Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I love Wii game commercials. They always show people playing the game, looking stupid. "You can look this stupid too! But it's fun!"

And it is. I'm hoping it'll make getting in shape fun, too, because I sorely need it. I'm tired of not having the energy to get through a day. So I ordered a Wii Fit, which should be here today. I also got motivated out of nowhere to eat better. I'm headed toward a mostly vegetarian diet, although I'm not sure I can pull off a completely vegetarian one with two "carnivores" in the house. Looking at my life, I never felt better than when I was a vegetarian.

When it warms up a bit I want to hike, and Russ gets off work early afternoon now, so weather permitting maybe it'll happen. So this post is not about a little trip, but a long-term odyssey, which I hope means more posts. When I can't get out, though, I have exercise I can do in the house. You know, when I think about it, a video game exercise program is brilliant. Exercise tapes and DVDs are insanely popular, but if you incorporate it into a game system, you can give feedback, track progress... I've heard My Fitness Coach is pretty good, too, so I'll probably pick that up at some point.

Where does motivation come from? I've hung out for three years without it, at the same weight., give or take 5 lbs. I couldn't live without chocolate and pastries. I wanted to hike sometimes, but it's usually quite a drive to do it and walking in the neighborhood doesn't inspire me all that much. I woke up Monday, and I wanted to do it. It was like a switch was thrown.

Bran made the tennis team, so he's getting his exercise every day, too, and with the healthier meals I'm making we should both slim down a bit (a bit more, for him, he's looking pretty good). They have a new coach this year who actually knows how to play tennis, too, and they have a new policy to rotate players so everyone gets some play time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Great Backyard Bird Count

This weekend I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society. I had a great time with this! While my yard is hardly a haven for birds (I have 3 cats who go outside, which is why I don't and won't have a feeder), I really do enjoy them. When I lived in the inner city of Cleveland, the starlings (common as dirt!) outside my window were the only bit of nature I had, and they gave me hours of enjoyment.

Between the hours of around 8:00 a.m. and whenever the cats decide to go outside, though, you can see quite a few birds in my yard. I do wish I'd had time to venture into the woods to see more and more variety of birds.

The count lasted four days and here are my totals:
American Robin 12
European Starling 20
House Sparrow (at Wal-Mart... they're such scavengers) 15
Mockingbird 3
Tufted Titmouse 1
Cardinal 7
Blue Jay 2
Mourning Dove 8
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Wild Turkey 2
Turkey Vulture 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Bluebird 1
Chickadee 1
Great Blue Heron 1

Most of those are seeable in Ohio, but I do love the much greater prevalence of Eastern Bluebirds and Mockingbirds, here in Tennessee. The maps were a lot of fun to look at on the GBBC Website.

If you'd like to participate in an ongoing bird project go to that website I gave above, and in the right column there is a winter-long Project Feeder Watch, and also the eBird site, which is a permanent bird count site.

The GBBC is a yearly event so keep an eye out for it next year.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spring in February

That's Dink enjoying the sunshine. Last Saturday it felt good enough that Bran and I went to the little park in town and took the dogs for a lap and up to the bridge. Temps have almost reached the 70s the last week. It's dropped down to 40s-50s today and I expect another cold spell soon. When Russ got off work Saturday (he's working only half days on Saturday now, yay!) we went up to City Park in Cookeville and walked to the waterfall. There are waterfalls in all kinds of amazing out-of-the-way places in Tennessee. Now that I have a camera I intend to document all kinds of them.

In other news, Bran tried out for the WCHS tennis team yesterday. Updates to come, though coach says he's very likely to be on the team.