Monday, July 31, 2017

Weekly Review #208

Monday Morning Measurements
Online Accountability

The scale was sliding all over the place this week ... well, a variance of 3.3 pounds, and thse high/low days were back to back too! This was a different week for me. I was home alone, while the guys were on vacation to Canada and Seattle. We've done this in the past and sometimes I do great with no schedules or mommy duties. This time ... I had a couple good days, some BAD days (as far as eating and exercise anyway). Overall it was a good week. I enjoyed my solo time, while loving keeping up with the kids on their vacation vicariously.

STATS: Official weigh-in came in .8 lower than last week. Average was up a little though (.23 to 179.26). Intake vs burn ... I was only under three of seven days. Average intake was 2529. Average burn 2659. Overage for the week of 1130. Step average was 19,966 with 68.59 logged miles. Cardio minutes came in at 875/807/923 with 90 minutes spent in strength training. No 30k days, four were over 20k, with all others over 10K. One 3000+ for burn ... unfortunately I had TWO for intake. Ouch!

ACTIVITIES: I broke my elliptical streak. I'd been hitting the elliptical every day for at least 20 minutes, but I slipped up on Thursday. I didn't get in an hour of elliptical any day this week. 

Zumba was good ... I hit classes Mon-Fri and then did an hour on my own Saturday with some practice here and there too. Three sessions on the bike, five treadmill times and two weight workouts.

The usual lawn mowing and grocery shopping. I went out to eat twice, once with my MIL and once with my mom. I also went in to the salon and got my nails done.

Here's a quick week recap ...

  • Monday (0724) Good Day. With the Pioneer Holiday, Debbie's Zumba class was canceled, so I hit Southziders. I got in some additional practice on my own at home, plus some elliptical, treadmill and bike. Actually kept calories in check today too. Quantity anyway. Quality still a struggle as always although I did try. 23603 steps. 2765 burn. 1700 intake.
  • Tuesday (0725) Zumba today, me teaching w/helpers. A little extra on my own at home(15min). Some treadmill time and weights, and my 30min elliptical. My MIL called and took me out to dinner. I think Carino's calorie listings are conservative, and even with that, uber over. 21987 steps. 2816 burn. 2800 intake.
  • Wednesday (0726) Good Day. Zumba with MZL. 1/2 hour of elliptical, treadmill time and bike. Also mowed the lawn and did a little grocery shopping. Some sitting, as I got my nails done. 25280 steps. 28527 burn. 2000 intake.
  • Thursday (0727) No motivation today! Slept in some, but still hit Zumba with MZL ... but that was it for exercise. Went out to lunch with my mom. Calories were out of control (overate at lunch & at home). 14761 steps. 2377 burn. 3300 intake.
  • Friday (0728) Decent day for exercise ... but the eating? Uber over. Not sure what is wrong with me. Got in Zumba with Debbie, some elliptical and treadmill. 16177 steps. 2435 burn. 3500 intake. Ouch.
  • Saturday (0729) Good day. Full of activity and kept calories in check. Did an hour of Zumba on my own, plus some practice. 30minElliptical, 30minTreadmill, 30minBike and a weight workout. Family will be home tomorrow. 27082 steps. 3086 burn. 1500 intake.
  • Sunday (0730) Family is home. Back to making dinner (and dessert) and dishes and laundry ... and love. I fit in 30min of Zumba first thing, before their flight arrived. Popped down to the gym for one session on the elliptical. Meant to get down for at least 10 more minutes, but it didn't happen. Made chicken pillows, and homemade oreos. Oops over on calories again. 10870 steps. 2309 burn. 2900 intake.
Five Featured Photos ...

The highlight of the trip was bungee jumping!
Hubs and the three oldest took the leap ... the littlest wishes he had.

Everyone tried the Zipline
A post shared by JenB (@jenblackham) on

A little of the food they enjoyed ...

The Space Needle in Seattle before heading home ...

Here at home ... my new nails

... and a video share.

Even the birds are friendly in Canada!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Family Favorite - Chicken Alfredo Pasta

It's Friday.
Time for a post about
Family Food Favorites!

