February Challenge Fitness ladder update

Recall this February challenge I did the calisthenics Fitness Ladder.

I got up to Rung 4 and was on the cusp of Rung 5.  The sticking points are push-ups (my arms have gotten weak) and, oddly, running in place.  I keep getting lactic acid build-up.  DH tells me that as my circulation gets better the lactic acid build-up will gradually become less of a problem.  The fact that I have this as a problem makes me concerned about my lack of circulation!

My progress wasn’t as impressive as when I did the 7 min workout (for example, I can barely do 5 pushups, but I ended that challenge with 9).  I don’t know if that’s because I’m 4 years older and in worse shape, or if it’s just not as intense a workout.  However, I did not hate this workout.  I kind of like it (except the lactic acid part), and DC2 and DH are also into it.

Of course, on March 1st when the challenge was over, I was like, I don’t *really* need to do this, so I didn’t.  And March 2nd I completely forgot until after I’d showered and was already in bed.  If it had been February I’d have gotten out of bed and done it, as happened a few times, but since the challenge was over I felt I didn’t need to.  I have no willpower.  March 3rd I decided to do it in the morning.  I kind of felt like doing sit-ups which is the first time I can say that in 4 decades, give or take.

I think the big thing for me if I want to keep up with this is to have some sort of regular time and reminder for me to actually do it.  Mornings would make sense except that I am barely making it to my 8am classes this semester.  There’s just too much packed in the mornings already (and I don’t shower in the morning like DH does, so if I get to the point of sweating stinkily I’ll have to add a second shower to the day).  Right before bedtime is what I’d been doing because that’s when I would remember, but now that there’s no challenge going on, that’s not a great idea because I have no willpower before bed.  Though I suppose it could be fit in before the shower in theory.  I also don’t know if I have willpower to do it right after work– usually at that point in time I’m trying to get dinner ready.

I’m still doing a walk every day at work– generally sometime between 10:30am and 1:30pm.  That happens because I have a motivated colleague who also needs an exercise and gossip/work break in the middle of the day.  It’s also a good vit D pick-up for me since I’ve given up on trying to stagger my pills (I generally forgot the second one and it would take a couple hours to realize why I’d been so tired) and just take both of them after I brush my teeth in the morning.

It may be that I need to set a timer for calisthenics for sometime in the evening.  It helps if DH is doing it at the same time too.  I don’t know if he’ll be going back to doing it in the morning though.  I also think I should add some stretches because the ones in the workout are kind of silly… or at least seem silly to me because they’re not stretching the muscles that my American education has taught me should be stretched.

For any of the self-care things I need to do every day, showering, teeth brushing, etc. it’s important that I have a regular process for each– finishing showering means it’s time for teeth, and so on.  For things I really don’t want to do, it’s extremely helpful to have someone else there to nudge it along.  Though I can’t use another person as a crutch or excuse– I just need to be grateful for being included.

How do you get yourself to do self-care things regularly? 

February Challenge: The Fitness Ladder

Whenever my DH starts feeling out of shape, he digs out a “fitness ladder” that he got from some engineer on the internet and starts doing calisthenics.

The idea behind this ladder is that exercise shouldn’t be painful and shouldn’t suck.  If you will recall my February challenge a few years back with the 7 min workout, I hated that with a violent passion.  It worked, but it sucked.  So I stopped.

The fitness ladder basically says:  start at the first rung of the introductory ladder.

Introductory Ladder

Rung Bend Sit up Leg lift Push up Steps Count







1 2 3 4 2 105 1 30
2 3 4 5 3 140 1 65
3 4 6 6 3 170 2 20
4 6 7 8 4 200 2 50
5 7 9 9 5 225 3 0
6 8 10 10 6 255 3 30
7 10 11 12 7 280 3 55
8 12 13 14 8 305 4 5
9 14 15 16 9 325 4 25
10 16 16 18 11 350 4 50
11 18 18 20 12 370 4 70
12 20 20 22 13 390 5 15
13 23 21 25 15 405 5 30
14 25 23 27 16 425 5 50
15 28 25 30 18 440 5 65

What the numbers mean here, is, using rung 1 as an example, that you touch your toes twice.  Then you do 3 situps.  Then you do 4 leg lifts.  Then you do 2 pushups.  Then you run in place for 75 thingies (every time your left foot touches the ground, that’s one thingy), then you do 7 jumping jacks, and then you run in place for another 30 thingies.  When a rung feels easy, move to the next rung.  After the introductory ladder, there’s an advanced ladder with slightly different exercises.

