so if you do the first low block with your left then you do the other moves starting with the left as well. For the first set I started with the left and the second I started with the right.

*** For anyone thinking of doing the Swing & Catch, I think Vaughn’s advice about doing the swing off to the side and avoiding swinging the mace up toward your face is probably good. As he says, you probably don’t want to have to make an emergency visit to the dentist. (Or the plastic surgeon.)

Work Outs: February 14 – 20, 2021 (Tortoise Itching Station, Tree of Turtles, and Athlean-X Arm Workout)

I ran across a cute video of an “itching station” someone built for a resident tortoise at a nature preserve in Oregon. That got me to thinking of a pond near where we often walk, which we’ve taken to calling by the very original name of “Turtle Pond” because of all the turtles. I dug around in my collection of pictures that I dump in an achive-junk folder and forget about and I found this 2016 shot of a bunch of turtles sitting on a tree, sunning themselves in Turtle Pond. I thought it was cute at the time, which isn’t surprising since I favor turtles and tortoises.*

Given the state of that pond sometimes I wonder if a rust turtle makes its secret lair in the mud?

Sun, February 14th

Had a nice Valentines Day and took a break. Hope everyone reading this, who celebrated the holiday did as well. Calories: 2442, Protein: 157 g.

Mon, February 15th

Afternoon Walk: 3.4 miles. Calories: 2626, Protein: 149 g.

Tues, February 16th

  • Morning Walk: 3.57 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = 4mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 1 + 5 reps, Right = 4mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper all 20 times with my right but couldn’t close it completely with my left after 13 reps. I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.
  • (Afternoon Workout) I warmed up with the Daily Stretch and some indian club work. Then I followed the “White Belt – Class 3” (emphasis on punching techniques) on the Global Martial Arts University website. I ended the class with some self-directed work on high and low blocks.
  • I did the beginner work outlined on the “Beginner Steel Mace Workout” video with my little five pound steel mace I found a second hand shop.

Calories: 1802, Protein: 143 g.

Wed, February 17th

  • Morning Walk: 3.29 miles.
  • I did the Wyatt today except I had to substitute incline push-ups on my stairs instead of regular ones. I used the 4th step but for the last set I used the 3rd step, which was a bit harder. My time was 44:53 for the workout. I was pleased because I thought the hindu squats would slow me down more than they did and I had guessed my time would have been closer to an hour. Still a lot of room for improvement. I’m hoping to eventually get my time down to about 30 minutes.
  • Finished off the session with 10 Sit Ups (no anchor for feet), some Hindu Push Up Stretches and a bit of general stretching.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Zero) Measure your arms to establish a baseline for the next 22 days. Done!

Calories: 2062, Protein: 144 g.

I saw this arm video in my inbox and though it might be fun to give it a try. I used to train my arms for size until about 2010, but for many years now I’ve been content to hang out in maintenance mode. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.**

Thur, February 18th

  • Active Rest Day.
    • Morning Walk: 3.35 miles.
    • Warmed up and got a in little movement with some (mostly) dynamic stretching, indian club and mace work.
    • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day One) DB Incline Waiter Curls: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9 reps
    • Reviewed the “Low Block” and “High Block” lessons from the Global Martial Arts University Taekwondo program.

Calories: 2071 Protein: 167 g.

Had to improvise to do the dumbbell incline waiter curls like Jeff shows in his video.

Fri, February 19th

  • Morning Walk: 3.35 miles.
  • (Morning Workout) Warmed up and did some work with my indian clubs and mace, along with some dynamic stretching.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 8, 8, 6 reps, 25 lbs. x 9 reps
  • (Super Set)
    • DB Bench Press: 30 lbs. x 10, 10, 8, 8 reps
    • DB Lateral Raises: 12 lbs. x 10, 8 reps, 10 lbs. x 10, 9 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Two) Bench Dips: 14, 12, 10, 9 reps
  • Ended with a set of Face Pulls (12.5 lbs. x 20 reps) and 10 Hindu Push Up Stretches

Calories: 2144, Protein: 153 g.

