Lake Dreams

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Dreaming of the lake

Last weekend I went up to the lake. I have a small cabin there, not much of a place – one bedroom, one bath, but all mine with 80′ of shoreline. It is, in a word, heaven.

Here is a breakdown of my typical day last weekend:

  • Get up at 7:30AM. Dress in walking gear and grab the dog. Hike a nearby rail trail with him for an hour.
  • Get home, eat breakfast.
  • Change into swimsuit and shorts, go take the kayak out before the lake gets too busy.
  • Get home, change into comfy clothes and take a nap.
  • Get up, grab a cup of coffee and read an old fashioned murder mystery while sitting by the lake.
  • Put on work clothes, clean up sticks and rake leaves for 45 minutes.
  • Back into comfy clothes, take another nap.
  • Get up, have lunch.
  • Back into work clothes, another 45 minutes doing yard work.
  • Head in for a glass water and a snack, then go sit by the water and read.
  • 6:00PM change into walking gear, take the pooch out for another hour hike on the trail.
  • Change back into swimsuit and head back out on the kayak once the “no-wake” time starts at 7:00 for a final quiet paddle around the lake.
  • Get into comfy clothes, make and eat dinner.
  • Have a glass of wine while reading more of my murder mystery.
  • 11:00PM go to bed.

When I am at the cabin, I change clothes a lot. I reuse them – I only have one pair of old jeans and a t-shirt for raking the lawn, one swimsuit for kayaking, and so on, but there is a lot of switching of clothes.

I also get a lot of sleep. I usually stay up later than I do when I am home, but I also get up later (as long as Hermes lets me. Sometimes my pup doesn’t quite understand weekends.) I always manage to get several naps in. There is something about laying on that couch – windows open, breeze coming in of the water… it is just too perfect not to nap.

A mayflower on the hiking trail. Hermes in the distance.

A mayflower on the hiking trail. Hermes in the distance.

Most importantly, I am active. It wasn’t always this way. I used to get there and my only movement was from the couch to the lawn chair and back again. But now I find I want to do things. I love being on the water and hiking with Hermes. It seems like this is the kind of life I should be living. Oh, I know I have to work in there somewhere – the bills won’t pay themselves. But now that I have more things that I like to do, and I have more energy to do them, it feels right. I makes me happy.

There is another side to all this, though. I call it “re-entry.” Eventually I have to come back to reality. My life is very, very good and I have many things that I love here, but there is also all the stress and problems of everyday living that pop up. Suddenly I have to check my email and return phone calls. There are angry customers and annoying coworkers to deal with. There is a distinct lack of a kayak. I am very hard to live with following a cabin weekend. “Grumpy” is probably the kindest word I can use.

It eventually passes, but it is a good reminder of what I need more of in my life. I don’t need a big house, fancy gadgets or a nice car. I need a spot on a lake, a boat to paddle around on it, and a good place to walk my dog.

 

How You Eat

CabbageI just read this article over on Vox: So much for the Mediterranean diet — Greece & Italy have the world’s most overweight kids.

Personally, I think dieting is like exercising. What exercise is the best? The one that you do. What food plan is the best? The one that works for you. I’m still working on that for myself.

There are things I know I like –

I like eating locally grown or sourced food. I get the double win of delicious food while I’m supporting my local economy.

I like eating organic. Not all my food is local, (in the winter that would make for mighty slim pickings,) but I do try to make sure the majority of it is organic.

I like eating as close to whole foods as I can. I’ve never been a big fan of pre-prepared foods, but there were some that I ate regularly. Those are becoming less and less. I don’t make my own yogurt yet and I’ve not tried cheese making (although I would like to!) but I’m trying to get back to basics as much as I can.

I’m making a conscious effort to avoid grain based foods. I can’t say “carbs” because I eat boatloads of fruits and veggies – and those are carbs. Mostly I am avoiding breads, tortillas, rice and so on. I still eat them, but in very small quantities. This is probably the biggest change I have made in the last year or so.

I’m also trying to eat a lot more protein in the beginning of the day and eat lighter in the evening. I feel better when I eat this way, but due to cultural norms, it isn’t always possible.

What I am looking for is a lifestyle that I can maintain that makes me feel good – both physically and mentally. So in addition to these little rules, I like letting go once and awhile – valuing meals with loved ones over counting calories, relaxing on holidays and just embracing the joy of food. The trick is finding the right balance.

