Life Lessons: Feel Good

December 29, 2008

Day 29 of the 100 Reps Challenge

20 jumping lunges (20 for each side): sink down into a lunge, then jump up and switch leg positions. If you start with the right leg forward and bent, left leg stretched back, then when you jump your left leg should land in the front at a 90 degree angle with the right leg stretched back.
20 overhead presses with twist: hold dumbbells at shoulder height, palms facing shoulders. As you press up and lift them over your head, twist your hands so that your palms are facing away from you.

Do this set 5 times for 100 jumping lunges and 100 overhead presses with twist!

Fitness Tip: Use a lot of power in those jumping lunges but maintain control the whole time. You might need to pause between each lunge to correct form and regain balance.

Remembering the Past (and A Clumsy Little Christmas)


Among an array of many fantastic Christmas gifts, I received a rather special recipe book from my mum. It is her mum’s recipe book from 1952, complete with newspaper clippings and handwritten notes. We’ve talked about the recipe book before but hadn’t seen it in years; we just figured it was somewhere in the storage unit from having moved from house to condo a couple years ago. Her mum died when I was very young and the only real memory I have of her is of her standing at the door with a plate of her amazing peanut butter cookies. And smiling. Having this book passed down to me unexpectedly was so precious that I broke down and started crying when I realized just what it was. It’s such a treasure.


I have since been looking in the book and I’ve found two peanut butter cookie recipes; one is for regular cookies but the oven temperature and time is omitted, and the other is for molasses peanut butter cookies. I think I’ll wait a while before I make these cookies, seeing as we’ve still got huge mounds of other kinds, but I am so looking forward to trying her recipes.

Aside from those tears, Christmas came and went mostly without a hitch. Although there was one moment when I was moving the 3-plate cookie stand from one table to another and about 2 seconds after I was warned to “be careful, those plates are really slippery”, somehow I managed to let every single one of those plates slide right off the stand to come crashing down all over the table, chairs, walls, and floor. There were cookies everywhere! Butter tarts are amazingly resilient; those things are as strong as a Nalgene bottle.

Luckily my clumsiness did not result in any broken plates (just some broken cookies), and it was nothing that a broom and dustpan couldn’t sweep up. I opted to not hold my baby cousins after that, just to be safe, and managed to pawn off the plate of cheesecake and apple pie for the sister to carry- better not to trust these butterfingers of mine!

Know your body

Although I have yet to get on the river and go skating this year, yesterday I found myself out jogging for the first time in a long time. I have discovered that one of the best ways to fit in exercise is to not think about it and just do it. Rather than let myself think about how bored I get from running and my dislike for it, I was putting my running shoes on and locking the door behind me before I even knew quite what I was doing.

Similar to breaking down large chunks of something (say, for example, 100 reps of an exercise) into more manageable amounts (sets of 20 or 25 reps), when we listen to our bodies and let them do the work for us, it’s amazing how much sheer strength and endurance we have! Sometimes its good to let your brain shut down or get distracted and have your body take over.

Don’t think, don’t dread, just do it! It feels good.



  1. Running? πŸ™‚ Sweeeeet!!

    That recipe book sounds like a real treasure!!

  2. Way to go Sagan! I started to really enjoy running in Chile but have gotten out of habit with the cold weather here. I hope that I can start up again when I settle into France.

    So happy to hear about the recipe book. What a family gem! I’m sure you have dozens of new recipes to try and enjoy, can’t wait to hear about them πŸ™‚

  3. what a sweet gift! sentimental gifts like that mean the most to me!

  4. what a great gift!!! Sentimental gifts are just the best!

    Running! Woohoo! Keep up the good work girl!

  5. What a perfect gift!! I love it! Very sweet. It sounds like you had a great Christmas

  6. Dr. J & R- I like running as long as I only do it sporadically. Whenever I start running regularly I grow a really strong dislike for it for some reason:)

    Danielle- I will be sure to share the recipes! You must be super excited about France, that's going to be an amazing trip.

    Loveofoats & Charlotte- am so so happy with it! Though it's kind of falling apart so I've got to be delicate with it.

  7. That recipe book looks like treasure! Id be scared to touch it, but thats because i break stuff a lot.

    Kelly Turner

  8. That recipe book looks like treasure! Id be scared to touch it, but thats because i break stuff a lot.

    Kelly Turner

  9. That recipe book looks like treasure! Id be scared to touch it, but thats because i break stuff a lot.

    Kelly Turner

  10. What a terrific gift – momentos like that are irreplaceable!

    And I just love your attitude toward everything! Good for you!

  11. OK, Sagan…I’m tearing up just reading about the book. What a sweet gift!

    LOL on the butterfingers!

    I wish I could like running…and that my old knees could like running.

  12. What a wonderful gift!! Looks very sentimental and meaningful. πŸ™‚

    PS. No idea how you do jumping lunges. I think I’d pass out doing those…! I’m not a good jumper. πŸ™‚

  13. Kelly- me too. Actually I think that the rip on the cover might have been my fault when I opened the book on Christmas day. Oops.

    Bag Lady- they certainly are!

    Dara- it would be nice to always like running. Guess that some of us just aren’t cut out to be runners. We can have fun doing other things instead:)

    Juliet- shoot, I’m no good at explaining exercises, am I? I’ve found an online demo of jumping lunges so I’ll add that link to tomorrow’s post!

  14. Oh wow, that book is so beautiful. Just looking at it makes me see how many memories it holds. What a treasure!

  15. It’s nice when something like exercising becomes habitual. When I was running a lot, new music was the only thing that made it fun, or an intense audio book.

    Thanks for sharing your tree, it looks great!

  16. What a perfect present. I can’t wait until you you make some things from the book!

  17. The jumping lunge sounds fun! Don’t know about the 100 reps though :p

    And wow–that recipe book looks amazing! Such a nice personal gift πŸ˜€

    I agree–the brain talks too much! It’s so distracting.

    Love the Christmas tree!

  18. Hi Sagan,
    What a wonderful gift you received from your mother – treasure it always…
    And great job getting out for a run! I did this, too, day after Christmas. It was cold, dark, foggy, and wet. And I didn’t think about it, I just went out. And it was a great run! Physically and mentally.

  19. Sharon- its really neat to see the amount of food staining the pages. Makes me feel a bit better about the messes I make when cooking:)

    Fitness Surfer- it’s a cute little tree, isn’t it?! I love it when exercise becomes habitual. It just feels right.

    HangryPants- me too!

    Oatmeal- it does the body good to shut the brain off once in a while:)

    Lance- that’s great! Sometimes I almost prefer running in bad weather. There’s something exhilarating about that (not when its cold, though:D).

  20. […] Cammy was lamenting that I had no cake recipe when I was guest chef. So I figured that the inauguration was the perfect time to try out one of the recipes from my grandmother’s recipe book. […]

  21. […] Although we have addressed this question before here and here and here, I found the for so long part of the question to be particularly interesting. It’s one thing to get ourselves motivated to exercise, but its another to exercise toward a specific goal- training for a marathon or a competition or a personal challenge. One of the things I like most about physical fitness and what keeps me coming back to it and participating in these challenges is the feeling of accomplishment that results from successfully completing the challenge. We like to feel good! […]

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