Me and Swimming

jaywil, asked about my swimming in a comment and I found the questions so interesting, that I promoted it!

"Just curious, but what made you choose swimming as your exercise of choice? Were you always good at it? Do you ever change strokes? Did you always do some sort of exercise with the same passion?"

First of all, I never ever ever had a passion for exercise. Ever. My passion is for sitting on my butt. I was grown before Title 9 happened. And, in the south. Girls were not expected to do anything that might circumvent their reason for being on earth - to find a husband. We were allowed to play outside, but, since we were not allowed to wear pants, physical activity was limited by default.

In high school (an all girls southern finishing school, we had physical education classes. In the spring and fall, we played field hockey. I hated it but discovered I could stand with my stick on a corner of the field and not move and no one cared. In the winter, we did modern dance. Don't even get me started. My most fun year was the year I had my appendix out and got a free pass from PE for that entire winter.

In college, we had to have 2 credits of physical education. I took bowling for one (and dated the bowling teacher for a while) and golf for the other one (I finally did hit the ball once, I think.)

Once out of school, I did nothing. No exercise at all if I could help it. I was fit enough. I mean I could walk as far as I wanted and climb steps without a problem. I just never thought about it at all and never went out of my way to do anything physical. I've never loved the outdoors and I found gymnasiums creepy.

In the mid 2000's, I went from a job where I walked a mile to the bus twice a day to working from home. I spent nearly a year walking maybe 50 yards a day or less. I spent weeks without leaving the house. And one day I realized this was not working out that well for me. I was sore and tired and out of breath and needed to stretch.

I started going to the gym across the street every day. I walk on the treadmill, do floor exercises, and weight exercises. I took a cross training class once a week. I even had a trainer for a while. I hated it all so much, you cannot imagine. I mean I hated every single minute of it. I forced myself to be there a minimum of 30 minutes and each one of those minutes felt like an hour. This went on for a year. A miserable year.

I had a friend who did water aerobics at a city pool and one day I decided to try that. It took me less than 5 minutes to know I'd found my bliss. Being in the water was amazing. Freeing. There was no sweating. There were no mirrors. I wasn't even fat. I floated! I felt graceful and marvelous. Before the first class ended, I was addicted.

I quit the gym HALLEFUKINGLOOYAH!!! And started going to as many water exercise classes as I could find. I went about 6 times a week. After a few years, I got tired of having to find a class and work around their schedule. My first teacher turned out to be the best by far and the rest weren't nearly as good or as much fun.

So I started doing laps. I could do them when I wanted. I signed up for a private lesson to make sure I was swimming the right way and to review the right way to do the different strokes. And the teacher gave me a routine to do every day. I did that for about 3 months and then I hired another teacher to check me and answer all the questions I had accumulated.

One of those questions was do I have to do all the strokes and rests and a specific routine if all I want is to stretch out and get some exercise? And the answer was no. So... I started just doing the front crawl. I'd get in and go until I got tired. But always a minimum of 30 minutes. Then I started stretching it out and counting my laps and then I was really close to swimming a mile which I thought was very cool.

And then one Sunday, I did swim a mile. It was the most amazing feeling of accomplishment. It took me an hour and it was a glorious hour. From then on, I swam a mile every time. I swam 6 days a week and sometimes 5 because city pool lap times were not great. Then LA Fitness opened up in West Seattle and they had a pool that I could use 7 days a week.

That was May, 2015. I take a day off here and there. They are closed on Christmas and New Year. But mostly, I go there every single day and swim a mile. I do not think of it as exercise. I think of it more as a way to kick start my day. A cleansing way to get going. Sometimes at night before I go to bed, I literally get a little joy kick out of knowing that in the morning I can go back to the pool.

I try to walk a little every day but I do hate it along with all other forms of exercise. Good think there is swimming!!

Nope. Nope. Nope.

