Work Outs: July 25 – 31, 2021 (Twelve Week Deadlift Program, The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology progress, and Barbell Jack)

I’ve been spending a lot of time editing The Lost Librarian’s Grave, and I still have a fair ways to go. I’m about a third done, and my plan is to reach the halfway point for editing by the end of this week. Once editing is complete, the next stage of the process will begin: turning TLLG into an e-book.

I also plan on working some more on the front cover. I’m going to add a glowing effect around the gargoyle and change the tag line, though I’m not sure to what yet. Whatever I do, I’m planning on keeping the word “sorcery” and probably “doom” as well. Also, instead of twenty stories I ended up finalizing things with a princely thirty-three stories and four poems, so it’ll be a good-sized tome.*

As for the workouts, I decided to start doing barbell deadlifts again, now that we have a nice set up for it. Since it has been quite some time since I last did them, I’ve decided to go back to a 12 week program I had very good success with a couple of years ago.

The general idea is to set an end goal and then start out with a low weight and perform eight sets the first week. Then each week you increase the weight by lifting an increasing percentage of the end goal while gradually decreasing the number of sets and repetitions. Then you test your one rep goal for week twelve. Since, as I said, I haven’t deadlifted with a barbell in quite some time, I decided upon a goal that would be easy for me: 225 lbs. or a little over 102 kg.

Sun, July 25th

Afternoon Walk: 8.97 miles.

Mon, July 26th

  • Morning Walk: 3.48 miles
  • (Morning Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs and light calisthenics
  • BB Deadlifts (Week 1 of 12): 123.75 lbs. x 8 sets x 6 reps; used double overhand grip
  • (Combo Set): DB Bicep Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps, DB Reverse Wrist Curls: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps, Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps, One-Handed Deadlifts (Rolling Thunder Handle, ea. hand): 61.88 lbs. x 4 sets x 5 reps; finished workout with a timed hold: 20 seconds with left hand and 30 seconds with right hand. (Handle, carabiner and pin weighs 6.88 lbs.)

Tues, July 27th

Morning Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 11. RPM’s: 70 – 80.

Wed, July 28th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 11. RPM’s: 70 – 80.

Quite some time before I purchased the barbell, I found a new-looking barbell jack at the thrift store. I was surprised that they were almost giving it away for free, and when I went up to the checkout I learned this was because no one in the store knew what the heck it was.** I told the clerk it was a “barbell jack,” and then she and I (and the guy standing behind me in line) talked about barbell jacks for about five minutes until someone else stepped into line. Anyway, they are far from essential, but they are a nice thing to have laying around.***

The purpose of the jack is to make it easier to load and unload multiple plates of the same size onto the bar, especially multiple 45 lb. plates. The way you use the jack is to position it near one end of the bar as pictured in the above left picture. Then you push down on the top lever with your hand or foot (I find using my hand safer) so that the bar is as pictured on the above right. Then you can load or unload plates as needed.

Thur, July 29th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = 4mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Hold Guide (60 lbs.) closed with piece of paper for time: Left = 31 sec, Right = 35 sec
  • (Afternoon Workout) Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps (Supersetted these with my bench press warm-up sets.)
  • BB Bench Press: 65 lbs. x 12 reps, 75 lbs. x 12 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset): BB Standing Skull Crushers (ez curl bar): 51 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Heavy Spring Bar: Hands Pronated x 4 reps + Hands Supinated x 4 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 17.5 lbs. x 12 reps

The red plate on the ends, in the picture above, come from a set where you can add 2.5 lbs. on each side in quarter-pound increments. These are handy when doing routines like the 12 week deadlift program where one is doing different percentages each week of the eventual maximum attempt, such as 123.75 lbs. for week one. I could have just rounded it up to 125, but I tend to like precision in such matters so the little, vinyl weights are something I like having around.

Fri, July 30th

Morning Walk: 3.30 miles.

Sat, July 31st

Morning Walk: 7.35 miles.

  • (Afternoon Workout) Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • (Superset) DB Bicep Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Full Squats: 12 rep
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps

I am the same weight as last week. My total loss thus far is 28.4 lbs. I’m currently on a maintenance food plan until either the book is finished or I start feeling some enthusiasm to drop some more weight again.


* Including a 10,000 word bit of horror entitled “Mother Winter” about the misadventures of an unfortunate private soldier named Herrick, who is getting a taste of cold weather (and something far more sinister) on the eastern front during World War Two, which I’m editing today.

** I found it in the automotive section. Their best guess was that it was some kind of weird, specialized tire chalk block.

*** They also make “full” barbell jacks so you can lift both sides of the barbell at once. A gym I used to go from 2014 – 2017 had one of these and I became quite addicted to using it.

Work Outs: July 11 – 17, 2021 (Book in the Forest)

I got out of the habit of posting my workouts as I shifted focus to my book publishing project with most of my online activity taking place on my new Redwood Press site. That is going well and although I’m still focused on it, I think it is best that I get back into the habit of posting my weekly workout log. I like working out a lot so I still train even when I’m not keeping records, but if I don’t have a plan then I tend to do the fun stuff and not do the stuff that isn’t as much fun. As is often the case with many things in life, it is the “not fun” stuff that seems to align most closely with my current goals.*

Sun, July 11th

Afternoon Walk: 6.07 miles. Calories: 2810, Protein: 171 g.

