Time Management

Routine seems like a good way to keep productive, so I’ve developed a weekday schedule for myself. So far I have yet to follow it exactly, but it helps to keep me in line. Most importantly, it keeps me from napping.

With the change in seasons and in location, it stays dark later in the morning. The dogs no longer wake me at 5:30 AM, so it’s easy to sleep in. If I sleep until 7 AM, I’ve already had too much sleep, which makes me feel tired all day. So I’ve divided my day into one- or two-hour chunks in which I have tasks to perform. I have a “work on job search” time, a “blog or email” time, reading hour, and knitting hour. Google calendar sends me an SMS alert when it is time to change tasks.

Of course, life is not so easily structured, and I don’t let my schedule keep me from taking advantage of other opportunities. One day, a friend called me and we had lunch. Another day I attended a free class at the local library. (That class was excellent, and I’m sure I’ll write about it soon as I plan to attend more of them.)

A regular schedule is also good for the dogs. They get used to a routine and anticipate their scheduled walks and treats. I’m hoping that we’ll all settle into a routine that allows me to be productive and supports my fitness efforts. And then I’ll find a job and everything will be up-ended–I hope. In the mean time, I’m going to give this schedule my best shot.

Things found on recent dog walks:

  • Two chocolate chip cookies (eaten by Pierogi, who did not vomit or convulse from chocolate)
  • Twix bar (intercepted before Uszka could eat it)
  • furry animal parts (*gag*)
  • a gallon-size zipper bag of fresh basil (I first feared that the pups found someone’s rather large stash)
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Still going…

We had some setbacks, but pups and I are still on our fitness regimen. We’re repeating the first few days of Couch to 5K just because there were some bad days. We awoke Friday to find a light mix of rain and snow, with temps in the mid 20s. Of course, I did not check the temperature before we went outside. So we went outside, pups naked as usual and me in shorts and a T-shirt.

In the desert, there were two options in the morning: warm or HOT. So I got out of the habit of checking the weather since it didn’t vary. Now that we’re in Colorado, there could be clouds, rain, snow, or hail. It can be 80 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next. I’m re-learning to visit my friends at http://www.weather.gov for current conditions and the daily forecast. I’m also remembering that I can look out the window or go out on the balcony to check the conditions as well. (In the Coachella Valley, our blinds were always shut because the sun was so harsh and would wake us up at 5:30 AM.)

Anyway, back to the cold snap. The dogs did not cooperate. They wanted to sniff everything. They shivered. They darted back and forth across the sidewalks, putting cyclists and runners in dangers of tripping on a leash. And I was freezing. So we headed back inside after they did their business, and I hopped on the stationery bike. I still followed the C25K program, pedaling faster during the ‘run’ portions of the workout. I sweated more than I’d sweated during our jog/walks. It felt good.

I think the bike will be a good alternative when the weather is rough. Our building has a fitness room with treadmills, but the bike is more entertaining to me.

Things found on our walks:

Instead of a list, I’ll share photos of a strange sight we encountered recently. As we approached the park, I noticed what I thought was litter strewn across the park.

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As we got closer, I realized that the ‘litter’ seemed to be methodically placed, and each piece was uniform in size.

Then we saw it up close and realized that it was foam of some sort. It was throughout the entire park.Image

The dogs sniffed it once but left it alone. I hurried them along and tried to avoid walking on the grass in case the foam was toxic. When we returned for later walks, the foam was still in place six hours later and hadn’t dissipated. I noticed tire marks indicating that the foam might have some from the exhaust pipe of a vehicle.

Anyone got an idea about what they might have sprayed all over the park?

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Couch to 5K

Day 3.

I’m still doing it.

My running partners (Pierogi and Uszka, pictured below) are not helping. Born and raised in the desert, Uszka has discovered the delicious joy of eating clumps of mown grass. I’ve discovered the frustration of stopping mid-run so she can vomit the grass back up. Pierogi throws in a few extra sprints when she spots a squirrel (another creature the pups never saw in the desert).

Today our cool-down became a sprint when they spied a squirrel running from a trash can with a tortilla. Small game and carbs are Pierogi’s two favorite things. (She learned to love the latter when we lived behind a pizzeria. Ravens would ravage the dumpsters and leave pasta and pizza bones around the neighborhood for her to find.) The idea of a squirrel burrito had my pup riled up. Luckily for the squirrel and for me, squirrel and tortilla made it up a tree trunk before we could get to them.

I think I’ll end my C25K posts–or heck, ALL my posts–with a list of things found on that day’s walks. It could be interesting, and who doesn’t love lists?

Recent walk finds:

  • dead rat
  • dead pigeon
  • homeless man trying to sleep in what he thought was a hidden area beneath some bushes
  • belongings of another homeless person
  • a pile of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Dogs tried to eat four of those five things.

Did I mention we’re enrolled in a leash-walking class?

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Applying the shrink ray

Everything needs to get smaller in my life, and none of it will be easy.

I realized last week that we have moved into the smallest apartment that we’ve ever lived in–not counting the time we shared my studio apartment for 3 months before we officially moved in together. We’ve always had two-bedroom apartments until we moved back to Denver into a one-bedroom place. It’s a great place, and there’s really plenty of room for two. But in six years of larger apartments, we’ve accumulated enough stuff to fill those two bedrooms, living rooms, dens, and the garages we had to go with them.

