Welcome to Suzanne’s blog, Tuesday Café

Suzanne StenglAuthor Suzanne Stengl writes whimsical, heartwarming romance and cozy mysteries. When she needs a break from her keyboard, she swims lengths at the Y, skis at Sunshine Village and hikes in the Rockies. She’s also a pretty good line dancer . . . and a very poor euchre player.

The Stages of Exercise

the stages of exerciseAfter almost a month of fighting this flu, I am feeling ready to start exercising again. Before Christmas I had a routine of Yoga and Aquafit. I was also going to physiotherapy to deal with an old SI joint injury. That was tricky because I couldn’t tell what was a joint issue and what were plain old aches and pains from this endless flu.

Now it’s time to get back to fitness. If you are newly setting up a fitness routine, you might like to know that there are “stages” involved.

  1. Pre-contemplation – This is kind of like denial. As in, “Maybe exercising would be a good idea, but I’m not sure.”
  2. Contemplation – OK. We’ve got a problem. We need to do something about it.
  3. Preparation – This is the research phase. People sometimes skip this step and jump right to . . .
  4. Action – Now you’re doing something. This could get you to . . .
  5. Maintenance – Or it could get you to . . .
  6. Relapse – Otherwise known as Throwing in the Towel.

If this happens, you go back to Stage 3 – Preparation. If walking is the activity, maybe a kilometre is the goal for a few weeks. But first, you have to get back to No Pain.

Some people decide to run, and develop shin splints. Then they must gear down to walking, until there is no more pain.

A typical plan might be:

  • Walk 10 laps at the gym (1 km).
  • The next week, run a half lap, and walk the other 9 ½ laps.
  • The next week, add another half lap, and so on, until you are running half a lap and walking half a lap.
  • Then start running a whole lap until you can run the whole kilometre.
  • And then, do more Preparation.

You just need to give yourself time and stay with it.

Have you got an exercise routine? If not, are you contemplating one?

shoes from bigstockphoto.com #42724783

Writing Down The Bones

Writing Down The BonesThis is one of my favourite books on writing. I bought this copy in 1995. It was originally published in 1986 and there are updated versions since then. It’s the kind of book you reread and reread.

In WRITING DOWN THE BONES, Natalie Goldberg has presented the work as a series of vignettes, each two or three pages long. Some are only a half page. They are all powerful and concise. Whenever I need motivation for my writing, I randomly flip open the book and listen to what she has to say. Sometimes I get lost in her essays for an hour or more. Sometimes I do the exercises she suggests. I always close the book feeling inspired.

In an earlier blog entry, I describe one of her writing exercises here.

Some of the chapters I have circled in the Table of Contents are

  • First Thoughts
  • Living Twice
  • Writing Is Not a McDonald’s Hamburger
  • Blue Lipstick and a Cigarette Hanging Out Your Mouth
  • One Plus One Equals a Mercedes-Benz

I’ve underlined and stick-it noted my way through the pages and I don’t lend this book to anyone. If you’d like your own copy, you can most likely find it at your library or buy it here.

Now, I’m going to make a cup of tea and get lost in this book for the rest of the afternoon.

My Winter Tires

winter driving conditionsI love my new Michelin X-Ice winter tires.

A lot of winter drivers still believe that the cost of dedicated winter tires is prohibitive and that all-season tires are good enough for winter conditions in their area.

Studies done by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation show:

“that the more resilient compound of winter tires is beneficial when the air temperature is +7 degrees Celsius or lower, regardless of whether the roads are dry, wet, snow-covered or icy. While most jurisdictions may receive variable amounts of snow, a majority of Canadians experience temperatures of at least -10 degrees Celsius or colder” explains Dr. Vanlaar. “Even in moderate temperatures above 0 degrees winter tires improve your car’s traction, cornering and braking ability. Also, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) require sufficient traction to be effective and winter tires can provide that needed traction.”

Here’s a video that shows the comparison between all-seasons and dedicated winter tires.

Winter Tires vs. All-Seasons

Yes, there is the initial expense of the winter tires but collisions can cost a lot more. As well, some research suggests there is fuel savings of about 5% with the use of winter tires. Also, your insurance costs are generally less when you’re using winter tires.

I’m so happy that our “ditch-seeking” all-season tires are stored in the garage this winter.

It’s cold in Alberta. For the last few days,  Environment Canada has been issuing Extreme Cold Warnings.

An Extreme Cold Warning is issued when there will be very cold temperatures or wind chill creating an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia. The alert is triggered when there will be 2 hours of minus 40 temperature or wind chill.

Today they are predicting a balmy minus 16, with a wind chill of minus 26.

A few years ago, I posted my Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart but in case you missed it, it’s here.

Is it cold where you live? Drive safe and stay warm!

image from bigstockphoto.com #52849951

Fast away the old year passes . . .

sick :(Two days until the New Year and I need to get over this December flu. I feel like I’ve been sick off and on all month but I think I’m almost better. Now is the time to focus on lots of fluids, lots of fresh fruit and making time to get outside for some fresh air.

I hope you have managed to avoid the flu this season. And if not, hopefully, the New Year will see us all in better health.

Teddy bear from bigstockphoto.com #70568188

10 of My Favourite Christmas Quotes

Christmas Quotes

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and the weather office is suggesting a 40% chance of flurries late in the day. There’s still snow on the ground from previous storms, especially on the north side of buildings, but a new snowfall would be extra nice for a White Christmas.

This year, I am mostly ready for the celebration — turkey thawing in the fridge, all the groceries bought and stowed.

We don’t do a lot of presents but we have some token ones under the tree. And we have lots of Christmas cards. The best part, of course, is sitting down to dinner with family.

Here are 10 of my favourite Christmas quotes. Do you have any favourites that sum up the season for you?

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
— Charles Dickens, A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.
— Edna Ferber

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?
— Clarence, in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

 “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”

Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.
—Lenore Hershey

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.
— Garrison Keillor

I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad.
 — William Shakespeare

“It’s Christmas Eve! It’s… it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we … we … we smile a little easier, we … w-w-we … we … we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!
—Frank Cross, in SCROOGED

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
— Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin

Image from bigstockphoto.com #53959294