Friday Film Review: Nine to Five

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Here we are!  This is my last post on this blog, and I’m very excited that I’m reviewing Nine to Five for it.

First off, if you’re one of those people that, for some inexplicable reason, do not like Dolly Parton, I don’t even know what to say to you.  Shit like that breaks my heart.  She is literally everything that is amazing about Nashville.

This movie revolves around three women working in an office.  Judy (Jane Fonda), a newly divorced lady, has snagged a new job at the office and is working/being trained by Violet (Lily Tomlin), a widow and mother of four kids.  There is also Doralee (Dolly Parton), the sassy personal assistant to the boss, Frank Hart (Dabney Coleman).  The movie is about sexism (and, if you’re paying close attention, racism, ableism, and ageism) and Frank is pretty much just one of the worst bosses around.  He only hires [young/pretty] women, and rules them like slaves from 9-5.

On a technical aspect, there’s nothing that really stands out to me with the film.  It’s a pretty straightforward 80s film.  I liked the opening sequence, because they focused on everyone’s shoes, and all the women had to wear heels as part of workplace attire.  And anyone who’s ever worn heels, you know, it’s kind of the worst thing ever when you have to do it for more than a couple of hours.  And just from looking at the sequence, about half the people looked like women going to work – so a lot.  The women looked stressed, they are getting their kids to school, and they are rushing off to barely make it to work on time, all the while, Parton’s “Nine to Five” song plays in the background, and clearly lays out everything we are about to see.  There’s also a weird murder fantasy sequence, that’s hilarious, as a result of the girls smoking pot (and, most importantly, bonding).

In some ways, this film is mind-blowingly revolutionary.  I’ve seen plenty of films that take a really close look at sexism in everyday life, but not a lot of mainstream ones.  They are few, and very far, between.  Even now, I see movies that aren’t a whole lot different than movies during times where people claim “things were different.”  Hell, it’s rare to have a film starring women, even now.  Ask any Hollywood producer, or a female director – female-lead films are something they hate touching.  So, if you’re afraid of watching this movie because you think it might be boring or a “chick flick,” go away, I don’t want to talk to you.  This film was awesome.

And in other ways, this film shows how far we’ve actually come (it’s not very far).  I worked for YEARS in offices, and dealt with a lot of the same stuff these girls dealt with.  I’ve been sexually harassed.  I’ve been verbally abused.  I’ve trained people to move up over me.  I’ve created projects that my boss took credit for, including materials that went national.  And I’ve been denied promotions, even when they were promised to me, and even though I might have trained everyone in that department, and wrote their training manual.  It hurts.  My feelings actually hurt FOR the characters in the movie.  Because it’s still there.  Maybe it’s less likely for some of the things in the film (at least without repercussions) but it’s all still there, looming over anyone who isn’t a straight white guy.

Then there’s Doralee.  Her character comments on the all too familiar thing girls tend to deal with – sex-based gossip.  She tells her husband, “I’m as nice as I know how to be to every single person down at that office.  Everybody treats me like a bastard at a family reunion.”  Doralee, girl, I can relate.  And she IS one of the sweetest sounding people ever.  So people assume she’s a whore and dumb.  But we, as an audience get to see all the gossip before we really meet her, and with her tight sweater and fluffy blond hair, I know some probably made knee-jerk judgements.  Actually, when Judy first meets Doralee, she subtly touches her own breasts in a weird, judgmental, yet self-conscious gesture.  I’ve actually seen people do that with me (hey, I’ve knocked things over in stores with my knockers, so I’m hyper aware of people’s reactions to my chest).  It was like, a genius thing.  I don’t know if that was a writing thing, or a Fonda thing, but it was beautiful.

All the actors were amazing.  Tomlin is one of my all-time favorites, and she just shined in this role.  She’s intelligent, independent, strong, and yes, just a little crazy.  She shows that even the most level-headed people will snap after a while.  And she’s pretty level-headed.  She can take just about anything in stride, shown by the scene where she’s taking calls, and without skipping a beat, is able to navigate her children’s arguments via a phone call in the midst of madness.