Feb 1st, I did the first rung and everything was easy except running in place.  Feb 2nd I came down with a virus from DC2 (headache, tummy ache– vomiting in hir case, other stomach problems in my case), but was able to get through everything but the running and jumping jacks from rung 1 after sleeping most of the day.  (The bouncing was not a great idea for my stomach and I had to have seltzer).  Feb 3rd I was recovered and did the first rung with little effort so Feb 4th I moved to the second rung where I stayed feb 5th (almost forgot yesterday and ended up exercising right before bed.)

cheer me on, grumpy nation!  What’s your latest fitness thing?

Dispatches from the Year of the Oxygen Mask: January

I talked about my 2019 hopes/goals in a previous post.

Except for that one slip-up I noted early on, I have done a good job of noticing my spending and of not spending money on anything except food and mental health.  I should have said “(and mental health)” in my original post but I forgot to spell it out.  Of course I’m not going to *not* pay my therapist or psychiatrist.

So now I’m getting new meds (again).  I have been on almost every kind!  This one’s new.  I’m looking forward to finding out what fun side effects it will have!  (Narrator:  She was not looking forward to it.)  Currently I am in a 3-way fight with the insurance company and the pharmacy (and the shrink) to try and authorize the drug so that they’ll pay for it so that the pharmacy will fill it.  I cannot project-manage this situation and my job at the same time, so I’m sucking at both.  #SinglePayerNow

My lovely MIL continues to have Teh Sad.  She too has a therapist and medication, and she also has various bereavement groups.  Have I mentioned that my dad and all 4 of his kids are on psychiatric meds of various sorts?  (Some of us off-and-on.)  We’re doing better, though!  My family is looking forward to positive changes this year.

I almost went through all of January without spending money to fill my car’s gas tank.  I didn’t quite make it, but it was pretty close.  I think that’s pretty good!

Also, I spent like 85 minutes on the phone with TIAA-CREF yesterday and the upshot is that I need my husband to sign some forms in front of a notary.  Because my previous job set up their retirement accounts in a dumb way that means my spouse has first claim on what I do with my money, somehow.  So in order to move the money into an account that he doesn’t have to approve every transaction on, he has to sign some forms saying it’s ok for me to close my accounts with my money in them.  You can possibly imagine my reaction upon learning this on the phone: “That is some bullshit.  Get rid of that!”

I never thought the uni where I had my crappy tenured job would be good for much, but their retirement accounts are actually set up way better, so I’m consolidating everything I can into that one.  Like we effin’ have time to go to a notary during business hours, goddamn.

As a reminder, in February, I will go on Patreon and sign up to support at least 2 creators whose work I appreciate.

What giveth and/or taketh away your oxygen recently, Grumpeteers?

Wednesday we’ll talk about #2’s February challenge!

The year of the oxygen mask

My current goal is to make 2019 the year I finally find my oxygen mask.  You know, “make sure your own mask is on first before helping others”?

Background:

In October 2016 I was having a very stressful time and then election day hit.  It did not go well for feminists.  Fortunately I had recently started therapy again and was still on one psychiatric medication, but I got an additional one at the suggestion of an excellent psychiatrist who is unfortunately hard to get hold of and who doesn’t take my insurance.  At the time I was working with a group that researched (among other things) health in Latinx communities, and I am White.  I was chicken and called in sick to work the day after election day.  Then I pulled myself together.  You know how politics has gone since then.