We’ve seen this book perched up in a tree for the last three weeks now, when we do one of our usual hikes. The second week I told my husband, “I’m going to take that book if it is still here next week,” and sure enough it was. So I grabbed it and put it in my pack.

I flipped through it later, when we were having a water break, and noticed that someone had torn various pages out, seemingly randomly, which was too bad because I was looking forward to reading the book.** Like my husband said, “It is a shame, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.” I ended up putting the book back where we found it a few days later.

Mon, July 12th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Warmed up for afternoon workout with the 1 lb. indian clubs and dynamic stretching.
  • Ring Rows: 45° x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs (hog bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Sandbag (100 lbs.) and Fitness Rock:
    • (Set One) Picked up bag from 16″ platform and walked it outside (40 steps) to the tailgate of our Land Cruiser.
    • (Set Two) Picked up bag from tailgate (~31″) and held in bear hug hold for 30 seconds.
    • (Set Three) Picked fitness rock up from ground and threw it up and back, over my shoulder in an explosive manner. I did this for 8 repetitions.
    • (Set Four): Sandbag Bear Hug Hold: 30 seconds.
    • (Set Five): Threw fitness rock over shoulder x 8 reps
    • (Set Six): Picked up bag from tailgate and walked it 45 steps back to where it lives inside of our basement.
  • DB Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Ended the workout with some static stretching.

Calories: 1974, Protein: 158 g.

Tues, July 13th

Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 10. RPM’s: 70 – 80. Did some dynamic and static stretching afterward.

Calories: 2203, Protein: 144 g.

A shot up through some young redwoods during a water and peanut break on the trail at Henry Cowell State Park, Felton, California (USA).

Wed, July 14th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon workout. I warmed up with some dynamic stretching.
  • Landmine Squats: Bar x 4 sets x 15 reps
  • Romanian Dead Lifts: 75 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Finished the workout with some static stretching.

Thur, July 15th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: warmed up with 1 lb. indian clubs and dynamic stretching.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 65 lbs. x 8 reps, 75 lbs. x 8 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset): Tricep Pushdowns (rope): 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Light Spring Bar: Hands Pronated x 12 reps + Hands Supinated x 12 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps

Ended the workout with some static stretching. Calories: 2213, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, July 16th

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.

  • (Morning) Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 5): Left/Right (Guide Gripper, 50 lbs.) = kept fully closed holding piece of paper for 20/40 seconds

Calories: 2019, Protein: 137 g.

Sat, July 17th

  • Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 10. RPM’s: 70 – 85. For the last couple of minutes I pedaled as fast as I safely could at times; I think I peaked around 146 rpm’s. I could have probably beaten that if I still had the foot clips that came with the bike, but those are long lost since most of the time I don’t like using them.
  • Cossack Squats (4-point using bench): 10 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
  • Walking Lunges: 10 reps
  • Taekwondo Snap Kick/Leg Extension Exercise (ea. leg): 10 reps
  • Hindu Squats: 20 reps
  • Sumo Squats with Leg Abduction (4-ct): 10 reps
  • Pinch Grip Lift (Hub): 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 secs
  • Concluded with some dynamic and static stretching. Worked some on the Tree Pose.

Calories: 2250, Protein: 106 g. (I am up 3.6 lbs. since I stopped tracking my workouts in mid-April. My total loss thus far is 29.4 lbs.)


* Case in point are the Captains of Crush grippers. I don’t particularly enjoy training with these (my husband loves them) but I do enjoy the results I get from using them. I achieved one of my gripper goals back in February but have been very spotty in my CoC training since I stopped recording my workouts. Now I can’t do what I did back in February. I’ve still been working on my grip—mainly through using the steel mace and some other things, which I do enjoy—and while those fun things are good for building strong hands, they aren’t a replacement for the specific benefit one gets from the grippers.

** Not enough to see if I could get the book from the library or buy it.

Work Outs: March 21 – 27, 2021 (Mountain Lion and Ring Necked Snake)

I thought this short video of a mountain lion out for an evening stroll was interesting, given that it was taken near my neighborhood. I see their tracks all over the area. In my yard, on the hiking trails, their signs are all over the place if you look for them. There are the more subtle signs like tracks and scat, but occasionally we come across carcasses and things like legs of deer sitting in the middle of hiking trails.

A few years ago I saw the yellow eyes of one gleaming from behind our propane tank one evening when I was coming back from a evening of gaming. I gave the cat the high beams and it got the hint and ran off. Not too long after that we installed some motion-sensitive lights in part to greet our friendly, feline nocturnal visitors.

Video used with permission. Videographer declined video credit.