My only criticism of this film is Judy’s character.  I feel like she was the main character, but was the least developed.  It was like, “oh, her hubby left her for a secretary so now she hates secretaries.  Oh, now they are friends, she was wrong about all of them, okay bye.”  They could have done better.  Fonda is a great actor.

Now, as for the boss, I’m not going to really go into that.  Watch the movie, it’s pretty obvious.  He’s a very 2-dimensional character that serves a purpose beyond the actual character.  We don’t need him to be a person.  Women are so flat in movies most of the time, that making him flat was a statement in itself.  The only big difference, is that society doesn’t notice that female characters are flat, that they are only defined by their romantic relationships (or lack thereof), by having/not having children, and most importantly, by their bodies.  They are not making a statement by doing this.  They do this to spotlight the male characters.  I wonder why rape culture is so prevalent?

I did mention very briefly that this film also alludes to other unresolved human rights’ issues.  While they don’t state anything outright, because they are only dealing with WHITE feminism, they still note it.  We see African Americans unable to advance, and when things “change” in the movie, you should notice that there was a lack of diversity in many ways.  You don’t notice, until it’s there/not there anymore.

So, if you are one of those people that don’t believe everyone should be paid equally for the same work, and be afforded dignity with their occupations, AND you see this movie – you are just an asshole.  Because your arguments are idiotic, and they were the same arguments they used to argue against anti-sexual harassment, healthcare, overtime, childcare, etc.  It’s frustrating.  People like that frustrate me.  And hurt my feelings.  I get lots of hurt feelings.

But seriously, watch this movie.  It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s an easy movie to watch.

Favorite Line:
“And if I wanna have an affair, or play sex games, or do M&M’s, you can’t stop me!” – Judy

Favorite Scene:
I really like the scene where Frank is pursuing Doralee in the office.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a scene like that in a movie, and didn’t get intense anxiety.  Because Doralee is the most calming character with a gun I’ve ever seen.

IMDB Stats:
Director: Colin Higgins
Year: 1980
Rating: PG (although, it’s like, old-school PG – there is a lot of naughty language, and like, drug-use, so if your kids aren’t used to that, proceed with caution)

Currently streaming on Netflix.

That’s all folks!  I’ve enjoyed writing for you all, and I’m even more excited for all the things that I’ve got going for the future.  Happy blogging!

xo – Meg

 

Loose Ends and a Recipe Review

I kind of spent 3 hours torturing myself yesterday.  I planned the menu for the 4th of July BBQ, drafted invitations, and then spent the rest of the time eating cereal and quietly sobbing as I scrolled through cute outfit after cute outfit on ModCloth.  There are a lot of events coming up, and not enough outfits, and definitely not enough money for new outfits.  Then, by some miracle, a box arrived in the mail with clothes from my sister’s neighbor.  And she happens to be my size.  And she is a shopaholic.  And the clothes are barely used.  And there are two shiny bathing suits and summer skirts.  So, again, while I may lust towards new clothes, I can’t complain.  I just wish this lady had my shoe size.  Sigh, I’ll never have enough shoes and dresses.

Colorado is still rainy and dreary.  The sun came out for a little bit yesterday, but it wasn’t enough, in my opinion.  Not to mention, everyone is freaking out for fear of another flood.

Which means, unfortunately, we still cannot make more progress (read: finish) the garden bed.  It’s so close to being done, but the weather will not cooperate for us to finish and plant the rest of our seeds.  I’m glad that I was able to plant the flower seeds before all the weather, because they are all starting to sprout up now.  Yay!

Since our garden bed is so large, I didn’t just want to put chicken wire up around it to keep animals out.  It would have been a really tough feat to even do simple gardening.  So we decided to create removeable panels all around the bed, that way I can easily remove sections to get to the garden.  We used this guy’s tutorial on it HERE.  Ours are a little taller, but we did everything else the same way.  Since our garden is shaped like a “U,” we are building a short gate for the front, so we don’t have to create panels for the inside of the “U” (less panels to create).

