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.

Work Outs: November 15 – 21, 2020 (Living to a hundred … and manzanita)

This has been a good work out week in that I achieved a couple of the goals on my list. Thinking about goals turned my thoughts to a gentleman we met out on the trails quite some time ago now.

He is “a little north of 90” and said that his “goal is to live to at least a hundred so I started walking every day when I retired. I’m down now sometimes to as little as three days a week and I don’t walk if it is raining too hard either. Don’t walk as fast as I used to either. Still think I’m doing pretty good.”

Yup, I agree, that is pretty good!

He had a pretty neat stick, which he made himself, and was kind enough to let me take some pictures to show of his walking stick online. I cropped the pictures, since I didn’t ask permission to put his face on the internet.

Sun, November 15th

Today was a lazy day at home with no training or doing much of anything other than watching movies and such, playing online Parcheesi, and talking to my husband and the cats.

Mon, November 16th

Morning Walk: 2.99 miles. Calories: 1918, Protein: 106 g.

Tues, November 17th

Morning Walk: 3.02 miles.

I thought I’d change things up and do something a little different today. I talked about the Deck of Cards Workout last week, so I decided to do one this afternoon after the obligatory gripper training. I weighted the session a bit toward full squats, since increasing those is one of my major goals right now. Turned out to be a pretty good workout.

Captains of Crush Gripper (T):

  • (Set 1): Right = 6mm x 7 reps, Left = 14mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = 6mm x 6 reps, Left = 14mm x 8 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 14mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 14mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 5): Right = 4mm x 4 reps, Left = 12mm x 4 reps

Achieved my current goal with the gripper today, which was to close it to 14mm for four sets of 5 reps with my (weaker) left hand. My new goal is the same, only to 10mm now.

Fitness Bag Deck of Cards Workout

SuitNumber CardFace Card
HeartsWalking Lunges (2-ct)10 Full Squats
ClubsStair Incline Push-ups10 Dead Bugs (2-ct)
DiamondsBent Over FB Rows10 FB Shovels (2-ct)
SpadesFB Snatches10 FB Rom. Dead Lifts
Aces (any suit)/Jokers20 Full Squats

When I was putting together this workout, I looked at various fitness bag exercises and got some ideas from this video. The bag shovel exercise, in particular, was new to me.

Calories: 1993, Protein: 128 g.

Wed, November 18th

Took a day off of training and worked on some writing. Calories: 2086, Protein: 120 g.

Thur, November 19th

Today I decided to test where I was at with the spring bar and the Arnold Press. I was pretty surprised so far as the spring bar goes. As for the presses, I think my current goal of 40 lb. dumbbells is certainly a long range one that will probably take quite awhile to accomplish. Come to think of it, though, I would have said the same thing about the spring bar around the first of the year. Time will tell.

Based on what I’m seeing today I added a micro goal for the Arnold Press of 35 lb. dumbbells for 4 sets of 12 reps.

  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps, 35 lbs. x 6 reps
  • Heavy Spring Bar: (alternating pronated and supinated sets): 4 sets x 8 reps.

I achieved my spring bar goal today of 4 sets of 8 reps. My next goal is to bend the bar for 4 sets of 12 reps.

  • Twenty-Four’s (Same as 21’s except 8 reps per exercise): 10 lbs. x 4 sets
  • Standing Push-ups using cellar stairs:
    • (Sets #1 – #2) 15 reps (Hands on 4th riser, feet on floor)
    • (Sets #3 – #4) 4/6 reps, 3/5 reps (First number is hands on 3rd riser, which makes things harder. The second number is for hands on 4th riser once I couldn’t do anymore on the 3rd
  • Super Set: Tricep Pushdowns (tricep handle): 40 lbs. x 15, 13, 10, 10 reps +
    • (Set #1): Walk holding fitness rock over my head x 50 steps
    • (Set #2): Spread and Raise Hands (light orange band) x 20 reps
    • (Set #3): External Shoulder Rotation (black band, ea. arm) x 12 reps
    • (Set #4): Internal Shoulder Rotation (black band, ea. arm) x 12 reps
  • Exercise Complex: One-Handed Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm) 10 lbs. x 12 reps, Small Arm Circles 100 revolutions CW then 50 CCW, Two-Handed American KB Swings: 15 lbs. x 20 reps
  • Did a little stretching to end the session.

Calories: 1904, Protein: 109 g.

We certainly see a lot of manzanita when we are out walking on the local trails. It originally caught my eye because there is a lot of it and also because I’d never seen any in the other places I’ve lived. I’m sure there was some where I lived in Texas, in the 1980’s, but I wasn’t really looking at nature quite the same way then as I do now.

