Friday, May 31, 2013

Jillian Michaels, look out


It's PRANCERCISE! (R) 

Since we are on the subject of fitness and exercise, check out this super-awesome video, which I never would have heard of, if not for PWPL's Andrea, who posted this on Facebook (thanks in advance for the nightmares which I'm sure to have after watching this). I laughed out loud several times, and yes, gol-darn it, I watched the whole five minutes, because I just had to know what she was going to do next, in terms up taking Prancercise (R) up another notch--or gallop, as the case may be. Even more disturbing, there are MORE VIDEOS online, but I think I'm going to pass. (Update: broke down and checked out the other two videos on YouTube; they are the same as this one--go figure.)

The bouffant hair and jewellry are also really strange. If she's going for a retro look, it was a fail. Vacuuming and cooking pot roast in pearls and heels--yes; aerobics in this outfit... just no. And the skin-tight white leggings that leave nothing to the imagination? A thousand times NO.

"Comments are disabled" --Gee, I wonder why.



Oh my. The fun goes on. I went to her website.

Shred Day 5

We have a crazy-busy weekend coming up, so if we're going to do this workout at all on Saturday and Sunday, we need to do it very early. So Miss P and I moved our 5th workout up several hours and did it at 5pm today. It was good. Not great, but good. I was able to follow the 'advanced' demo girl for quite a few exercises, and I moved up to using 3-lb hand weights, instead of 2-lb. And I made it through without stopping.

Something I've noticed several times in the last two or three days is an inexplicable desire to jump on the treadmill and RUN, as though my body is craving more exercise. Which is kind of unheard of, in my universe.  So far, I've resisted (ha ha), partly because I really want to see what the Shred DVDs alone will do for me, in terms of stamina, fat loss etc. I love that the workouts are only 20 min. (though you have to allow a bit more time overall, for warmup, cooldown stretching, and of course, a SHOWER.) For most of us busy moms, 20+ minutes is doable, and (according to Jillian) more effective than "hours of phoning it in at the gym." Or not going to the gym at all. Or getting off the sofa.

Another great side effect of these gruelling workouts is the impact on what I'm eating. I have been making much wiser food choices all week, because I know how darn hard it's going to be to get rid of the extra calories if I make poor choices. For example, if I really need dessert, I'll have an apple instead of two (or six) cookies. If I plunk myself down to watch a bit of TV of an evening, and I'm feeling hungry, I'll have a small bowl of partially cooked ('slow' oats) porridge with vanilla yogurt (I drain the oats before they've absorbed all the water--so chewy and yummy!), instead of an entire--yes entire, I kid you not, shame on me--bag of buttery microwave popcorn (about 500 calories, egads!).

But since it's Friday (and family movie night), I'm indulging a teeny bit (ate a few potato chips and two little squares of dark chocolate). And for the first time in probably two weeks (also unheard of in my universe), I've treated myself to a drink. It's a Bacardi "Real Jus" rum and grapefruit juice cooler. Very tart; you've gotta love grapefruit to drink this. I just may start buying Bacardi coolers again. I quit a while back because the real-sugar Breezers were just too sickeningly sweet, and I won't buy the "lite" artificially sweetened coolers either. Or maybe just mix my own GF juice and rum! (That way, I know exactly what's in it.)
Pucker up!
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shred Day 4, which almost didn't happen

I had too little sleep last night and got up too early this morning, so I took a nap this afternoon. When I woke up, I felt horrible--as in, 'I think I'm getting stomach flu' horrible. But the feeling eventually went away and I was able to cook (and eat) dinner, and do a whack of dishes afterwards (I baked bread today, so... PANS, BOWLS, RACKS, MIXER ACCESSORIES. The cleanup is the only downside of baking).