And since the weather is kind of dreary, I’m going to share my favorite stew recipe.  It is from the Frugal Foodie Mama blog, and it’s the Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Stew.  I adapted it at home to be gluten free (gluten free flour/sauces), I added considerably more carrots (the stew is a little meat heavy) and I omitted the celery because my husband hates celery – and it went over really well.  It’s simple, but has a “higher end” taste than normal stews.  That’s definitely the balsamic vinegar reduction.  Holy crap.

I will say, since I’m linking to another blog that’s highly promoting Sam’s Club, I do not endorse that place.  I have many reasons, but the biggest is how they treat their employees.  There are plenty of other places you can get ethical, high quality meat that doesn’t cost a fortune (and they don’t have really fucked up, backwards attitudes on how people who work their asses off for their company should be treated and paid).  If you have a local butcher, they also have a lot of bulk deals, and frozen stuff is usually discounted quite a bit.  So, get a freezer and stock up!  Also, for families looking to save some money, don’t make meat every night.  I know it’s usually an easy food to work with when you’re busy, but meat is expensive, and really isn’t all that great for you all the time.  Sorry about the awkward rant, but even though I might be almost done with this blog, I will never endorse places I don’t like, and I am NEVER paid for my endorsements.  So yeah… love this recipe, but not the love affair with Sam’s Club.

Well, folks, it’s almost the end.  Tomorrow, I have a great movie that I’m reviewing, and I’ll be parting ways with this blog.

Until next time.

Fitness Review: Yoga Studio App

Well, I think the sun was out for a total of 10 minutes today!  It’s been so rainy, and while I appreciate the free watering for my lawn, I’m ready for the sun again (also, my pepper plant doesn’t appreciate the rain, it’s struggling).  Also, we FINALLY got a hummingbird to visit!  Yay!  I was so excited, I immediately started making fresh nectar for the feeders because, that’s when you do when you have company, right?  But we waited until after dark to change out the feeders, and, well, since the yard is in disarray, it looked a little like a creepy-crawly horror film.  There were nightcrawlers all over the ground, and it looked like the ground was crawling (there’s mud everywhere).  Zach tried to shine his flashlight to show me, and I just shrieked and told him I’d have nightmares if he didn’t stop.  I’m normally not freaked out by worms, but I think any bug in a massive quantity is a little freaky.

So for this fitness review, I decided to do something different and review an app.  It’s called Yoga Studio, and I think it cost around $5-$6 (I can’t remember, I bought it years ago).

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I really actually love this app, and it took me a really long time (and research) to find a yoga app I liked.  It’s really worth the money, because free ones, in my opinion, really just don’t cut it.  Plus, it’s hard to relax when ads pop up everywhere.  It’s very “clean” looking – there’s not a lot of distraction, it’s easy to click on and find whatever routine you want to do.

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It’s also really convenient.  Not only is it nice to have a genuinely good workout on the go (I use it a lot for vacations, but I also like using it at home for quick workouts) but you can pre-download all the videos, which means you do not need a signal or wi-fi to use it.

Also, for those that need a really a rigid schedule to stay on point, you can sync a calendar with your phone to remind you, even down to planning the exact workouts.

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There’s not a whole lot else to say.  The girl’s voice is pleasant (which is actually a big deal), it’s comprehensive, the music is ambient and relaxing, and the instruction is clear.  If you like yoga, this is a very nice (cheap) investment for beginners and more advanced alike, especially when you need the extra instruction (i.e., you don’t want to create a routine on your own).  I’m not sure if it’s available on ALL smartphones, but it’s definitely available for the iPhone.

Namaste, and until next time.

Happy May!

I know I’m a little late, and I will not do the Star Wars thing you want me to do.  No.  You can’t forth me!

So, I have some news to share.  This will be the last week that I’ll be writing in this blog!  Before anyone gets sad/upset/happy, let me explain.

While I really enjoy writing in this blog, I feel like I’m losing grounding with it.  It no longer feels like the blog I started with, and not in the good ways – like, I know things change and evolve, but this is devolving in my opinion.  The blog is called “travelin’ home”and I’ve strayed very far from my definition of home.  It’s okay, sometimes that happens.

