Snowflakes are Falling

winter wonderlandHere’s me, feeling festive! Like much of the Midwest, we’re getting a fair amount of snow. That opens up a whole other area of winter exercising – snow shoveling! Also scraping off cars, donning winter gear, and of course the ever popular sport of clutching the steering wheel white knuckled with fear. All good for the heart and respiratory systems!

The funny thing is that I have always loved winter. As a kid I had pretty bad seasonal allergies and winter was one of the few times I could play outside and not be bothered by pollen or dust. It’s also a lovely time of year. One of my favorite sights is fresh snow at night when it is like a big sparkling blanket.

I have to say though, that it’s a little different having lost forty pounds. Winter is still pretty, but brrrr! I am so very cold! Of course, Hermes the dog thinks this weather is awesome, so we’re still trekking through the neighborhood twice a day. I swear he deliberately looks for snow banks to jump in, silly little dog. I mean, I know he is wearing a fur coat, but the bottom of their paws is just skin – how is it that they don’t care? It’s a mystery.

I am so ready for this!

Yes! Winter!

I won’t be running in this, that’s for sure. I’m just too scared of slipping and falling. I even wear cleats on my boots when I am walking the pooch, so I don’t think I’ll attempt running. My new snow pants are awesome, though: “Bugaboo” by Columbia. (I got them at T.J. Maxx.) They much such a difference! They really are warm, and they keep the snow and damp off me, which is even more important.

What about you? What winter exercise do you do? What are you planning on? What’s the weather like in your part of the world?

Rain Boots and Snow Pants

Rain boots and Hermes

Hermes admires my new rain boots and snow pants.

The weather here in the Midwest has been… interesting. By interesting, I mean cold, windy and wet. We had thunderstorms, high winds, tornado warnings, and snow, all pretty much at the same time. Sunday night I busted out my brand new snow pants, which are pictured here, with my brand new rain boots.

I wrote about wanting rain boots awhile ago, but it took me awhile to find the right pair. I stopped at every store I could think of in town, (including following up on some suggestions from people who commented on my blog,) but without any luck. Then I found the perfect pair on Amazon. They were everything I wanted, and in the right price range. The only problem was that the design I wanted ended up being backordered. Curses! A couple of days later, I was wandering through our local mega-grocery store and lo! they had rain boots! They were the same brand I had picked out on Amazon, but a different pattern. They were on sale, so I picked them up. This way I can see how much I love them, and when I wear them out (I am really tough on footwear,) I can order the other pair.

I also recently bought snow pants. I wasn’t actually looking for snow pants when I bought these, I was looking for water-resistant pants. However, the only thing I could find with water-resistant layers were snow/ski pants – and all of them were expensive. I finally lucked out with a pair of Columbia ones I found at TJ Maxx. These will do nicely. (I also bought some water-resistant spray on coating, and I plan on making my own lighter pair.)

With the crazy weather, I’ve needed both. The snow pants are super warm and I went and splashed in several big puddles and found the rain boots are doing the trick for keeping me dry. That’s all good, winter is coming and Hermes and I have many, many more miles to go.

I apparently really, really like this pattern. Note all the water on the pants. It was pouring!

I apparently really, really like this pattern. (The rug and the boots were not bought at the same time.) Note all the water on my pants. It was pouring that night!

I Paid $300 to Find Out My Dog Just Really Needed to Fart.

Ahem.

Ahem.

So… back in August I found out that my dog Hermes had a giant, softball sized tumor in his spleen. (I wrote about it here.) One emergency surgery, two doggy blood transfusions, and thousands of dollars later, my pooch seemed to be on the mend. Then I noticed something odd.

It was the weekend that I got back from my trip to Georgia. I decided to paint the back porch. It’s been needing it for years, and with winter coming, I decided it was finally time to get out the paintbrush and take care of it. I spent most of that Sunday, and a few more hours on Monday night, outside painting. (It needs some touch-ups, but it has been so cold lately, I’m glad I got done what I did, when I did.) I had Hermes outside with me on a tie-out so he could sniff around the yard and lay out in the sun.