The only time I’ve clearly seen a mountain lion in the wild during the day was many years ago when we were hiking up near Folsom Lake, which isn’t too far from Sacramento, California. (The capitol of the state.) He was sitting on a huge boulder on top of a rise along the trail we were hiking on. It was kind of funny because he was sitting there cleaning himself and took awhile to notice that we noticed his presence. Then all of a sudden it seemed to dawn on the lion that we were watching him watching us and he jumped up all frightened and offended before shimmered off into the wilderness. Funny how they have many of the same mannerisms as house cats, albeit giant ones. The memory reminds me a bit of one of our past cats, Nero, but many years would pass from this incident before Nero would be born.

Sun, March 21st: Calories: 2912, Protein: 172 g.

Mon, March 22nd

  • Morning Walk: 3.27 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 6 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 8 mm x 5 + 3 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 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 (barely) but couldn’t close it completely with my left after 10 reps.
  • I warmed up with some dynamic stretching, the 5 lb. mace, and did some work with indian clubs. Then I did the MV-2 Workout with my 10 lb. mace. I did standing 360’s instead of kneeling and I did the chest press from a horse stance, from the MV Workout, because I forgot that I was supposed to do overhead presses instead.
  • I concluded the session with some Cobras, Cat-Cow Pose, and Downward Facing Dog. I also added in some Triangle Pose after reading “8 Easy Yoga Poses for Everyone” by Health Tips Now.

Calories: 2015, Protein: 138 g.

Tues, March 23rd

  • I helped my husband with his early morning workout by doing some medicine ball passes and rotational work. I also followed along with his post-workout static stretching routine.
  • Later, I warmed up with some dynamic stretching then reviewed Taekwondo “White Belt – Class 1” (focus on front snap kick and low block) on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • Cossack Squats: 10 reps. This was the first time I got 10 without having to use a hand for balance/assistance.
  • KB Goblet Full Squats: 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • BB Romanian Dead Lifts: 65 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Calf Raises (alternate seated and standing each set): Seated, One Leg 15 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps, Standing 2 sets x 20 reps

Calories: 2121, Protein: 151 g.

This cutie is a ring-necked snake (diadophis punctatus), which belongs to the Colubridae family. According to Wikipedia, this is the largest family of snakes and has representatives on every continent except Antarctica.

Someone in my area took this picture and was kind enough to give me permission to use it, though she didn’t want a photo credit.

I’m not surprised that ring-necked snakes are in our area once I read that they enjoy dining upon salamanders, earthworms and slugs, which we have aplenty in the redwood forest.

Wed, March 24th

  • For my warm up I did some dynamic stretching, worked with the indian clubs a little and then performed one set of the MV Workout with my 5 lb. mace.
  • I did one round from the Candy workout. The full workout is five rounds of 20 Pull Ups, 40 Push Ups, and 60 Squats. Regular pull ups and push ups aren’t happening for me in yet so I modified things where I used the 4th step on my cellar stairs to do incline push ups and for the pull ups did seated, leg assisted ones, which are an easier progression to eventually doing full pull ups. I did Hindu Squats instead of the easier (for me) regular squats.
    • A couple of useful pull up videos: One by Jeff Cavaliere about some of the technical aspects of pull ups, and another detailing progressions by Jessica Estrada.
  • (Super Set):
    • Alternating Sets of Seated, Leg-Assisted Pull Ups & Chins: 4 sets x 10 reps
    • Face Pulls: 12.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Sandbag (100 lbs.) and Fitness Rock:
    • (Set One) Picked up bag from 16″ platform and walked it outside (40 steps) to the tailgate of our Land Cruiser.
    • (Set Two) Picked up bag from tailgate (~31″) and held in bear hug hold for 45 seconds.
    • (Set Three) Picked fitness rock up from ground and threw it up and back, over my shoulder with the idea of building explosiveness. I did this for 8 repetitions.
    • (Set Four): Sandbag Bear Hug Hold: 45 seconds.
    • (Set Five): Threw fitness rock over shoulder x 8 reps
    • (Set Six): Picked up bag from tailgate and walked it 40 steps back to where it lives inside of our basement.
    • (Set Seven): I walked down the street with my fitness rock on my shoulder, to the yellow 5 mph speed limit sign and then jog-walked back uphill to my house. (I switched shoulders a couple of times.) The trip took 3:07 minutes.
  • Calories: 2266, Protein: 157 g.

I went to the local range and did some archery on the 24th. My poor, neglected recurve bow hasn’t seen any use in over a year now because all of the local venues have been closed and are just starting to open back up.

I was pretty rusty and mostly shot at one of the easier targets. I was kind of all over the place but I did have one round where everything seemed to come together and I shot ok. I think I might take a lesson next week and see about fine tuning things.

I thought about putting in some targets on our property last year. We have plenty of room but I know the neighbors wouldn’t appreciate it too much. We have good relations with everyone around us and that could all go away with one misplaced arrow shot into someone’s backyard. So I decided to take a break and I’m not sorry I did. Getting back to archery now is fun since I haven’t done it in so long.