I’m also disappointed on the lack of travel in this blog.  Traveling for weddings and funerals is not what I had in mind.  I want to travel for pleasure.  I told Zach that we have NEVER taken a trip for just us OUR ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP, except our camping trip, in state, for our honeymoon.  That has to change.  And it will.  And we’ve made some plans to make all that change.   We’re young and don’t have kids, so WTF?

On a technical aspect, I’m shifting focus into other ways of internet social expression, that’s less formal.  I’m using instagram and Tumblr more, because they are picture focused, short and concise.  I’m finding I like blogging less and less, because I feel too exposed and there’s a ton of pressure, in more ways than delivering content.  And, I also want to focus writing energy toward the creative, rather than journaling.  Besides, I’ve felt I’ve veered too far into the DIY “mommy” blogosphere, and I’m just not into that.  First off, they take beautiful photos clear and lots of bright white light, and that’s not my style.  I also am way too frantic and spend way too much time creating a mess before I can get things right to even pretend that I’m Martha Stewart (which, btw, anyone who knows me knows I basically worship that woman).

On an emotional aspect, 2015 has been one of my worst years.  It’s hard to blog and share things when bad things happen and I struggle with anxiety and depression (I don’t want a hopeless sounding, angsty blog).  And there is more to come.  I’m lucky as hell that I have an amazing husband that is also my best friend, and I have the best friends ever that come over and make me happy, even when I have some of my worst days.  Honestly, if it wasn’t for them, I’d struggle a lot more to get going on a lot of days, but I do because I look forward to seeing them.  2015 isn’t all bad, it’s just… a lot of change.  And not willing change, just life change.  I could say, “well, I’m taking a break for the rest of the year,” but I think I’ll take this opportunity to change my focus.

As for changing focus, my mind is already off in other places.  I’m so incredibly busy most days (despite the fact a lot of people still think I don’t do anything except play house).  Even though I’ve felt like we’ve had to be in limbo for a lot of the year, I’ve taken this chance to work really hard.  Sure, every daylight second Zach is home we’re doing home projects, and I do as much as I can without him, so we can do even more together (and so we don’t have to spend precious time doing normal maintenance).  But I’m also taking classes online, working on other projects, and writing more creatively.  In my mind, I know exactly where I want to be and when, and it all can be done, but I need to put in the hard work (and honestly, I’m not very comfortable blogging about it).  Believe me, I’m not complaining about any of this, because it’s a welcome distraction, and I honestly love doing all of it (which is a good sign I’m on the right track to my dream career, right?).

But it wouldn’t be right, in my opinion, if I just quit without wrapping up my blog.  I like things to be wrapped up.

So, I will end on Friday with a film review.  In between, I’ll also do a recipe and fitness review, plus a little update on the garden bed.  Unfortunately, I am unable to plant seeds this week, because it’s going to basically rain non-stop.  We’ve planted a pepper plant, two strawberry plants, and a blackberry plant so far – and herbs in the containers.  The panels are mostly up, we just have to build the gate in the front.

I just want to thank everyone for taking this journey with me, for reading and for engaging.  It’s been a fun ride, and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

Until next time.

Happy Earth Day!

I don’t really have anything all that special planned for Earth Day.  I’m a tree-hugging hippie every day.  Zach picked up a pepper plant at his work today because they are giving them out for Earth Day.  So we will be planting it tonight when he gets home!  Yay peppers!

Right now I’m sitting outside writing and drinking water on the rocks.  It’s a nice day.  We put up a bird feeder a while ago, and it’s been so wonderful seeing all the birds.  I really like birds.  However, word got around in the bird community and so we have a TON of birds coming to one little feeder.  Finches of all kinds, sparrows, chickadees, blue jays, doves, and even woodpeckers.  We even have a mouse and a couple squirrels that eat what the birds throw on the ground.  I feel like Snow White.  Right now, there is a blue jay barking at me.  It sounds kind of like a squeaky car.  You know why it’s barking at me?  BECAUSE THE FEEDER IS EMPTY.  That’s right.  We have to fill that thing every other day to keep stuff in it!  It’s lunch time in bird land, and their favorite diner is out of stock.  I wonder if Snow White had a similar problem.