It was sometime after that, that I caught him eating grass. Now, the last time he was in at the vet she had told me that when dogs eat grass it is frequently because they are nauseous. That made me worry, but when he vomited in the living room, I wasn’t terribly surprised. In fact, I hoped he got whatever it was out of his system. Sadly, that didn’t prove to be the case. For the next couple of days, every time I took him out he mowed grass like he was a cow, and then puked it back up, usually on my carpet. (Ever notice that dogs almost never throw up on the linoleum? They’ll walk off the nice easy-to-clean-up floor to make sure and hit the rug.) There was also another odd thing. We’d be out on a walk and he’d suddenly stop and stretch. It was weird. Hermes is usually all “go-go-go” on a walk. Stopping in the middle for a stretch just struck me as odd.

Then that Thursday morning we went out for a walk and after a few blocks, he just laid down. He refused to walk. I ended up picking him up and carrying him all the way home. Forty pounds of dog, five or six blocks – I’ll tell you, I was glad I do strength training! I was petrified the whole way home and knew it was time to call the vet. Honestly, I knew I was going to anyway, but after everything with his health back in August, I was scared stiff. I had almost convinced myself that he had another tumor, and this was the end for my little buddy.

So, I brought him to the vet. They did an exam and then they did a test for pancreatitis, which was the next least expensive test they could do that might be the cause. It wasn’t that though, so naturally, he had to have x-rays. (My dog has had so many x-rays, I really should get a bulk discount.) They didn’t find any tumors, what they found was gas bubbles, big ones, and when the rolled him over on the table… he then dispelled said gas.

When the vet told me this, I started giggling, “Oh gosh, doc. I am kind of glad I am not you right now.” She said, “Oh LongView…. it is impressive! I mean, just… wow.”

They suspect that when he was out with me he found something terrible in the back forty of my yard. Most of my yard is well maintained, but there is an area at the back that is pretty wild – like open meadow. He loves it, but I suspect there was something awful (or delicious depending on if you are me or a dog,) that he got into back there. So, the vet gave him a shot for nausea, and I put him on a bland diet. Since then, he’s been doing great. The good news is that I have my four-legged trainer back to his old self again. The bad news is the money I had started to save up again? Yeah…. ah well.

I’ll Take All The Help I Can Get

I think we have a work out to do.

Why are you blogging? I think we have a work out to do.

I mentioned that I am trying to learn to do a perfect squat. I’ve got a long way to go – literally, there are a whole lot of inches before I can get my tush where it needs to be. I’m not naturally flexible, so this is a process. And can I just say that I hate instructions that say things like, “sit like you are going to sit in a chair and then just go all the way down.” Oh, really?!? No mention of “…and if your legs simply won’t bend that way because you haven’t taken a yoga class in 10 years and you are stiff as a board, try this instead…” Nope. Just go all the way down.  Sigh….

But, I am determined. So, along with doing squats while working out, I am trying to find every day ways to practice my squat.

Fortunately, I have a dog.

Times to practice getting knees to bend and my butt towards the floor:

  • Picking up and replacing food and water bowls
  • Hooking on, and removing, the outdoor tie out
  • Hooking on, and removing, the leash for walks and trips outside
  • The cleaning up of dog poo on said walks and trips outside
  • While toweling down and drying Hermes from walks in the rain
  • While mopping up the floor when he shakes in the kitchen before I can towel him down from the walk in the rain
  • While performing manditory “I love you!” scratches and pets
  • The daily chore of picking up throw pillows and blankets that Hermes has decided do not belong on the couch and would look better on the floor

Really, he does it all for me. He’s my little furry workout buddy.

When Your Work Out Equipment Requires a Work Out to Set Up

Swiss BallI picked up a Swiss Ball for an exercise in my new strength training routine. It appears to have come with the worst pump ever! This is how it looks after an whole hour of me slaving away, pumping air into the dang thing. See that white ribbon? That’s the tape measure you are supposed to inflate to. Sigh… I finally gave up and did my crunches on a tall footstool.

I suspect there is something wrong with the pump that came with it. Over an hour is just silly. (Though I did get to watch a couple of episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” while doing it which was fun.) One of my coworkers said she has a great pump for exercise balls, so she promised to bring it in for me next week. I will give that a try before I return this.

I guess the good news is, my arms certainly got a workout last night… it just wasn’t what I was counting on!