In addition to accumulating possessions, we’ve also accumulated POUNDS. Rural and suburban living, driving everywhere, and living in a climate where it was too hot for physical activity contributed to weight gain. So now we’re in a place where we need to scale down. We did a good job of shedding possessions before we moved, but there’s still more to discard. We’re working on it.

Today I also started on the effort to reduce my physical size. The two of us discussed a fitness plan last night, which will include exercise bikes, Wii Fit, and hiking. And this morning I started the Couch to 5K program.

Each morning I walk our two small dogs (17-pound Pierogi and 10-pound Uszka). They don’t like their new dog park, so they don’t run around much. Our walks are their only exercise. So I thought that doing the C25K with them would help us all get some cardio without overworking anyone.

Day One went…okay. For the uninitiated, C25K starts with alternating periods of walking and jogging. For most of the 30-minute session, the dogs were good about walking and jogging at appropriate times. But since moving to Denver, the pooches have discovered fascinating things like long grass and squirrels. A squirrel spotting resulted in an extra sprint; some delicious grass stopped us abruptly; and there were two tricky moments where I learned to jog in place while picking up dog poo.

To keep us accountable, I’ll try to post about our C25K progress here regularly.

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Wait…she still has that blog?

Oh, yes I do. And you know what it means when I start blogging after a long time away: I’m moving again! That tumbleweed at the top of the page seems quite appropriate. Look for tales of moving soon.

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Vegan MoFo – Of Muffins and Breakfast

It turns out that I am really crap at remembering to take photos of the things I eat. I figured that at the very least, I would have that to post daily to give some idea of what a vegan eats on an average day. Alas, that is not the case. This weekend involved some very tasty eats, and I am going to do a post about great vegan eats in Philadelphia when I have more pics to share.

This weekend was very busy, but tonight, I managed to throw together some dinner and bake muffins for breakfast this week. Dinner was the black bean burgers I mentioned in a previous post and mashed sweet potatoes. The weather turned chilly on Saturday, and this was a great, warm, filling meal that wasn’t too heavy.

The muffins are banana wheat germ muffins from Veganomicon. I’ve made them before, and they were tasty and hearty without feeling heavy. They have bananas, cinnamon, and wheat germ, and this time, I added some chopped pecans as I have some serious love of pecans.

I’ve found that since I started at my current job, a little over a year ago, that breakfast is something I can’t seem to nail down. Before, I could have a bagel with hummus or something much heavier pretty early in the day. Now, my stomach doesn’t like anything for a while after I wake up, and so I’ve started doing breakfast in phases to keep from feeling hungry, give me some energy, and not really overwhelm my stomach. Most mornings, I have a glass of chocolate almond or soy milk right before walking out the door. It’s high in protein, and the chocolate is more palatable at that hour than plain or vanilla. A couple hours later, I have a Nature Valley granola bar, or, like tomorrow, a muffin, and then a couple hours later, I have a Primal Strip (vegan jerky made from seitan, soy, or mushrooms). Have you found that you’ve had to adapt your breakfast routine as you’ve gotten older?

Anyhow, I was going to post a pic of the muffins, but it’s a pretty terrible picture and not really worth sharing. You know what a muffin looks like. Keep your fingers crossed that I remember to get a picture of lunch tomorrow (leftovers from tonight’s dinner) so there’s finally some visual interest for all you patient readers.

– krista.

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Vegan MoFo – The Kindness of Others

This has been a relatively busy week for me as normally, I am quite the homebody. I go to a knit night once a week, and sometimes have plans on the weekend, but mostly, I come home and stay here. Almost every night this week I have had something, all weekend was busy, and this weekend is even busier. So I have had trouble balancing life and this new blogging venture. I need to take some time this weekend to at least gather some ideas so on busy nights, I don’t have to sit anxiously wondering what I want to write.

Tonight, I wanted to tell you about my evening. Several years ago, a local knitting (and associated fiber crafts) group started having Fiber Nights at the group leader’s house. Everyone brings something s/he wants to eat, and we all spend a companionable evening with good food and good friends and fun conversation. Almost all of my friends are omnivores, but the woman who hosts these gatherings, my friend Purlewe, goes out of her way to make tasty meals that anyone in attendance can eat. When vegetarians and vegans attend, the food is almost always vegan, when our gluten-intolerant friend attends, everything is gluten-free or separated and labeled and made safe. I love this. I know that Purlewe and I share a Midwestern background which means that we show love through food, and I really feel like having something I can eat is like getting a hug.

So this was my first Fiber Night in literally more than a year. It was a fantastic time with great people, and as always the spread was amazing. Our hostess made a very flavorful, indulgent French onion soup and had lots of bread for dipping, and she made a most awesome salad. I know salads seem so simple, but I have really come to appreciate the beauty of that simplicity. Spinach, tomatoes, grapes, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and a homemade vinaigrette were just perfect tonight. I had been craving veggies, and I didn’t know it until I saw that salad.

I brought the perennially vegetarian staple, hummus, and mini pitas and carrots, and because I knew another vegan friend would be attending, I also grabbed snap pea crisps (have you tried these things? super amazing!) and dark chocolate covered cherries (Trader Joe’s FTW!). And there were plenty of indulgent treats for the omnivores to enjoy as well. It was just such a nice evening of food and companionship. I feel grateful being able to appreciate the kindness of others, and I want to be able to extend that edible hug to my loved ones as well.

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