Miss P #4 and I did our Shred workout a little earlier in the evening and it went well. I was able to make it through all the cardio circuits WITHOUT STOPPING. Woohoo! In some of the strength moves/exercises, I was able to do the advanced versions (deeper lunges, etc.)  And flexibility keeps improving. I feel good about how rapidly things are improving, so if you are afraid to exercise because you think it will be too hard for too long, take heart; it won't.
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Yet another reason to love Houzz.com



From an article on keeping your house clean and tidy (and getting your family to pitch in): suggestions such as: Start with Gratitude; Take Responsibility; Ask Forgiveness... and so forth. How often does a home organization article call for an Examination of Conscience? 
Have you been marching around cleaning up the house while seething with resentment and anger?
Ouch, and I'm not the only one.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shred Day 3

Tonight I had company; I was joined in my workout by Miss P#4. Once again, I was not surprised to be unable to keep up with the entire workout, but again, there was a slight improvement in more than one area (most notably flexibility). This is very encouraging, because it makes me realize that even a little effort can pay off, and sooner than one might expect. One big difference: after the workout on the first day, my legs felt like rubber for hours afterwards; today, after only three workouts, they felt fine almost immediately afterwards. I just have to try to find time to do this earlier in the day, when I have more energy.
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I agree.

May God have mercy on his soul. We prayed for many years for his conversion.
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I love it when people stumble across Catholic theology



Houzz.com is my favourite 'home and design' website, and not just because of the many beautiful and practical and fun design ideas I've seen here. They delve into lifestyle themes, which makes perfect sense, because most normal people want to LIVE in their homes. Too many magazines and sites seem geared to fantasy folk who have more money than brains, and who want make their houses look fantastic just for show. I mean, really--a $4000 cushion? (Saw that in a mag at the dentist's office.) I'll take happy kids and a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies--and crumbs on the floor--any day over "Wow factor."

I therefore liked this article on Houzz, in which the author Mitchell Parker asks then states:
Could it be that we’re in a renaissance of working with our hands? I mean really working with our hands? You know, with heavy tools that leave calluses, on projects that at the end of the day, week or month give you something that can't be emailed or uploaded, but that can be used for a physical purpose? As we become more plugged in — working at desk jobs where our hands touch only a keyboard, mouse and iPhone all day — many are feeling a new desire to unplug and do something more tangible.

That's what author Matthew Crawford has discovered and shared in his book, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. With a PhD in political philosophy, he ditched a job as the executive director of a think tank after only 10 months to start his own one-man motorcycle repair shop, where he’s never been happier.
Well, not exactly discovered, Mr. Parker. A few millennia's worth of crafstmen, guildsmen, artisans, and artists (to say nothing of ordinary moms and dads) with nary a PhD in sight already knew this, not least of whom is this carpenter fellow named St. Joseph. And Jesus, who spent 30 years working with his hands before he left home to redeem all of creation. JPII's Laborem exercens (On Human Work) also touches on this.

Ironically (considering the word "soulcraft" in Crawford's title), Mitchell Parker tries to make the creative urge evolutionary in source, but let's face it: we are not made in the image of the Primal Ooze. We come, as Dorothy L. Sayers so eloquently explains, from the Mind of the Maker.

But no matter. Good on Houzz for stating eternal verities, no matter how inadvertently. Oh, and the workshops featured in the article all belong to guys. No lady woodworkers here (though of course they do exist), but it's refreshing that Houzz saw no need to pander to political correctness.

(Gorgeous table found here.)
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shred Day 2

First of all, a tiny miracle. This morning when I went down the stairs for coffee (I live in a really really stupid stupid split level) my knees did not hurt. Usually, I have to hang onto the banister and hobble down the stairs one at a time (two feet per stair) like a very old lady. Today I just walked down them. A result of exercising? I don't know. But I had less knee pain today than I usually do. Other muscles made up for it, however.

For example, my quadraceps hurt all day (more stairs...stupid split level...grumble, grumble) but it was a good kind of pain. The kind that reminds you have muscles where before you thought there was only 20 pounds of marshmallow fluff. I had a busy day (as usual) and didn't do my second day's workout until late (10 pm). Of course I did Level 1 again (indeed, it will be some weeks before I can follow anyone on the Level 1 workout other than the demo girl who does the very basic "beginner" moves, like ladies' pushups and that sort of thing). Once more, I could not get all the way through the workout without stopping to rest occasionally...legs just hurt too much to complete the cardio circuits. But I think I made it further in before running out of steam. And I noticed a slight improvement from last night in balance and flexibility.