I know a basic chicken alfredo pasta isn't too hard to make from scratch. I have done that ... but pulling a bag from the freezer is SO quick and easy (and honestly, the boys said they liked it better than the homemade version). While not everyone in the family loves this meal (Hubs and #4 aren't interested) it really is a favorite for everyone else. In fact, the kids don't even know this by the "Skillet Sensations Chicken Alfredo" because we simply call it "Favorite Noodles".  Just dump the contents into a large skillet, stir every few minutes, and about 15minutes later. Dinner is ready. Sometimes the boys don't even bother to transfer it to plates, they just pick out the pieces straight from the pan (hey, less dishes that way!) I'm not normally a fan of broccoli, but in this dish, it's my favorite part (drenched with alfredo sauce true, but still, green veggies! It's something I really struggle with).

Many years ago, it started out as a Stouffer's Lean Cuisine meal. I don't know that it was really that different. I think the calorie count was simply divided into three servings, rather than the two in the regular Skillet Sensations package. 

Then, they discontinued the Lean Cuisine version.

It was fine, because we just moved to the regular Skillet Sensation. I really don't know that it was any different, other than orange packaging rather than the white "Lean Cuisine" and the stated two servings rather than three. This was a standby for several years. Then it disappeared, but was  replaced by a larger "family size" bag with servings for four. This actually worked out well, because as the boys were getting older, they were eating more. The smaller package didn't really work that well anyway (unless only two were eating).

I always grabbed the bags at Walmart. They were quite a bit less expensive there. $6.98 vs $7.99 at Smiths or $10.99 at Maceys. I'd always try to keep a few in the freezer. The other day, we were out. I stopped by a Walmart Neighborhood Grocery store (sometimes I prefer the smaller, less crazy experience) but they didn't have any. I just assumed it was because it was the smaller store. They don't have room for the same inventory.  My son made a trip into the Walmart Supercenter and I told him to grab a few bags ... but he couldn't find them. I first I figured it was just his inexperience, not knowing where to look, but then I started to have a sinking feeling. What if it was being discontinued altogether now?

The next time I was at the bigger Walmart myself, I looked ... I couldn't find any. Couldn't even find a spot on the shelf where they should be. There are similar products (Birdseye, etc) but we've tried them and the boys were not impressed. We've lost several favorite foods over the years as companies change and discontinue items. Why is it always OUR favorites? 

During my shopping trip at Smiths however, I was able to locate the bags in the frozen section. So it's just Walmart not carrying the product, not the company not making it. Phew ... even if it does mean I'll have to pay higher prices. It's a family favorite!The other day though, I DID find it on sale. I stocked up. How many bags can I fit in my freezer?

Have any of your family favorites been discontinued over the years?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Zumba ... Class Clips

It's Workout Wednesday!

Here in Utah, we are very lucky that there are many instructors willing to share their time and talent for free. More importantly, there are also lots of local church buildings that graciously allow us to come dance in their gyms. It's how I discovered Zumba in the first place. Free, close ... I had to try it. Now I hit a different class every day of the week! A variety of instructors with different styles, and I've made lots of great friends too. I even take to the stage myself sometimes.  That's me up there on the stage in the picture above.

Classes come and go ... this is the summer schedule.

As I made the rounds to my various classes this past week, I took out my phone and grabbed some quick video (not all instructors are okay with this, it is good to ask first). Just for fun I thought I'd share some quick clips from my classes.

A post shared by JenB (@jenbsjourney) on
Southziders meets Monday and Wednesday. I used to hit Monday's regularly, but then fell out of the habit a bit. This one is a bit further for me to get to (about 20min) and it starts a bit later, so I don't get home as early as with others. Nina and Cassie (featured in the video) are the main instructors, with others (including me) helping out.

 I didn't get any video of my Tuesday class ... 
right now, I'M the instructor! Subbing for summer.
My sister and SIL came to class!

MZL has quite a few classes. 
They meet every week day, some days in two locations ... and still have packed classes.
A post shared by JenB (@jenbsjourney) on
The Wed/Fri location is close to my home, less than five minutes away. It's been my regular Wednesday class since I discovered it a couple years ago. This group has MANY instructors (and instructors in training) and usually has several up on stage at the same time.

