Knock Me Down with a Feather but HIIT Works

by fourteenergirl on August 17, 2015

in Healthy living, Just Stuff

OK, I was a dubious schmubious … I’ll admit it. I am reaching an age where weight is really hard to get off my body. My hubby and I used to work out for many hours a week, getting up way before we wanted to, dragging ourselves to the gym, staying there for well over an hour each (he did two!) and then heading to work.

This strategy meant we had to get to bed super early in order to get back up super early. We had to rush through our evenings – pack the workout bag and lay out the workout clothes first! – eat quickly, chat for 10 minutes and try to clean something. Whatever is close, we’d get the house cleaning done on the weekend.

UGH! Enough already!

So, he talked me into HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – and he sold it to me like this: We’ll have time together in the mornings, honey, and we’ll get in the best shape of our lives. He reminded me that we have the responsibility to keep up our health so that we can sail through our older years. I’m paraphrasing, but it was a really good speech.

So I agreed.

He converted our garage, which was already conveniently carpeted with the same ugly thin grey industrial carpet you find at most gyms. He hung the extra TV and moved the DVD player in there.

HIIT workouts

We gathered some hand weights we had around the house (yes, it’s weird that we had them, but they made great door stops!) and laid out an old yoga mat (not my favorite – that one is special).

HIIT workouts

And in two weeks I lost 7 pounds. After recovering from being ill, I have continued to do the HIIT workouts every other day, mixing in walking, yoga, and cycling in between and gosh darn it, this crap works.

You spend just 30 minutes on it a day – just 30 minutes! By the time you’re feeling cranky and all over sweaty, bam, you’re done! It’s the best thing ever.

And … deep breath … I have definition in my tummy again.

my tummy on HIIT

Yes I just did that. I put a picture of my tummy on the Internet. I’m gonna hear crap for this, for sure.



If I were a Tonka Toy, I’d be a Bulldozer

by fourteenergirl on August 15, 2015

in Healthy living, Just Stuff

Do you remember Tonka toys? Do they still make them? Best toys ever. As a kid, those where the sturdy toys – they could outlast anything.  We even named one of the horses we had growing up Tonka for the same reason. She was sturdy, reliable and could outlast anything.  Tonka dump trucks would get dirty and, over time, they would rust a little at the edges but they still worked – all the parts moved and functioned like they were supposed to. Like the old Volvo my parents had – that was the first car we kids drove. It had mice living in the engine and holes in the floorboards but dang it that thing would always turn on and run. What more could you ask?

It’s been a roller-coaster. First I felt great. After being in the hospital (no one likes that) and getting through weeks of drugs and feeling like I’d been run over by a truck (not a Tonka!), I got a brief week of energy and sunshine and play. We went wine tasting!

We went wine tasting!

We put our feet up!

feet up

I went for walks along the shoreline!

Lovely Santa Barbara shoreline

it was great until it all of a sudden wasn’t so great. No, I didn’t push myself – those were short bike rides. I just wasn’t over it yet.

This week, I returned to the doctor and was put back on the antibiotics. Now these aren’t your average antibiotics where you feel a little tired and eat a lot of probiotic yogurt and get through your day. Nope, these are lay-you-out-flat, put-you-to-sleep, give-you-the-worst-taste-in-your-mouth, make-everything-taste-nasty, and no-you-can’t-have-any-wine-or-you-will-die antibiotics. In fact, the doctor said as he was digitally prescribing them to me, “these are hellish drugs and I’m sorry you need to take them.”  Huh. Well there you have it.

So, back into recovery mode I go. Like a bulldozer, I forge ahead with determination.

I still have a company to run.

I still have a day job to handle.

I still have a lawn to mow and laundry to do.

… and now, I have to get this rooster out of my yard and back into his!