The very very hardest part is going to be sticking with it every day.
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"Those who can write, those who can’t critque."

More fun for grammar geeks, by way of Dan Brown. Mrs. Beazly sent me this comment, pursuant to the post below, and it is also quite amusing. (She's still not convinced it wasn't planted there by Michael Deacon under a pseudonym, to make sport of the Renowned Mr. Brown's fans.)

Dan Brown has stated recently, and which I wholeheartedly agree, that he blends fact and fiction in a modern and efficient style to tell a story. Some people understand that and they’re his fans. Some people don’t and they’re his critics. Perhaps the lesson to be learned by Brown and aspiring authors is one of humility and not pride, (one of the seven deadly sins mentioned in Inferno.) Brown’s claim that the Da Vinci code was 99-percent fact branded him as a “heretic” in the eyes of the Vatican, alienated him to most literary critics, and potential readers, unfamiliar with Dan Brown. Perhaps INFERNO is Brown’s attempt at redemption. Those who can write, those who can’t critque. Inferno is a good book. Not up to his usual high standards found in The Lost Symbol, Angels and Demons, or The Da Vinci Code but I encourage all readers who love to read, who love good writing, who love thrillers, to read INFERNO and not listen to the critics, those who create, produce nothing.

"Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."
Flannery O'Connor
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Monday, May 27, 2013

"You are well on your way to being shredded" (Day 1)



I think. I just completed (sort of, if you count nearly dying several times) Day 1 of Level 1 of Jillian Michaels's "30 Day Shred." I always thought shredding was what you did to paper (as in, unwanted documents) and wheat (for breakfast cereal) but apparently it's a newfangled way to describe building muscle too.  I am in such horrible shape (fitness-wise, that is--though other ways are also debatable), and I am tired of generally feeling crappy, and not fitting into 85% of my clothes. The girls and I did the Shred workouts a couple of years ago, and we worked our way up to Level 3, so it's really depressing not to be able to make it through Level 1 (it's only a 20 minute workout, for crying out loud!). So here I go. And yes, to make myself more accountable, I'm going to blog about it. Wish me luck. Tonight was NOT fun. 

It's Vintage Day at DOH

Which is to say, any day I feel like posting vintage stuff is Vintage Day. Today, kitchen canisters.



My mom had these poppy canisters. But not the matching mixing bowls, below: oooh!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Parenthood

A recent happening at our house.

Scene: Mom in the kitchen, daughters #5 (age 13) and #6 (age 11) are in a more-or-less adjacent room (next level up in a split level home). Suddenly, CRASH! (A loud noise) followed by.... silence.

Mom knows she need not personally investigate because:

a) there were no calls for help (and whatever fell can't have rendered both girls unconscious)

b) she is making dinner and doesn't want to leave her chopping board and go up those stairs with her bad knees, one of which clicks, while the other squishes.

c) we are well past the phase when 2-year-olds try to climb dressers and tip them over onto themselves (everyone survived that incident, except for a statue of Mary, which has since been re-glued onto its base and has only a chip in her forehead. The toddler was completely unscathed and unscratched. Thanks, Blessed Mother!)

Mom: What was that? What fell?

Daughter #5: Nothing is broken! That's all you need to know.

You know you've mellowed as a parent when you are willing to leave it at that. Which I was.
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Friday, May 24, 2013

This guy knows me too, too well.





And he knows my kids* too.



* who, in some ways, take after their mother. 
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WWWAGD?


Which stands for "What Would Wallace and Gromit Do?" Mail Online (UK) asks: "Has the world gone crackers?" The answer is yes. (Elf 'n Safety strikes again!)

As Laura Rosen Cohen points out, this is probably why the cops took so long to get to Woolwich... they were busy shaking down cheese-wielding grannies. Ye gods. Western Civ. =  Officially Over.
BTW, does anyone find this cheese-chasing event hilarious? In Spain they run with the bulls. There has to be a metaphor in there somewhere; I just don't know what it is.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

I am making this recipe, if only for the name.


