Tag Archives: Quickie

Pool Critters: Summer’s Swimmers

It has been quite warm here lately!  The weather reminded that I had several pictures of rescued animals that I had not posted from during the summer.

Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)

Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)

Virginia metallic tiger beetle (Megacephala virginica)

Virginia metallic tiger beetle (Megacephala virginica)

Eastern narrowmouth toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Eastern narrowmouth toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Southern toad (Bufo terrestris)

Southern toad (Bufo terrestris)

The pool is covered for the winter, hopefully well enough that animals can’t wander into it.  And now back to your regularly scheduled cold weather.

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Behind the name

The original intent of this blog was to talk about this and that, but a fair amount about my health and fitness goals, routines, and things I had learned.  There are several people I follow on twitter, in blogs, and on fitocracy that talk a great deal about nutrition, health, and fitness.  Really, what can I say that more qualified and learned people are not already stating?

That’s what I tell myself.  The real reason I don’t talk about my exercises and health goals is because I am a bit shy about that kind of stuff.  I should have realized this about myself before I named my blog “All The Exercises!”  My lack of fitness posting might give people the idea that I don’t exercise, and that I must have meant to name this blog “All The Food!”  But I do workout!  I post my workouts on fitocracy and have for about a year now.  I really like that I can see my progress over time; be still my nerdy heart, they have graphs!

In preparation for my half and full marathons, I was running 4-5 days a week and would also try to make it to the gym once or twice.  Since the marathon is over, I am still planning to run 3-4 times a week but I really want to up my weight lifting.  I plan to run 5-10 mile runs, but I will be going to the gym in the mornings to lift weights.  While training for the marathon, my lifts went down a bit and frequency dropped a lot.  I also didn’t really follow any plan, so that probably didn’t help my lifting progress.

I am, hopefully, getting a strength training book for Christmas, which will set me on a program for picking up heavy things and putting them back down.  I am going to post some of my exercises on here as a sort of accountability.  Hopefully, getting to put down days that I have great workouts and having to put down days that I make excuses for not working out will get me going to the gym.  I am thinking that once a week or so I’ll post a summary of how my week went, all the good and the bad.  These are probably going to be little quickie posts with a little commentary if something specific happens.  Here’s hoping I can make a habit of it.

My kind of workout!

My kind of workout!

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October Monthly Challenge: Photography

I have had a few types of real cameras in my 27 years.  As a child, I was given a Kodak Cameo Motor 110 film camera for Christmas.  I don’t recall taking many pictures with it or even being very interested in photography.  I did like that it was really small and had an interesting flash that popped way up from the camera.  That camera broke within a couple of years and when I was a young teen I was given another cheapish film camera.  This one left even less of an impression on me and it also either broke or was lost/donated a few years later.

Buying a camera didn’t even occur to me until I was in my graduate program and signed up for a class that required the students submit a plant collection notebook.  In years past, and is still this way for many classes, this would be a series. of plant parts pressed and dried into a notebook or attached.  Some years ago, this teacher started allowing students to take pictures of the plants and created a notebook with the pictures of the various plant parts.  More recently, with the continued advancements in technology, he now allows students to take digital images and upload them into a Powerpoint slide show and submit this “virtual plant collection” for their project.  Seeing as I was not interested in pulling up plants, pressing, drying, hand labeling, and hauling this collection all over campus, I decided to purchase a digital camera.  Side note: I did end up having to make a physical plant collection for another class after making a digital plant collection for the first.

However, I wasn’t going to just run out to a random store and buy the first camera I saw.  I did visit stores and find a few cameras I found interesting.  Later I went online and compared options and reviews for many, many brands and models. After a few weeks I settled on a Sony DSC H7 which has served me very well.  I have taken a lot of pictures with this camera.  Some people say that I’m pretty decent.  Do I know what I am doing yet? Not so much.

A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine noticed that I had submitted some pictures into a photography contest put on by a professional plant science society and offered me “an old camera” that he had acquired some years ago and was practically new.  It sounded interesting and so he brought it by my office a couple of weeks later.  I didn’t expect him to walk through the door with an almost-new Minolta Autocord from the 1960s.  It is a beautiful camera that I haven’t spent as much time as I would like to on learning how to use it.