Thur, March 25th

  • Morning Walk: 2.9 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 3 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 3 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 6 mm x 2 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 30 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper 20 times with my right (barely) and then did 10 more reps with the Guide (60 lbs.) gripper. I reached failure with the Sport, with my left hand, at 12 reps and then did 18 more reps with the Guide.*
  • I followed along with the Muay Thai “Stance,” “Footwork,” and “Jab” introductory lessons on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • Recumbent Bike: 35 Minutes, Interval Training. Level: 4 – 8, Speed (rpm’s): 70+ recovery intervals, 75+ higher resistance intervals, 100+ sprints. I did the “Intermediate Recumbent Bike Endurance Intervals Workout,” video put out by Sunny Health & Fitness. The presenter was Sydney Eaton. The workout was interval training with increasing resistance each set, ending with eight 20 second sprints with 10 seconds rest in-between each round.
  • I ended with some stretching and made sure I did some Cat-Cow, Cobra and other poses and stretches, which seem to help keep my back loose. I also made a point of working on maintaining my side-lunge stretch and worked on the arms portion of the Cow Face pose, which I do a little every day now. I also worked in some stretching while I was watching my pot of Hoover Stew simmer. (I’ll post a recipe about that in a week or two.) I finished off my stretching with a few minutes of Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani). I have done these with the legs apart in various ways to stretch out the inner thighs for kicking and such, on the advice of a massage therapist I went to years ago, but never this way. It felt pretty good.

Calories: 2254, Protein: 142 g.

I get the impression my neighbors think my dooryard sandbag and rock work is a little weird.

Fri, March 26th

  • Morning Walk: 1.96 miles.
  • Later in the morning, I warmed up with some dynamic stretching, indian clubs and a little mace work.
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 35 reps
  • DB Curls: 25 lbs. x 3 sets x 10 reps, 1 set x 8 reps
  • (Exercise Complex: FOUR ROUNDS)
    • Push Ups (2nd cellar stair using handles): 3 sets x 8 reps, 1 set x 4 (2nd stair) + 4 (3rd stair) reps
    • Bench Dips (straight legs): 2 sets x 8 reps; Reverse Tricep Pushdowns (str. bar): 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 12, 15 reps
    • Side Crunches (ea. side): 4 sets x 8 reps
    • DB Hammer Curls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps, 25 lbs. x 8 reps; Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls: 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • I worked on the Muay Thai “Jab” lesson on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • Had a nice chiropractor visit and did some stretching in the evening.

Calories: 2370, Protein: 163 g.

Sat, March 27th

  • We did some medicine ball passes and such.
  • Exercise Complex: FOUR ROUNDS [Hindu Squats 20 reps, Standing Hamstring Curls (cable) 20 lbs. x 8 reps, Walking Lunges (light knee touch) 8 reps} +
    • (Set One) Muay Thai style jabs: 50 jabs
    • (Set Two) Box Pattern Footwork (Muay Thai): 15 boxes each way.
    • (Set Three) Taekwondo White Belt Drill #1: 20 times
    • (Set Four) Cossack Squats: 8 reps
  • Finished with a quick complex: Wrist Rolling (plates): 10 lbs. x 1 time up and down, Wrist Curls using wrist rolling set up (10 lbs. x 20 reps), Plate Hold (pronated for thumbs): 5 lbs. x 30 seconds, Static Finger Extension Hold (5 lb. plate): 30 seconds
  • I reviewed the Muay Thai “Stance,” “Footwork,” and “Jab” lessons on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • Afternoon Walk: 5.35 miles

Calories: 2672, Protein: 150 g. (I lost 0.6 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 30.2 lbs.)


* The idea of performing a set to muscle failure and then brining the resistance down a little and immediately doing more reps until failure and so on is called a Drop Set.

Work Outs: March 14 – 20, 2021 (Vegan Parmesan Cheese Recipe, Goldilocks the Steel Mace, and Gas Station Spider)

This week I made some vegan parmesan cheese following a recipe from ourplantbasedworld.com, which think is an excellent website. The recipe is called (appropriately enough) “Homemade Vegan Parmesan.”

This is another offering that is extremely easy to make. All that was required was measuring out a few ingredients and blending them in my food processor/blender. The recipe calls for walnuts, which is what I used, but you can substitute any kind of nuts you have on hand, according to the recipe. I wonder how this would taste with the ubiquitous peanut?

We really enjoyed the cheese and according to the recipe it keeps in the refrigerator for about three weeks. So far we’ve had it on pasta, soup, salad, several vegetable dishes, and in omelets.*

It is 55 calories and provides 2 grams of protein per tablespoon. Given that the recipe includes a decent amount of nutritional yeast, it also confers some B vitamins.**

(Photo by Gus of ourplantbasedworld.com. Used with permission.)

Sun, March 14th

Morning Walk: 3.25 miles. Calories: 2885, Protein: 150 g.