A week later, my beloved father-in-law died unexpectedly.  Most of 2017 was spent in mourning.  In 2017, our cat almost died several times and then did die (we have new ones now!), and my beloved grandmother died just before Christmas (she was very old, and the heart of the family), and my other grandmother’s dementia got the best of her.  Her body is still walking around, but she’s away with the fairies.  There were a few months where our apartment seemed to have contagious depression.  My sister’s husband was laid off in a really dickish way in mid-December of 2017.  Friends were sad and anxious.  Far-away family struggled with finances, finding my grandmother a nursing home that would take her (achieved in 2018!), and my beloved aunt got very very sick in early to mid-2018 and perforated her bowel from the stress of it (surgery, months with an ostomy bag, weight down to less than 90 lbs.).  My cousin almost died and had to have emergency brain surgery the night of Christmas Eve 2017, causing his father my uncle to miss his own mother’s funeral.  In 2017 and 2018, my father got diagnosed with something potentially scary (he’s fine now, but has an occasional midnight panic attack), my sister struggled with infertility, my mother-in-law and her whole family grieved and mourned, I quit my job and got another (where I have a good boss), and so did my partner.

Going into 2019, I have just recently, like in the past few months, started to feel like I can even take a breath.  2018 was something of a dumpster fire, but it was also the year of the gradual, eventual turnaround for people I care about.  We might be ok now; I just need like another 6 months of nobody dying and I’ll be able to brain again.  Come on, just make it six more months!

It’s been a struggle, folks.

Finally Finding the Oxygen Mask in 2019:

I’m against New Year’s resolutions.  I suck at them.  I decided to try doing small but good things for myself each month in 2019.  (I got the idea for the first one from Lifehacker.)  Doing a big thing, or even a couple medium things, is totally outside my capacity for now.  I hope that by doing these small things, I will be substantially less cranky by the end of 2019.  I will also stay on my meds and in therapy.

January:  Don’t spend money except on food (or toilet paper).  I thought this was going to be easy but it turns out I already messed up in the second week of Jan., and barely noticed!  The point of this challenge is mainly to *notice*.  I’ll keep working on it.

February:  Go on Patreon and sign up to support at least 2 creators whose work I appreciate.

March:  Eat down the pantry and freezer.  Defrost those noms.

April:  Clean up my damn room.  Put stuff away and keep it clean-ish.

May:  Information/news break.  Absolutely no clicking on twitter links or links that look like they might be irritating; use facebook only for the one (closed) group I’m in.  [#2 will keep you all in links :)]

June:  Moar blogging! [#2 WOOOOO!!!!]

July:  Eat more delicious fruit & local veg.

August:  Eat more delicious fruit & local veg.

September:  Deeply Rest.  Still figuring out what this will mean, but I came up with this phrase that sounds appealing.

October:  Focus on reading for enjoyment.

November:  Absolutely no news exposure from any source. [#2 will keep you all in links :)]

December:  Focus on reading for enjoyment.  Don’t go anywhere.

#2 notes:  Those of us with oxygen masks can help carry the load for those who are finding theirs.  There will be important actions to do in 2019!

Do you plan to improve self-care in 2019?  How?  Or do you have a routine that’s working for you?  

Link love and some notes on February’s challenge

This February’s challenge was to not read social media first thing in the morning.  The first couple weeks were hard, but after that less so.  I did reset my going to work to before 8am rather than to around 9am (for the days I didn’t have to be at work until 9:30), which was good because the building is lovely and quiet in the morning and it’s easier to get work done.  I also slept a bit more, but if I’m waking up at 5 after getting to sleep at 9, that is 8 hours of sleep– I probably don’t need that extra hour (especially since some of that time with the ipad in bed had been spent checking my email).  Unfortunately, I started doing more social media checking on my desktop at home instead of just the ipad, which means I started associating my desktop with wasting time rather than just working (and uh, blog stuff).  I also spent longer in the bathroom with my phone…  Overall I do not think I actually saved much time during the day, just changed when I did things.  And I’m behind on my email again.  But I didn’t time track so I don’t know for sure.  Was this worth keeping up with?  Probably not.  I do like the break of the addiction and have been occasionally keeping the ipad out of reach so I have to get up to use it.  So, I dunno.