Rabarbrakake  (Norwegian rhubarb cake)

And if it's tasty, I will rejoice, because:

1) I don't particularly care for rhubarb, and never have (I think I suffered too much childhood trauma from Auntie A, who made rhubarb pie without an adequate amount of sugar.)
2) It grows in my garden. And how. (I did not plant it.)
3) I'm enough of an old-school mom (and raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression) that I cannot possibly NOT use the rhubarb from my garden, much less uproot the plant and kill it.
4) Other people in my family like rhubarb

  Recipe found, of course, at Nordic Thoughts, which also has some great rhubarb art. (I wish IKEA would carry this gorgeous fabric. Fun bedroom curtains, anyone? So pretty!)




Anyhoo, here's the cake recipe:

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs
1 cup sugar, plus 1-2 tablespoons for rhubarb
1/4 cup melted butter, plus more for cake pan
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 large stalks rhubarb 


Preparation Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 inch round
cake pan. Slice rhubarb stalks into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle them
with 1-2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside. In a small bowl, sift together flour,
 baking powder and spices. In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs with 1 cup sugar until
pale and fluffy. Add almond extract, melted butter, and milk and stir until well
mixed. Stir in flour mixture and stir until smooth. Pour batter into cake pan and
scatter the rhubarb pieces over the top. Optional: sprinkle with coarse 
sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 
into the center comes out clean.

 

Nordic Thoughts found the recipe here:  The Spice House

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"top Italian poet Dante"

This is extremely funny, and just what I needed today. In fact, this week. In fact, this month. Thank you, Mrs. Beazly, for bringing it to my attention. Other DOH readers (you know who you are, even if your memory is etched in never-ending puffy forgetfulness). I dare you to read it without laughing out loud at least five times. Michael Deacon, where have you been all my life?
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St. Thomas More, pray for us.

"Silence will be interpreted as disapproval."
Shea was right. "Tolerance is not enough; you MUST approve."
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Good luck with that, kids.

Millennial Benjamin Brophy at American Spectator sums up his own generation. And not in a good way.
Millennials want to save the world, but they sit and wait for that world-changing opportunity to be handed to them. [...]
This generation has become a tepid, dispassionate mass waiting for someone to show it the way out. But Obama disappoints, the economy continues to tank, and all of our amusements serve to do nothing but distract us while a deeper longing continues to go unmet. [...] This generation has to find its cornerstone on which to build meaning or we will simply be sitting in front of our screens waiting for another savior to save us from ourselves.
Hint: find God. You're welcome.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Only Mark Steyn

Can bring together in such perfect comedic/poignant harmony the history of ABBA and the downfall of Europe.

In 1945, Europe was in ruins, America had won the war, and, if the Continentals weren't exactly promising to love the Yanks forevermore, they knew that their fate was to be with them, and they couldn't escape even if they wanted to. The US security umbrella and the Eurovision Song Contest both date back to the immediate post-war period. The idea was to help build a continent in which you could sing "Waterloo" rather than fight it, and, if in their excessive generosity the Americans accelerated the Europeans' inclination to softness and decadence, well, it's not their problem, and the Euros might have seen it coming. As Abba's lyric shrewdly anticipates:
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself.
 
After winning Eurovision in 1974 Abba bestrode the world like a colossus - if you can imagine any self-respecting colossus going out in public in velveteen knickerbockers, silver boots, pearl kimono and tricorn hat. And that was just the boys.
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Can anything good come from Gosnell?

Yes. More baby-murderers going to jail. Abortion clinics being shut down. Post-modern western society re-thinking its see-no-evil love affair with all things abortion. LSN: abortion workers are "starting to panic." Praise the Lord.
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Friday, May 17, 2013

There is no point in crying about the destruction of America

So we might as well laugh. From the One. (Steyn, of course.) We are all doomed, LOL!

[T]he president... insists with a straight face that he had no idea that the Internal Revenue Service had spent two years targeting his political enemies until he “learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this.” Like you, all he knows is what he reads in the papers. Which is odd, because his Justice Department is bugging those same papers, so you’d think he’d at least get a bit of a heads-up. But no doubt the fact that he’s wiretapping the Associated Press was also entirely unknown to him until he read about it in the Associated Press.
There is a “president of the United States” and a “government of the United States,” but, despite a certain superficial similarity in their names, they are entirely unrelated, like BeyoncĂ© Knowles and Admiral Sir Charles Knowles. One golfs, reads the prompter, parties with Jay-Z, and guests on the Pimp with a Limp show, and the other audits you, bugs your telephone line, and leaks your confidential tax records. But they’re two completely separate sinister entities. So it’s preposterous to describe Obama as Nixonian: BeyoncĂ© wouldn’t have given Nixon the time of day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Austenesque reading of one's life


Update: welcome, ProWoman ProLife readers! Thanks for the link, Andrea.