Mon, March 15th

  • I helped my husband with his early morning workout with some medicine ball tosses and rotational passes.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 6 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 3 reps + 2mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 2mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 2mm x 3 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 8 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 1 rep + 2mm x 4 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 (barely!) but couldn’t close it completely with my left after 11 reps. I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.
  • I some dynamic stretching and worked with the indian clubs a little, concluding my warm-up by doing the MV-2 Workout with my 5 lb. mace.
  • I did the Wyatt with incline push-ups. For each set, I used the 3rd step on my basement stairs until it got too hard and then I went to the 4th step. My time was 44:53. I concluded the session with some static stretching and also did some Cobras, Cat-Cow Pose and Hindu Push Up Stretches.

Calories: 2297, Protein: 157 g.

I’ve been using my trusty 5 lb. thrift store steel mace now for awhile and I think that I’ve outgrown it somewhat. So I bought the pictured 10 lb. mace, which is produced by Retrospec.

I like the Retrospec mace quite a lot so far. It is a bit longer (40″ versus 30″) which is nice because using the mace gets harder the further one grips near the end of the handle. Conversely, gripping closer to the business end makes things easier. So there is a bit more versatility in having the longer handle.

Also, the 5 lb. mace feels better balanced. The Retrospec mace, with its larger head feels a bit more unbalanced for its weight, which makes it harder to use. That is a good thing. Thus far I’m finding the new mace satisfactory. Five pounds is too light, fifteen pounds would be too much but this mace is just right.***

The only thing so far I’m finding that I don’t like about the Retrospec mace is the finish. Even though I haven’t dropped it or scrapped it yet there are a few tiny bits of paint that have flaked off exposing the bare metal. This isn’t a big deal because I can always touch it up with a bit of spray paint but that is a small drawback.

Still, the price of the mace was right and otherwise I’m very happy with it. I’d certainly buy from Retrospec again albeit with the expectation of having to maintain the paint job if I was doing something like beating on tires with one of their maces.

My smaller, first mace will always have a home though. It is very useful for warming up and also for when I want to learn something new. Once I build up my mace collection more, it’ll probably also be useful for things like drop sets.

Tues, March 16th

  • Morning Walk: 2.37 miles. Calories: 2085, Protein: 152 g.

Wed, March 17th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles. Calories: 2121, Protein: 162 g.

Thur, March 18th

  • I helped my husband with his early morning workout with some medicine ball tosses and rotational passes.
  • Later in the day, I warmed up with some mace and club work and a little dynamic stretching.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 12 reps, 35 lbs. x 6 reps, 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 15 reps +
    • (Set One) Swing & Catch (10 lb. mace, ea. side): 10 reps.
    • (Set Two) Rebel Press (10 lb. mace, ea. side): 10 reps
    • (Set Three) Incline Plank using 10 lb. mace: One Minute. I was going to try and “walk” down the handle like this guy is doing in the video with a barbell but I ended up almost face planting when I tried it, which was good for a laugh. So I stayed in a static hold at the end of the mace for one minute.
  • Board Hand Holds: 4 sets x 30 seconds. Alternating sets of hands pronated holding a short board with 1.5 lbs. at the end and supinated grip a holding long board. The pronated grip worked the thumb and I felt it strongly in my fingers doing the supinated hold. The sensation was different than using the hand grippers. We have some weight plates coming in the mail soon; I think I’ll try the same exercise with them once we get them.
  • Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls: 20 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps; DB Hammer Curls: 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Finished off the workout with 20 Grave Diggers using the new mace and then did some Cobras, Cat-Cow Poses and Hindu Push Up Stretches to end the workout.

Calories: 2177, Protein: 155 g.

I’m always on the look out, when I’m out in Nature, for little beasties and fun things to take pictures of. I am convinced that the gas station (in its way) is as much Nature as the hiking trail and I found this little sprite hanging out on one of the blue concrete and steel posts stores put up to protect their pumps from people running into them.

Our little friend kept running around the post, once it saw I was trying to photograph it. (I guess gas station sprites can be shy.) I got a couple of shots though and although not the best pictures I’m pleased that you can see the little hairs on its legs, which I think are especially nice. If you click on the images you’ll be able to get a slightly better look at that pretty leg hair!

Fri, March 19th

In the afternoon I warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian clubs, then did the Bad Karma workout, which amounts to a whole lot of barbell curls and kettlebell swings. I kept it light and used 10 lb. dumbbells and a 15 lb. kettlebell. (The standard calls for a 35 lb. barbell and a kettlebell that weighs a “pood,” which is a hair over 36 lbs. Don’t have a bar yet.) One is supposed to keep track of time to completion and mine was 11:12. The weights were light but my biceps felt it strongly all the same and I was breathing quite hard by the end. My brachioradiales were pretty sore for a few days afterwards as well.

Calories: 2168, Protein: 156 g.

Sat, March 20th

Calories: 2895, Protein: 150 g. (I lost 1.4 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 29.6 lbs.)


* My husband enjoys a plant-based egg substitute called Just Egg, while I cling to good, old-fashioned ones that still come in shells. I’ve gotten pretty good at making two omelets simultaneously in different pans — his on the right and mine on the left. I’ve done this so often now I’m even able to time them so they are done at the same time. (I find Just Egg takes a little longer to cook than Eggs in Shells.