Another look at MZL ... Tues/Thurs location.
A post shared by JenB (@jenbsjourney) on
Back on the 4th of July, my Tuesday class was canceled, as was my backup (Prairie Stake) ... but wanting to hit a class, I went to this MZL location. I had been here a time or two before, and had felt like it was further away. It is actually quite close! Since my regular Thursday class concluded in May, I need a new Thursday class. Glad to have this as an option. Even though it's still MZL, different locations have different instructors, and there are SO MANY instructors and songs it usually feels like a completely different class anyway.

 Photo from the 4th.

A post shared by JenB (@jenbsjourney) on
Coriann's class is another Thursday option for me. 

Then there is Debbie in Daybreak ...
I shared a little video of her class in my Hula Hoop post and hadn't grabbed additional footage. Sometimes it's difficult to stop dancing long enough to video a clip. I don't do it that often. Gotta get my steps in. Right?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Weekly Review #207

The scale shifts. Even for my official weekly weigh-in, it's hard for me to say I've actually lost or gained a specific number. I tend to look at the bigger picture. Often I just round it into that middle number. The 180s, the 170s, 160s, 150s ...  I had a little success there at the end of April and the first weeks of May. I had hoped I'd left the 180s behind ... hoped to drop out of the 170s (got to 172 at one point, SO close), but then with summer, and shifting schedules, the scale slid up again. And into the 180s. Again. Blah.

NUMBERS: Official weigh-in up .6. Average Weight up .79 to 179.03. I kept intake under burn (barely) four days ... had a small deficit for the week (-628). Average intake 264. Average burn 2551. Step average was 22,872 and 81.78 logged miles. Active minutes came in at 900/883/1081 with 85 minutes with weights. No 30k days, six of the days over 20k though (and that last one was really close). Just one day with a 3000+ burn. 

I really wish the Life Cycle app would let ME determine when the week starts and ends (like Fitbit does). I did some workouts yesterday (Sunday) and they don't show up on this week's graph. Screws up this week AND next and makes me not want to do anything on Sundays.

EXERCISE: I actually got in my HOUR of elliptical one day this week! I hit the elliptical every day though. Five official Zumba classes (I was subbing for two of them) and a solid hour on my own, plus more practice. Four times on the treadmill and four sessions on the bike. Two weight workouts. 
OTHER ACTIVITIES: With out-of-town family in town, we had a few get-togethers. A family party, swimming, parade preview, ladies lunch. Then ... MY family left town. I'm doing a stay-cation (Can I Take a Vacation from the Vacation?)  No basketball games this week, I was glad there weren't any scheduled during the trip (that he'd miss). As always, the usual mowing and grocery shopping.  

Here's the day by day recap ...
  • Monday (0717) Pretty good day. Started it off with Debbie in Daybreak with Zumba ... and a little hula hooping! Did a little more Zumba on my own, plus elliptical and bike. Housework and yardwork, some shopping and making soup. We got hit with a storm in the evening (Hubs was at the lake as it rolled in there). 25242 steps. 3028 burn. 2100 intake.
  • Tuesday (0718) Had a very fun start to the morning subbing Marian's Zumba class, and my sister and SIL (out of towners visiting) came to my class! In the afternoon I took the kids and we went out swimming with them, then to the float preview at the Expo center. I did squeeze in some elliptical, and even did a workout with weights! 20767 steps. 2910 burn. 2200 intake.
  • Wednesday (0719) Started the day with early elliptical, then Zumba with MZL, back in WJ again. Ladies lunch with my mom, sister and SIL. Mowed the lawn, some reading/riding and a little elliptical to end the day. 21615 steps. 2807 burn. 2500 intake.
  • Thursday (0720) Up early ... like 4:30 in the morning early. Hubs and the boys were off to the airport for a week in Seattle/Canada (I don't travel well, I'll be doing a stay-cation). Got in a Zumba class, some elliptical, bike and treadmill, but also some over-eating (bad in both quantity and quality). 25646 steps. 2885 burn. 2700 intake.
  • Friday (0721) Started the day in Daybreak ... Debbie's class sans Debbie. I was teaching today, with Carma helping. Stopped at a couple stores on the way home to restock some odds and ends around the house. Got in some elliptical and treadmill time. Spent a little time in the sun. 21355 steps. 2726 burn. 2200 intake.
  • Saturday (0722) I wasn't planning on doing an entire hour of Zumba on my own, but once I started, I just kept going. Also got in some elliptical, treadmill time, bike AND weights! If only I could control the calories in ... 26288 steps. 2963 burn. 2700 intake.
  • Sunday (0723) Finished up my hour of elliptical ... first time in forever (since summer started anyway). Some Zumba practice and treadmill time. 19191 steps. 2601 burn, 2150 intake.
Five Featured Photos ...

