Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Little Kids (AKA The Greeks)!

Wow how times flies. Golly Whoopers, Batman.

Our Little Kids, formerly known as The Greeks, are three years old today (and, at least until July, the same age as Pete and Lily). I can't hardly believe it, due in some part because they just don't LOOK like they are three years old. They are mini-cats compared to their older siblings and some of the monster kitties I've had in the past (Buda, We'um and Clyde come to mind). Also, how can three years have gone by so quickly?

Those who have read my Blog over the years know full well the story of how these three kitties came (and stayed) in our lives; Ares and Athena with little fan-fare (they just seemed to become part of our family by osmosis) and our sweet guy Apollo became a permanent fixture after quite a bit of drama.

Although they are not generally as friendly as Pete and Lily, they have come a long way in this regard. They are not nearly as fearful as they were three years ago, and, in fact, don't appear to be afraid of us at all any longer. They do, however, remain gun-shy of people they don't see all that often (unless said persons happen to be coming around to feed them, right Grammy?)

I managed to get pictures of all three of them today (although Ares wasn't really cooperating).
I had just finished grooming them, something they all, thankfully, enjoy (this because I started them out right off the bat when they were fosters, something I wish Pete and Lily's foster mom had done because they HATE being groomed).
A rare shot of all three Little Kids 3.31.12. Too bad they wouldn't look at the camera!

I gave Apollo and extra turn because he loves it so much. Heck, he'd take the turn for the other four, if I let him. But, hey, who can resist combing and petting a kitty who is having such a great time; purring, rolling around on his back, etc.? It really is cute; if I turn away for a second, he jumps up onto the grooming table, whether there is a sibling there or not.

And Athena, well, Little Miss Bossy Pants is such a lovely kitty, really.

I bought them a special treat (Fancy Feast Appetizers) for their birthday dinner (which they'll have to share with P&L) and maybe dad will give Apollo and Ares some extra turkey.

Anyway, even though we never really counted on having five cats, our lives just wouldn't be the same now without Ares, Athena and Apollo.

Mrs. B

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Work Out Routine = New Me

I had to face facts; I'm pushing 50 and the work out routine I've adhered to for years and years just ain't cutting it any longer. It's not that I'm overweight or even out of shape (that much), it's more that I feel what I've been doing isn't getting me any results. Plus, I'm totally bored with it ("it" being going to the gym and jumping on the elliptical machine for 20-30 minutes, then doing ab work either at the gym or with my ab roller at home).

I thought joining the Y would help; give me the opportunity to join in on some classes and use all of the cool machines. I tried one class and felt uncomfortable. I am, by nature, a loner, not a joiner. Not to mention, I looked like a total fool because I couldn't do the basic moves very well at all (and this was a class for BEGINNERS!) Plank = fall over on my face. T-Ups? No freakin' way.

I had one of the volunteers show me the nautilus equipment (much of which I'd used sometime in a past life at one gym or another). Issue with this was primarily getting the opportunity to get onto the equipment; the "machine hogs" abounded and there is nothing more frustrating (and discouraging) than attempting to do a routine and not being able to get through your entire circuit in a reasonable amount of time. Oh, and every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 11-12 there was a senior citizen group working the circuit and I wasn't allowed to jump in.

I finally decided to avail myself of the personal trainers at the Y. I figured why not, the cost for one session was nominal and I definitely needed to learn something new.

It took a while but I eventually ended up one Friday morning a few weeks back meeting with a lady named Felisa. Prior to our appointment, we'd chatted back and forth via email so that she knew what my goals were, what I was and was not interested in, etc. So, she was prepared.

First off, they matched me up with a great trainer for me because Felisa is 54 years old, and, let me tell you, she looks great and not in that sorta creepy woman looks like a man way but simply in fantastic shape. Not too skinny but fit, toned and strong.

We spent about an hour together and it was well worth the $55. I'd told her I wanted a routine that was portable; meaning, I could do it anywhere. Yeah, I intend to mostly work out at the Y (especially as I'm still going to avail myself of the elliptical machines and maybe even the treadmills and stationary bikes) but there will be times when I won't be near a gym and I don't want this to be an excuse not to work out. Walking the dog helps, but, it's not the most vigorous of activities (Lucy starts to drag after a few minutes of walking at a good clip).

Although many of the exercises she put in my routine are familiar (chest press, chest fly, bicep curls, bent-over rows), she introduced several new ones that addressed the issue I've been having with my knees (I'm sorry, I just HATE lunges and squats). She showed me reverse lunges and curtsy lunges and one-leg dead lifts and step-ups, all of which appear to be quite effective (judging from the soreness in my hamstrings and quads) but have not caused any knee pain. She is a firm believer that women should be able to do real push ups (this from her background in self-defense, apparently, this type of upper body strength is crucial to fighting off would-be attackers). Well, this chickie can't do ANY push ups, real or otherwise. So, she has me doing push ups off the kitchen counter. She says if I pump out 10 a few times each day, sooner or later, I'll work my way down to the floor. We'll see, but, I can manage to do these fairly easily so she's probably right.