Photo credit: Ben Hosking on flickr

 

Sunshine All Over the Place

sit awhile by JerryThis week has been ridiculously busy. The kind of busy that makes me want to shake my fist at the sky and curse the Gods of “Do More Stuff.” Fortunately there is a holiday weekend ahead, because my home needs some love. The grass is getting so long that I’m afraid small children will get lost in there. I have plants that need planting and flower pots that need filling and well, all sorts of things! I also just need to spend some time outside basking in this glorious weather.

Here’s an interesting little thing – I always hated the sun. I don’t really know why except that sun and suntans represented everything I hated in my larger body – running around, being active… sweat. Yuck. Beach bodies and outdoor sports and, well, summer in general – I hated all of it.

I don’t feel that way anymore. I still don’t have any particular urge to slather on some Coppertone oil and challenge the neighborhood to a game of beach volleyball, but I actually like summer. I like the sun. I like being hot. I’ve gotten comfortable with sweating.

 

Photo credit: Jerry via flickr

Weights

Weight lifter by Rennett StoweWhen I stopped working out, I started gaining weight. Not surprising, but it didn’t happen the way I thought it would.

It started when it got cold, really cold. We had the nastiest winter we’ve had in decades. Slowly my motivation for outside activities died. I thought I would spend the winter snowshoeing or cross country skiing, or even the crazy of all crazies – winter running. I forgot a very important piece, however: Newton’s First Law. “An object at rest tends to stay at rest.” True for physics, true for my butt on the couch. The couch seemed like such a good option, especially after the morning I was walking the dog and my eyelashes froze together.

Yes, I kept walking Hermes. Thank heavens I have a pooch – and a pooch that loves the snow. He is the one thing that kept me moving. Even as my running shoes collected dust, I added cleats to my winter boots. I upped our walking from roughly an hour a day to an hour and fifteen, and for the most part, kept to it… but that was all I kept up on.

I had planned to keep lifting weights, I mean, why wouldn’t I? It wasn’t like I do that outside! Except for something I did that was fairly smart when I started lifting: instead of relegating the weight bench to the basement or spare bedroom, I put it in my library. Most people would call my library a living room – it has books, of course, but also my big comfy couch and my television. It’s the place I hang out in the most, and since I have always wanted a library since I was a little girl, (and never dreamed about having my own living room) it’s the library. And that’s where I put my weights. I see them every single day.

Until Christmas… because the weight bench sits in my bay window, which the same place I put my Christmas tree. Out went the weight bench to the front room. It’s kind of a formal parlor and unheated in the winter, but I made a really great work out space in there, complete with a space heater. No go. The minute the bench was out of site, it was out of mind. I moved it back in January, but by then the routine was broken. It sat, gathering dust, (along with those running shoes.)

Here’s the interesting thing – I was able to maintain my weight beautifully through Christmas without running, biking or kayaking. It was when I stopped lifting weights that I saw weight start to come on. Not a lot, not all at once, but it steadily creeped up. Finally I had enough and in April I started lifting again. The weight isn’t off, but I feel so much better and I can really see the change in my appearance. My jawline is tightening and the cheekbones are starting to show. I’ve come to the conclusion that my body is telling me that it loves when I lift weights.

Now all I have to do is listen to it.

 

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe on flickr

Why, Hello Again.

This photo of my dog in the tulips is for no particular reason other than cuteness.

This photo of my dog in the tulips is for no particular reason other than cuteness.

I was going to write a long post about why I disappeared from blogging, but every time I sat down to write it, my heart sank. It just seemed so boring to write. It finally occurred to me that if I am bored writing it, it would be even worse to read it. So, in the words of the great Inigo Montoya, “Let me explain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

I stopped working out, so I stopped writing.

Not my proudest moment, but there you go. Now I am working out again, I have the energy and motivation to write. I have a ton of blog posts in my head and hopefully now that life is settling back into its groove, I won’t fall off the cliff again. No promises though – it’s my blog and I can not write in it if I want to.

For now, I am lifting weights again, walking my dog and trying to eat healthy. I am also trying to make some changes in my career and around the home, (like I said, I have a lot to write about.) I am also planning on getting back to reading all those wonderful blogs that I’ve been missing. See you around!