29 Apr

5/3/1 Cycle 16 and 17

Cycle 15 of 5/3/1 was empowering. Energizing. Exciting.

Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 for Women and 5/3/1 How To

When I calculated my loads for cycle 16 I knew it was going to be too much of a struggle for me to reach them, given that I barely made my lifts in cycle 15. So I repeated cycle 15 instead of progressing which was smart.

Cycle 16 Main Lifts

Deadlift: 265lb for 2 reps

Push Press: 135lb for 1 rep

Squats: 250lb for 2 reps

Bench Press: 165lb for 1 rep

Aside from an extra rep in deadlifts I didn’t make any progress. I should have taken that into consideration when I looked at what I was supposed to lift in cycle 17. Okay, I did, but I ignored it and tried to push on which was not smart.

Here I am now in the middle of my third week of cycle 17 (that’s my one rep max week so I haven’t even finished the cycle) and coming off a deadlift day shitty enough to bum me out. I missed a 275lb lift and then out of stress or confusion or weakness I missed a 265lb lift too.

It’s funny that a mere 8 weeks ago I was ecstatic with the amount of weight I could lift and now that same amount feels like failure. I know full well that it takes a lot of time to build strength (it took me years to get to a body weight bench press, remember?) but there’s always that hint of disappointment when my progress stagnates.

I guess for cycle 18 I’m going to take a step back, er, maybe two. I need to build up my strength and lightening up on the amount of weight I lift is a good way to do it. Mentally I’ll need to develop a  more yogic approach with appreciation for what my body can do right now rather than disappointment with what it can’t.

I also have to get back on track with my diet. If you recall my nutritionist/friend Sarah gave me a dietary outline to follow so I would have energy to weightlift and so I could put on mass. Aside from the calorie count I’ve been mostly neglecting the meal plan for the last two weeks and that could have very well  be contributing to my poor performance. When I was following her plan to a T was when I had my best lifts so there’s definitely something to it.

18 Apr

Tea and Cookies

Happy Good Friday! Cheers to a good long weekend.

I started my Good Friday out with breakfast and a delicious cuppa. I had put in an order for some teas from my sister who picks them up for me from Adagio Teas when she’s in Naperville IL. I asked for this Cream Tea on a whim and it’s phenomenal.

I tried it with sugar and cream (which I usually prefer to leave out of my tea) and it’s like dessert in a cup. I suspect it won’t last me as long as I thought it would.

Cream TeaCream Tea

She also picked up some Earl Grey Moonlight black tea and Jasmine Yin Hao green tea for me too. I think I have been crowding out daily tea with increased coffee consumption but frankly I’ve been missing a good cup of tea, yaknowwhatImean?

Vicki also came back with some surprises for me. Knowing full well that I’m a Scandiphile, she took advantage of a Swedish shop to buy me some really cool baking related gifts. I got pearl sugar (which I have been forgoing in all of my Great Scandinavian Baking Book recipes), a Dala horse cookie cutter, and a claddagh cookie stamp.

DSCF5521

I tried the cookie stamp twice. The first time, with a rye cookie recipe, it didn’t worked all that great. The stamp just faded into the cookie after it baked leaving me unimpressed with the little reward for the amount of effort I put in.

Today I tried it with a very crumbly shortbread made with lots of flour (recipe here), pressing balls of the dough tightly into the stamp. After baking, I was happy to see that the stamp held up.

Cookie stamp - this cookie was the best oneThis cookie turned out the prettiest

. . . but some of them cracked and looked sorta crappy (which defeats the purpose of stamping them to begin with, I suppose).

DSCF5527

Oh well, they’re certain to be tasty with my cream tea.

Cheers!

15 Apr

New Fridge!

We got a new fridge.

To be honest, I’m not all that excited about it despite my exclamatory blog post title.

I thought our old fridge was fine, but then again that’s coming from the person who didn’t have the responsibility of chipping out chunks of ice from the bottom of the freezer on a regular basis so the thing wouldn’t leak. That was Matt’s job. . .

. . . and also my in-laws’ job when they watched our house while we were on vacation. No wonder they were more excited to hear the news about our fridge purchase than they were to hear about our engagement.

It’s white because I can’t be bothered with stainless steel, and because all of our other appliances are circa 1993 (read: also white).

And yes, that is my Sesame Street lunch pail from 1989 crowning the fridge. You know you’re jealous.

New FridgeNew Fridge

06 Apr

Links for a Sunday Morning

Women’s Wages Are Rising: Why Are So Many Families Getting Poorer? – The Atlantic

One reason that lower-income families are losing economic ground is that gains in women’s income have been offset by declines in marriage among the poor and working class . . . single-parent families are much less likely to reap the benefits of increases in income that have accrued to today’s working women.