Visiting rooster


Grateful, so very grateful

by fourteenergirl on July 26, 2015

in Just Stuff

I’ve been quiet for a bit because I’ve been very sick. I’ve begun the recovery process and still have a way to go if my low energy levels have anything to say about it. Suffice it to say that I am better and I’m going to be much better soon. I’m also so very grateful. After my lapse of confidence some weeks ago, I asked the Lord (yes, the actual Lord) for some help. I asked for a correction and wow did I get one. 5 days in the hospital in severe pain has a way of making you see things very differently. I’m so very grateful for sunshine and the ability to be outside. I’m so very grateful for my husband, who was at my side in minutes after and stayed with me through the pain and horror of the hospital.

I’m so very grateful that I got the reminder I needed.

I’m getting back on track. I’m making changes, including one night a week is knitting night, no exceptions

I’d lost sight of my need for the tactile creative aspect of knitting. I didn’t have a regular knit night – nothing tried fit – but my favorite knitting shop changed their schedule and now I can attend. I think that was a gift.

I got on my bike finally after about 10 days of no workouts. I had a great ride – just under 15 miles. I didn’t go fast or push the speed levels, just kept things slow and steady. I also stopped at my halfway point, got off the bike, sat and breathed and looked around.

Trip length at half way point:

Halfway point

The view from the bench where I rested:


This is the view down the coast.


and Steve let me paint our house number with silver sparkles. Hard to see with this picture, but when you see it it glitters!

Glitter house number

Because what’s a side walk house number without a little bling?

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Hey, it happens and usually it happens all at once doesn’t it?

I’ve been blocked from doing the work I need to do. Not really important to explain here but suffice it to say that I’ve been asked not to do the work that I know I can do – that they need other things to happen before they can trust me, just wait patiently.

Confidence blow #1

Last week I was told by someone that I was ‘assertive, authoritative, taking initiative and honest’ and that she wanted me to change all that because people were offended. I said that these were all qualities I valued in myself and that I was proud of them and would not be making any changes on those, but that I would work on being more diplomatic.

Confidence blow # 2

Recently, my guy explained that he wanted us to start doing a new workout practice – one that would make us super lean and would make us super strong. He said all the right things – he was kind and he included himself in this plan, but underneath it all is the fact that he wants me to look better (yes, he wants to look better too, but still it hurts).

Confidence blow #3

In the book, Why French Women Don’t Get Fat, the author, Mireille Guiliano, mentions that when she returned to France after some time in America her father said she looked like a sack of potatoes. She didn’t hold anger toward him as she knew he was right.

I know that in America, we say it’s OK. That we should all take care of ourselves and just over the whole being thin thing. I get it. Not every body type is the same body type. We’re all different. We have different abilities and desires and strengths. All that said we do need to take better care of ourselves. As a nation of people, we are eating too much, drinking too much, using food and booze and drugs to medicate ourselves.

I have felt like I looked pretty good but I also knew I was gaining weight. I also know that I have come to an age when dropping weight is not easy. I also admit that I have enjoyed not being sore all the time, not pushing myself that hard. I haven’t ‘let myself go’ per se, but I’ve also not been too careful with what I eat or what I drink. It’s been fun and it’s hard to hear that that has to change – even if it is for all the right reasons.

In meetings, I’m more cautious about what I say and I hate it.

In the morning, I’m sweating with a DVD program at home and I like it – it’s nice not to pack the bag, drive, workout for over an hour, and hope for results. This workout plan should work.

In the evenings, I don’t immediately pour a glass of wine. My guy and I work out the meal together and he’s helping me cook and we eat dinner together. I’ll take it – I always wanted that.

So, with my confidence in the toilet, it’s time for me to dig deep and keep working on how I am going to do things differently. Wish me luck.

And pass the celery because I’m hungry.




Yesterday, I took a break from catching up on the Audible Yoga work – did you hear we got the 250 votes we needed to be in the running for a grant?! Thanks so much to everyone who voted for our little company. That money will make a huge difference and it will allow us to build out the company in ways I cannot even imagine. Trying hard not to put too much into this, but it’s hard. We won’t hear until September so for now it’s time to keep our noses to the grindstone (terrible saying, don’t you think?) and have faith while we wait.