Now links!

Georgia lawmakers pass bill that punishes Delta Air Lines for cutting ties with NRA

Florida lawmakers approve $67 million program to give teachers guns and training.

House committee passes resolution letting members pay for bullet-proof vets with taxpayer dollars

Reduction in firearm injuries during NRA annual conventions

In England, parents can tell their kids that these school mass shootings only happen in America.  Meanwhile my DC2 (and the rest of hir class) is scared because the lock-down drills they’re doing are legitimately terrifying.  And I can tell hir nothing to protect hir.

Info on kids’ rights to walk out of school for protests.

Fascism update

Do not engage with Nazis.  Just don’t.

Feminist analysis of 1990’s A little princess movie

Crumbs from the tax scam for lower income folks

Hey high income readers: are you wondering what to do with the surplus in your paycheck this month? Here are schools that need copies of “The Hate U Give”  (Or find another project you’d like to support– I donated to two classrooms in the low income town next to ours so they could get literally the same books that my kids already have in their classrooms).

Trolling mansplainers

TV series and emotional buy-in

I would totally watch this if I had it all subbed.

link love

It is easier to avoid social media in the morning when @scalzi is gone!

Photos of some of the amazing teenagers protesting for gun control and safe schools.

Is your stock fund gun free?

March 14th.

April 20th

When children die, the Government needs to step in and take action.

NPR review of why I’m no longer talking to white people about race.  One of my students read the book recently and said it’s one of the best she’s read.

More fascism

So far it looks like unconditional cash transfers (aka basic income programs) don’t affect labor supply much.

Yes, you can still pay for access to the president.  Emoluments.

Hazard of the profession

Reflecting on ads and social media

This looks potentially useful (though we don’t know for sure)

This website is really cool if you are trying to figure out a spare part for your window.

Yet another PF blog talks about a year of solar panels

Facts about presidents for president’s day

Bookstores save lives

Time for this song again (starting in the middle) because we’re gonna have to set it right:

link love and a challenge update

This is the week the addiction finally broke.  I no longer have the sense of yearning as I fight to keep from reaching for the ipad/iphone.  Still, when I do get to a computer I have unconsciously hit up twitter a couple times without even noticing until I’d finished.  Habits are hard to break!  I have been getting to work before 8am again which is nice because it’s just me and the cleaning staff and it’s peaceful and I can get an hour of actual work in before meetings start or before people stop by.  Previously I had done that, but something about this semester had me shifted to 9am for a while.  I’m still not getting into work before 7 like I had been, but some of that is the fact that we temporarily have 3 cars and only have a 1 car driveway and a 2 car garage so if my car isn’t the one in the driveway I have to wait for DC2’s bus to come.

Performance Today this month has been doing an amazing job this month highlighting black composers and musicians.  I am saddened by the great artists that have disappeared from regular view.  I’m shocked by the household names that I did not know were black (see:  Scott Joplin).  It’s so unfair that history is written by the dominant culture and not about the biggest talents.  We’ve lost so much.  A favorite this week was William Grant Still.  I agree 100% with the youtube commenter who remarked, “Where has this music been?! Lovely, evocative, original and beautifully written. Deserves a place alongside Copland, Gershwin and Bernstein.”

How banks block people of color from homeownership.

These FL students are inspirational (tw: school shooting)

Trump pitches plan to bring back boxes of government food even though it’s both less efficient and less equitable than SNAP.

H/T to Delagar for this 2015 post on how the cake place that denied a lesbian couple service also doxxed them and endangered their kids.

Only slightly less terrible for morale than stack-ranking

The next recession is going to suck

Media:  Reality has a liberal bias right now.  Embrace it.

Death by Pokemon Go

I am the very model of a NYTimes contrarian

Leslie Jones tweets the olympics