 My sister and SIL came to my Zumba class on Tuesday.

 My five boys and out of town cousins ... parade preview.

 Gas Works Park in Seattle ... isn't this a fab photo of my five boys?

 Paddle boards and kayaks on Lake Union.

 Segways in Seattle ... my helmet heads!

Hubs and the boys are now leaving Seattle on off to Canada. I'm enjoying their vacation vicariously. I've got another week Home Alone ... I must admit, I didn't even leave the house Saturday or Sunday. Good thing I have my Zumba to get me out of the house! Seriously, it's more than just exercise for me. No excuses when it comes to eating and exercise this coming week ... let's see if I can shift that scale!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Family 5k (2017)

Family Friday

There may be a FINISH line behind us in this photo ... but this was before it all started.

Many years ago, we did a family 5k. It was My First 5k ... and my only 5k. Even though it had been a good experience, and I wanted to do another one almost immediately, it didn't happen. After time passed, my anxieties increased, and I just wasn't sure I'd ever end up doing another. Hubs and a couple of the boys did one last year (My Little Man Ran) and I debated doing it. But I didn't. Earlier this year, a couple of the boys (#1 and #4) ran one (A Super 5k). #2 and his girlfriend had a summer bucket list, and a 5k was on there. Then I heard about the Linda Butters Fun run.

  • It was close. By Gene Fullmer, our rec center, at the West Jordan Veterans Park.
  • It was inexpensive. I try not to begrudge the costs of 5ks. I know they are often fundraisers for great causes ... but at 30+ a pop, it makes makes it a but pricey for seven entries. THIS, apparently was not a fundraiser (I'm sure it end up costing them money) but a memorial run. The entry fee was $10. Not per person ... that was the entire family, including #2's girlfriend!
  • It had the swag. Chip timed, t-shirts ... that makes it a little more fun.
  • Everyone was available.
 If even one family member had opted out, I probably would have too.  

Here is #1, #3 and #4 with their FlipBelts.
Ready to race!

The West Jordan Veteran's Memorial park has a big loop within it. It was closed to cars as the 4th of July carnival was being set up ... and it was where we'd be running. The finish line was also the start ... up through the center of the park, then three loops around. Because it was loops, I got lapped, but only by one son (#3), and I had just passed the end point as #5, #1 and #4 were crossing the finish line (so I could let out a little whoop). 
 This is the order they finished in.

The three top finishers were then excluded from the age group rankings ... overall 1st place was a 15-year old from the boy's high school. 2nd place was a fellow in our neighborhood (in his twenties) and 3rd place was in the age group above that I think. You can see that the Blackham Boys took the top spots (these were preliminary results, additional racers were still finishing up).

... and honestly? Those times are a little TOO good. I don't think this was a completely accurate and full 5k. I told the boys not to count this as their personal best. I forgot to snap a picture of the women's times, but I think I snuck in just under 30min ... and I can't run three miles in 30minutes (I was planning on coming in at about 40 minutes, I had my 5mph playlists on and pretty much stuck to that pace, but did stop to walk a time or two). As I rounded the last curve ... there were my boys! Hubs and all five, and they jogged the last little bit with me, cheering me on (because obviously, I was the last one from our family).

We all got our t-shirts...
...and everyone even posed for pictures!

Hooray for a Family 5k!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hula Hooping for Health?

It's Workout Wednesday.