One less-than-awesome thing about my primary camera, the Sony, is that it is bulky.  It is hard to take on outdoor trips and is a real spacehog when flying.  For a couple of years I have been looking to buy a camera that is a bit smaller to take on adventures and have looked off and on for one.  While planning a monster trip for two conferences, with a vacation sandwiched in the middle, I wrote down to pack one of the work cameras.  They are a few cameras we use in demonstration events with decent zoom and picture quality.  Yeah, totally forgot to pack it.  I remembered the camera after driving for a couple of hours and decided that this may be the excuse I was looking for to finally buy a smaller camera for traveling.

I did something I never do.  I walked into a store and picked out a camera that looked good.  Well, I did have my smartphone and spent about a half an hour looking up reviews for it, but I didn’t research compact cameras for weeks before settling on one.

I am now the owner of an Olympus sz-12 that has a 24x zoom, two types of macro settings, built-in filters, programmable setting for certain factors (EV, ISO, and white balance) but not others (aperture and f-stop).  The only real criticisms were picture quality indoors and in low light, though I have never seen a camera that DID NOT have that criticism, and a potentially short battery life.

Some of the pictures that I will post for October will be taken with my Sony and some with the Olympus.  I’ll mention in the posts what I was trying to accomplish with each shot and what I had issues with.  I am not a great photographer, I don’t know much about the technical aspects of camera technology and I don’t use photoshop.  I use picasa and a Sony image program to do very minor edits images; adjusting darkness, removing dust from the image, nudging contrast, and cropping/straightening.  I take pictures for fun and to show others what I have seen.  I hope you enjoy the next few posts!

Self portrait

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September Week 5 and Summary: Chainmail Earrings

Just a pair of earrings to match the necklace I made earlier in the month.  I doubled the length of the increasing sizes of rings to make the earring longer.

Box Chain Ripple Earrings

I had fun working with chainmail again.  The earrings and necklace have gotten me several compliments and can be dressed up and down easily.  I really should keep up with this hobby a little better.

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When you are responsible for someone else…

While I don’t think of this often, there are many cases in our lives where we take care of others and are taken care of.  Sometimes this is an informal situation, such as helping out a friend or stranger in need.  Other times this is a formal arrangement, such as doctor/patient, lawyer/client, and even someone in the service industry and a customer. In each of these situations, someone’s health, future, safety, or experience is in another persons’ hands.  If the doctor misdiagnosed the patient, it is the doctor’s responsibility to heal the patient.  If you enable a friend’s bad habits (alcoholism, gambling, etc.), then you have failed in your duties as a friend.  In the past couple weeks, I’ve come across two situations where someone had accepted responsibility for another and wasn’t encouraging them toward healthy living.  My brief glimpses into these people’s lives may be based on completely abnormal occurrences, but these instances can be applied to normal, life-long circumstances.

Recently it was “bachelorette party weekend”!  We spent the weekend in a tourist trap town and had fun shopping and eating.  I do believe that the occasional indulgence is a nice break from a normally healthy pattern of eating.  Here’s what happened.

Following a day of knockwurst and fries, I started my breakfast off with an apple and a banana while figuring out what else I wanted.  Most of the items in the hotel breakfast nook were of the pastry, bagel, sausage/biscuit/gravy, etc. sort and there were only a few healthy choices hidden among the options.  Shortly after sitting down, a mom/dad/toddler family sat down at a neighboring table.  The little girl was not quite at the “whole words” stage, and so was asking for things in single syllable, shortened words.  She saw me eating this bright red apple and so asked her dad for one while pointing at them.  Now, the apples and bananas are not the best looking.  The apples were probably the red delicious variety, very red but not so delicious in my opinion, each have a bruise or two and the bananas are very spotty and my have been kept too chilled.  However, they were still more than edible and healthier than most of the other breakfast items offered.

The dad grabs an apple and the mom immediately starts in on how it’s bruised and to peel off the skin cause she won’t like it.  He cuts off a big chunk of the apple and hands it to the kid who chews on it a bit and loses interest.  He takes the chunk of apple back and a minute or so later she asks for the apple again.  He hands her the rest of the apple which is about the size of her head.  She’s actually doing pretty well, and not complaining about the skin at all, when she drops it.  Her mom says “Oh, it’s gone now! No more!” in a bit of a tired, “saw that coming” manner.  She asks for another apple, dad grabs a banana instead, at the direction of the mom, and then tosses it in the trash claiming mold on the bottom.