Sat, February 20th

Hung out with my husband and watched some old Hammer movies, including Horror of Dracula and some others. I didn’t want to skip the arm program just a couple of days after starting it so I popped down cellar in the afternoon, warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian club work then got in the required bit of arm work.

(Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Three) Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps

Calories: 2356, Protein: 149 g. (I lost 2.6 pounds this week, so my total loss is 26.8 lbs.)


* There aren’t many animals I don’t favor. I really can’t think of one I don’t excepting ones that (directly) try to bite/eat me or try to infest my house, etc. When I say “directly” I mean that I wouldn’t favor a particular white shark down in Santa Cruz if it tried to eat me but I do favor white sharks in general.

** I’m putting this together a bit late so as I type this I’m on day nine of the challenge. Thus far I’ve gained a quarter inch on my upper arms, which is both encouraging and a little surprising all things considered, such as my age, being in mild weight loss mode, which generally isn’t so great for hypertrophy, etc. I suspect after years of maintenance I’m getting a good response from the training because my arms are having to adapt to something new again and because I’m making gains into territory where I’ve been in the past, even if it was a long time ago. That’s my theory anyway.

Work Outs: February 7 – 13, 2021 (Octopus Fountain)

I was going through the folders of old pictures I downloaded from my phone and found some shots of a wonderfully unique water fountain we first encountered (I think) in 2018. It is down on the Santa Cruz wharf and was created by Sean Monaghan, a local artist, in 2015. He named the work Pearl Diver. The piece was commissioned by a local restaurant.

Sun, February 7th

  • After the morning stretch, I did a Core & Spine Mobility Tabata. Each exercise was done for 8 rounds of 20 seconds with a 10 second rest between rounds.
    • Dead Bugs: When I got tired and my form went bad I rested in the up position.
    • Bell Tower Crunches: 15 lbs.
    • Side Crunches
    • Cobra Pose
    • Alternating sets of Elbow Planks and Cat-Cow Stretch
  • Finished off with a single set of 10 Hindu Push Up Stretches.
  • Morning Walk over fairly hilly trails: 4.45 miles.

Calories: 1832, Protein: 176 g.

Here is a closer view of the little octopus on the bottom right part of the fountain. Notice the dents in the silver pearl. When I took these pictures back in 2018, I thought that this was the result of vandalism or something but they appear to be part of the original work judging by the pictures I saw on the artist’s site.

Mon, February 8th

Morning Walk: 2.14 miles We also walked 3.17 miles in the afternoon for a total of 5.31 miles for the day. I finished the afternoon walk with a quick set of 30 Full Squats.

Calories: 2080, Protein: 123 g.

Tues, February 9th

In the morning, I worked with the indian clubs, getting some light exercise but my primary goal was to work on some of the new swings I’ve been learning. Then I followed the “White Belt – Self Defense 2” lesson and “White Belt – Class 1” on the Global Martial Arts University website. I ended the session with a set of 30 Hindu Squats.

Calories: 2043, Protein: 137 g.

Two people can drink at once as evidenced by the crab fountain on the bottom left of Pearl Diver.

Kudos to hubby for lending his finger so I could get an action shot of the Crab Fountain.

Wed, February 10th

Morning Walk: 2.18 miles. I did some gripper work a couple of hours later.

Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):

  • (Set 1): Left = 10 mm x 9 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 5 reps,
  • (Set 2): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 1 rep + 4mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 1 rep + 4mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 4): Left = 8 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I couldn’t close it all the way with my right hand after 18 reps and after 14 reps with my left. I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.

Afternoon Run: 3.2 miles with lots of hills. Between the hills and the places with heavy mud on the hills it turned into a run-walk in places. My goal for the run was never to stop going forward and to only walk when needed to keep my balance and/or keep my heart rate under control while traversing the steepest parts of the hills.