I’m not really complaining.  I like all the birds around.  They are really cute.  And they are safer at our house than they are next door with the murderous cats.  My relationship with the birds will become more complicated after our berry plants become fruitful, but we already have some ideas in place.

I’m feeling a lot better though, but I don’t have a ton of energy.  Also, my online classes started this week… so I suppose I need to get to some classwork.

Until next time.

 

Pop Culture, How I Love Thee

I’ve been sick the past several days.  I think I came down with a weird stomach bug that totally kicked my arse and I’m still recovering.  While I’m no longer “sick,” I’m still having issues eating and you know, having energy to move around.

I really hate being sick.  The only upside is that I get to catch up with many hours of Netflix, but to be honest, I could just take time off and do the same thing.  It’s just harder to convince Zach to lay around with me and be lazy.  The downside is massive – my dogs don’t get walked, so they are horrible monsters, and the house becomes something that resembles a post-apocalyptic state, with considerably more dog hair.  Being sick is also highly inconvenient right now, since, you know, we have a massive home improvement project going on at the moment.

Last night was pretty good though, and I actually had enough energy to interact with the world.  So naturally, we watched The Voice.  I would say it’s my guilty pleasure, but I don’t feel that guilty about it.  What I DO feel guilty about though, is probably how many times I’ve cried during the show.  It’s weird, I cry easily, but only at some things.  But crying at Joshua Davis’s soothing voice is NOTHING to be ashamed of!  I think The Voice is to me, what The Bachelor is to a lot of people.  I don’t understand/like dating, so I don’t get that show.  But watching The Voice is like going to an awesome karaoke show with celebrities and not as much booze, so the talent is much better.  I’m kidding, a little.  I genuinely think most of the talent on the show are actually talented, and I love listening to people sing, so it’s the best thing ever for me.

However, Zach makes fun of me at least once during the show (aside from crying) because I tend to never know the songs they are singing, if it’s from an artist in the last 10 years.  He calls me an old lady.  And yes, while it’s true that I don’t listen to the radio and therefore have “lost touch,” I’m still pretty in tune with things if it’s on the internet/has a viral video.  Seriously, the ONLY reason I even know who Sia is, is because of that Jim Carrey skit on SNL and I looked it up because I had no idea what was going on.  Actually, if it wasn’t for SNL, I’d probably be totes out of touch.  FYI, I did enjoy “Chandelier” and watched it several times.

In all honesty, I actually love pop culture.  I feel like I’m equally aware of world news in the same way that I am with pop culture.  I’m getting a little behind on texting shorthand, but that was never my forte anyway.

And while I actually have no opinion whatsoever on any of the Kardashians, I really get a kick out of how people view them.  It’s weird, I KNOW there are people out there that like them, but I haven’t met any of them (at least, anyone that’ll admit to it).  And yesterday, I was on my phone and Zach asked me what I was doing, and I replied, “Oh, I’m following Miley Cyrus on Instagram because she has really fucked up photoshop pictures with pot everywhere.”  (I also follow a weiner dog collage artist, so, these are my “interests”).

I’m not just into current pop culture though.  I really like the whole timeline of pop culture.  I find it interesting.  And what’s even more interesting, I think it’s hilarious when people say, “oh things were SO much better back in my day!”  No they weren’t.  I don’t even need to know what decade you’re talking about.  Every decade was steeped in crappy music, crappy movies, and crappy people.  We just have happy memories of the few good things from those times.  And this is coming from someone that buys new (and old) albums on vinyl and wishes people shot movies on film instead of digital.  And let’s be honest, there are fun things in the pop culture of every decade.  That’s why they made it into pop culture.  They were interesting.

Anyway, I’m going to continue my recovery process.  There’s a garden riding on me getting well.  I really want to do a film review this Friday, I have a movie in mind, so hopefully I can make that happen.

