Posts Tagged ‘the outdoors’

New Adventures: 5 of 30 – Run a Mile.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

I’m not your typical athletic person. Apathetic is more like it. I dislike competitions. I’m not big into dripping sweat or huffing & puffing like one of the 3 little pigs. Buying clothes for function over form makes me cringe. I got a bunch of curves that are built for admiring, not moving quickly. I’m the kind of person that attracts a strong hunter type to fend off the lion that wants to eat me, instead of me running away from the lion…..

Now granted I’ve had a few forays into athletic territory. I was on my high school’s swim team. But that team was kind of like a non-competitive sisterhood, where they never cut anyone from the team, and everyone cheered for everyone (even people like me, who finished a lap or 2 behind everyone else). As far as sporty stuff goes, I also love to surf, but that’s also very different. I like prancing around in a bikini while checking out other hot surfers and then splashing around in the water, catching waves and pretending to be an tall Amazonian version of Gidget. I’ve been doing it for a couple years, but I don’t get to go that often, so I’m not super awesome at it, and I think that because of my lack of madd skills, I don’t feel like I need to really kick ass at it & impress anyone.

I think my inherent distaste for exercise can be traced back to a super depressing exercise related moment  in 6th grade when we had to do the President’s Fitness Challenge, or test or whatever horrible thing they called it.  We were required to run for a 1/4 mile & then our results were posted for everyone to see. I couldn’t run most of it, and ended up finishing somewhere in the bottom 10 students, along with the kids that had broken legs and were on crutches and asthma sufferers.   Another failure in running was the time that I tried out for my high school’s volleyball team with my mindset being “I’m a foot taller that all these other girls. I’ll be doing the volleyball equivalent of dunking on these chicks… Oh, I soooo got this.” And then they made us run laps around the gym…..Or rather, one lap for me, and then I was done. It was all about the cardio & I had none.

And until a little while ago, I’ve had none. About a year ago, I started walking in the woods near my house as a cold season alternative to summer surfing. As I got better I started interspersing little sprints in my walks. And everyday I pushed myself a little bit more. Around that point, I decided to make this 30 by 30 list & was thinking, “Oh yeah, run a mile. Yeah it will suck, but that will be quick and easy…..”

Since I also want to do a 5k, I figured I could just find a running iPhone app, and along the way I’d end up running a mile in training for that…. So I ended up stumbling upon Couch to 5k. C25K is a really awesome app. It’s $3 and plays your own music & then will pop on to tell you to run or walk. Its like having a personal trainer who only does cardio. It pushes me slightly past where I’d normally stop running on my own. Also the schedule makes it so you only have to run 20-30 minutes every other day, which is super easy to find time for. If you can’t spare a half hour every other day, your life needs some serious re-adjusting. The workouts get harder and harder, so I’ve really felt like I’ve been accomplishing something with every session. Also, since it’s an iPhone app, the technology aspect totally sucked Devon into doing the challenge with me…. Now, THAT in itself is a miracle, because normally he’d probably rather wrestle poisonous water snakes than go running. (I’ll refer back to the 1st paragraph where I mentioned that I was built for attracting strong hunter types.)

I started the program on July 7th and it had me alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking. I thought I was going to pass out because it was so hard to catch my breath, and my leg muscles were burning. Over the last month, I’ve had great running days, and really horribly terrible days, including one where I almost puked. But today, just one day under a month after I started, I ran a mile for the first time in my life without stopping. Actually it was more than a mile, I just figured I’d keep going as long as I could.

But yeah, running a mile!!! It was hard to imagine being able to actually do that, especially only 1 month after I set my mind to it. I also don’t feel like I was pushing myself super hard. 3o minutes of not-fun, every other day really isn’t too bad. Also. It’s July and August. What idiot starts running in the middle of the super balmy and muggy summer in New England. This gal apparently. :) But if I can go from not running to running a mile in August, anyone can totally do it. And now I’m psyched for the 5k in 3 weeks. I’m going to be slow as hell, but it is definitely doable!