I did stop once to take a picture at the terminus of a little side trail that ended in a drop off down to a creek. I see quite a few joggers off in their own world with their music going while they gaze up at the redwoods reaching into the clear, blue sky and not at what they are doing. I hope none of them ever jog right off into the air because if you aren’t looking it is an abrupt drop off and it isn’t like there is a warning sign or anything.

After the run I did White Belt Drill #1. For the calisthenic this time I did 20 incline push-ups using an old picnic table, which while crumbling did seem like it still had enough life in it to hold me up. Later on, we did a second walk for 3.48 miles. Total mileage for the day, including the run, was 8.86 miles. I stretched for 30 minutes in the evening while watching television.

Calories: 2258, Protein: 161 g.

That next step could be a doozy!

Thur, February 11th

Morning Walk: 3.31 miles. Calories: 2182 Protein: 156 g.

Fri, February 12th

Morning Walk: 4.25 miles.

  • I worked with the indian clubs as a warm-up.
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 80 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 7 ! reps, 60 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • (Exercise Complex): 4 ROUNDS [Fitness Bag Bicep Curls x 8 reps, FB Cleans x 8 reps, FB Suitcase Farmer’s Walk (switch hands each set) x 100 steps, KB Russian Swings x 15 reps] Rest one minute between rounds.
  • In the evening I stretched for an hour.

Calories: 2289, Protein: 157 g.

Sat, February 13th

Morning Walk: 1.76 miles.

Afternoon Workout

  • Warmed up by doing most of the stretches I do as part of my daily morning routine, and also worked with the indian clubs.
  • I did the Wyatt’s Toy workout, which is the beginner level for the full “Wyatt.”
    • My time was 13:26 minutes. I wasn’t going too hard being the first time doing this work out and all, so I think beating this time will be pretty easy.
    • I’m working toward eventually being able to do the full Wyatt so I did sets of 20 incline push ups and 50 hindu squats, which was a little more than required.
    • I have changed this workout since I did this session from being nothing but straddle steps to varied kinds of steps.

Fortunately, I have other cats, both current and from the past, who I can name workouts after. I wonder what kind of workout I should name after Roxy?

You’d never know I brushed her yesterday.
  • DB Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps, 30 lbs. x 6 reps, 25 lbs. x 8 reps
  • DB Bench Press: 30 lbs. x 10, 12 reps, 35 lbs. x 8, 7 reps
  • Tricep Pushdowns (tricep handle): 45 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 4 reps x 8 reps
  • (Tri Set): FOUR ROUNDS [DB Hammer Curls 20 lbs. x 10 reps, Face Pulls 12.5 lbs. x 10 reps, Half Round House Kick Exercise (switch legs each set) 10 reps] Minimum rest between rounds.
  • Finished with a quick set of 10 three-point Cossack Squats and 50 Supine Leg Windmills (each way).

Calories: 2988, Protein: 170 g. (I lost 0.2 pounds this week, so my total loss is 24.2 lbs.)


Work Outs: January 24 – 30, 2021 (Storms Over Santa Cruz and Chickpea Tagine Meal)

I’ve made a chickpea tagine dish for dinner a couple of times in our instant pot and we quite liked it. According to Shinta Simon, who wrote the article, tagine is “a flavorful stew made with spices, veggies and occasionally, meat, with origins in North-African cuisine.” I found the recipe on the Caramel Tinted Life website and paired the tagine with basmati rice. The next time I might serve it with naan.

I made the stew this past Friday and changed a few things this time around.

I used a full 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes instead of the called for 5 ounces because I didn’t want a bunch of left over canned tomatoes. Also, my husband greatly favors those lovely, red fruits as do I. I used low sodium vegetable stock in place of the water from the canned chickpeas and I added a big dollop of Harissa paste instead of the teaspoon the recipe called for.

It was good with the changes, but it wasn’t really any better than Shinta’s original recipe. Just different.

