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On February 8th, 2011, I embarked on a committment to fitness, promising to stick with it for 16 weeks. My annual physical the day before was a high motivating factor since I could no longer ignore the few extra pounds and elevated bad cholesterol level. Nothing horrible, mind you, and I didn’t even get a reprimand from my doctor since compared to most women my age, I am actually very healthy. But I knew I didn’t like the direction things were heading and decided to make a change right then and there.

The Pro-form Elliptical that had been collecting dust in our spare room since November 2009 (yikes!) was as good a place as any to start. Over the years, I’ve pretty much had a hate-hate relationship with that machine. (For anyone who has ever had the pleasure, you know exactly what I am talking about 😉 ). Since elliptical machines work the upper body and the lower body at the same time, workouts are more intense and you tire more quickly than doing the same amount of time at X-level on say, a stationary bicycle or a treadmill.

“I Hate/Love U” (Skechers Shape-ups XF Accelerators) Nikon D300, 38mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Balanced Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Old Photo’ Filter

I started off slooowly, knowing full well if I did too much too soon my enthusiasm would quickly wane and I’d be right back to doing nothing (sound familiar?). Over time, I increased minutes and then, intensity levels, even adding in weight training and abdominal/core workouts on my non-cardio days. About six weeks in, I started HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) on the machine and began to notice changes in muscle tone and my clothing started to fit better. I still wasn’t in love with exercise but I was in a routine that actually seemed to be working. 

Then, ten weeks in, my committment was seriously challenged. While out and about, doing routine errands, I rolled my left foot on an uneven sidewalk, breaking the 5th metatarsal bone. Ouch. I was devastated. All I could think about was, I had come so far, put in so much time and sweat and what was I going to do now?? Luckily, I was able to get in to see an orthopedist the next morning and was sporting a (removable) walking air-cast and crutches when I left their office. Yes, I did break the bone but I was given full permission to continue working out, as long as I could endure the pain. 

“Good Form’ (Female Fitness Portrait) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Silhouette II’ Filter

Are you kidding me?? 

At the time, I thought the orthopedist was insane. I couldn’t even put weight on that foot so just HOW was I going to exercise?? He assured me that after a few days of rest, elevation and icing, I would begin to feel better. Riiiiight.

Needless to say, I was not convinced but sure enough, time proved he knew what he was talking about. Four days after the ‘incident’, I was back on the elliptical. I did 25 minutes that day (albeit on Level 1 and at a reduced pace than what I had been doing) but I felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest. Was I shaky and scared to death? You bet. Did my foot feel like it no longer knew what to do? Oh, hell yeah. None of that mattered. The important thing was, I was back and from that point on, I knew I was going to be okay.

In the days and weeks to follow, I did what I could, had good days as well as some setbacks, but I kept at it, determined not to quit. And here I am, six months since I started (that’s two months more than what I originally committed to), a new woman. Sure, there are days where it isn’t easy and my conviction is thoroughly tested, but I’ve made friends with that ‘machine’ as I am convinced that it not only saved my sanity, it acted as the perfect rehab for my injury.

Without it, I certainly would not have healed as quickly as I did and when faced with the possibility that I couldn’t work out, I realized I actually wanted to. (Funny how that happens, huh?) I have a completely new outlook on fitness and exercise these days…it is simply now part of the routine.

If you are looking for a run-down of pounds/inches lost, sorry to disappoint. I do not own a scale and I never took measurements. My goals were to lose the love handles and the ‘jigglies’, improve core strength and overall muscle strength, develop muscle tone, be able to take the stairs and not lose my breath, make my heart strong, and in general, no longer shudder when I look in the mirror.

Mission accomplished. 🙂

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When Karma posted an invitation to participate in a Photography Scavenger Hunt I immediately thought ‘How fun!’ fully intending to give it a go despite the short time frame. But then, life got away from me (as it tends to do) and before I knew it, the deadline was looming and I had little accomplished. 😦

Turns out, I wasn’t the only one having difficulty so Karma extended the submission deadline to March 6th – hooray! 🙂

Right from the get go I planned on posting the images in a collage and when I went to assemble the structure itself, I realized I needed a few more images than the 12 in the hunt to make it visually appealing. (Birgitte, my dear, you do make it look so easy! 🙂 )

Scavenger Hunt Collage

All but TWO images were taken specifically for the scavenger hunt. The two in question are previously un-posted images that just fit the bill (details follow).

So here it goes:

“Bad News” (9/11 Headline, NY Times) Nikon D300, 80mm, F/5, 1/100s, ISO 640, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Bi-color’ Filter

 
 
 
 
(1). Newspaper Headline  – For my generation, the attack on September 11, 2001 has to be themost horrific event to occur on U.S. soil.

