Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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A bunch of my goals for 2019 were related to getting my condo more organized. I had very high hopes that I’d be all handy and DIY-y this year and I would:

  • build a closet organizer in the front hall closet
  • build a closet organizer in the pantry closet
  • install a lazy Susan in each of the two corner cabinets in the kitchen
  • paint the inside of both the front hall closet and the office closet

I eventually came to accept that I just do not have the time to do these things and that my life would be much improved by being able to actually reach all the things that are in my kitchen cabinets and not have all my coats falling off the broken front hall closet coat rack. So I bit the bullet and called the guy who installed my closet door and closet organizer in my spare room last year and he knocked the first three of those things off of my “to do” list for me. I decided that I want to do the painting of the inside of the closets myself (with the leftover paint from last year’s painting project) and I figure can do that when I have some time off in December.

Here’s what my front hall closet looked like before:

Front hall closet - before
Front hall closet - before

Notice the wire rack that the coats are hanging on is broken on the right side, that the internet-related devices and all of their various cords and tangled mess on top of that wire shelf, and that shoes and other crap are all piled in a heap at the bottom of the closet.

Here’s what the closet looked like after:

Closet - after
Closet - after

Notice how there’s a proper rod to hang coats on and also a reasonably sized pile of crap on the bottom. In fairness, we did take the opportunity to go through all the stuff that was in the closet and divert some of it to donations (for the things that were still usable) or to the garbage (for things that were unsalvageable). But part of it was having a proper shelf to put stuff on (you can’t really see it well in the photo, but under the coats there is a shelf that that we could put things on). Also, all the various internet devices are now attached to the wall, so they don’t take up valuable shelf space:

Front hall closet -  after

Next up was the pantry cupboard. This cupboard, where we mostly store Tupperware and various other food containers, was rather infuriating .

Pantry - before

And here’s what it looked like after:

Pantry - after

You can’t tell from the photos, but those old wire shelves were about 4 inches less deep than the new shelves, so we’ve got quite a bit more shelf space now1. We also sorted through all the stuff in the various locations and took some of the stuff that was in here that we don’t use very often and have stored it elsewhere.

And lastly we have the kitchen cabinets. I have two corner cabinets in my kitchen that are quite deep and trying to get anything out of them was a complete nightmare. I’m pretty sure these cabinets defy the laws of physics, as no matter what item you want, it is always, somehow, buried underneath all the other objects and way at the back of the cabinet. Which resulted in the cabinet with all the pots and pans and various other cookware looking like this:

Kitchen cupboard - before

The second of these cabinets was used mostly for food (but also for baking sheets and cooling racks) and while it didn’t end up with everything all upside and turned around like the other cabinet, it was still a nightmare to try to get stuff out of – or even to see what stuff I had, which may or may not have resulted in me having 3 different bottles of apple cider vinegar and several opened boxes of lasagna noodles.

Kitchen cupboard - before

The sensible way of designing these cabinets, of course, is to have a lazy Susan in them, so that you can spin the shelf to find what you want rather than trying to reach all the way to the back. So we got a lazy Susan installed in each and now here’s what they looked like :

Kitchen cupboard with pots and pans - after
Kitchen cupboard with food - after

The picture doesn’t totally do justice to how much of an improvement this is to my life.

Also, while all of this was being done, we had to take everything that was in the front hall closet, the pantry closet, and the two kitchen cabinets out of those locations and store them in living room. And I just have to say that I was astonished by how much storage room my condo actually has, as just the stuff from these 4 places2 pretty much filled up my entire living room:

We had to empty out all the closets and cupboards that were being worked on
We had to empty out all the closets and cupboards that were being worked on

and my dining area:

We had to empty out all the closets and cupboards that were being worked on

So that’s definitely a selling feature I’m going to have to remember if I ever decide to sell this place.

Anyway that knocks three items off my 2019 goals list, which is nice because it’s already freaking November so the year is almost up!

And it makes my day-to-day life just that much more pleasant, which is pretty great too!

  1. You can also see that the white bins we use for recylcing at the bottom of the closet got considerably more filled up between the “before” and “after” photos. []
  2. My condo also has a walk through closet in the main bedroom, a closet in the spare room, and a storage locker in the parkade! []

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Half Way Goals Check-In

So, the year is half over. I know that every year I, like most people, marvel at how fast the year is going by, this year it’s way worse than previous years. Like, the year is half over and I haven’t really done anything… and I haven’t even planned stuff.

Anyhoo, I thought that maybe I’d do a check in on how my goals for 2019 are going since the year is half freaking over, but honestly doing this just made me feel like I really have done nothing with the first half of the year! Correction: this has motivated me to get going on my goals!