Also, the stew wasn’t hard to prepare. Just cutting up some stuff, sautéing the ingredients in my trusty, thrift store wok and then dumping everything into the instant pot.*

Although the recipe is pitched at non-carnivores, I do think it would also be good with chicken, pork or lamb if you are so inclined.

(Photo by Shinta Simon, used with permission.)

Sun, January 24th

We went for an afternoon walk of 2.81 miles. In the evening I stretched for about 35 minutes while watching television and then did some restorative work with the foam roller, Thera Cane, and so on.

I set a new goal for myself of being able to hook the tips of my fingers together behind my back à la mode de Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) like the woman in this article is doing. I’ll work on the whole pose during my stretching sessions, but for now I’m mainly going to focus on the arms portion.

Calories: 1834, Protein: 162 g.

Mon, January 25th

Morning Run: 3.2 miles (5 km). Five kilometers is the longest distance I’m going to run for now. I will continue to improve by decreasing the amount of time it takes me to run this distance with an eye toward participating in local 5K “fun runs” again someday. In the evening I stretched for 30 minutes and then did some restorative foam rolling, etc.

We’ve been having quite a bit of stormy weather here lately in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Last week, when I was out jogging, I ran across a lot of tree limbs and other debris on the trails and the fallen tree below. I took it as a sort of minor, functional fitness challenge and went through it as quickly as I could, contorting myself in as effective (but probably comic and ungainly too) manner as I could muster at the time.

Note the sawn trunk to the middle right from where a tree had fallen some time in the past.

We had a few days off from inclement weather but apparently the trees didn’t get the memo because today, when I was out running again, I ran across this scene below. This time, keeping with my previous attempts at semi-functional fitness, I duck walked under the trees and continued on my way. I thought about bear crawling but I didn’t want to get my hands muddy. One has to draw the line somewhere.

From the cut marks it looks like someone ameliorated the situation a bit so people could still easily use the trail.

Calories: 1904, Protein: 142 g.

Tues, January 26th

  • Morning Walk: 3.10 miles.
  • I spent most of the day deep cleaning and then rearranging our living room. I kept not liking how I had arranged things and doing it all over again. Finally I was happy but by the end of the day I felt like I had gotten in a full workout indeed. No weights needed!
  • Stretched for 30 minutes in the evening.

Calories: 1981, Protein: 154 g.

Wed, January 27th

Today I worked with indian clubs using this video and this one. I’ve been interested in learning more about the clubs for a long time in a “keep forgetting about it” kind of way, but I stumbled across some light, plastic clubs at the second hand store, that were cheap, so I grabbed them.**

Don’t know how far I’ll get into training with them but I can see right off that they’d be a fun way to warm up for my workouts. Also, they introduce more circular movements into my training, which is probably a good thing. One take-away from the session is the clubs don’t have to be heavy to get a good workout with them. A good thing I don’t have delusions of following in the footsteps of the mighty Iron Sheik!

I also found an interesting “fitness mace,” for cheap that I grabbed at the same time. More on that when I get around to using it, which will be when the weather clears up and I can use it outside so I don’t take out the pipes in our basement with an errant, overhead swing. In the meantime, I can always keep it handy in the living room for home defense in case we’re invaded by hordes of Dendra-clad Mycenaeans or perhaps Landsknechts.

I stretched for 30 minutes in the evening. Calories: 1890, Protein: 139 g.