I always enjoyed hula hooping as a young girl. I was pretty good at it. As a mom to BOYS, we still invested in some hula hoops over the years. They would try the traditional way, and then also throw them and roll them ... and try to jump through them. I'd heard of hula hooping as a workout, with a weighted hoop, and I figured for a $20 investment, I'd give it a try.

My hooping "helper" ... silly kitty!
While you wouldn't think it, the weighted hoop is actually easier to keep going than the smaller, plastic versions for the kids (I'm sure there is a bunch of science about the weight/momentum and the larger area adding to the ease). The constant rubbing/banging against the hip bones and such can cause a bit of discomfort though ... and as I like to be barefoot, it HURTS if it falls on the feet!

I probably CAN hoop for 15-20 minutes at a time if I try. It gets a little boring to simply go in circles. I know if you look up hooping workouts, the women in the videos can get a little crazy with some different moves. I know I've seen people at parks doing amazing tricks ... I've never really tried anything but the simple circles, although I do change directions. It does require a bit of room (and while I'm super spoiled with my home gym, there isn't a ton of open space). 

My Wii Fit has a hula hooping option too. 

Last Friday, in Debbie's Zumba class, one of the songs lyrics spoke of "hula hula hoop" and I jokingly asked the instructor if we should bring our hula hoops on Monday. She said yes! I brought three (my big weighted one, and two kids ones), and several other people brought some, so there was enough for everyone. It was a lot of fun actually ...

Have YOU hula hooped recently?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Weekly Review #206

Another week, another update ... not a whole lot to report. Same-o stuff. Uber over on the eating for the weekend, so the little uptick on the scale isn't surprising. Back to basketball, and our goose is gone, and our final duck flew the coop as well. We'll see if saying farewell to the backyard birds frees up any of my time.

NUMBERS: Official weekly weight up .4, with the average up also (.81 to 178.24). Only managed to keep intake under burn two days ... end of week overage of 1865. Average intake 2543. Average daily burn 2729. Step average came in at 20,395 with 45.77 logged miles. 40 minutes with weights, and cardio minutes came in at 750/732/837.  No 30k days, five were over 20k. Only one day with a burn exceeding 3000. 

I was pretty happy to see my #1 son appear in the top five on my Fitbit friends list this week! He is friends with both my Fitbits ... and actually isn't too happy about me taking the top TWO spots on his Fitbit friend list. He's threatened to drop one of me ... #4 wears his Fitbit Alta all the time and is fairly active, but just doesn't SYNC HIMSELF! Hubs has been quite active too (this week he did a trail run, a street ride, a mountain bike ride, a hike) but he's wearing the competition (an Apple watch) so I can't see how we sync up.

EXERCISE: Again ... my HOUR of elliptical has not been happening. During the school season, I'd get it done first thing no problem. Now? It feels so hard! I did hit the elliptical every day for at least one session (at least 20min). Not quite as much Zumba as last week. Six official classes, and a little extra at home.  I did my first official "sub" for Marian's class, and was able to hit Southziders. Two treadmill times, once on the bike, and one time with weights. 

OTHER ACTIVITIES: Basketball ... Summer season started, and #5 had two games this week. It's pretty sporadic though, the next games aren't until August. As usual, there was some grocery shopping steps and my mowing. We had our family party on Sunday, but Life Cycle doesn't allow me to choose where my week ends (running Sunday through Saturday, when I personally mark it starting on Monday) ... so it will appear next week I guess. 

Here's the day by day recap ...