Until next time.

“Leave me alone, I’m reading”

I’m so irritated today, so irritated, that I’m pretty sure I have a psychotic smile on my face.  That’s how bad it is.  Laughably bad.  Irritated by things that don’t matter, and some that do.

But one of the things that kind of just pushed me over the edge happened at the dentist today.

At first, I was happy because I had a new hygienist, and it was nice because she didn’t lecture me on the importance of having children (which, by the way, Zach doesn’t get this lecture) and how being a mom is the bestest thing ever, unless you have a daughter, and it becomes awful because she will turn into a mouthy little slut.  I kind of wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.  The last hygienist I had complained about her daughter being sinful with her boyfriend, and maybe being around too many gay people THE ENTIRE TIME.  She took like 45 minutes cleaning my teeth because she spent so much time freaking out about this.  And while sometimes I might dress like an elderly woman, and while my music tastes reflect that of someone in their 90s, I don’t give any shits about teenagers doing teenager-y things.  If it’s not on my lawn, I don’t care.  And as a personal philosophy, I am judging a parent SO HARD if they put moral judgments and conditional love on their kids.  SO HARD ARE MY JUDGMENTS.

So the new lady was awesome and talked about her dogs the whole time and how much fun it is to sleep.  My kind of person.

But after my appointment I had to wait for Zach to finish his.  So I brought The Sound and the Fury to read while I waited.  It was fine until this guy, middle-aged, came in and said,

“Wow, The Sound and the Fury.  Classic.”

I nodded politely and went back to reading.

Like the asshole he ended up being, he went on,

“Are you reading that for school, or for pleasure?”

“Pleasure.”  I continued reading.

I know I’m spoiling things, but like the biggest asshole ever, he continued,

“Wow, I don’t ever see girls like you and your age reading books like that.  All girls your age just have their faces in their phones.  I see all the girls at high school wandering around staring at their phones all day.  That’s all they do.”

Looking at him appalled, and also wondering how old he thinks I am.  He continues:

“I don’t want you to get offended by this, but this is true:  This is better than an IUD (pulls out phone).  Honestly!  Girls would rather be on their phones than have sex.  Pretty soon, the Pope will be recommending them.  Don’t you agree?”

At this point, I’m beyond anywhere near my comfort zone, in fact I’ve lost all semblance of any grounding.  I continued to read and tried my best to ignore him.

I’m honestly not blowing this out of proportion.  In fact, I left out all the creepy body language, and most of what he said, because it mostly was just offensive and implied I was a teenage girl.  I’m pushing 30!

When Zach was finally done, I told him the exchange, and he was appalled, but also surprised I didn’t blow up at the guy.  I asked, “What was I supposed to do?  Tell him he’s being a sexist asshole and to stop talking to me?  Because then I’d be ‘making a scene’ in the office and people would think it was me being rude.”

It wasn’t like the guy was blatantly trying to be awful.  And I guarantee every girl has a story like this one.  I have a million more.  Some guy will seemingly be friendly, and totally be a creep in an underhanded way, and there’s nothing you can do.  This happened ALL THE TIME when I was a teenager, but I never understood why I was uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, when people treat me like this, I still don’t know what to do.  “Family” members do this.  The last family wedding I went to, this happened.  But what am I supposed to do?  Everyone writes off my complaints as, “that’s just the way he is/he doesn’t mean anything by it.”

Well you know what?  It’s unacceptable.  I should haven’t to worry about a creepy uncle coming at me with disgusting and inappropriate comments about my mind or body, just because he’s been a creepy asshole forever.  You know why he’s a creepy asshole?  No one told him to stop.  And everyone told anyone who complained that it was fine that he was like that.