Thur, January 28th

  • Recumbent Bike: 33 Minutes, Steady State Training, Level 10, 70+ rpm’s. I listened to some of Agnes Obel’s music to make the time go by faster while I pedaled. Her music is good for stretching or doing Yoga too, I think.
  • While my legs were still warm I did some stretching with an eye toward maintaining my ability to do a side-lunge stretch with my shod plant foot flat on the floor.
  • I finished off the morning session by working the “Stances,” “High Block,” and “Switching” Taekwondo lessons on the Global Martial Arts University website.
Those cut trees are new casualties from the recent and current storms. Note the tracked vehicle marks.
  • Warmed up using indian clubs doing the exercises in this video. The little head nod thing made me chuckle.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 9, 8 reps, [(30 lbs. x 6 reps + 25 lbs. x 3 reps) x 2 sets]
  • Incline Push ups with scapular mobilization (3rd stair): 4 sets x 9, 9, 8, 8 reps
    • I have noticed that doing these often makes my lats sore. I asked the chiropractor about it and he said it is a sign that I’m keeping my shoulder blades properly retracted during the movement so “it is a good thing.” Glad to clear up that mystery!
  • DB Bench Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9, 10, 10, 9 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: (15 lbs. x 5 reps + 12 lbs. x 5 reps), 12 lbs. x 3 sets x 10, 10, 9 reps
  • DB Front Raises: 10 lbs. x 2 sets x 12, 13 reps, 12 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Tricep Push Downs: 50 lbs. x 12 reps, 55 lbs. x 2 sets x 8, 7 reps, 50 lbs. x 10 reps
  • DB Hammer Curls: 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps, (25 lbs. x 5 reps + 20 lbs. x 3 reps), 20 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Exercise Complex) FOUR ROUNDS: [Indian Club Chest Flies with head turn: 12 reps, DB Bent-Over Rear Delt Row: 15 lbs. x 8 reps, DB Wrist Curls with finger roll 25 lbs. x 12 reps, Side Kick Stretch (ea. leg) 10 reps, DB Reverse Wrist Curls 8 lbs. x 12 reps, Front Kick Stretch (ea. leg) 10 reps] Allow for a short rest only at the end of each round.
  • (Super Set) One-Handed Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm): 12.5 lbs. x 13 reps, 15 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps +
    • (Set #1) Shoulder Abduction with External Rotation Exercise (orange band): 12 reps
    • (Set #2) Full Squats: 20 reps
    • (Set #3) Wrist Circles with indian clubs: 20 revolutions each way
    • (Set #4) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 26 reps
  • Stretched for 35 minutes in the evening and performed some restorative work.

Calories: 1878, Protein: 152 g.

The wind storms last week really did a number on our yard, in addition to knocking out the power and internet for most of the week. At least our area didn’t see anything like three years ago when the hills came alive and a tree came to visit. Our property was littered with all manner of redwood-based (and other culprits too) fragments and flotsam, from little needles up to branches some ten or twelve feet long, that when they fell could have dented in a car roof or done an injury to some hapless walker in the wind.***

The pictures above are from the end of one of the aforementioned twelve foot branches. This one missed our car by only a couple of feet. It interests me to think that huge trees like redwoods have such tiny, delicate-looking cones. Reminds me of the old saw about acorns and oak trees.

Fri, January 29th

  • Recumbent Bike: 33 Minutes, Steady State Training, Level 10, 70+ rpm’s.
  • Did a little stretching and worked the “Front Snap Kick (Instep)” Taekwondo lesson on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • Finished off with a few quick exercises: Dead Bugs (2-ct) x 20 reps, Hindu Squats x 20 reps, Standing One Legged Calf Raises (each leg) x 8 reps, Bend & Reach x 12 reps, Alternating One-Handed Russian KB Swings (2-ct) x 15 lbs. x 12 reps
  • Visited the chiropractor later in the day.

Calories: 2151, Protein: 140 g.

I was impressed with some of those larger redwood branches in my driveway when I was sawing them up into manageable pieces. I suspect a couple of them had been up there minding their own business for a long time indeed before finally letting go. At least the greater organism — the redwoods themselves still live on. Nothing lives forever, at least not without bringing metaphysics into it, but redwoods do have the potential to live for thousands of years and that ain’t bad.****

Interesting to look at the rings and observe the yearly growth variations of the limb.

Sat, January 30th

I followed along on “Day 1 – Invite | BREATH – A 30 Day Yoga Journey,” a video by Yoga With Adriene. I noticed that I’m weak for doing planks so following my philosophy of paying extra attention to my weaknesses rather than just focusing on my strengths, I’m going to start introducing some plank work back into my regime. I was a little surprised because I used to be good at planks, but I haven’t done them in quite awhile. Use it or lose it!