I spent much of last night finishing up the vest I've been crocheting. I do not crochet ergonomically and today my upper arms, particularly the right one, is killing me. It bothered me a lot while I was swimming. I've been knitting, nearly every single day, since I was 5 so that's 65 freakin' years. No problem. Take up crochet and OWIE!

Clearly I need to make a change. Maybe it's as simple as a pillow under my elbow. We'll be trying different things. And, it turns out, I think I need another two inches or so on the bottom of the vest. Maybe. I need to fasten up the last side and do some trying on.

After my swim, I went to a coffee shop near the pool. A baker I follow on Instagram announced she was having a pop up shop there today at 9:30. I got there at 9:35. No sign of pop up shop and after standing at the 'order here' window for a bit, none of the 3 guys behind the counter seemed to see me so I left.

I decided to try a little Bistro place across from Safeway. I had eaten bruch there when they first opened and was underwhelmed. Maybe they have gotten better. Er, well, maybe not. The sign on the door said they are closing for good and moving on with their lives.

I went to Safeway and picked up a few things and by then it was 10 am. There's a barbecue place between there and home that has started serving weekend brunch. I'd never been because they didn't start til 10 and by that time I was home or somewhere else. I pulled into their parking lot to discover that, apparently, things have changed. The sign says open for lunch at 11.

I get the message. I came home and fried up a couple of eggs and some bacon and made toast. Done.

There are 8 more baseball games for the Mariners to play this season but they are clearly done and over it. Last night they played a team that is so bad they had just, earlier in the day, fired their manager with only a week and a half left to go. But, hey, they were still good enough to be beating us 8-2 when the rains came and they called the game done. Yep. We can put a fork in it.

At Safeco, I picked up the fixin's for some chex mix. I love the stuff but I love it my way. Wheat, Rice, Corn chex cereal and pretzels. No peanuts. No funny stuff. Just the basics. I'll be making up a batch maybe today, maybe tomorrow.

I do think I'll finish up that hooded jacket today. I've now got other things I need to make.


And it's another weekend

It must be annoying as hell to hear retired people bitch about weekends. I'd actually be fine with them if the damn pool didn't wait until mid-mornings to open on weekends. But, alas, the last pool I found that opened earlier on weekends gave me pneumonia. So for that and other reasons I'll shut up.

I did make great progress on my hooded coat/jacket thing. I think it's going to work fine. The only fleece I had on hand that I wasn't saving for something fun, was some navy and some gray. So this is a navy and gray coat - boring but I think it will work when my other hooded coat - my Mariners coat - is too over the top. I still need to put in the sleeves and finish the bottom. Tomorrow maybe.

I'm hooked on another Acorn show - Jack Irish. I have one more episode of Suits and then that will be the end for me. I spend most of the hour judging - negatively and harshly - the outfits and the rest of the time guessing - usually correctly - how the characters will respond. Clearly we've had enough of each other. Next week, I'll be cancelling the cable package that gives me whatever network Suits is on so no more. Since I usually think less of myself after watching each episode, I'm not sorry to say buh bye.

I do love the show opener.

I baked a potato that's been hanging around here for a week or so this afternoon and then cut it up an plopped it into a casserole dish. Dotted it with butter, schmered on some sour cream, sprinkled it with bacon and then topped it all off with shredded cheddar. I'll bake it with the chicken thigh I thawed for dinner. Twiced baked potato in a dish! Saw it on Instagram just this morning. I'm guessing it will be delicious.

The Mariners are playing in Texas so the game is at 5 which is perfect for me. Plus, I can squeeze in another Jack Irish episode first.


I'm more and more addicted to Instagram. I wouldn't touch Facebook with a 10 foot poll but Instagram? I'm there all day. I have culled out my stories feed so that it's really only a handfull of people whose stories I really enjoy. I really do appreciate those in my feed who take the time to share their video snippets. Mostly I like the ones whose lives are the opposite ends of mine - the mother of triplet girls, the rancher woman with four daughters, a restaurant and a working cattle/sheep/pig ranch, the woman in Wisconsin who does not post nearly enough but cracks me up with every entry...

