The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pushups, Squats, and Planks Oh My!

I've been working with my new trainer, whose mantra is "Pushups, Squats and Planks, Always." Whatever else she has me doing, I'm doing pushups, squats and planks. You can imagine how many variations there are of these 3 classic exercises. Today's variations involved the TRX. And I can already feel the soreness settling into my back, shoulders and abs.

The weather has been crappy. Wednesday night's ride was cancelled, Thursday brought scary storms, and today the threat of big storms kept me off my bike. Tomorrow morning DH and I are each going to ride solo.

The reason we are not going on club rides tomorrow is because my niece is getting married tomorrow evening, and we will be heading out in the afternoon. I don't want to get sucked into the time warp of a club ride. I want to have the time to make sure I have everything I need to get all gussied up, don't want to be rushed! Another chance to visit family..... the week started with the sadness of a funeral and will end with the happiness of a wedding..... the circle of life.

I bought my husband a new cycling jersey for Father's Day. It arrived and he loves it:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Visiting Family

Yesterday I went to a funeral for my cousin Barbara. She lost her battle with lung cancer at 65 years young. I really didn't know her very well, in fact, I barely knew her. The combination of her having grown up in Ohio and the 10 years difference in our ages probably accounts for that. But after hearing her husband and her sons talk about her, I feel like I really missed out. I think I would have enjoyed getting to know her and spending time with her.

Barbara was buried in the same cemetery as the rest of my family, so I was able to visit with all four of my grandparents and my father. Being at their graves with no other family members around gave me the chance to think about my special relationships with each of them. I saw myself as a young child with my grandmother in the kitchen, driving my other grandmother to the doctor, learning how to hammer nails with one grandfather and going to the beach with my other grandfather. Of course my memories of my father were a giant mishmash of good times and bad times, of places and people, and feelings of sadness that he he wasn't there for so many celebrations in the 9 years that he's been gone.

In Judaism,when someone dies, we say, "may his memory be a blessing." And that is a perfect description of what I was feeling when all these memories washed over me as I stood at their graves. How blessed I am that I had these people in my life for so many years, so much love, so many life lessons. I left the cemetery to go home to my loving husband, to conversations with my mom and my sons.... I had such a wonderful time visiting my family. In time, I am sure that Barbara's immediate family will have those same feelings when they visit her. Her memory will be a blessing, too.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


There is a lovely cafe in Somers that is owned by a member of the bike club. As much as we like the bagel shop in Somers, we always make Tazza Cafe our rest stop when our rides take us through that part of the cycling universe. Ed, the owner purchased a bike rack for the parking lot and he usually has a big box of Clif bars which he offers gratis. We are happy to give him our business. Yesterday 3 rides stopped at Tazza. Thats about 50 riders-- lots of iced coffee and muffins! Luckily our arrivals were somewhat staggered.

Tazza was at the crossroads, with meetups as the 3 rides rolled in and out. There are many couples in the club who, like DH and I ride at different levels. Joel and David were on the D ride, and met up with wives Amy and Cathy when the C ride showed up. I had slowed down to lead a D ride, and I was happy to see my faster friends. It was also a chance for anyone who pushed the pace to fall back with a slower group and take it easier on the way back.

It was a great weekend for riding and celebrating. One of my cycling club friends celebrated her 60th birthday on Saturday. On a beautiful evening, we feasted, drank champagne, and enjoyed a great big carrot cake! It doesn't get much better-- a big party sandwiched between 2 beautiful days of riding.

Happy Fathers Day to my DH and all the other dads out there. Nothing fancy here. Our kids are not home, so we did what we usually do on Sundays. I spent a little extra time preparing a nice dinner-- Cuban spiced pork tenderloin, Moroccan carrot salad with fresh mint, and artichokes with spicy peanut sauce. Of course I thought about my dad and all the things he did with me and for me. But I also realized that I think those thoughts often, I don't need Fathers Day to turn my thoughts in that direction. But thinking about my dad has definitely increased my happy quotient for this weekend.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thacher State Park

On Thursday morning, I got up real early to drive to Thacher State Park. I didnt remember how long the Indian Ladder Trail is, so I left myself plenty of time so I wouldn't be rushed. The trail is fairly short, maybe a half mile. Its not really strenuous either (except for the stairs at the beginning and end of the trail). It is more a walk that should be savored for the beauty of the cliffs and vistas of the valley. I'm so glad I made the time to visit. I was there for about an hour, took about 50 photos with my little Canon, and then finished my journey to Rensselaerville (only 18 miles away).

I was going to visit the Huyck Preserve today on my way home, but it's a foggy rainy day, not a good day for the great outdoors. Oh well. So I downloaded and edited the photos from Thacher. Here's a few:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Planning a Minor Adventure

As a member of SUNY's (State University of New York) faculty and significant involvement with the University Faculty Senate, I travel to many out-of-the-way places throughout New York State. Whenever I make these excursions (typically 3 days/2 nights), I try to fit in a little adventure or sightseeing, if I am traveling by car. I have brought my bike on several of these trips. Tomorrow I am going to a meeting in Rensselaerville, only for 1 night. Our meeting starts with lunch and ends in the late afternoon on Friday. I scouted out bike routes using Ridewithgps, and all the routes anywhere near Rensselaerville have very substantial climbs (of course with corresponding hair raising descents). I try not to let the hills scare me, but I don't like riding on roads that I've never ridden before with very hilly terrain, especially solo. So I am planning a different adventure.

When I was an undergrad at SUNY Albany, one of my favorite places to visit was Thacher State Park. The park is atop the Helderberg Escarpment (fancy word for big cliff) and the most popular trail travels along the bottom of this cliff.

Tomorrow morning I am going to get up really early to drive up to Thacher and spend a couple of hours there, before finishing my journey to Rensselaerville (which is less than 20 miles away). Its supposed to be a beautiful day and I am looking forward to this little hiking adventure on the Indian Ladder Trail. Hope to bring back some nice photos too.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

Change Is Good

I've been working with a personal trainer for a few years. It gets me to the gym and lifting weights at least once a week. My trainer is very traditional. Although we did work with free weights, she usually had me using the full assortment of weight machines. Sometimes I felt her workouts weren't dynamic, but whatever she was asking me to do, it was working. The day after I was always sore in very many places, and I had muscles! Besides, it was awkward to try to work with a different trainer since I didn't really have other days or times to get to the gym.

Then, last week, my trainer called me to tell me that she got fired! She's been arguing with the boss man for the past few months, and she pushed him a bit too far and was shown the door.

So I kinda got my wish. I had purchased a 12 pack of trainer sessions and I still had six left, so I started working with one of the other trainers yesterday. Yes, change is good. I told her I want to work more on core and balance as well as more traditional strength training. Today I woke up sore in new places, especially the smaller muscles all around my core. Be careful what you wish for!