Stepping away from the computer yesterday, I took my lovely bike out for a ride in the sunshine this time – no June gloom today.

sunshine bike ride

Clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine all the way down the coast.

pacific coast bike ride

Have I said before how much I like this ride? I really, really do.

The beaches were packed! Yes, snarky ones, that is packed for us. This is a really small town.

goleta beach

All of the families around here gather at the beach. They send someone ahead of time to scout and snag a spot, and they grill all day. Kids play in the sand and the water, parents mill around and chat. It’s really lovely to see.

On the way back, I had to take a detour on the campus because of some construction. I ended up in a courtyard with a pond that had water lilies in it. So lovely to work here.

university of california campus

And there were two cute little ducks hanging out by this water pond.


Proving once again that getting off the familiar path – even just a short way – can make a big difference in your perspective and what you see. When I got home, this is closer to my ‘normal’ ride length, so I’m building back up.

bike odometer

After that, I mowed both lawns and watered my plants. Then, I drank more water, got a shower and I have to say, I fell into bed for a nap. This week I have attended a conference, worked until midnight most nights to get votes for Audible Yoga, and worked out every morning to keep my energy up. After a 22-mile bike ride, there was no energy left at all. It was time for a physical crash. I felt like I was swimming through water just moving around the house. I slept that night for nearly 11 hours straight too. Good grief!

Today? We’re heading out to play but don’t worry, I’ll take the camera and report back. See ‘ya!




Lungs burning, legs pumping, heart pounding

by fourteenergirl on June 20, 2015

in Just Stuff

Sometimes, this is what it takes to shed the stress of the week, clear my head, and find that space wherein which I just am. I got that last weekend, and I’m about to head out to do it again too. I get my bike and I load up the camera, phone, water, a little something in case I get hungry and I head out. With music playing in my ears – an eclectic collection of Blues Traveler, the Bodeans, Caravan Palace, Dave Matthews, Dierks Bentley – I find peace when my lungs are on fire, my legs and heart are pumping in rhythm and I am free.

Last week’s ride was through the June gloom of Santa Barbara …

June gloom bike ride

When I emerge from the University along the Pacific Coast trail over Goleta Beach, it looked like this – cloudy, cloudy, cloudy.

June gloom bike ride

The bike trail was almost empty. For those who don’t know, when it’s cloudy and raining Californians stay inside. They love the rain, they just don’t like getting wet apparently. Haven’t quite figured that out.


It wasn’t a super long ride – about half what I usually do – but it was just right for that day.


Now, I’m loading up to go again. Lots of sun out there today, though, so it should be really nice. Get outside folks!



Drive by post – Luna

by fourteenergirl on June 15, 2015

in Home, Just Stuff

Our new kitty friend, Luna is tiny. She is like our own personal tornado. She only likes paper balls for toys and prefers them to be tossed at her through the air, so she can leap and catch them between her paws. She also carries her paper balls around once she catches them and puts them near me so I can toss them again.

She doesn’t meow except in the middle of the night when she wonders where everyone went and why it’s so quiet. She gurgle-squeaks instead of meowing. I don’t know how else to describe the very special sound she makes as she’s happy to see you and chases her paper balls.

Silly sweet girl.


She and Emily have stopped trying to kill each other and have settled into a friendly sort of detente. They do, however, chase each other at top speed through the  house at least once a day. No biting or growling, just chasing and tumbling.

I think they are starting to like each other a bit.


Stress – it’s a killer

by fourteenergirl on June 14, 2015

in Just Stuff

Yes, I’m over worked and crazy stressed out. He works every weekend, I work every weekend and most evenings until I fall into bed. This grown up thing sucks. I realize I am posting this blog one week after the fun happened, but that should only serve to let you know how much is going on and how buried I am. In fact, yesterday I took off on my bike for the first good ride of the season and got a block from the house when I realized the back tire desperately need air, so I turned around. I re-opened the garage door, found the bike pump, and tried to make the damn thing work and broke down in tears.