  • Monday (0710) Zumba w/Debbie to start the day, and I did a little more on my own too. One elliptical session, and a couple small walks ... one before #5's basketball game, and one around the neighborhood. Goose on the loose. 23249 steps. 2859 burn. 2200 intake.
  • Tuesday (0711) Marian is off for the summer, so I'm the sub for summer. It's always fun to be able to pick the playlist, and energy is up when you are up front. Still did another 30min of Zumba on my own later too. 30min on the elliptical, and a weights workout. Also threw in some hula and ping pong and mowed the front lawn. Kept calories in control too. Felt like a good day. 24398 steps. 2993 burn. 1800 intake.
  • Wednesday (0712) My usual MZL class had moved (floor refinishing) so I decided to head to Draper/Southziders. It was fun to see folks I hadn't run into in a while, and dance to the Southziders songs/steps. I did another 30min on my own at home, plus 30min on the treadmill, and 30min on the elliptical. Made banana bread ... ate banana bread. 25787 steps. 3059 burn. 2600 intake.
  • Thursday (0713) Double Zumba day. Start with Coriann's class at 8:30 ... I sneak out a bit early there to hit MZL. Did a little on my own too, so I still say a full two hours of dancing. Also some elliptical. My library book is due back soon, so I really SHOULD get in some reading/riding! I planned to, but it didn't end up happening between grocery shopping, making cookies and running #5 to/from practice. 23415 steps. 2870 burn. 2500 intake.
  • Friday (0714) I was up early enough to get in a session on the elliptical early. Then Zumba with Debbie, and I even remembered my weights. Did a little extra Zumba practice on my own, and hit the treadmill for 30min. Leftover chocolate chip cookies added to the calorie count, and I made lemon jello cake for dessert after dinner. 20249 steps. 2643 burn. 2800 intake.
  • Saturday (0715) One session on the elliptical, a bit of Zumba practice, and mowed the lawn. Uber over on eating (coconut goodies added to that). 13669 steps. 2349 burn. 3200 intake. 
  • Sunday (0716) One session on the elliptical, one session on the stationary bike, and a bit of Zumba practice. Family gathering in the evening. 12001 steps. 2328 burn. 2700 intake.
 Five Featured Photos ...

 Hubs did a mountain run on Monday ...

Weight Workout - Hubs want to replace the leg press with a spinner bike.
Guess I'll use the press while we still have it!

 #1 son finished off five Zingers before I finished bringing in the groceries!

#1 and the littles ... 174, that's a good game!

#5 and the kitties.

... and a couple videos ...

... and highlights from #5's Monday basketball game ... 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

End of Pact. Achievemint Updates.

It's Thrifty Thursday.
I've participated in PACT for a few years now, and done several PACT posts ... but, the end is here. It is shutting down.  I received an email the other day (apparently not everyone did), so if you didn't, here's what it said ...
Jun 30 (13 days ago)

Dear JenBlackham,
Thanks for choosing Pact - we hope it has helped you live a healthier lifestyle, and been that kick you need to get off the couch on rainy days. Sadly, after much discussion we have decided to shut Pact down.

Here’s what happens next: The last pacts that users can participate in will end on July 9, 2017, and you will receive your final rewards on July 11, 2017. Once we reach July 11, 2017 we highly encourage you to request your rewards - you’ve earned them! If you are no longer actively participating in Pact, feel free to request rewards sooner, even if they’re under $10.

Pact will keep responding to concerns you may have through at least August 20, 2017. Be aware that we may experience a higher than normal amount of inquiries (we’re not sure - we’ve never done this before), so we apologize in advance if we are slow in getting back to you.

Although Pact will shut down on July 9, that doesn’t mean an end to healthy habits. For motivation like Pact, check out Beeminder, which is based on many of the same principles and has the same amount of time in the incentives space as Pact. Our Partners are all standup apps, and many have motivation features such as goals or training plans to get you going. Geoff and Yifan personally use Runkeeper to train and have found it a perfect complement to what Pact offered.

While we are sad that we will no longer be able to help our users get healthy, we are also thankful to have had such a passionate, supportive community throughout the years. Ultimately, while we hope that our incentives motivated you, it was each of you that snapped veggie photos, typed food logs, and went on runs. It’s amazing that together, you completed over 40 million healthy activities during our 5 years of existence. We are proud of what you have accomplished, and you should be too,

The Pact Team

I have enjoyed the small paydays. I've earned about $1 a week with my 4-gym and 4-food logging commitment. In the years I participated, I only had to pay out once. My four day commitment was pretty much a gimmie. I always did that, no question. PACT didn't necessarily motivate me much, although in the past, when I'd committed to six or seven days it did.

I went ahead and cashed out ... and already received my payment.
Farewell PACT! I appreciated you! 