My non story Instagram feed is food and knitting and sewing and crochet, lather/rinse/repeat. I love seeing the projects people do, the patterns people try, the 30 second to delicious meal videos plus the usual travel, gym, random sidewalk shots.

Pinterest always pissed me off and still does and I'm not even sure why. But Instagram is like my Good & Plenty candy. Can't get enough. I just pretend it is not owned/runned and highly curated by Facebook.

Today's project is a making a new hooded jacket. I made two hooded coats last year and both are going to Goodwill. They are close to ok but each has at least one fatal flaw so no. But I do need a hooded something that's warm. I have the pattern all tested and tweaked and ready. And some fleece. The missing bit was a large toothed separating zipper between 24 and 18 inches. And, lo and behold, in my big box o' zippers, I found one! And the right color!! There's the universe taking a stand for you. So I'll at least get the jacket cut out and the zipper in today. Maybe more.

That's the only thing on the agenda today. I probably will get out for a walk around the block. The weather is so nice. The messages I get from all around me is to get outside and go do something. I have plenty of time. Nothing stopping me. Except. Me. And my giant case of IDon'tWanna. I do feel guilty sometimes for not taking advantage of all the time time and freedom I have to go do whatever I want whenever I want. Except, turns out, what I want to do is always right here in these four walls. Part of me feels like this isn't a good plan and the rest is all fuck it, do what you want. It's an argument that I have with myself most every day. Keeps my brain exercised.

Done and whew

Here are the bullets:

  • So only 1 tube of toothpaste and it was actually in the bathroom storage.
  • I have a lifetime supply of Handy Wipes in individual packets* and **
  • The thing I have the most of is Stuff to Put Stuff In.
  • I filled a bag for Goodwill and a half a bag of trash
  • 90 percent of the stuff just needed to be put away where it belongs
  • time to re-junk. I give it three months tops.

*Probably half of them are dried out but no way of knowing til you open - they should be called Schrödinger Wipes.
**Actually, there's no way I'll live long enough to use all of them even if half are dried out!



Half way




I really need to eat an early lunch before I get to that bakery.

The Amazon announcements are strolling through my Twitter feed. They have a boat load of new shit and so far, none of it is anything I need or want. Whew.

Me 'n cake

My best friend at the time suggested strongly that the only reason I got married was for the cake. And, honestly, she really wasn't that far off. I love white cake with white buttercream frosting. I mean love it. And there was this amazing bakery in our town... it's actually still there and they have a website - Dewey's. I'd take my allowance in and buy one of their amazing squares - the white on white one. I'm deeply grateful that the closet Deweys to me today is 3,000 miles away.

When I got married, I, of course, got my wedding cake from Deweys and it was heaven. Way way way better than the wedding and, actually, the marriage. I was not young (30) but was an idiot. Turns out, I could have gotten the cake without even getting married!!! Oh well. Deweys, yum.

This all comes to mind today because I ordered the wrong fucking case from my new tablet. Yeah. I ordered an 8" tablet and a 10" case. doh So I am returning the case. Since the reason for the error was that I am an idiot, I pay the return shipping. BUT, because Amazon has this new thing where if you drop it off at one of their drop off places, the return shipping is free, I picked that option. There's a drop off place a mile south of here.

So then I was thinking while I'm out... I do need gas and what else? Well, nothing really. But... might this be a great time to go back to my new favorite cake bakery? (Well, favorite west coast bakery.) It's 5 miles past the Amazon drop off place so why the heck not?! It's where my 70th birthday cake will come from but I haven't decided yet which one. Right now I'm torn between the London Fog and the Brown Butter Banana Graham. I have a good 6-8 months to decide and there needs to be testing.

Yep. That's today. Return a $6 tablet case and spend $16 (and a bonanza of calories) on cake. I'm an idiot.

Also the chances of my forgetting to get gas? Really really high.

This is my second Lenovo tablet and they are really really nice. Simple, cheap-ish. They get the job done without fuss. I have a 10 inch in the bedroom. This 8 inch is almost a better size for my kind of tableting.

