Thursday, September 11, 2014

standing up at work

Aunt Dottie never needed a fitness routine as her entire day was filled with "lots to accomplish tasks". She remained thin and fit most of her life spending large amounts of time out in her garden and tending to tasks inside the house. Always on her feet.

But me ..... I sit at a computer desk all day long ... for hours .... on end. I awoke a few months ago to a news story how "sitting was the new smoking". Really? Crap .... I just gave up smoking 2 years ago, now this is on my head too? The news story stated that sitting all day was just as bad as smoking even if you exercised daily. Double crap. The issue was related to colon health.

I had begun to notice my hips hurting at the end of the day more and more and it struck a cord with me and I began thinking about it. Hmmmm..... but what to do?

I did some Google searches to find ideas on stand up desks. Some neat ones I found with treadmills attached, or hydroponic lifts. Expensive - super expensive. This was my work desk and I wasn't willing to spend a lot of money and I knew my employer wouldn't either.

Here is what I finally ended up ... but wait there's more to the story.

So, it started with me going downstairs in my basement and looking around. Hmmmm......

I found several of these Ikea tables. This table was probably the right height to put on top of my current desk, but not long enough. I could have used 2 but I didn't want to use both the tables as they were my daughters. I homed in on the legs .... they screwed in!

Burke was not happy when I had him disassemble an old pantry style cabinet. We threw some of the rough broken stuff away, but the side of the cabinet were in good shape. Shelves! I grabbed one of the long white shelves and unscrewed the legs from the small table and screwed them into the long white shelf.


This was my original concept. I actually used my computer and turned it on it's side to raise up my keyboard. It worked .... but was a little awkward.

So began my first day .... would this help me lose a few pounds. I'm not gonna lie, it was hard. I kept wanting to give up and just sit down. So I brought in a stool like this.

It worked and was sooooo uncomfortable that I never wanted to use it, but I had something if I really needed it.

Standing requires more effect and burns more calories right? So I started tracking my weight. There were days were put on my headphones and danced away in my little cubicle.

But still .... what about days where you just didn't feel good and wanted a nice comfy chair.

Hmmmmm.... what else? My conclusion was ...the best desk is one where you could sit or stand whenever it suited you.

I did try and use my comfy chair with my stand up desk, but before too long, I would get kinks in my neck from straining to look up constantly.

I thought .... what if I had a monitor on my actual desk for those times where I wanted to sit. My computer was capable of handling 3 monitors.

I couldn't use a big monitor because it wouldn't fit properly under my stand up desk. Which, it helps that it's small, so I don't like to use it too much.

Awhile ago, monitor stands were all the rage and my employer ordered a ton of them. Soon everyone gave them up and they ended up in the storage closet. I grabbed 4 of them. Perfect height!

I put two of them together and a shelf on top for my keyboard and mouse. I even turned one upside down and hung it on my stand up desk to hold collections of crap.

Since everything came forward a bit - my painting ended up being covered up a bit by my lamp and I still need to move it. But here is what it looks like. The fam ....

So the cost of my stand up desk - $0. I got a little creative and reused some items and worked out a method right for me. I spent most of my day either standing or leaning on my stool. And those moments when I really need to sit in my comfy chair - I do.

If you are standing for periods of time, I would recommend getting one of these nifty kitchen mats - it does help. They sell them everywhere with different colors and patterns. I did actually spend a couple of bucks for one.

It's been several months now and what I've found is that I want to stand more and my hips and legs feel better after a day of standing - and my colon health is solid! I also enjoy my sit down meetings more these days. :)

And as far as losing weight? Well ..... not that I've seen.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Michigan Ren Fest!

If Aunt Dottie was still with us, she would love love love going to the Renaissance Festival in Holly, MI. I can imagine her repeating, "Neat!" as she walked around.

We haven't been in a few years because it's gotten so huge and usually packed with people, but because of Julia's arrival and I had a feeling she would love it - we set out first thing in the morning.

It's also fun for me to say things like - "Holly, we're in Holly!" Or seeing, Holly Area Schools, or Holly Foods. I love how they made the O into a heart. I literally could go on ... but I'll stop.

OK - one more.

Julia's eyes lit up as we entered the land of Ren Fest. She's a HUGE Xena fan and I told Julia that Xena may just be there.

We started to make our way through the crowd and sat down for the Jousting match.

Our Knight was Tyler, the "ladies man". Shoot! Why didn't I get a picture of Tyler? He lost .... beaten down as the crowd yelled, "Walk it off!".

We took a little trip through Mermaid lagoon. It was packed with people. The trail was filled with mermaid themed art like this....

And then at the end was a real life mermaid! And ... she works on tips!

All and all it was a very nice day, sunny but not too hot. As the afternoon drew around, it became even more crowded which was our clue to exit. But not after stopping at McDonald's for Julia's first double cheeseburger.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I put together Julia's new bedroom in anticipation of her arrival and realized she needed a quilt for her bed. She was due in just 1 week and since my time was short I thought I would buy one for her room. So Holly and I set off to several retail stores. I did find a couple of very very thin quilts on sale for $125. What? Are they kidding? Do people actually buy this? Knowing that I already most of what I needed at home. And after looking in several stores, I abandoned the item of buying. Does this make me a quilt snob?

I looked around for a pattern and found this one. The curtains in the room are striped so I thought the Layered Cake Lemonade pattern would work well.

Julia said her favorite colors were brown and red. The curtains are blue and brown so these were my final choices.

So reading from the pattern and calculating for a queen size bed, I cut the 10" squares.

I decided because the curtains were striped that I would add a bit of dimension to the plain colored squares. So I looked at some of the symbols that came with my Brother embroidery machine and picked just a line. Thought it would be cool to applique it. So I did ...

I sewed the squares together. To make the shorter rows, cut one of 10" row and cut it in half.

I think this is the biggest quilt I've ever made and it took 3 of us to sandwich the quilt together when it was done. I don't have a good place to do this and some people actually hang it on their wall to complete. I used my dining room table and my 3 helpers.

Took me a couple of hours to do the quilting. I finally decided on just doing lines.

I think it turned out pretty good. She really seems to like it!

Monday, September 1, 2014

sometimes .... it's just not good.

So with Julia coming, I began to look at the bathroom she would be using. It's the shared bathroom upstairs and I really never did anything with it when we moved it. It's very plain and absent of color.

I was browsing Etsy looking at wall decals, personalized ones and discovered some big tree decals that were pretty cool - but $100? I've got paint. I'm an OK artist - not great. The light bulb in my head started to flicker and then hit full blown flood light. I'll just paint the tree on the wall.

I found my target. This corner of my bathroom.

I started marking out the design on the wall and filling it in with brown paint. To be truthful, I think this is the best it looked.

And then I started adding leaves to the tree. Still not bad, but then things started to go bad. I began working on the birds and ....I really botched them.

LOL! The wings on the birds were soooooooooo bad! If this was a canvas I would just paint over it. But with the wall, you really can't. Unless you have spare paint the same as your walls, which I don't. Love the way the owl turned out even though it could get uncomfortable with a wide eyed owl staring you down as you get out of the shower. Notice the birds on the toilet? Oh boy ...

Well ... at least I don't have to use this bathroom. Sometimes, it's just not good. On the flip side, I found another way to NOT paint birds. Lesson learned.

Maybe my changes to the window will pull it together. Stay tuned for that! I love fabric shades, and I think this bathroom is due.