A day I will never forget…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“Tick Tock” (Clock Face) Nikon D300, 170mm, F/5.6, 1/15s, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Old Photo’ Filter

 
 
(2). Big Round Clockface-Didn’t have to travel far for this one! Here is one of three large clock faces painted in a row on a decorative board in my living room. One clock is set to PST, one to EST and one to GMT (since hubby travels often to the UK).

“25 W 893” (Fruit Truck, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 46mm, F/8, 1/250s, ISO 200, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Bi-color’ Filter

 
(3). A Big Lorry/Truck – On our October 2010 trip I spied this large, old-time Chevy truck parked along Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now, knowing Disney’s reputation for details, I imagine the license plate must have some significance… anyone know? Anyone??

“You Take the High Road” (Veterans Memorial Bridge) Nikon D300, 36mm, F/16, 1/100s, ISO 200

 
 
 
(4). Bridge – Not one bridge but TWO!🙂

Constructed in 1997, the Veterans Memorial Bridge connects Beverly to Salem and rises high enough over the Danvers River to allow boats to easily pass underneath without the need for a drawbridge (huge improvement over the old bridge).

The lower bridge seen in the background is used by the MBTA commuter trains.

“Open Seating” (Park Benches at Percy F. Lyons Park, Beverly) Nikon D300, 75mm, F/18, 1/250s, ISO 200, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Color Stylizer’ Filter

(5).Park Bench – Here’s the first 2-for-1!

(I really couldn’t decide which image I liked better and, with the collage requiring additional images to be balanced, I didn’t have to! 🙂 )

The first shot is definitely more indicative of my photographic style but, I was actually proud of

“Smoke Break” (Smoker on Bench, Percy F. Lyons Park) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/10, 1/400s, ISO 200, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Color Stylizer’ Filter

   
myself for the second shot since I am not all that comfortable photographing strangers. 

Turns out, the guy on the bench with the headphones and cigarette was completely oblivious of my presence… 🙂

“Directional Snow” (Snow-covered Fences) Nikon D300, 55mm, F/7.1, 1/100s, +0.7EV, ISO 100

(6). Stripes – This image is from February of 2010. While standing on the other side of our chain-link fence I thought the layering of textures and directional lines would make for an interesting photograph. Back then, I never did anything with it. I guess it was simply waiting for the right moment. 🙂

“Button Pusher” (Heart-shaped Button Sampler) Nikon D300, 130mm, F/5.6, 1/40s, ISO 640

 
 
(7). Something Heartshaped – I posted a close-up of this sweet button sampler for Valentine’s Day.

Serving as more than just a decoration in my livingroom, it reminds me that we are all stitched together with the common thread of LOVE.

Awwwwww

“Eyes for You” (Sewing Needles) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro with 3-ring Extension Tube Set and 1.7x Teleconverter yielding 180mm, F/9, 1/3s, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro B&W Filter

 
 
 
 
(8). Eyes – Yeah, I took creative liberty with this one… you gotta problem with that? 😀

“Sneaks” (Jack Purcell Converse Sneakers) Nikon D300, 56mm, F/4.8, 1/25s, ISO 640, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Color Stylizer’ Filter w/Selective Toning

 
 
 
(9). Your Shoes – NO closet should be without a pair of Converse sneakers.

These are my broken-in, well-worn, limited-edition, no-lace, slip-on, olive-green Jack Purcell’s.

Love ’em! 🙂

“Play It Again” (Wooden Toy Piano) Nikon D300, 40mm, F/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 100

 
 
 
 

(10). Musical Instrument – This wooden toy piano from my childhood will always have a special place in my heart.

They just don’t make ’em like this anymore!

“POST” (Stylized Mailbox Letters) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/5, 1/15s, -0.7EV, ISO 640, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Solarization’ Filter

 (11). Post Box – Another 2-for-1! 🙂

I happened to have my neighbor’s mailbox in my possession as it required refurbishment from all the winter abuse. (I built it for her as a birthday gift oh-so-many years ago). So, while  it underwent repairs, I snapped a few stylized images of the front.  Can’t get more literal than this, huh? 😉

“What Can Blue Do For You?” (Post Boxes in Front of Beverly Post Office) Nikon D300, 18mm, F/16, 1/125s, ISO 200

  
To make up for it, I went out looking for some real post boxes to photograph. At one time, you’d find post boxes on every corner but these days, they are becoming quite rare.

I risked getting run down by a car to take this shot outside the main branch of the local P.O.

Okay, it was worth it. 🙂

“Short and Stout” (Red Teapot on Stovetop) Nikon D300, 90mm, F/5.3, 1/10s, ISO 640

   
(12). Something Red – I struggled for days on this one since the prompt was beyond simple and so very wide open. You see, I have many red items in my home yet, none seemed all that interesting.

Then one morning, there it was, like a slap to the forehead as if to say, ‘Hey! What took you so long?’ 😉

So, there ya have it, folks, and just in under the extended deadline. Phew! 🙂

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