Work Outs: April 4 – 10, 2021 (Golf Ball Spider)

I’ve been posting pictures of salamanders, slugs, scorpions, and of course spiders off and on and of these worthy, little critters my favorites (I don’t know why) are spiders. This short video of a spider was taken one town over from where I live. So far as what kind of spider it is, guesses include a Calisoga, which is a genus of spiders also known as “false tarantulas,” or perhaps Titiotus californicus. Someone else said it was a “redwood spider.” I’m not sure exactly but I do know I’ve seen a lot of these around and about so they are pretty common in our area.

I do like that the person, who took this short video, took a picture of the spider crawling next to a golf ball to give one a sense of scale. Enjoy!

When I was a child I used to keep pet spiders and that started when I found a spider that had apparently lost some of its legs and seemed crippled. So I set it up in a terrarium with the idea of giving it some kind of chance for a life.

Much to my surprise one day I thought the spider had died but in fact it had been hiding in its little spider burrow under a fish tank decoration and molted.* Not only did my spider friend present me with a fancy husk, it had grown all of its legs back.

Once the weather turned nice again, I released my rehabilitated friend back into the wild. I was sorry to do so but I thought the spider would have a better, if possibly much shorter life, living out in the world than in a cage.

I kept a scorpion under similar circumstances some years later and was pretty surprised when it turned out the scorpion, unlike the spider, didn’t grow its legs back. (At least that one didn’t.) My experience with the spider had caused me to assume it would.

Sun, April 4th: Calories: 2064, Protein: 109 g.

Mon, April 5th

  • Morning Walk: 3.35 miles, after which we did a little balance work.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Left 2 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
  • Pinch Grip Lift (Hub): I have never done this before so I worked up to a couple of sets holding 18.5 lbs. to see where I was at. The next time I do this I’m going to try a slightly different grip to see if it makes a difference.
  • I did a full body warm up with some dynamic stretching, indian club and mace work. Also also practiced an alternating hands version of the Swing & Catch with the 10 lb. mace.
  • Standing Leg-Assisted Pull Ups: 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Standing Ring Rows: 5, 7 reps; went to about 45 degree angle to make it easier and did 10, 12 reps
  • DB Curls: 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • KB Russian Swings: 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Cross Body Hammer Curls: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps (Added in some hand pronation on the last two sets.)
  • Face Pulls: 12.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • I finished the work out with some stretching and yoga poses, including Cat-Cow, which is my current favorite.

Calories: 2178, Protein: 151 g.

I hope you enjoyed the video and pictures of Golf Ball Spider, who lives the next town over from us. The person, who took the video and extracted the pictures, kindly gave me permission to use them but declined a video or photo credit.

Tues, April 6th

  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): One set of 37 reps, then 63 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • Full Squats: One set of 30 reps, then 70 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • (Super Set):
    • Standing Cable Leg Curls (ea. leg): 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets x 20 reps
  • I followed along with the “30-Minute Recumbent Bike Workout” video on the Vive Health channel, which I’ve done a few times now over the past couple of months. During the workout the presenter has one get off the bike three times and do some squats. For my three sets I did 10 Cossack Squats for the first, 10 Leg Extension Exercise (each leg, Taekwondo) for the second, and finally 20 Front Snap Kicks (Taekwondo).
  • I worked a little on foot dorsiflexion with the cable machine and then did the Muay Thai “Front Teep” lesson on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • I concluded the workout with some stretching and Yoga poses, including the Cat-Cow and Cobra poses, which both seem to do good things for my spine.

Calories: 2356, Protein: 162 g.

Wed, April 7th

  • Morning Walk: 2.33 miles. We concluded with a little balancing work.
  • I did two sets of the MV Workout with my 5 lb. mace. Then I worked on the Swing & Catch and Alternating Swing & Catch, kind of mixing the two together now that I’m getting better at doing it. As always I was careful not to swing the mace near my face.
  • Finally, I worked on the Muay Thai left jab and front teep using various targets (for the teeps), such as trees, one of the tires of our Land Cruiser (for low strikes) and practicing my footwork over various surfaces (rocks, pavement, leaves) and going up and downhill as well as the usual flat surfaces.

Calories: 2104, Protein: 151 g.

Thur, April 8th

  • Morning Walk: 3.33 miles. We concluded with a little balancing work. Calories: 2252, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, April 9th

  • Morning Walk: 2.19 miles. Afterwards, we did some balance work. Calories: 2321, Protein: 132 g.

Sat, April 10th

Calories: 2250, Protein: 106 g. (I lost 2 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 32.0 lbs.)


* My father varnished up the husk and I kept it in my room on a shelf for years. For all I know it might still be somewhere in my ancestral home though my old bedroom was repurposed a couple of years after I flew the nest, so it might have ended up in the trash.

For those of you who have the itch to watch a spider molt (speed up in places!), well, your wait is over.

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: Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2020 (A meatloaf and a spider.)

Sun, November 29th

I made a planted-based meatloaf today using this recipe from Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen.* I made a double batch and went somewhat by the recipe, but with some differences:

  • I used dried, minced onion because we were out of onion powder.
  • I used Panko bread crumbs.
  • I went half and half with Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce because we were almost out of the former.
  • I mixed the ketchup into the loaf before cooking instead of putting it on top as the recipe suggested. Additionally, I brushed a tablespoon of barbeque sauce on top before cooking.
  • I cooked the loaf in a Pyrex loaf pan instead of on a baking sheet.