We went for a nice, afternoon walk a little later for 3.28 miles. I noticed a couple more lumberjack’s log marks that I added to my growing collection. I like the one on the right. It reminds me of something you’d see in a Euclidean proof or in the context of sacred geometry or in a Freemasonry setting.

In addition to the wind storms last week we had some more storms this week, this time with a lot more rain. There was talk of evacuating some areas near burns scars, caused by the CZU Lightning Complex Fires this past August. Fortunately that never materialized and amazingly, we didn’t even lose power or internet at our house during the second round of storms.

We did come across two good-sized tree falls blocking the trail within maybe a hundred yards of each other as you can see in the picture below. I would have hated to have been wandering around the general area when these trees let loose!

Calories: 2075, Protein: 149 g. (I lost 2 pounds this week, so my total loss is 23 lbs.)

Next week I’m going to get started on the roundup post for the “First of the Year” painting challenge. The challenge ends on January 31st, but it’ll be fine if you get me your pictures over the next few days. In the meantime, I’m going to try and produce something for Alex’s yearly “Fembruary” and Dave Stone’s “Paint What You Got” painting challenges.


* Trusty and also slightly rusty!

** I suppose if I had been on fire to learn about the clubs I could have just used a couple of empty Pellegrino bottles or a couple of appropriately-sized sticks or something else to get started with some makeshift clubs.

*** I developed a great love of walking all over town in bad weather, lost in my own thoughts, from the earliest memories of when I was allowed to wander off by myself. Snug in my yellow raincoat, immune to puddles (no matter how deep) in my rubber boots and having to share the sidewalks with hardly anyone because the only people out where those who had to be, and strange children like myself who enjoyed rescuing worms from a watery doom during their alone time and still do even to this day.

**** One of these days I’ll have to put up some pictures from a display at the park we walk in a lot of a tree that while it is said to have met its end by falling and not via human hands, managed to do pretty well for itself nonetheless.

Enter the Dragon

I was out and about enjoying a couple of hours hiking at Henry Cowell Park, which is a state park near Santa Cruz, California, when I ran across (fortunately not literally) an elusive lesser brown dragon!*

Pretty eyes, don’t you think?

My job involves a split shift where I’m at loose ends for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, so I have been filling my time with hiking, running, and working out.  One unanticipated side effect of this is I’ve been seeing all sorts of sights I think are worth taking pictures of and collecting here.  I figure that since I want to post at least somewhat regularly on my blog and I’m not painting as much these days, then I need to expand my horizons a bit … so enter the dragon, as it were.

Beware a dragon on the move!

Our newt, as you can see, blends in pretty well with the detritus of the trail.  I only saw him/her/it because she was legging it pretty hard and the movement caught my eye.  Thank goodness because I would not have been happy at all to accidentally step on such an adorable little creature!**

Time to hide?

The beastie made it to the other side of the trail and I think she’d thoroughly had enough of the strange, probably hideously smelly giant taking pictures of her, and appeared to look for a convenient rock or branch to hide under.  I took this as my hint and decided to leave the lesser brown dragon alone and get back to my hike.

I did play another game of Blood Bowl last night too (busy day) and will post about that soon.  I’m going to work a little on painting today too.  It is pretty nice outside for February, so I might try and prime a couple of Nurgle linemen/rotters.  I also have a couple of pretty sexy pictures of various banana slugs I encountered further along on the Rincon Trail.  So all in all lots to talk about these days.


* My husband did a little poking around online after I mentioned to him that I had done so without success and said that he thought our draconic friend was a rough-skinned newt.  What stood out most to me was reading that the dragon could release a “strong toxin” from its skin, etc. etc.  I’m glad my only designs on our friend were photographic!

** The encounter give me the germ of an idea about a giant who doesn’t want to step on things, which are quite large to us but small to her.  Not sure where to go with that yet but time will tell.