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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Exercise Routine, Part 1

In a former life, my husband was a personal trainer.  "And a strength coach," he will usually add.  This is very beneficial for me as I am a rather lazy person and have zero interest in spending an hour shuffling around on an elliptical machine.  I have my own coach at hand to prescribe strength exercise routines adapted just for me.  They don't ever take long and I build my strength and energy, fast.  I am a militant stair-taker and living-room-dance-party-thrower and get my cardio thusly. 

This is the exercise routine I have been doing for the past several months.  Really, I should be changing it up more frequently, but I haven't been working out as frequently as I should, so these moves are still challenging for me.  I aim to work out 3 to 4 times a week, but it ends up being more like 1 to 2 times.  I have two separate routines that I alternate, one of these is shown below.   Also, I like these routines because they require a minimum of equipment.  Since we moved to France, my husband had to leave his beloved kettle bells behind, entrusted to a dear friend in the States.

Without further ado...

I start with 10 squats with rows.  I squat, back straight, weight on heels.  As I come up, I pull an exercise band toward my torso.  (The end of the band is tucked under a door.)  The important thing is to keep your back and shoulders straight, your elbows close to your sides, and to retract your scapula.  Be sure not to 'curl' the exercise band.  You want your forearms following the same line as the band.

It is also important to work-out in your slippers.

After 10 of these, I do...
 ...5 sit-ups on an exercise ball.  I don't sit directly on top of the ball; I'm scooched forward a bit, as you can see.  I bend back as far as I can and then come up, to form a "C" with my torso.  Doing normal, straight-backed sit-ups gives me back pain.  Traditional sit-ups engage and strengthen a muscle called the psoas major, which runs from your lower back to your upper thighs.  The more you work this, the tighter it gets, pulling your lower back into an uncomfortable position.  Therefore when I do sit-ups, I try to curl my torso, so I am really strengthening just my abs.

I repeat this whole routine 5 times. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Things on my Mind Lately

Me in Barcelona last year, because I didn't know what picture to put for this post.

I have a job lined up for next year that is similar to what I've been doing this year, only slightly different.  It comes with the possibility of some real stability in terms of my stay here in Toulouse. I'm incongruously superstitious, so I don't want to jinx the whole thing by talking about it too much or getting too excited about it.  A similar attitude is being developed in regard to my appointment with the visa folks this week, ie, if I don't think about it, maybe something nice will happen...?
I thought for a long time that Captain Jean-Luc Picard was of French Canadian origin, thus rendering his preference for tea--Earl Grey, hot--believable.  I learned from a recently-watched Star Trek episode that he is simply French.  My shock is similar to that I felt upon learning John Calvin is also French. (He's French, you guys at my tiny private school that never mentioned this fact. Not Swiss or whatever. Just accept it.)  The point is that, this is not a galaxy far, far away.  This is France on Earth.  No Frenchman, I don't care how far into the future this is, drinks tea on a daily basis. 

In an attempt to live more openly and honestly, I will let it be known that I am currently reading Middlemarch and also a book called The Royal We.  While I will admit that the latter book is somewhat entertaining, I do spend my time reading it wistfully wondering what Dorothea and Celia are up to.

David decided it was time for our little family unit to get an instrument, and I thought that was a fine idea.  Having recently acquired a guitar, I am trying to learn how to play it.  I am an impatient person, especially when it comes to an entirely new skill and I have zero previous experience.  Very basic chords and daily practice have been a necessary reminder for me to trust and embrace the process of learning.  I quickly forget that putting in the time and effort can build to something bigger.  I tend to want to see some immediate gain.  I am trying to remind myself that there was once a time when I made stacks of French vocab cards and had to memorize the conjugations of to be and to have.  The me of ten years ago would have found my current ability to carry on breezy conversations about my weekend with my work colleagues, unfathomable. 
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