If this was an isolated event, I’d be pissed, but I would ultimately brush it off.  But this isn’t isolated.  I’ve had to put up with this shit my whole life.  And today was so blatant and obvious that it kind of hurt my feelings a little bit.  That’s it.  It hurt my feelings.  It hurt for someone to imply that because I was young (apparently I have a calling in undercover work at high schools) and pretty, that it was a miracle I was reading a “real” book.  It hurt my feelings that he was talking about women’s bodies like something that needed to be controlled, like sex is something bad, it’s the teenage girl’s “fault” for getting pregnant, and luckily girls are so dumb and shallow they won’t have sex.  It hurts.  And for some reason, there’s definitely a weird psychological thing that happens when an older person talks down to me, like I don’t have the right to stand up for myself.

So when someone is so hurtful, even though he’s smiling and laughing like it’s all lighthearted, like it’s no big deal, it’s hard to find that voice inside myself to say, “Stop.  You’re an awful human being.  Leave my sight immediately.”

Because this is normal.  This is so so normal.  But it’s not right!

I mean, eventually, I WILL become an elderly woman, and I won’t have a problem saying what’s on my mind, because elderly people are awesome like that.  Until then, I guess I need to work up the courage to politely tell people off.  I’m sure there’s a WikiHow tutorial, if not, I will dedicate years of research and figure out how to do it.

So FYI, after a quick search, my favorite thing was on reddit and my favorite response was: “I ask you to slowly and carefully go fuck yourself.”

That may be not helpful, but it gave me a chuckle.  And that will definitely be my response when I’m old, and knitting.

Until next time.

Fitness Review: Ballet Beautiful and 10 Minute Pilates

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I thought today might be a good day to do another fitness DVD review.  Like I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t had a ton of time to devote to longer workouts, nor would I want to anyway.  Yard work is tiring and exercise in itself.

That being said, I still think it’s important to make sure I do things for my core, do dedicated stretching sessions, and more “mellow” workouts, because they can be relaxing, and prevent injury.  For the past couple of months, I’ve been alternating between Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout and 10 Minute Solution Pilates Perfect Body.

Let’s start with Pilates first.

I like this DVD because it’s really good for small spaces, and each 10 minute session concentrates on one particular section of the body.  It’s not super hard, but still effective.  It’s my go-to for short workouts that don’t make me sweat or too sore.  However, I imagine if you did all of the workouts together, it’d be tougher.  I love this workout because anytime my back isn’t doing well, I can still do everything on this DVD, and in fact, it generally speeds up my recovery.  There are plenty of modifications to do to cater to injuries or fitness level, but I would definitely recommend this to beginners or intermediate levels.

Now for the ballet DVD!

I originally got this DVD to break up my routine, and because I love dance-type workouts.  It’s one of my favorites now.  It’s hard to describe the “difficulty” level of this workout though.  It’s broken up into several different workouts, some only a few minutes, some a little longer.  You can also go through all of them at once for a comprehensive hour-long workout.  Personally, while some of the routines are fairly easy, I think most are tough.  Especially if your form is good and you push it, it’s hard.  I don’t think this DVD is easy, but I think it’s great for beginners.  The super chill classical piano that plays in the background is a welcome change from the crappy, and slightly annoying techno/pop fitness music that generally accompanies most workout DVDs.  I will add though, don’t be intimidated by Mary Helen’s awesomely insane flexibility, just do your best, maybe do some extra stretching so you can get closer to some of the stretches she does.  My personal fitness goals involve more being strong and super flexible, rather than lose weight.  Although feeling as light as a ballerina is something I can hope for.

I doubt I’ll get deeper into the Pilates realm, but I’ve definitely been inspired with ballet.  This DVD perked my interest into more instructional-type DVDs, and perhaps, one day, will lead to some classes for fun.

I think that is all for now.  The rest of my summer will involve the Bolder Boulder and 5ks, so I might update with that stuff.  Summer is a time for wogging (walk/jogging).

Until next time.

Dirt! The Project

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You know how when you clean a room, I mean, really clean it, organize it, etc, and it seems to get worse before it can get better?  Doing a big yard project is like that, but worse, because there’s dirt everywhere.