I was in a Facebook group for PACT users, and many bemoaned the closure of this program. I, and a few others have suggested Achievemint as another option. You don't fill in any motivating circles, but there is also no risk (whereas you might have to PAY with PACT). Achievemint is super simple. Just connect your fitness apps (Fitbit, MFP, etc.) to the program and get paid! Who doesn't like $$ for fitness and food tracking? I've noticed addition earning opportunities as well. Small surveys and such.

I'm a SAHM ... so as I answered the first question on the "employer" survey (homemaker) ... I was done, but I got the 100 points. I participated in a "sleep study" a bit ago. For a week, I'd get an email during the day asking about my "level of alertness" and that was it. Extra points.Plus my daily points for steps, weigh-ins, sleep tracking, food tracking. And ... refer a friend. If YOU happen to join off my referral (Join Achievemint) then I get 250 points, and SO DO YOU! A little birdy has told me that Achievemint has some new ideas in store, I'll update as I know more.

I'm off to enjoy my $25 payout from PACT ;)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Handmaid's Tale - Book & Hulu Series

This is a TV Tuesday, doubling as a Recent Reads post.
Similar to my reviews of Wayward Pines.
I really like dystopian tales ... so you might be a little surprised that I'd never read "The Handmaid's Tale" before. I'd heard of it, it was on my "to read" list, but I'd just never gotten around to it. Then in early 2017, there was so much hullabaloo about Hulu's new series. I figured I'd probably want to watch it. So I'd better read the book first ... right?

I put it on hold at my local library (requesting the Kindle copy) and it came in pretty quickly. At first I'd been a bit disappointed that the library didn't have it in audio format, but I was glad I did an old-fashioned (albeit digital) read. I looked up the audio ... read by Claire Daines. After having seen her in Homeland, and associating her so much with the character there, I think that might have impacted my enjoyment. Moreover ... the text had some idiosyncrasies that just couldn't have come across in a reading of the text (missing punctuation, etc.) I didn't fully understand why somethings were written they way they were, but it added to the overall experience for me. My GoodReads review of the book is here.

Any book made into a movie or television series is likely going to stray from the original work. Just Google it, and you'll see several sites have already addressed and discussed said differences (Time's article for instance). 

For me ...
  • Serena joy was much younger and had been more involved in the movement before. The book indicates her age, and even has her using a cane.
  • Offred announces her name at the end of the first episode ... in the book, we are NEVER told her name.
  • Differences in action: To name just a few ... in the book, Moria attempts escape and has her feet beaten, then does manage to escape. In the series, June escapes with Moria, and has her feet beaten when she alone is recaptured. Janine's baby end's up being "unacceptable" in the book ... the storyline with Janine and the baby is completely altered in the series.  While the reader, like June, has no idea what happens to Luke, in the Hulu series he has his own storyline giving us a much bigger picture of what happens... whereas June's mother, who has a small storyline in the book is cut out of the TV series completely.
As mentioned in many articles, the Hulu series brought the original text into the current time frame, adding in smart phones and online dating and is more diverse than specifically stated in the book. I think many things came across stronger with the visual presentation of the series, although I had been originally surprised at the frequent use of the f-word in the book (it doesn't surprise me in current writings, but in a book published back in 1986 ...) The book, while obviously dealing with sexual content, wasn't really explicit, the series got a little steamy (for the consensual encounters). 

I liked the book. I liked the Hulu series. I'm glad I read the book first though ...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekly Review #205

The whole summer schedule is such a shift from the set school routine, but this week, add in a mid-week holiday (July 4th on Tuesday) and ... well, not a good week for eating/exercise. I've been enjoying my Zumba, but other workouts have gone by the wayside a bit. Still getting my steps in, well over 100k for the week...

NUMBERS: Official weigh-in was up 2.2 pounds, average was up .73 (to 177.43). Not really a surprise, with intake averaging at 2529 and burn just at 2678. Intake was over burn six out of the seven days, resulting in an overage of 2558. Step average was 20,542 with 38.55 logged miles. 40min w/weights, and cardio minutes came in at 630/604/919 ... I've never had THAT big a dependency between my One and my personal tracking and the ChargeHR! The latter registers more as "cardio" (walks, my extra Zumba, bike, lawn mowing) and I guess those extra minutes added up. They are not really cardio, but I still like seeing what gets picked up by the different devices.