In addition to the free weight routines, she showed me some new conditioning activities (to be done before anything else) and then core work (the last thing I do). I can assure you, both the conditioning and core work are definitely a challenge.

So, now, here is a representative new routine for me:

Plank Jacks. Think this is easy? You try it!
T-Ups AKA Plank Twist. Wow. I'm lucky I haven't fallen over (yet!)
Aerobic/Fat Burning
20-30 minutes on the elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike.

Upper Body (Alternating Days)
Chess Press or Chest Flys.
Biceps Curls.
Triceps Dips. Yowie!
Arnold Press. This works the entire shoulder area.
Overhead Pull. As far as I can tell (and feel), this appears to work every muscle from my shoulders to my gut).
Push Ups.
Bent Over Rows or One Arm Rows.

Lower Body (Alternating Days)
Reverse Lunges.
Curtsy Lunges.
One Leg Dead-Lifts.

Ab Roll Outs. For this, you use this wheel thing. I keep worrying that I'll roll out right onto my face but I haven't yet!
Reverse Swivel Crunch. This one is uncomfortably hard.
Planks. This one actually feels pretty good at the end of a long hard work out.
Pulls-Ins with Stability Ball. Thank goodness we have one of these balls at home so I don't have to embarrass myself in public.

A stint at the gym now takes a little more than an hour, which feels right.

I went out and bought a yoga mat plus an ab wheel so I can now do everything at home. I also started doing a few more ab exercises because I want to work on that area.

A final remark on my new routine; it can be changed up quite easily and/or things added to make the routine more challenging. Plus, Felisa said she had "lots more" to show me if and when I get bored. Not to mention, while searching for images to post with this entry, I've already discovered several new variations on what I'm doing. Also, I think it's really cool that the majority of the resistance I'm getting is from using my own body. Talk about a cheap way to get fit; not a lot of equipment required (and much of what is required is readily available (e.g., a wall, a chair, a bench, the floor).

Watch out. I'm heading towards KICK ASS! I'm the new (almost) 50.

Mrs. B

Thursday, March 22, 2012

RIP Mr. Senior B

John "Jack" Mr. Sr. B
August 7th 1931-March 20th 2012

My Father-In-Law passed away early Tuesday morning. He was 80, in ill-health and in a heck of a lot of pain and discomfort. Of course we all say "He's in a better place now" and I truly hope that is the case. Although I only knew him a bit shy of eight years, he was a welcome presence in my life and always treated me well. I will miss him a great deal.

RIP, my dear FIL!

Mrs. B

Friday, March 16, 2012

Here's Mrs. B...Twin Visit #2

This time just a few of yours truly; included some "you don't see THIS every day shots!"

Mrs. B

Their first time in sleeping bags! Crashed out in Grammy and Grandpa's RV
Grammy and Aunt Mamie at Siesta Key Beach
The girls with Daddy and Aunt Mamie
Aunt Mamie and JJ. You don't see Aunt Mamie holding kiddos very often!
Daddy and Sophie
The water was surprisingly warm(ish)
Jon and Mom at Sun N Fun
Dad and Amy (not knowing which camera to look at, apparently!)
Having fun at Sun N Fun!
Goggle Girl
Amy and Mom
Bike and scooter time!
Ms. J
Reading books
At Mote Aquarium (penguin encounter)
With Dad
With Dad at Aunt Mamie's
At the Children's Museum

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Here's Mrs. B...Twin Visit #1

I wasn't in very many (I don't think ANY) of the pictures I posted of our visit with my sister's twins, Zack and Natalie. Here are some from mom and dad's camera of us hanging out in Sarasota and at Walt Disney World.

Mrs. B

Dad, Zack and Natalie at a local predator cat show
Zack feeding a tiger
Playing Euchre that night
In the Sarasota surf
My goodness, they are tall and skinny!
In Orlando getting ready to board the bus to Animal Kingdom!
Posing just inside the entrance of Animal Kingdom
We saw these crocs on the safari ride. They are REAL. I think they look creepy!
On the safari ride
After we braved the twirling roller coaster ride in Dino Land
Magic Kingdom!
Dad trying on a fez in Morocco
More of Zack trying on hats!
Hanging out in the good old USA (in Epcot, of course!)
Time for subsistence
Duffy is some bear that appears to be an Epcot character only; never seen him anywhere else
Reminiscent of Indiana Jones!
At the House of B
The guys getting ready to go to a "Meet the Rays" lunch sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce
Zack getting autographs
Natalie walking on the beach
One last game of Euchre!
I think we were winning at this point (of course we were...I had both bowers!)
Pop Pops, Grammy, Natalie and Zack
Nah...we're not related :-)
I can't believe we all fit on the couch
The B's
The Dudes