jane’s walk

I love, love, love Jane’s Walk! It’s happening this weekend all over the world and it’s free! I’m going to spend Saturday finding out more about my neck of the woods. I mentioned the free part already, right? So no excuses… get out there and find out about the place where you live.



Yesterday on the Current they were talking about pet obesity (and yes…. all I do is sit around listening to CBC radio….). $4500 to send your dog to fat camp for 12 weeks?!? Besides being a colossal waste of money, I wouldn’t want to be without my pooch for that long. Especially when the solution is easy: exercise your dog regularly and pay attention to what they eat. Same as with people!

I have gained 15 lbs since starting grad school 2 1/2 years ago. That might not seem like much and I am still within a healthy weight range for my height but I have two problems. First, I’m not the sort of person who monitors my weight that carefully but along with the pounds has come a general sense of sluggishness and malaise, which I hate. Second, I’ve grown out of most of my skirts and some of my pants. Since my budget is as tight as my pants, I can’t afford to run out an buy a bunch of new clothes. That means I need to get back into my old ones.

My dog has also recently gained weight and she’s pretty much in the same boat as I am – not fat but plumper than she should be. Neither of us has changed our diets. Lack of exercise is entirely to blame.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get exercise daily. I didn’t want to set any specific goals in terms of how many pounds or inches I wanted to lose, but I would like to be back to the approximate weight and level of fitness I was at when I started school. I investigated gym memberships but even the cheapest was far out of my budget. I started swimming for free at the Sherbrook Pool in the fall but it has since been closed and there is no word on when or if it will re-open. Part of my resolution was to go for long, brisk walks with my dog but January was bitter cold and most days her ears and paws couldn’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes outside.

Is this starting to seem like a long list of excuses? I swear it’s not. This is what I’ve been doing…

In January, I used some of the iTunes gift cards that I got for Christmas to buy workout videos. My criteria was that I would only need runners and a basic weight set, which I already had. No balls, kettle bells, bands or other special equipment that I would have to buy. I downloaded a couple of episodes of The Caribbean Workout and some videos from Exercise TV that were highly rated by users. There were 3 videos that focused on cardio and 4 on weight training. I also put together 2 weight training workouts (strength and endurance). I focused on weight training because there are a TON of cardio videos available online for free. Using a blank journal that I already own, I plot my daily workouts, alternating cardio and weight days. I don’t include any rest or recovery days because there is usually a day every couple of weeks where I just don’t have it together or life is too busy and I skip a workout.

In February, when the weather got milder, I added a 45 minute to 1 hour dog walk every morning. Fatima, over at Stacks and Ranges, blogged about running in all the snow. All I can say is, “I hear ya sister!” Man, what a slog the last few days.

Yesterday, in anticipation of spring, I downloaded a free Couch to 5k app. Loads of free fitness apps available too! Lexi and I will start running again sometime in May and I’m totally looking forward to it. Unlike Fatima, I’m a suck and only run in nice weather! Also can’t wait to get on my bike again.

Lexi is already looking more trim. My arms are getting some shape to them but I haven’t noticed any other changes to the way I look. I have been feeling great, though! Lots more energy, less bummed out, stronger…. Who needs a gym membership, anyway?!?

Here are some of my fave workouts that are available free online:

Shaun T’s Rockin’ Body Dance Party (high cheese factor but still fun)

Bootcamp Calorie Burn

Real Housewives Upper Body Workout

Real Housewives Lower Body Workout

Insanity: Cardio Power and Resistance (though my jumps and push ups are beyond pathetic!)

little free library

Schoolhouse Library 273 Mandeville Street, Winnipeg

Schoolhouse Library
273 Mandeville Street, Winnipeg

A few weeks ago, a friend introduced me to the Little Free Library. Why didn’t I know about this?!? Probably because I was too busy using the regular library, which is also free.

The mission of the Little Free Library is much the same as the regular library: promote literacy, build community and make libraries accessible. In a place like Winnipeg where libraries are accessible, the Little Free Library seems more like a novelty than something that is filling a gap. I don’t mean that as a criticism. I took a book and I’ll drop a few off the next time I get together with my friend. But I can see that in areas with limited library services they would be incredibly important.

I kinda want one in my front yard!

human library

The 2013 edition of the Human Library will run from January 24 to 26. It is taking place in Winnipeg at the Millennium Library and in fourteen other cities across the country. I love this event! Or rather, I love the idea of this event because I’ve never actually participated before. But I am this year.

My book is Nicole & Kris, a couple in their 30s who are building a Earthship. Interested to hear how they’ve done it but what I really want to know is how they ever found the guts to take the leap in the first place.

You can walk in and take a book off the shelf but the time slots fill up quickly, so if you want to be guaranteed a book you need to schedule in advance. I’m booked (haha) for Friday. Will let you know how it goes.