5 of 30 Completed.

New Adventures: 4 of 30 – NASCAR!!!

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Every month, my family tries to get together for a family dinner or activity. I’m not exactly sure how we all agreed to it, but the Turnbaugh’s activity for the month of July was going to a NASCAR race!! Now, I’m not particularly into car racing, however I am into activities where I can veer full throttle into white trash territory, so as soon as we bought our tickets and  before you could say “redneck”, I had started planning my outfit for the day.

Since NASCAR is about as quintessentially American as it gets, I decided to go the high class route with a stars and stripes themed ensemble. I found a delightful belly shirt crop-top with a distressed American flag print, that was accented with some rhinestones (hand stitched, I’m sure) that highlighted the stars, and showed off just enough of my gut midriff to be striking but not entirely trashy. I then paired the shirt with some jean ghetto-booty-hot-pants  cut-off shorts with peek-a-boo linear patterned front pockets and a star pattern on my ass the rear. Topped off with a hunter’s camo print ball-cap accented with American flags, I was ready to roll. Behold, the classiest family portrait ever.
IMG_1197So some things that I learned…..

IMG_1200NASCAR is big…. Like really big. Bigger than Jesus, or the Beatles for that matter. The race, Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, took place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which is largest venue for any type of sport in the whole general area…. Which is kinda insane to think about. Over 100,000 people jam packed into a huge outdoor grandstand. It’s in the boonies of NH Loudon, NH, so there’s no public transit of any sort and everyone has to drive there & park, which leads to kinda a logistical driving and parking nightmare. There are seas of car and RV parking lots. The picture on the left is a pic that I took of maybe a tenth of all of the RVs that had camped out there for the weekend, and that’s not even including cars/SUVs/trucks etc…  And there’s only 1 major road in and out of there… So after the race ends plan on some post-game tailgating, for a while, cuz it’s going to be at least 2-3 hours before you can even get your car out of the parking lot (on top of the 45 minutes that it will take you to walk back to your car)…. Unless you’re awesome like us and drive through some bushes and find a semi-illegal unpaved back road out.

Things to bring, because there won’t be any, or it will run out fast: Toilet paper, Water (crucial on a 95 degree day), Food (the food stands and vendors seriously ran out of food & water halfway through the race!?!?!?!), sunscreen, ear protection.

IMG_1207NASCAR is white trash. Like, really, for-serious white trash. Not like this is ground breaking news or anything, but going to see the race in person just reminded me of what I already knew. Half of the dudes there were shirtless. Now don’t get me wrong. I love me some sexy shirtless man action. However the guys here were bearing their man-boobies regardless of if anyone would even want to see that horror show. And of the men that were wearing shirts, most were wearing shirts with the sleeves ripped off. (Along a similar vein, when did tramp stamps of Disney characters on DUDES become socially acceptable?!?) As seen on the right, the lemur decided to get in on the NASCAR fashion & root for his favorite race car driver.

The women weren’t any better. I had been a bit nervous that my outfit would stand out for being too over the top and/or trashy. Luckily I fit right in with the chicks walking around in bras, pregnant women smoking (I shit you not.) and ladies (and I use that term very loosely) with race car number arm sleeve tattoos. Yeah. It was a scene. A scene that I just don’t really get… But hey, if you’re into that, you go on with your bad self. Fashion is one thing, but manners and friendliness are another. And boy, were those fans friendly. The row behind us shared a ton of their spilled beer with us….. and their cigarette ash. That was pretty cool. In fact all the chain smokers in our section made sure that I got my daily dosage of second hand smoke, so that was incredibly helpful.  Other than that, people were generally pretty happy and friendly, and I got a couple salutes, hand shakes and toasts in honor of my outfit by some fellow fans of America.

IMG_1204All in all, it was quite impressive. The cars are sooo loud and beefy sounding that even a non-gear head like myself found it to be a thing of beauty. The cars go sooo fast. It’s hard to really get how fast they’re going if you just watch it on TV. I’ve always been like “Oh, yup. Moving cars…. That turn left……. For hours… And this is fascinating why ?”. But those little buggers fly & it’s pretty jaw dropping.