Measles Outbreak Shows Importance of Education – The Globe and Mail

We are rapidly approaching the point where, statistically, a child is going to die of the measles in Canada. That is unconscionable in the 21st century. We shouldn’t wait until that happens to be outraged.

The Northwestern Decision: An Explainer – Grantland

The “But they’re getting an education!” line is just some noble-sounding B.S. A kid who cleans dorm bathrooms for spending money can get an education and still get paid. College athletes who make huge profits for their schools should be able to get an education and still get paid, too.

Four Things Millenials Hate About You – The Globe and Mail

For millennials, there is no separation between work and fun, they’re simply two sides of the same coin, so everything carries equal weight. And that means playing shinny hockey on Wednesday night is right up there with getting a promotion.

Your Running Rorschach Test – Outside

Loop Runners are opportunists and gluttons, They’re the buffet lovers of the running world, always sampling and never settling on just one flavor.

Your Coffee Pods’ Dirty Secret – Mother Jones

By making each pod so individualized, and so easy to dispose of, you must also exponentially increase the packaging—packaging that ultimately ends up in landfills. (And that’s to say nothing of the plastic and metal brewing systems, which if broken, aren’t that easy to recycle either.)

36 Delightful Facts About Canada – Buzzfeed

Canada is the most educated country in the world. . . There is a strategic maple syrup reserve. . . In Saskatchewan, a hoodie is called a “bunnyhug.”

03 Apr

Things I learned from 30 Days of Backbends

I recently took part in #BackbendMadness2014 which was a social media challenge to find someone willing to take photos of your for 31 consecutive days. Errrr, I mean, a challenge to try a new backbend every day.

As with any challenge, I learned a few things along the way.

Check out all my pictures from Backbend Madness 2014 on my facebook page and twitter.

My sanskrit usage sub-par.

I’m okay with that though because most people I know don’t speak in sanskrit, don’t care that there’s a difference between utthita trikonasana and utthita parsvakonasana, and would rather you just tell them what to do in real words.

Even if I did know all the asana nomenclature, would be futile because. . .

All the poses have the same names anyway.

All of the poses below are named “pigeon” and not one is the pigeon pose I’m used to performing.

Pigeon, Pigeon, Pigeon, and Pigeon

Nobody wants to take my picture

. . . or, mostly just my husband.
In fear of his lengthy sighs and eye rolls and “what are you doing this for anyway?” comments, I took as many self-timer pictures as I could, resulting in a lot of garbage shots.

On the bright side, the more that I screwed up the pictures the more loose my muscles became and the easier the poses got.

Outtakes

Some days you just shouldn’t do a backbend

Trying to follow up one hour of snow-shoveling with a deep backbend is impossible or, at the very least, a bad idea.

You can’t love them all

This pose (called setu bandasana, if you care about sanskrit at all) is pure hell and I’m not even in the full expression of the pose. That would involve my hands crossed over my chest rather than propping up my upper body like they are here.
I hope to never have to do this again. But that just means that I definitely am going to do it again. It’s like yoga masochism.

setu bandasana

Sometimes simplicity hits the spot

Cresent lunge hits the spot in my body every. single. time. It’s nothing impressive but it stretched my front body in just the right way.

Crescent Lunge

I have no idea what my body looks like in a pose

Even with a mirror hard to see yourself from all angles in most poses so most of the time I was surprised by what I saw when I eagerly collected my camera to preview the picture.
Really? I thought my legs were much straighter! or
I swear I can get my feet closer to my head than that.

Sometimes reality bites.

Not even close

Sometimes, not so much.

Handstand Splits!

I still don’t advocate practicing in front of a mirror all the time, but getting a picture of yourself in a pose can give you a different perspective. If you can manage to find someone wiling to take your picture.

People like pictures of crazy poses

A handstand gets more ‘likes’ than child’s pose, hands down (& legs up!)

But I’d rather be in child’s pose any day. EVERY day.


Check out all my pictures from Backbend Madness 2014 on my facebook page and twitter.

01 Apr

Three Things

I bought a second Game of Thrones t-shirt. This time with the Targaryen sigil to go with my Stark sigil tee, and just in time for the premiere of the new season.
You can never have enough nerdy t-shirts.

Targaryen T-shirt

And speaking of fantasy. . . I just finished reading The Golem and the Jinni and thought it was AMAZING. It’s about a genie and a woman made of clay in New York at the turn of the 20th century. Sounds a bit odd, and it is at first, but I was drawn in right away. The author did a good job defining the details which is so essential to making a fantasy novel great.

The Golem and the Jinni

And speaking of fiction. . . I am SHER locked, ie. totally hooked on the BBC show Sherlock right now. Has anyone else watched this? It’s easy to get hooked because the show is so well done. The plots are intriguing, the deduction scenes are damn near genius, and sometimes it’s even funny. It will be definitely filling the British Television void left by Downton Abbey and The Paradise for the next little while.

Sherlock