** I’ve noticed that many commercial vegan cheese preparations taste pretty good but are often a source of empty calories, typically having no protein at all and not many vitamins. I like this parmesan cheese because it delivers on taste but also packs in a lot of nutrition.

*** I never gave the thrift store mace a proper name but I am compelled to name my new one “Goldilocks.”

Work Outs: March 7 – 13, 2021 (Vegan Pesto Recipe, and California Poppy)

This week I made some pesto following a recipe from ourplantbasedworld.com called “5 Minutes Vegan Pesto.” Indeed, the pesto was five minutes and done because all it involved was dumping a bunch of ingredients into the food processor. Hard to get much simpler than that.

I used walnuts instead of pine nuts because I had the former on hand. I also used pre-minced garlic from a bottle instead of fresh because, again, that is what I had on hand. I added a bit more salt to balance the sweetness of the bottled garlic and it came out fine. I suspect if I used fresh garlic and roasted it myself, as the recipe calls for, I wouldn’t have needed the extra salt.

I put the pesto over some mysterious pasta that came with the herbs and such all mixed together. I say “mysterious” because the stuff has been sitting in our pantry for probably two years and I have no idea where it came from. Still, it cooked up fine and with the pesto was tasty. I sautéed some mushrooms and put some on top of the pasta and served the rest on the side.

My husband and I both liked the pesto and I’ll most likely make it again since it isn’t easy to find vegan pesto my plant-based husband can eat. Besides, this stuff is pretty darned tasty even if dietary restrictions aren’t a factor.* Gus also has a Creamy Vegan Sauce that looks interesting and might work better than pesto for putting over steamed vegetables and the like.

Sun, March 7th

Morning Walk: 6.71 miles. Calories: 3068, Protein: 146 g.

Mon, March 8th

Morning Walk: 3.05 miles. Calories: 1998, Protein: 152 g.

Tues, March 9th

  • Warmed up with some dynamic stretching, indian club and steel mace work.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 8, 9, 9, 8 reps
  • Alternating Sets of DB Rear Delt Rows (12 lbs.) and Face Pulls (12.5 lbs.): 4 sets x 12 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Eighteen) Tricep Pushdowns (rest-pause as needed): 55 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 30 reps
  • Full Squats: 30 reps

Calories: 2118, Protein: 157 g.

I was browsing through our old collection of pictures, that we’ve never done anything with, and I found this picture of what I believe is a California poppy, which is the state flower of California. I took this picture some years ago up near (I think) Union City, CA when we were out on a hike.

Wed, March 10th

  • I did the MV-2 Steel Mace Workout with my Thrift Store 5 lb. Steel Mace.
  • Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 4 sets x 9 reps
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Nineteen) DB Cheat Curls: 25 lbs. x 4 sets with 5 second eccentric until failure, then 4 seconds eccentrics to failure then 3 seconds. Once I cannot control the downward motion for 3 seconds then the set is over.
  • Sandbag Bear Hug Carry (100 lbs.): Picked up bag from 16″ platform and walked 40 steps.
  • I worked on White Belt Solo Drill #2, which is low and high blocks, and front kicks from a ready stance.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 7 reps, Right = Closed x 1 rep + 2mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 + 1 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 7 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 6 + 1 reps, Right = 2mm x 3 + 2 reps

Calories: 2159, Protein: 151 g.

I’ve often seen poppies in large groups but this one was all alone, managing to grow up through a tangle of grass. I remember now being surprised that the flower managed to survive which led me to take these pictures. The picture below conveys a better sense of how the poppy had quite a lot of competition going on around it or at least to my eye it did. (I don’t pretend to know much about Botany.)

Maybe this picture should be a metaphor about not giving up when things are hard?

Thur, March 11th

  • Warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian club work. I also practiced the Swing & Catch with my steel mace.
  • DB Bench Press: 40 lbs. x 10, 9, 9, 8 reps
  • Incline Push Ups: 3rd Step x 3 sets x 8 reps, 17″ Bench x 6 reps
  • Spring Bar: Heavy x 7 reps, Light x 3 sets x 15 reps. Alternating sets with hands supinated and pronated.
  • EXERCISE COMPLEX: Internal Rotation with Shoulder Abduction (orange band, ea. arm) x 10 reps, Cable Wrist Rolling 15 lbs. x once up and down, White Belt Solo Drill #2 x 10 times, Dead Bugs (2-ct) x 30 reps, Standing Side Crunches (2-ct) x 20 reps, Mace Chest Press From Horse Stance (2-ct) 5 lbs. x 30 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Twenty) PJR Pullovers: 35 lbs. x 4 sets with 5 second eccentric until failure, then 4 seconds eccentrics to failure then 3 seconds. Once I cannot control the downward motion for 3 seconds then the set is over.
  • Did some stretching and lacrosse ball work to end the session.

Calories: 2247, Protein: 151 g.