The pleasing color and how the bark peels also caught my interest. The berries are edible and that the tree has many “medicinal purposes.” I also learned it doesn’t need much water and does well in poor soil, which pretty much describes much of the area where I’m finding these trees.

According to Wikipedia, manzanita is also sometimes called “mountain driftwood” because it grows in odd, twisted shapes and turns white or gray as it rots (slowly), “rendering it superficially akin to animal bones.” I’ll have to ask around my area and find out if that is a common name here. So far, all I’ve found out about it from asking around is that it “burns hot,” which I tested out for myself some time ago and agree!

Fri, November 20th

  • Morning Walk: 3.19 miles.
  • Afternoon Training:
    • Standing Cable Rows (straight bar): 65 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Super Set:
      • Standing Bicep Curls (fitness bag) : 4 sets x 8 reps.
      • Twist Yo’ Wrist (cable): 7.5 lbs. x 4 sets x two windings
    • Farmer’s Walk (40 lb. DB’s): 115 steps or from where the dumbbells were sitting on my bench, out the door, looped the drive and back inside.
    • (Exercise Complex): Fitness Bag Cleans 12 reps, Face Pulls 15 lbs. x 12 reps, Fitness Bag Shovels x 12 reps, Full Squats 30 reps, Wrist Rolling (cable) 10 lbs. x one winding, Bell Tower Crunches (ea. side) 17.5 lbs. x 12 reps, Whirling Dervishes (ea. way) 10 revolutions

Calories: 2115, Protein: 136 g.

Sat, November 21st

(I lost 0.4 pounds for the week, so my total lost is 17.6 lbs. so far.)

Work Outs: November 8 – 14, 2020 (and the mystery of the logs solved)

Sun, November 8th

Today turned out to be an involuntary rest day. Both my husband and I had a bunch of stuff going on, so I couldn’t block out some time to do a formal workout or go walking. I liked the Deck of Cards workout back when I used to travel a lot. The general idea is you assign exercises by suit, such as Full Squats when you draw a club. You do the number of reps corresponding to the number on card with, say, 10 reps for a face card and 20 reps for an ace. One can make the workout easy or complicated as one chooses.

Usually one completes the workout in a single session. I did it a little differently. When I had a few moments I’d reach in my pocket and draw out a couple of cards and knock out some reps of whatever was called for. I did this off and on all day long. It wasn’t ideal, but I found a way to work in some exercise.

Calories: 2104, Protein 120 g.

Mon, November 9th

  • Morning Walk: 2.97 miles.
  • Afternoon Training
    • Captains of Crush Gripper (T):
      • (Set 1): Right = 8mm x 8 reps, Left = 16mm x 8 reps
      • (Set 2): Right = 8mm x 8 reps, Left = 16mm x 8 reps
      • (Set 3): Right = 8mm x 8 reps, Left = 16mm x 8 reps
      • (Set 4): Right = 8mm x 9 + 1 reps, Left = 16mm x 8 + 1 reps
      • (Set 5): Right = 4mm x 3 + 1 reps, Left = 14mm x 5 + 1 reps
  • Leg Complex: FOUR SETS {Full Squats: 20 reps, Romanian Dead Lifts (12 lb. db’s): 12 reps, Walking Lunges (2-ct): 6 reps, Alternating Sets of Side-Kick Stretch and Front Kick Stretch (2-ct): 12 reps}
  • Exercise Complex: Standing Calf Raises: 25 reps, Bell Tower Crunches (ea. side): 15 lbs. x 12 reps, Cossack Squats (partials, ea. leg): 6 reps, Single Leg Standing Calf Raises (each leg): 6 reps, Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps, Jumping Jacks (4-ct): 20 reps
  • Did a little stretching to end the workout.

Calories: 1993, Protein: 105 g.

I’ve been hiking off and on past this old, rotting log for some years now. I always thought that the SL on one end meant “San Lorenzo” for San Lorenzo Valley. Then, we recently came upon a guy cutting up some trees alongside another trail and I saw the MD and so I wondered and the mystery deepened.

I wasn’t going to say anything but the guy happened to turn off his chainsaw and started taking a break so I asked him about it. Turns out that the people cutting down the trees like to indulge in carving their initials with their chainsaws. If I’m remembering correctly, the M in MD is for Mike, and Mike thought that the S in SL was Steve but he wasn’t sure. Mike had quite a laugh when I told him about my San Lorenzo Theory. Glad we’ve gotten that mystery cleared up! I’d have asked Mike more about it, but I didn’t want to bother him on his break.