Oh speaking of new toys. Amazon has a launch today. I hope it's just the new Alexa stuff which does not tempt me one bit. I have enough Alexa, thank you. And I need to save my pennies for Google.

Before Amazon or bakery, I have a closet to clean. I have one section of a closet in the bedroom that is reserved for tossing shit in. It's kind of like the kitchen junk drawer for non kitchen stuff. When it gets so full that I can't find shit, I have to pull it all out, cull the crap out and reorganize the rest. Today's the day. I'm getting to the end of my toothpaste and I know there's at least one tube (and probably 12) in there but I can't find it. Today, I will find it.

Besides the bakery doesn't open til 11 so no hurry there.


My torture language

I'm always hearing about everyone's "love language". I cannot relate. But, today the phrase came to mind when I was looking for a way to express my feelings.

I made my Goodwill run and then it was 11:30. I was near Uwajimaya so I thought I'd pop in and get some poke for lunch. But, for some odd reason, Popeye's popped into my head and all I could think about was fried chicken. I was, at that moment 2 blocks from Uwajimaya and 20 minutes from Popeye's.

Ok, if there's a parking spot open, I'll do Uwajimaya's. There was one open and I went right past it and on to Popeye's. The tongue's gotta have what the tongue wants.

8 pieces, dark meat only, 2 biscuits.

And the certain knowledge that Popeye's aromatic fried chicken sitting in the seat next to me while I drive the 20 minutes home is my torture language. OMG. I could have eaten it there. But, Popeye's isn't exactly comfortable dining. I could have pulled over in a nice park and had a picnic but I didn't have anything to drink and bugs outside the car or a mess inside. So I just endured the torture and drove home.

I ate 2 legs and a thigh and a biscuit with my Diet Dr Pepper. You can come get me now, Jesus, if you want.

Memorial Services for inanimate objects

I am burying shit right and left around here today.

First my Goggles bit it. They started kind of leaking a week or so ago. I bought new to have ready for their demise. Today, they indicated their demise was imminent. RIP in the locker room waste can, goggles. You swam good. Hello, new goggles. You ready to take the mound in the morning?

Nexus 7's. I bought one the day they announced it. I loved it. I love the snappy. I love the size. Last year, I scored another one, used. Mistake but hey. Both have been limping along recently with operating system issues - neither have enough hardware to keep up with the software and keeping the software rolled back enough is a lot of work. Plus, both have had charging port issues for a while and now I can't even get one of them charged enough to wipe clean. I am declaring them both dead. One will go to Goodwill and I'm not sure what to do with the other, I may just keep trying to get it charged. I'd like to wipe it before it leaves my hand and I'd rather not do that with a hammer.

EDIT: persistence! I jury rigged a USB plug so that it did not wiggle in the port and the tablet is now, finally charging. So I can erase it from Android Device Manager. WHEW! Goodwill will be happy.

I found a Lenovo Tab 4 which is only a little bigger than my Nexus 7's. Not used. On Amazon. $100. I bought it. I doubt Google will be announcing any small tablets at their October 9th event but I'm going to wait and see. This will see me through til then anyway.

I was a fan of the Amazon tablets for a while and still use two in the sewing room. One to watch podcasts while I sew and the other to look up info. But they are pretty useless for anything else. And kind of annoying to use.

So that tablet nonsense just ate up my morning so far. I was kind of killing time anyway until 9 when Goodwill opened but now it's nearly 10. I'm an overachiever.

I have all the bags I filled yesterday in my hallway and I want them gone so that's what's up next.

I need to make an appointment with the eye doctor for my annual checkup but I really hate those checkups so I keep putting it off. My lung doctor and I, however, may be getting together pretty soon. I've been having some not very comforting lung issues. Coughing jags and out-of-breathness. It started about the time the weather got cooler which is, I'm sure, a massive coincidence but interesting. It's not bad, just annoying and, of course, since COPD is degenerative, this could just be regular expected progression. I'd rather it be a passing minor infection, though, if I'm give a vote. My annual visit with Dr. Lung is in January but I will not hesitate to move it up on the calendar if this whateveritis gets worse.