Hmm, I thought. Yes, I need a bike ride but if the bike pump is reducing me to a crying fit, perhaps a shower and a glass of iced tea on the porch is a better idea? Hard to tell these days. I feel like I crackle with the stress.

So, this blog post is about last weekend. I am going kayaking with a group today, so I full expect to have something fun to blog about tomorrow.

Last weekend, we decided to try a new winery and someone told us that Beckmen wines were tasty, so we headed up the hill. Our day was sunny (we haven’t had sun since, ugh!) and we parked next to this tree. Isn’t this a lovely view?

Tree at Beckmen

This was a pretty popular place according to all the cars parked along the driveway. We finally got to the tasting room and I wondered if this isn’t one of the best signs to see ever?

Tasting room

We decided on the Reserve flight. Now, Beckmen is well known for their reds so the viognier at the top was a surprise to us, but I liked it.

Tasting list

Steve liked the wines so much that he bought several bottles and signed up to be a wine club member. This is how they get you – they give you these tasty little treats and suck you in and soon you’re getting 12-15 bottles every quarter! So, if you’re in the neighborhood and a little bored, do stop by. It’s likely we have one chilled and ready to go.

Tasting over

Another beautiful view on the way out of the vineyard.

Beckmen vineyard

Now, the grass you see here has been watered lightly, but the drought is taking it’s toll on the California land. Here is a shot out the window as we’re passing by fields that are dry as a bone.

California drought

Looking at this grass, you can see why wildfires are one of the area’s biggest fears.  Here’s another field as dry as can be with a lovely oak in the middle.

California drought field

We had some rain last week, which has cooled things off but it’s no where close to enough. We’re in full water restrictions and we have the bucket in our shower to collect water and we use it for the back lawn. We have a beautiful pot in the front of the house that we plan to turn into a recycling water fountain, but we’re not supposed to have any fountains right now and we’ve held off on putting it together.

Pray for rain folks, pray for rain.



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Wrapping up the Sailing Weekend Review

by fourteenergirl on May 30, 2015

in Sailing

So, I finally got a few minutes to finish telling you all about our sailing class last weekend. We woke up Saturday morning to sun, glass-like seas and a lovely warm breeze. Gone were the clouds, the wind gusts, and the crazy waves. I let the guys fix breakfast and took myself to the bow of the boat to stretch.


Way past the dinghy there is a wide space that just fits me. When my family would sail in the Virgin Islands every year, this is where my sister and I would sleep – on top of the deck. A blanket was all we needed and it was quite comfy. Much better than being below where it was stuffy and hot. On this trip, the cabin wasn’t hot – it was perfectly chilly and that’s how I like to sleep – the colder the better. Still, the boat doesn’t have the nice mattress we have at home and let’s be honest, I’m not 18 anymore, so a hard deck is less than comfy. It was, however, the perfect place to stretch and work out the kinks.

Would you like to see some shots from the inside of the boat? Sure you would.

Here’s the dining area – yes it fit all 5 of us comfortably.

Sailboat dining room

And the teeny-tiny kitchen – the guys fried up all those potatoes and onions for breakfast. We ate like kings on this trip, I tell ‘ya!

Sailboat kitchen

On the first sail, we got all the way around the front side – the windward side – of Santa Cruz. You can see the full map of our trip plotted out by Steve here.

Our sailing trip plotted out

The second day, the guys did a lot of navigational practice. We circled around, and practiced heave-to and the heave-to crew overboard drill multiple times.

Shoreline from the sailboat

It was a good day, plenty of fair winds and nothing too gnarly. We scooted into a second bay (can’t remember the name right now) early to rest and let the guys study – they had to take their test the next morning. steve and I hopped into the dinghy to get some land time here – isn’t it beautiful?

Santa Cruz Island

There were probably 12 or 15 boats in the cove before nightfall.

Lots of boats

In the evening, a good strong wind came up (it dies down at midnight every night) but it was pretty strong. That’s Anacapa in the distance.