And so continues our outdoor projects.  I was a little disappointed on Saturday because Zach and his dad spent most of the day doing this:

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Stump removal.  It looks like a bomb went off in the corner of our yard right now.  And it took a lot longer than we all expected, and it was a lot harder than expected.  But, at least it got removed, mostly.  Zach was happy his dad was there to help, and I was happy I didn’t have to be there with the noisy chainsaw.  Apparently, the dogs didn’t mind though.  The Wii terrifies Penny, but not a chainsaw, so I have no idea what goes on in her head.

So by the time they finished that, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to work on moving the garden dirt.  Plus, Sunday, we were going to have to bathe the dogs and take them to get their nails clipped, so I was a little stressed, initially, that we weren’t able to do more.

To top it off, we woke up Sunday to a super windy day.  Moving dirt in the wind is not fun.  Not only that, but all the cardboard I had laid the evening before had blown all over the place.  And trying to lay newspaper down in high winds, even when you wet it, is one of the most irritating things ever.

All that said, Sunday was amazing.  Our awesome friends showed up to help move dirt, and that made all the difference.  We got more done than I had even planned!

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We were able to even cover most of the area we are using for a front flower garden.  Totally unexpected, but very welcomed.  My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of the dirt, but we were so busy, I barely had my phone on me all day, so I forgot to take any pictures.  Most of these were taken by Zach.

We are almost ready to plant.  We are building removeable panels this week so we have something to keep the dogs and rabbits out of the garden, but are easy for me to remove when I tend to the garden.  I guess a lot of people will get short chicken wire and then bend over it to weed and harvest, but my back is way too bad/I’m too short for that.  We need something nicer and easier.

I already planted wheatgrass in a planter box because I was impatient, and it’s coming in already.  I need extra green for my smoothies!

Until next time.

Monster Raised Beds

IMG_5048We’re getting started!  This was our first day of major yard work/yard construction.  It was a ton of work, mainly because Zach is a bit of a perfectionist, but also because we built a huge garden bed with huge 6X6 lumber pieces.  We wanted a bed that would last, not bow out eventually from the weight of soil, and we used cedar because it’s safe for the food, and won’t rot nearly as fast as other woods (which are generally treated with cedar to prolong their lives).  Surprisingly, it wasn’t much more expensive than building a nice regular raised bed, because we called around to lumber yards and found one with great deals on shorter, 4 foot-long pieces.

The only things we have left to do with this particular bed is to build up a stone retaining wall around it, to keep the dirt from falling, to fill it with garden soil (and prep it for that), and to create a mulch path around the bed so we don’t have grass around it, and so it’s nice to walk around.  We will put in the irrigation system in May, along with a new sprinkler system in the backyard.

Anyway!  I’ll just post pictures and let them mostly speak for themselves.

My dad drilling holes for the rebar.  We used the rebar on the bottom level of the lumber to secure it to the ground.
My dad drilling holes for the rebar. We used the rebar on the bottom level of the lumber to secure it to the ground.
It took quite a while to level out the ground.  That was actually the most work.  Shoveling and tampering for hours...
It took quite a while to level out the ground. That was actually the most work. Shoveling and tampering for hours…
Zach and Layla finally agreed to the outline and dimensions.
Zach and Layla finally agreed to the outline and dimensions.
Zach putting in the rebar.
Zach putting in the rebar.
I was terrified that my dad's duct-taped axe was going to kill someone as we used it as a hammer...
I was terrified that my dad’s duct-taped axe was going to kill someone as we used it as a hammer…
The dogs used the wheelbarrows as shade, even though we have a covered deck and plenty of shade elsewhere.  They were committed to the project.
The dogs used the wheelbarrows as shade, even though we have a covered deck and plenty of shade elsewhere. They were committed to the project.
The "semi-final" product.  It was a long day, but it looks beautiful, and makes me want to create a garden labyrinth.
The “semi-final” product. It was a long day, but it looks beautiful, and makes me want to create a garden labyrinth.
We are mostly doing seeds, but we did get this strawberry plant for the back part of the garden.
We are mostly doing seeds, but we did get this strawberry plant for the back part of the garden.

There is still quite a lot to do, and I’ll try my best to document everything, at least via pictures.  Thank you for taking this journey with me!

Until next time.