Here is a child, asking for fruit and they don’t want to give it to her.  They had a plate with a waffle and some french toast sticks cut up in small pieces, drenched in syrup in front of her and were also feeding her some yogurt (which I have mixed feelings on).  They cut the waffle and french toast into pieces that were easy for her to eat, but when she asked for the apple, they gave her the whole apple.

Later, as we were getting ready to leave, the toddler was standing on the chair her dad had been in and there was a whole waffle in front of her with a more-than-healthy amount of syrup.  Her dad said “dig in with both hands!”  Way to teach your kid healthy habits from an early age…

The second instance I observed was at the gym.  I went early in the morning to sneak in some strength training and it was almost empty.  About 30 minutes after I arrived, an overweight woman came in for some sort of training session with one of the employees.  The entire time she was there, as she left before I did, I did not once hear/see her breathe hard, grunt, sweat, or show any sign of exertion.  She carried on a casual conversation with the trainer the entire time about town gossip and never paused even while doing reps.  Carrying on conversation while exercising isn’t an issue at all, it’s that the trainer wasn’t encouraging her to push herself.

This woman is PAYING the trainer to help her achieve some sort of health or fitness goal, and, in my observers opinion, the trainer is not living up to her end of the bargain.  Yes, the client is getting some sort of exercise that she may not if she had not hired a trainer.  However, it is the trainer’s obligation to try to get their client to give as close to 100% each session as possible.  This woman wasn’t even close to that.

Both of those situations irk me.  The child and the client are both relying on someone else to help them make good decisions with their life.  The child certainly has limited options as to her situation and is dependent on her parents and other to choose to feed her healthy food.  The client, being a mature woman, has more control over the person she has come to rely on.  There is always an element of personal responsibility and one should always do some basic research on issues concerning your health, finance, future, and anything else that comes up.  The client could look up how to properly workout and the different exercises which are best for her goals.  You can talk to or fire your trainer, but a two-year-old can’t fire her parents.

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Portland Restaurants: Habesha

Habesha is an Ethiopian/Eritrean Restaurant that is .4 mi (5 minute walk) from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and .6 mi (15 minute walk) from the Oregon Convention Center.  Most of my experiences with authentic foods of other cultures has been Asian and Latin, with a little European thrown in here and there.  I was rather excited to try something different, though I was apprehensive as this restaurant had few reviews from any of the websites I had visited.  It must have recently opened, as there was no decor to speak of.  The wait staff was friendly and attentive, though I did have to request extra napkins as the one they gave me just wasn’t up to the task.

At the recommendation of the waiter, I ordered the siga wat (beef stew) and it came with injera, a spongy, sourdough-like bread.  The amount of injera they gave me was enormous, I couldn’t even begin to finish it all.  Traditionally, a group of people would sit down and share several plates of food and so that amount of bread wouldn’t be too much.  However, it was just one of me vs injera-the-expansive.  The siga wat was pretty tasty and went well with the bread.  I did finish the siga wat long before the injera, and I just couldn’t get used to the taste/texture of the injera on its own.  The price was reasonable for lunch, under $10!

Overall, I would recommend checking it out.  Especially if you are going out with a group!

Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum)

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Portland Restaurants: Milo’s City Cafe

Milo’s City Cafe is a cute little restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It is located about .7 mi (15 minute walk) from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and 1 mi (20 minute walk) from the Oregon Convention Center.  The restaurant is more simply and cleanly decorated, rather than interesting and quirky.  The service staff was quick and friendly, I didn’t have to wait to be seated and my food arrived shortly after I ordered it.

I ordered the Nathan’s breakfast BLT; sourdough bread, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, and pepper bacon.  For my taste, it would have done well with some sort of sauce/condiment on it, as it was a bit dry.  The table provided some hot sauce, so that helped out a bit.  The egg was cooked just how I like my eggs, a little runny in the center but not enough to make a mess all over my hands.  The bread was nice and toasted and the veggies were fresh and crisp.  Even the tomato was good, not mealy as the sandwich tomatoes can be at times.  The prices were comparable to other independent cafes, the sandwich was about $8.

Overall, I would recommend a visit to Milo’s City Cafe.  From other reviews online, they can be very busy at typical meal times and on weekends, so be prepared for a wait if you go there for Saturday brunch.

I have one more restaurant to review and then this little mini-arc is over.  The next one is something different!

Oh look!  A random picture!

Juvenile Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum)

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