Tues, November 10th

  • Afternoon Training
    • Twenty-One’s: (Sets #1 – #3) 12 lbs., (Set #4) Lateral Raises 15 lbs., Front Raises 12 lbs. x 5 reps + 10 lbs. x 2 reps, Rear Delt Raises 15 lbs.
    • Standing Push-ups using cellar stairs:
      • (Sets #1 – #2) 15 reps (Feet on stairs)
      • (Sets #3 – #4) 12, 8 reps (Feet on floor rather than steps and hands on 3rd riser, which makes things a little harder.)
    • Arnold Press:
      • (Set #1) 20 lbs. x 12 reps
      • (Set #2) 20 lbs. x 8 reps + 15 lbs. x 4 reps
      • (Set #3) 20 lbs. x 9 reps + 15 lbs. x 3 reps
      • (Set #4) 25 lbs. x 7 reps + 20 lbs. x 5 reps
      • I’m going to add a new long-term goal: I want to be able to do four sets of 12 reps using 40 lb. dumbbells.
    • Heavy Spring Bar (alternating pronated and supinated sets): 4 sets x 5 reps
      • I think that with continued effort I have a good chance of reaching my goal of four sets of eight reps by the end of the year. We’ll see!
    • Cable Flies: 10 lbs. x 15 reps, 12.5 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
    • Super Set: Tricep Pushdowns (str. bar): 40 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
      • (Set #1): Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
      • (Set #2): Two-Handed American KB Swings: 15 lbs. x 15 reps
      • (Set #3): Crunches: 30 reps
      • (Set #4): Fitness Bag Pick up and Shoulder x 8 reps
    • Exercise Complex: Spread and Raise Hands (light orange band) 15 reps, Small Arm Circles 50 revolutions each way, Front Squats 20 reps, One-Handed Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle) 10 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Did a little stretching to end the session.

Calories: 2046, Protein: 110 g.

Wed/Thur, November 11th – 12th

Spent the past two days working on our house and doing some light demolition, including moving out an old, dead woodstove that has been cluttering up a corner in our living room since 2014!

The dead stove might easily have sat for another six years, but I’ve been spending a lot more time at home, as have many I’m sure, so it seems like a good time to get these sorts of projects done.

  • Wed: Calories: 1825, Protein: 104 g.
  • Thur: Calories: 1980, Protein: 131 g.

Fri, November 13th

  • Afternoon Training:
    • Captains of Crush Gripper (T):
      • (Set 1): Right = 6mm x 5 + 3 reps, Left = 14mm x 5 + 1 reps
      • (Set 2): Right = 6mm x 6 + 1 reps, Left = 14mm x 6 + 1 reps
      • (Set 3): Right = 6mm x 6 + 1 reps, Left = 14mm x 6 + 1 reps
      • (Set 4): Right = 6mm x 4 + 2 reps, Left = 14mm x 5 + 1 reps
      • (Set 5): Right = 4mm x 3 + 3 reps, Left = 12mm x 3 + 3 reps
    • Standing Cable Rows (straight bar): 60 lbs. x 15 reps, 65 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
    • Cable Pull Downs (d-handles): 50 lbs. x 13 reps, 3 sets x 12 reps
    • Standing Bicep Curls (cat litter fitness bag) : 4 sets x 12 reps. Finished with a set of DB curls: 25 lbs. x 8 reps
    • Farmer’s Walk (40 lb. DB’s): 115 steps or from where the dumbbells were sitting on my bench, out the door, looped the drive and back inside.
    • Fitness Bag Cleans (alternating sets of parallel and overhand grips): 2 sets x 12 reps, 2 sets x 13 reps
    • (Exercise Complex) Wood Chops (ea. side): 15 lbs. x 15 reps, Bell Tower Crunches (ea. side): 15 lbs. x 15 reps, Dead Bugs (2-ct): 25 reps, 2-hd American KB Swings: 15 lbs. x 15 reps, Full Squats: 25 reps
    • Finger Extensions (8 lb. band): 4 sets x 15 reps
    • Over Head Press (Fitness Rock): 25 reps. (I think I might start seeing if I can do these one-handed for fewer reps.)
    • Stretched a little to end the workout.

Calories: 1995, Protein: 115 g.

Sat, November 14th

Rest day. Not sure what my calories were today. (I lost 0.4 pounds for the week, so my total lost is 17.6 lbs. so far.)