Even in the oppressive heat of mid-day July the fans really got into it, and stayed into it for the entire whole 4 hours. And it’s really hard to not get into the spirit of the moment when you’re surrounded by super enthusiastic fans who are cheering & standing up to wave every time their favorite driver goes by or passes someone or takes the lead, or if another car crashes, spins out or catches on fire. Cool stuff.  Not sure if I’d want to go to another NASCAR event, but it was definitely unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced before and I’m glad to have had the opportunity.

 

New adventures: 1 of 30 – Hammock procurement.

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Hammock with Fifi and me.

Originally uploaded by emmasart

#1 on my list of 30 New Adventures Before Turning 30 was “Purchase & use a hammock in my yard.”. I decided to make good on that a few weeks back.

I’ve always loved hammocks. Laying in them. Reading & writing while blowing back and forth in a wonderfully cocoon-like net. They are totally blissful and relaxing. I came across one at Lowe’s for about 60 bux, and decided to take the plunge.

We hung it in our back yard, between 2 trees, and cleared out the poison ivy underbrush directly underneath it. It’s delightfully stealth green, meaning that you can’t see the hammock unless you’re kinda hunting for it. The sun peaks through the forest canopy sometimes, but you’re generally reclining in a fair bit of shade with a nice steady breeze that comes down the hill through the woods behind our house. It’s pretty fricking awesome.

I’ve been spending a boatload of time in it, as has Devon, as has FIfi. She loves it & its crazy to see her climb around in it. She totally goes all psycho arboreal lizard in it, climbing the ropes like jungle vines. It’s quite a sight to behold.

All in all, this is a great adventure. And I can’t believe that it took this long for me to finally get a hold of one of these things. They rock. Though the one downside is that it’s quite easy to lose track of time relaxing in a hammock.

1 of 30 completed.

Emerging after a long frost.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011


IMG_1144

Originally uploaded by emmasart

The snow has melted, the earth has thawed and seedlings have started poking up all over. I’m finally able to start up my daily walks through the forest again. Today I went sans iPod and was kind of amazed by the peace & calm that came over me.

Just nature and myself. The sound of my breathing, the crunch of my feet on last year’s fallen leaves. Birds of all colors and sorts calling and singing. The rustle of brush that comes from chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits rooting around. The sound of a brook skipping over rocks as it empties into the pond. It smells intensely like spring.

I come to my favorite perch in the forest. An ancient fallen tree that rests half in the water, but that is still large enough to bear my weight when I walk out on it. I surprise about five turtles, who have been sunning themselves on the branches and they immediately hurl themselves into the safety of the pond. I sit down, straddling the horizontal tree. My feet floppily hang downwards, but are a bit short of touching the water. Staring out at the pond, the trees, the water lillies, absorbing the moment.

Grounding myself.

Via Flickr:
Wandering through the town forest.

Vegetable Garden – 2010 – Planning Phase

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
Thanks Lilley1 from Flickr!

Spring is quickly approaching, and I finally got around to ordering seeds for my garden this year. I’ve decided to go through Johnny’S Selected Seeds, which is a local employee owned company that has pretty reasonable prices. In addition, I used their seeds last year & stuff turned out pretty well, so why not be a repeat customer? :)

This year I’m going with Red Grape Tomatoes, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Zucchini, Collard Greens and Scallions, along with some various herbs, and maybe I’ll pick up some Pepper or Broccoli plants later in the summer. The tomatoes should be interesting, as I’ve never grown those from seed before. Last year I just gaffed some plants from my mom, so hopefully I can figure it out on my own. Also, I’ve never tried scallions before, but how hard can they be? :)

Now all I need to do it get my gardening staff (aka Devon) started on building the 2nd raised bed so I can increase our harvest by double this year!

Fall back.