In addition to doing the Swing & Catch away from your face, which I touched on last week, I found that it is good to do this exercise over a rubber mat or something other than concrete or a hardwood floor you want to stay nice. I ended up having a drop, which bounced off the mat and then did a three-sixty and bounced off our concrete floor. Fortunately the floor was unscathed but it did scar my mace up a little, which is fine. Fortunately, I had some black Rustoleum gathering dust so I sprayed where the bare metal was showing to inhibit potential rusting.

Some minor battle damage now but maces don’t need to be pretty.

Fri, March 12th

  • Morning Walk: 2.71 miles.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Twenty-One) Final Arm Measurement. Both of my upper arms were 3/8″ larger than when I started the program, so I’d count it a success especially since I was in mild calorie deficit and lost about 4 pounds during this time. Having larger arms isn’t really that important to me, but if it is to you I’d suggest giving this routine a look.

Afternoon Workout: I warmed up with some dynamic stretching and then did another of Jenny Ford’s step aerobic workouts — “Step Aerobics Basics 2/3 Combos-Fitness Cardio Workout.” This one took about 45 minutes. I like how this video incorporated and expanded upon her beginner class I did last week.** Ford introduces three step combinations as part of the workout. I like how she works up to each combo and then puts it all together and moves on to work up to the next one.

Calories: 2001, Protein: 150 g.

Sat, March 13th

Calories: 2664, Protein: 151 g. (I weighed the same this week as last, so my total loss remains at 28.2 lbs.)


* A sharp eyed reader might notice that the food picture has cheese in it but the recipe is vegan. The picture is from one of those free image, no attribution required sites so it doesn’t match the recipe. Gus’s recipe calls for nutritional yeast in place of the cheese.

** I’m not new to Step Aerobics, but it has been a long time since I did a class and I’ve only recently tried doing Youtube-based step classes. Before then I always did Step in person at the gym.

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 31 – February 6, 2021 (The Beach is that way!)

A few weeks ago the main road we usually take to get home was closed while repair crews were dealing with all of the fallen trees and power poles (especially the latter) from the previous period of winds and rain that moved through the Santa Cruz area. So we took a back way to get home from some grocery shopping and such, which took us along the California State Route 1 coastal road, by lots of beaches. We stopped at one, that wasn’t too busy, for about ten minutes and had a look around before continuing on our way.

A bit of California State Route 1 not far from Santa Cruz.

Sun, January 31st

  • Recumbent Bike: 65 Minutes, Level 10, 70 – 80 rpm’s. I listened to the first half of Accept – Live At Wacken 2017 and varied the speed I pedaled to how I felt and the tempo of the music. I liked it when they brought in the orchestra complete with conductor.
  • I stretched a little then did the “Half Roundhouse Kick” Taekwondo lesson from Global Martial Arts University. Finished with three quick exercises, doing each for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest between each: Elbow Plank, Leg Switching, Hindu Squats. Then I stretched for ten minutes.

Calories: 2642, Protein: 152 g.

Mon, February 1st

Morning Walk: 3.18 miles. Calories: 2193, Protein: 120 g.

I see these plants everywhere and in goodly quantities around the coastal areas near where we live. The consensus of the various locals I asked about these succulents was that they are Ice Plants. They are apparently an invasive species that might have come in with ships hundreds of years ago, but according to Wikipedia was brought in for erosion control though “it actually exacerbates and speeds up coastal erosion.”

Rebecca wrote, “Also known as ‘Dead Man’s Finger’ because it resembles a hand reaching up from the grave.” 🙂

Too bad if that is true because I think ice plants are kind of pretty, especially when they flower. Also, according to Wikipedia and my local sources, the plant is reportedly edible and has a lot of different uses. One of my local contacts said that the plant is high in Vitamin C. So if I’m ever marooned on a desert island and see this stuff then I’ll try eating it to stave off the scurvy!*

Tues, February 2nd

Morning Workout

  • Recumbent Bike: 31 Minutes, Steady State Training, Level 10, 70+ rpm’s.
  • White Belt Drill #1: Side Kick Stretch, Elbow Plank (one minute hold), Front Kick Stretch, Jab, Leg Switching, Cross Punch, Front Snap Kick, Low Block, Half Roundhouse Kick Exercise, High Block
    • Do the ten movements moving from one to the next, resting only as needed to keep good form, since I am working on skills. (Do ten repetitions each side or for a 2-count.)

Captains of Crush Gripper (T):

Mid-morning I worked on the grippers while waiting at the Toyota dealership while our car was being serviced. I warmed up using a gripping egg and then the Guide and Sport level Grippers before moving on to the Trainer gripper. I also did a little finger extension work at the end.

  • (Set 1): Right = 8mm x 7 reps, Left = 12mm x 7 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = 8mm x 9 reps, Left = 12mm x 7 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 5): Right = 4mm x 3 +2 reps, Left = 8mm x 3 + 2 reps
  • (Set 6): I did a final set with the Guide gripper where I moved my arm around in circles, down to my feet, behind my head, all over the place while working the gripper. I lost count of repetitions but I think it was in the 35 – 40 range with each hand. According to John Brookfield, in his book Mastery of Hand Strength, this “dynamic training” is to build hand strength “that can be applied to your particular sport or profession (21).