Anacapa Island

We set up the anchor watch schedule and headed for sleep and just as everyone was almost out, we heard BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! That’s 5 blasts on the air horn which is the danger signal. Everyone was scrambling to get on deck and see what the risk was. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! Again. Turns out, one of the small power fishing boats had lost their anchor and because of the relatively high wind that sprung up right around dark, they were drifting fast toward us and another sailboat.

The two boats got their anchor lines tangled, there was a lot of rushing around and shouting. The sailboat got yanked around pretty badly, but no real damage done. Somehow in the dark they got their lines figured out and everything settled down again, but it was a little while before anyone in the bay felt safe.

We sailed the next day across the channel in between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa with the guys navigating sans electronics the whole way. They got lots of practice and we found Becher’s Bay on Santa Rosa for our anchorage that night.

In the morning, the guys settled in and studied after breakfast and then took their tests.

Taking the test

That night, we had to sail at night back to SB. This meant getting bundled up in layers, and putting on safety harnesses and setting jacklines. The sailing back was just as swell-ridden and gnarly as the sail to the islands. It was also very frickin’ cold! And wet. And cold. After battling sea sickness and trying to keep my eyes open for many hours past any normal bedtime, I couldn’t take it anymore. I crawled into the berth and pulled everything on top of me. I was shaking all over and probably near hypothermia, so it was the only call I could make. Steve crawled in around 2:30 a.m. exhausted and cold and said, “The second it’s dawn, we are getting off this boat!” So we slept in the harbor. In the morning, we packed up as quietly as we could and escaped.



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A Harrowing Weekend It Was

by fourteenergirl on May 26, 2015

in Sailing

So, last weekend Steve and I took the ASA 106 course which is a relatively advanced course involving a number of things that turned out to be quite harrowing. The idea was to prove to ourselves that we were ready to take a boat – perhaps one packed with precious friends – out to the Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast.

Just in case you’re curious, you can read about the Channel Islands on Wikipedia.

Our trip entailed a multi-day sail and Steve was actually taking the course – I was a ride-along. I did not have time to study for the course and wan’t keen about the timing, so we compromised. He takes the course and the test, and I get some experience without all the pressure. Cool beans.

There were 5 people total: 1 captain (our teacher), two other male students, Steve and me. Yep, once again I’m the only damn woman on a life-endangering trip with a bunch of guys. (Here we are – me at the wheel, teacher Ken on the left, Rob on the right.)



That said, everyone was completely polite and kind. The guys even provisioned the boat all by themselves and no, I did not have to do all the cooking – just my fair share. I didn’t even have to do many dishes. It was really nice and low-key, very adult.

We took the 50-foot boat, the Jenny Lane aka the Stinky Boat. I do not like this boat. It’s too big and a bit tubby. She also stinks because it takes a couple of days and plenty of pumping at the head to get the lines cleared of human waste. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Otherwise, the boat is perfect for bigger groups – 4 cabins each with their own head (bathroom) and it’s reliable. After a few days, it doesn’t stink and I’ve found that a few drops of lavender oil on the pillows helps a lot. You can get an idea of the size by this photo with me in it for reference.


Yep, it’s big.

The trip started out well. The weather was clear and we had plenty of wind and sunshine. As we headed toward the farthest island, San Miguel, we realized we did not load the safety harnesses and jacklines (more on that to come). The wind was kicking up pretty well by that time – gusts of 20 mph and rising swells. It was to be a long weekend, so safety was needed and we turned back to get the safety gear. We bailed on San Miguel and opted for the larger, closer island of Santa Cruz.


So, here’s where things start to get a little hairy. Swells of 5-6 feet, serious heeling on both sides of the boat, and me very sick despite plenty of Dramamine. It’s hard to get a good image of the scene and it got much darker and stormier after this, but here you have one image.


Things got calmer as we got closer to the island and out of the channel. We set anchor, cooked dinner, cleaned up and crashed for the first night … more to come tomorrow.


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