Want: 
1) Lizzie's wit
2) Pemberley
3) Mr. Darcy


Need:
1) Jane's equanimity


2) Charlotte Lucas's pragmatism


3) Aunt Gardiner's maternal solicitude



Have:
1) Lady Catherine's sense of entitlement


2) Wickham's bank account


3) Mr. Collin's social skills



4) Mrs. Bennett's temperament 



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lovely vintage dinnerware

Oh, these would look so lovely in my future new plate rack in my future newly renovated country/eclectic/industrial/rustic kitchen. W.S. George vintage plates, made in the U.S.A. (Image is copyrighted, so I can't paste it here.) I realize there's not much chance, however, of finding such a large set locally (heaven knows I wouldn't trust UPS to get them here).

Therefore, I'm leaning towards "thrifting" --still can't get used to 'thrift' as a verb--  a bunch of mismatched vintage plates made in North America and England, rather than buying a newer (matching) set made in China. Mismatched plates can actually look quite pretty with the right table setting. I didn't do a lot of online browsing to verify this, but it seems mismatched table settings are quite the thing for wedding banquets nowadays.


And I am part way there, since I have miscellaneous pieces from several sets already--some purchased,  others gifted (another neo-verb) or inherited. Who knew I was so fashionable? 

 "Rose Royale" Wood and Sons, England

Gravy boat and saucer: Rideau Pottery, Canada 

"Fragrant Rose" Cream Petal; Grindley, England

Bristol, England
I am exceedingly fond of platters, and probably own more than I need. 

Violets: so pretty! 
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I think I know what the initials stand for in UPS

Unbelievably Pathetic Service (or Uber Pokey & Stupid). Miss P. #6 ordered an iPod from Apple on May 2. It was shipped from the factory on that day, and as you can see from the Tracking Information below, it travelled thousands and thousands of kilometers, through three countries and ELEVEN (count them, ELEVEN) shipping centres until it hit Saskatoon. This took a total of 6 days. It arrived in Saskatoon Wednesday morning of last week; it should have been in our possession Wednesday afternoon of last week. Saskatoon is two hours away from us. Two hours, 200 km. It has been stuck in Saskatoon for 6 days. Either that, or a UPS employee is enjoying a brand new iPod touch. Given human nature and post-modern morality, I wonder which is more likely.

Saskatoon, SK, Canada05/09/20139:22The scheduled connection was missed / Delivery rescheduled
Saskatoon, SK, Canada05/08/201318:11The package was missed at the UPS facility, UPS will deliver on the next business day.
05/08/20139:03Destination Scan
05/08/20133:12Arrival Scan
Winnipeg, MB, Canada05/07/201318:30Departure Scan
05/07/20131:13The scheduled connection was missed
05/07/20130:45Arrival Scan
Richmond, BC, Canada05/06/201320:10Departure Scan
05/06/20137:07Import Scan
05/06/20132:55Arrival Scan
Portland, OR, United States05/05/201318:21Departure Scan
Bellingham, WA, United States05/05/201317:00Departure Scan
Portland, OR, United States05/04/201323:07Arrival Scan
Rockford, IL, United States05/04/201321:39Departure Scan
Ontario, CA, United States05/04/20135:04Departure Scan
Ontario, CA, United States05/03/201321:22Arrival Scan
Anchorage, AK, United States05/03/201315:29Departure Scan
05/03/201313:46Arrival Scan
Shanghai, China05/03/201321:15Departure Scan
Shanghai, China05/02/201321:23Export Scan
05/02/201313:30Arrival Scan
Suzhou, China05/02/201312:19Departure Scan
05/02/201311:39Origin Scan
China05/02/201321:50Order Processed: Ready for UPS