Time now to get off my giant ass and get going.


Dear Me, WTF?

One of the happy byproducts of taking everything out of your closet and putting it back in again is that it is easy to Marie Condo stuff right into the Goodwill bag. I'm going to have to make a special run there this week. Some fat girl is going to lose her mind with all this good stuff. After spending 2 winters in a plastic bin, I finally decided that the gynormous box of really high quality thin knit sweaters and vests and turtlenecks needed to go. I am clearly never going to wear them again. They are corporate, fancy blacks and beiges. UGH. I emptied the bin. I filled four 13 gallon bags with clothes and fabrics. Guess we know where I'll be going tomorrow.

I have everything refolded and reshuffled or in the Goodwill bags except for the stuff still washing. It's break time.

And, there's a mystery. I had several - like 5 or 6 fleece tops that I made. And I cannot find one of them. Not one single one. Anywhere. The only thing I can figure is that I took them all to Goodwill but all of them??? I didn't love all of them - some were from before I discovered the best way to sew fleece and/or found good patterns for that type of fabric. But, all of them? Really? And they were pretty bulky so there are not a lot of places to stash them. I did look under the bed and in the only places where they could have gone. Weird. So weird.

Not really a biggie. Fleece fabric is easy to find - both fun patterns and solids. And it's cheap and fun to make stuff with. And now I can remake more tops that will be way better. But I'm still mystified.

Waiting now for the washer to finish so I can put in the last load. Did finally get that mattress pad washed. Gettin' 'er done here today!!

Today's the day

In the olden days, in the South, when Summer turned to Fall (which was generally at Halloween), you'd clean out the closet and put all the Summer clothes in the attic and then go to the dry cleaners and get your winter clothes to put in their place.

We (and everyone we knew) stored our winter clothes at the dry cleaner. They could clean then and then put them someplace bug free until we came and got them. Leaving wool clothes in your house over Summer (pre air conditioning) was an invitation for bugs to come eat giant holes in everything.

I haven't taken clothes to the dry cleaners in what feels like a hundred years. And it's not close to Halloween yet but... it's chilly enough to make today the clothes switching day.

My daily outfit is pants and top. All the pants are the same. Black knit pants with a right and pocket that fits my cellphone perfectly and is hidden just under my belly and a left hand pocket that works fine for keys or tissues. These pants work in summer and winter so they have a permanent spot in the closet.

But the tops get rotated today. I'll take out all the short sleeved tops and fold them carefully and neatly and then stack them on the top, hard-to-reach shelves where the long sleeved tops are living now.

The closet will look extra tidy and orderly for a day or two which will be nice but mainly, I just love the ritual. The change. The turning over of a new season. Today's the day and thankgod I don't have to wait until the end of October.

Yesterday it was chilly enough so that I had to close the door to the outside during the day. Nice. In the mornings, I toss a long knit dress over my swimsuit and wear that to the pool and back. It is made of thin fabric and has short sleeves. In the winter I switch it out for a log fleece robe. Tomorrow will be the first day of fleece robe season. I made a new one over the summer so now I have one for now and one from heavier fleece for really really cold.

So now I have the first of two load of laundry going. I may even strip the bed and wash the mattress cover today. We'll see.

Last week, for complicated reasons, Capital One replaced my main credit card. New number, new code, new expiration. This is the card I use for most online transactions. Fortunately, a couple of years ago when I had to replace the card, I started a spreadsheet of what card I have registered at what online places. Many of those places have recurring auto charges and have a total freak out if something's wonky with the card.

So last night I pounded through each site and updated the card info. Just as I got to the last one, I remembered that I had ordered an even newer card because of putting my picture on it. It will be here probably by Friday and will have a new code number so I will need to go back through all of these sites and do this whole dance number again. Sigh. At least I have the list.

Time to go tackle that closet.