We enjoyed the finished product and I also liked how easy it was to make. (Meatloaf in general is a pretty easy recipe.) I used Impossible Burger meat this time. The next time I might try Beyond Beef, which we highly favor for taco night. The only possible negative I noticed this time was that it had a somewhat compacted texture. This did make it easy to slice and would make for good sandwiches.

Mon, November 30th

Morning Walk: 3.30 miles. Calories: 2054, Protein: 135 g.

Tues, December 1st

Morning Walk: 3.10 miles.

I didn’t like how my left index finger felt today when I was doing some warm-up sets with the hand grippers, so I decided to give the Captains of Crush a miss today. One thing I’ve learned over the years is not to “work through” small things like this.

Deck of Cards Workout

SuitNumber CardFace Card
HeartsWalking Lunges + Front Kick Stretch (2-ct)10 Hindu Squats
ClubsStair Incline Push-ups10 Cossack Squats (Partials)
DiamondsBent Over FB Rows + Side Kick Stretch (2-ct)10 FB Shovels (2-ct)
SpadesEven: Leg Raises
Odd: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct)
10 FB Rom. Dead Lifts
Aces (any suit)/Jokers20 Full Squats

I found a pair of exercise handles at the thrift store the other day and used them for the first time today for push ups.** I won’t use them all the time, but I like having them and the price was certainly right. I used them to do push-ups with my hands in a neutral position, where the palms are facing each other.

These also might be useful for my husband, because he is prone to having wrist problems when he does push ups in the usual way with his hands flat on the floor.

Calories: 2115, Protein: 134 g.

Wed, December 2nd

Morning Walk: 3.28 miles. Calories: 2223, Protein: 113 g.

Thur, December 3rd

Morning Walk: 3.16 miles.

Captains of Crush Gripper (T):

  • (Set 1): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 12mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = 4mm x 3 + 2 reps, Left = 12mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 3 + 2 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 5): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 5 reps
  • Arnold Press: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Bench Press: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps, 25 lbs. x 12 reps
    • I did this today instead of incline push-up’s I’ve been doing lately. The cellar stairs were unavailable because of an on-going home improvement project.
  • Light Spring Bar (over head): 8-P, 5-S, 8-P, 5-S
    • P = pronated, S = supinated. Doing this with the bar over my head instead of at around chest level makes the exercise a lot harder.
  • Super Set
    • DB Flies: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Tricep Pushdowns (tricep handle): 40 lbs. x 15 reps, 45 lbs. x 3 sets x 10 reps
  • (Super Set) One-Handed Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm) 10 lbs. x 15 reps, 12.5 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps +
    • (Set #1) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • (Set #2) Standing Side Crunches (each side): 20 reps
    • (Set #3) Small Shoulder Circles (each way): 50 reps
    • (Set #4) DB Front Raises 10 lbs. x 15 reps
  • (Exercise Complex) Wrist Pronation and Supination (light wood axe) 12 reps, DB Hammer Curls 15 lbs. x 15 reps, DB Lateral Raises 12 lbs. x 12 reps, DB Shrugs 30 lbs. x 12 reps, Alternating One-Handed KB American Swings (2-ct) 15 lbs. x 15 reps, Full Squats 20 reps, Calf Raises 30 reps, Spread and Raise Hands (light orange band) x 25 reps, External Shoulder Rotation (black band, ea. arm) x 12 reps

I found this little sprite lurking on the resistance tubes that I often use as part of my warm up. So I did what anyone would do and asked if I could work in for a few sets and then did my thing. All went well until I noticed the spider crawling on my arm when I was in the middle of doing some light external shoulder rotation work. Had a little laugh and relocated the beastie someplace better for all concerned. Silly sprite!

My little friend, as far as I can tell is some sort of “grass spider” or funnel web spider of the genus Agelenopsis. It looks a bit like a hobo spider, but the markings as well as the shape of the thorax and abdomen seem off for one of those. I’m not a spider expert though by any means.

Calories: 2303, Protein: 114 g.

Fri, December 4th

  • Morning Walk: 3.09 miles.
  • Standing Cable Rows (straight bar): 65 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Straight Arm Pull Downs (purple band): 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Super Set
    • Fitness Bag Bicep Curls: 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Face Pulls: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Exercise Complex: Wrist Roller (cable) 15 lbs. x 1 winding, Bell Tower Crunches (ea. side) 17.5 lbs. x 12 reps, Fitness Bag Cleans x 12 reps, Side Kick Stretch (ea. leg) x 12 reps, Internal and External Shoulder Rotation through frontal plane (orange band, ea. arm) x 12 reps, Reverse Flies (purple band) x 12 reps, Bicep Curls (fitness rock) x 12 reps

Calories: 2540, Protein: 141 g.

Sat, December 5th

Morning Walk: 7.11 miles. (I was down 3.2 pounds for the week, so my total loss is 17.2 lbs. so far.)

* My husband went plant-based a little under year-and-a-half ago. I consequently also eat a lot of plant-based meals, though I remain a mostly plant-based omnivore.

** Technically, it was the second time. The first time was when I wanted to make sure they weren’t cracked or otherwise compromised, so I tried them out by knocking out a few push ups on the thrift store floor, much to the amusement of a lady and her daughter, who were further down the aisle looking at glassware.