EXERCISE: During the school season, I'd get in my hour of elliptical (three 20min sessions) in the morning as I got the boys off to school. This week, I didn't get a full hour in any day of the week, although several days I got down at least once. I've been enjoying my Zumba though! My regular Tuesday class cancelled on July 4th, and so did my backup (Prairie Stake) so I went to MZL and got a great workout. I'd been to this different location a time or two, but it was a good reminder to me that it really isn't much further. I ended up going there on Thursday too ... after a partial class earlier. I was still feeling stiff from the 5k last Saturday, and didn't make it onto the treadmill, but I did do a couple walks (not always intentional ... looking for my backyard birds who had flown out of the backyard!) One session on the bike and one workout with weights. Add in the usual lawn mowing ... which is picked up by the ChargeHR, and quite a bit of yardwork, which didn't make it's own mark on the Life Cycle graph.

OTHER ACTIVITIES: Still no basketball this week (although #1 took the two littles to an NBA summer league game), but summer season starts up this next week, so it should reappear on the graph. Got in the usual grocery shopping, and a little other shopping (picking up some shoes for #4) and some family time on the 4th.

A look at the day to day ...

  • Monday (0703) Hubs was off to hike Mount Olympus in the morning ... and came home exhausted and needing to recover most of the day (and didn't exercise the rest of the week). I hit Zumba w/Debbie, and then took #4 to the church to play basketball, getting in an hour of Zumba practice while I waited.  Some grocery shopping steps, and a neighborhood walk tracking down duckies. 19518 steps. 2510 burn. 2200 intake.
  • Tuesday (0704) Fourth of July! My Zumba class was cancelled, as was my backup, so I went to MZL and got a good workout. I forget how close this alternate option is. Pretty low key day. Fit in one session on the elliptical. Family gathering in the evening. Lots of fireworks from the neighbors! 17324 steps. 2649 burn. 2900 intake.
  • Wednesday (0705) My usual MZL Zumba had to move (floor refinishing at the church) so I decided to try out a different Zumba class, one I'd been to before, but long ago. First time syndrome)...also did an hour on my own (supervising #4 at the church while he got in some basketball practice) and one session on the elliptical. Also a little walk around the neighborhood looking for two of our backyard birds ... I didn't find them this time. Three of the boys went to an NBA summer league game. 27971 steps. 3001 burn. 2000 intake.
  • Thursday (0706) Up fairly early, even getting in an elliptical session before early (8:30) Zumba w/Coriann ... which I snuck out of a bit early to run to Zumba w/MZL. But then I was a bit of a slug for the rest of the day, until a session on the stationary bike in the evening. Over on intake (barely below burn), partially due to Snickerdoodles. #5 had basketball practice. 22968 steps. 2884 burn. 2700 intake.
  • Friday (0707) Zumba with Debbie to start the day, I forgot to bring weights. I also did a little more Zumba on my own at home. One session on the elliptical, and a weight workout. #5 requested Mac&Cheese before his basketball practice ... and I ate some (I didn't realize it then, but it WAS National Mac&Cheese day!) Hubs made popcorn, so calories were up and over. 21719 steps. 2900 burn. 2700 intake.
  • Saturday (0708) Did an hour of Zumba on my own, and probably 30 min more throughout the day. Also mowed the lawn and got in some shopping steps. Hubs and the boys went to the lake. 21768 steps. 2678 burn. 2700 intake. 
  • Sunday (0709) A little bit of Zumba, just about 20min. Some yardwork, moving and placing stepping stones. Made macaroni rosa for dinner, homemade oreos for dessert. 12476 steps. 2343 burn. 2500 intake.
Five Featured Photos ...

 Hubs hiked on Monday

Pretty pot of petunias!

 Summer Basketball (Wednesday)

Sun and Sand on Saturday

 Everything in order ... slightly OCD son left things better than he found them!

... and a picture/video

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