Afternoon Hike: 3.42 miles. Calories: 1995, Protein: 140 g.

The Pacific Ocean rolling in toward a sandy part of the beach.

Wed, February 3rd

  • Morning Walk: 4.07 miles.
  • Afternoon Run: 3.2 miles over mostly flat terrain on both trails and pavement. After the run, I strolled back for about a mile and once I found a likely spot off the trail I did White Belt Drill #1 in the park but substituted 20 four-count jumping jacks for the planks because I didn’t fancy getting down in the mud and then probably getting the inside of my car all dirty. Afterwards, I made my way to the car and did some quick incline side star planks on the fence before calling it a day.
  • Stretched for about 35 minutes in the evening.

Calories: 1994, Protein: 146 g.

Notice all of the ice plants!

I found this to be an interesting little scene near the beach. I thought the surf board was fun with the “bite” taken out of it. A cursory search didn’t reveal too much about the board or who Anne Frances Smith was. Perhaps once one can go to museums and such again, I’ll go by the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum and ask them about the board. I’ve never been so it might be good to go in any case.

Thur, February 4th

Morning Walk: 2.51 miles.

  • Afternoon Workout: Warmed up using indian clubs doing the exercises in this video and this one.
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 12 reps, 80 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Pilates DB Biceps Curls (alternating sets of I & II): 5 lbs. x 4 sets x 15 reps
    • My biceps felt like they could use something a bit lighter and different today than the usual curls I’ve been doing, so I dusted off a Pilates book a friend gave me for Christmas some years ago.
  • Incline Push-ups with Scapular Mobilization (3rd Stair): 4 sets x 10 reps
  • Seated DB Cleans: 12 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps, 15 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • DB Shrugs: 50 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • (Exercise Complex) Shoulder Internal Rotation with Abduction (orange band) 13 reps, KB Sumo Dead Lift 35 lbs. x 15 reps, Face Pulls 15 lbs. x 12 reps, Shrimping, Z-Shrimping, Table Makers 8 reps, Snap Kick Exercise (each leg) 20 reps
  • Bridging: Worked on increasing flexibility with the eventual goal of touching my nose to the floor. I used to bridge a lot years ago with good success but got away from doing it. I’m not sure why I ever stopped.
  • I worked the “White Belt – Solo Drill 1” and “Solo Drill 2” Taekwondo lessons on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • I finished the session by following along (as best I could — I find Yoga pretty challenging!) with “Day 1 – Ease Into It – 30 Days of Yoga” by Yoga With Adriene. If you are looking for some free, online yoga I’d suggest giving Adriene’s channel a try. I find her videos to be excellent.

Calories: 1984, Protein: 154 g.

An interesting set of (mostly) stone steps leading down to the beach. They were kind of steep but that made them more fun to scuttle down and then back up again. As usual, no general shortage of ice plants.

Live Long and Prosper!

Fri, February 5th

  • I did a morning stretch before starting the day. (I’m going to start doing this every morning, when I get up, because it felt really good and it instantly cleared away the wake up fog.) Then we walked 3.54 miles.
  • I worked with the indian clubs a bit, not for exercise but to learn some new swings.
  • Visited the chiropractor later in the day.

Calories: 1831, Protein: 158 g.

An interesting bit of rock art on the beach. I was highly tempted to add a small rock to the top of the pile but decided I didn’t want to risk bringing the stone tower crashing down so I contented myself with this picture.

Sat, February 6th

Coc Trainer Gripper (100 lbs.)

  • (Set 1): Right = Closed x 2 reps + 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10 mm x 8 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 5 reps, Left = 10 mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = Closed x 1 rep + 4mm x 6 reps , Left = 10 mm x 9 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = Closed x 1 rep + 4mm x 4 reps, Left = 8 mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I couldn’t close it all the way with my right hand after 17 reps and after 13 reps with my left. (Not as strong in the dynamic aspect as the other day.) I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.

I achieved a sub-goal, that I posted back in November, of wanting to be able to close the Trainer gripper to 10mm for four sets of five reps with my left hand. The eventual goal is to be able to close that gripper for five reps with either hand. My new sub-goal, again with my weaker, left hand, is closing the Trainer gripper to 4mm for four sets of five reps.

Calories: 2013, Protein: 90 g. (I lost 1 pound this week, so my total loss is 24 lbs.)

We’ll close the book (for now at least) on ice plants with this short video someone shared with me about ice plants burning during the August CZU Lightning Complex fires that hit our area in August: “Just like trying to light a watermelon on fire.”

Next week I’m going to get started on the roundup post for the “First of the Year” painting challenge. 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.


* I think some of the locals I asked about ice plants were worried I wanted to plant some and as I understand you can buy them at some local nurseries, but I just wanted to know what it is. If I ever plant anything it is more likely to be things like squash, potatoes, cucumbers and the like.

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.