Friday, November 6th, 2009

It’s November. Jesus. I’ve once again fallen dreadfully behind on updating. The past month has been really nice. Falling back in touch with old friends, some of whom I thought had been lost forever. Exploring new places and activities. Hanging out at the airport at night with A, which is eerily quiet, and surprisingly relaxing when I don’t actually have any travel plans. Doing Cambridge pub crawls with two friends where we got collectively propositioned which was unreal and kinda creepy. Checking out a townie bar in Littleton with my girl, Katie, that has awesome karaoke nights, and you’re not sure if the end of the night will wind up with your corpses being dragged out into the woods. :) I discovered that the commuter rail is actually a thing of beauty, and makes me rely less on my car to get into the city, and I love that. Sometimes I love driving, but it just seems horribly wrong to do it in Boston. I like being a subway rat, and the commuter rail will allow me to get back to that. It’s good. I love getting out of the house and being social, and doing random things. This past month has been really great for it, and I look forward to doing it more.

Alighting for a bit.

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Holy crap, it’s October already. The air is crisp, the leaves are changing color and grocery stores are selling pumpkins already. And here I am, still hopeful that I’ll get 1 harvest-able zuchinni from my garden before frost sets in. :) I think I’m boned.

September was totally insane, but probably obvious, since I barely posted last month. I visited Puerto Rico, Las Vegas and NYC, while also taking care of Mistress of Honor duties in my best friend’s wedding. Not to mention having house guests and doing somewhat less glamorous activities. :) I think I’ll be writting up and posting some reviews of places I went/saw/conquered, because I’ve been having a really great time trying some new things. So keep your eyes peeled for that.

Also, now that the surf shops are all closing up and I wont be able to rent gear, I need to find some sort of physical activity that I enjoy, won’t easily bore me and that I can do during the dead of winter. Any suggestions?

Puerto Rico!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

D & I went to Puerto Rico for our 4th anniversary & had a really relaxing & fantastic time.

We layed on the beach a TON. We also checked out El Murro in old San Juan, hiked through El Yunque to swim in La Mina waterfall, and I took a surf lesson in water warm enough so I didn’t have to wear a full wetsuit. :)

Click on the pic to check out the entire photo gallery.

Beluga saves diver.

Friday, July 31st, 2009
Picture from CEN/ Europics

Picture from CEN/ Europics

This morning, I came across this totally amazing story.

Lucky Yun said: “I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me – I was dead. Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface.”

That incredible force was a “sensitive” beluga whale, named Mila, who realized that Yun was having problems, and took Yun’s leg in her mouth and pushed the free diver to the surface.

For the entire story and some more cool pictures: check out this article.

What a good whale! Although I think that Mila, the whale, should have saved her good deed for someone who isn’t likely to try to kill themselves again (by free diving w/ no equipment in arctic waters).

New addition in the garden.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

My sugar snap peas are nearing the end of their growing season and most of the pea plants are dying. We’ve really enjoyed eating them, but since there is no new growth, I decided to rip most of those out and to plant something else that I could harvest by fall. I decided to pick up a few little plants at the local Whole Foods, but was somewhat disappointed by the plant varieties available. Basically I had a choice between various herbs, hot peppers or some Veronica… Luckily I have had Veronica before at a friends house and D & I really enjoyed it. It’s a type of cauliflower that is green and spikey (see above picture)… But it’s much more mild and doesn’t taste like cauliflower… hence Devon actually tolerating it… You can cook it like broccoli or cauliflower or you can eat it raw… Basically,  you can do a TON with it.

So, I bought 2 2×2 trays and planted them where the snap peas were and the Veronica should be ready to harvest in about a month and a half or so… My cherry tomatoes ripening and should be about ready in a couple of weeks, along with my collard greens. The yellow summer squash still has a ways to go, along with my carrots, I think. Herbs are chugging along, but after a serious mishap with one of my container gardens, I’m basically starting over from scratch with my cilantro and nasturtiums.

I’m really excited to have found another vegetable that Devon is excited about again! Go Veronica!