Anyhoo again, of my 19 goals, I’ve completed a grand total of 1. So yeah, I’m a wee bit behind. But the one that I did complete was monumental:

I DEADLIFTED 100 KG!

The goal was actually just to deadlift 90 kg, and I did for 2 reps of a 90 kg trap bar deadlift on Jan 13, and then again for 2 reps on Jan 20, and then I did a single rep of 100 kg. For those of you who prefer to think of weight in pounds, that’s 220.5 lbs.

I came close to one of my other weightlifting goals: I back squatted 85 kg on Jan 24, just 5 kg shy of my goal of 90 kg (i.e., 198 lbs).

I have made some progress on a few other goals. For the goal of making 19 new foods and/or beverages that I’ve never made before, I’ve made 5:

So I’m 26% done that goal – behind schedule, but I can definitely catch up.

For the goal of read 20 books, I’ve read 7 (5 of which I’ve already blogged about), and I’m in the process of reading 5 other books right now. So I feel like I’m on my way with this goal, although I wonder if I should focus my reading to get some of these books done, rather than sporadically reading from all 5 of them, just to make myself feel like I’m accomplishing something! I should also try to pick a few shorter books – most of the books I’m currently reading are quite long, which doesn’t help in the feeling-like-I’ve-accomplished-something department.

A number of my things on my list are home improvement-y/organization-y, so I probably should just make a plan to get some of those done, as some are the type of thing I can get done in a weekend here or there.

I haven’t sewn anything and I have a goal to sew 5 things, so I really should decide what I want to sew and get cracking on it. I have a goal of sleeping an average of 7 hours per night and though my Fitbit tracks my sleep for me, I can figure out how to find out what my average since Jan 1 has been. Looking at the graphs by month, I can see that I haven’t hit the 7 hour mark for any single month, so I know I’m not meeting the goal, but I guess I’ll have to download the data to calculate the yearly average myself. I have a goal to write in my journal once a week and I have written 23 entries, so I’m 44% done that goal. And I have a goal to have people over for dinner 5 times, and I’ve only hosted one dinner, so I should do some planning for that (anyone interested in coming over for dinner? Hit me up!)

As for my blogging goal, which was a *very* modest 78 blog postings, as soon as I hit “publish” on this one, I’ll have published 23 for the year (or 29.5%). Perhaps another thing I can spend a bit of time on!

 

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5 Books I’ve Read This Year

So it appears that 2019 is one-third over and, as I expected given that I was teaching all the classes this past semester, I am way behind on my goals for 2019!

One goal that I’m only a little bit behind on, however, is my goal to read 20 books this year. I’ve read 6 – or 30% of my goal. Here’s a rundown of 5 of them – the 6th one deserves its own blog posting, so that will come later.

Here there be spoilers

Read no further if you’ve not yet read these books and don’t want things in them to be spoiled:

Belinda Blinked 2
Belinda blinked 3
american gods
The crazy game
split tooth

As mentioned last year, I’m listening to the podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno, in which a man is reading terribly written erotic novels that his father wrote, completely skewering it with a couple of his friends. But since he reads an entire book each season, I think it’s only fair that I get to count them as books I’ve read, much like I would an audiobook. I’ve finished off two more seasons of the podcast, which means I’ve read:

Belinda Blinked; 2: The continuing story of, dripping sex, passion and big business deals. Keep following the sexiest sales girl in business as she earns her huge bonus by removing her silk blouse. Even just that title is ludicrous. Nothing in the book makes sense and the sex is pretty much always the least sexy people having the least erotic experiences possible. And it’s absolutely hilarious.

and

Belinda Blinked; 3: The continuing erotic story of sexual activity, dripping action and even bigger business deals as Belinda relentlessly continues to earn her huge bonus. This book had a bombshell in that, at the very end of the book, an actual plot emerged for the first time in the series! I was flabbergasted! I’m listening to season 4 now and while in some chapters it seems like the author has forgotten about this plot, it does come up a few times and I’m hopeful that there will actually be a resolution because book 4 is the last one in the series.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Cath recommended this one and since I absolutely loved Good Omens, which is also by Neil Gaiman, I figured I’d give it try. There are a bunch of characters who are various types of gods that have been brought to America from other countries over the centuries as people immigrated, bringing their conceptions of gods with them. There are figures from indigenous, Norse, Slavic, Ghanaian, Egyptian, and various other mythologies. But gods need to be worshipped to have strength and since not many people think about these old gods anymore, they are not faring that well. And then there are the new gods – the things people worship today, like the media and technology. I won’t get into the plot, but suffice it to say that I quite enjoyed it and I think I’ll watch the TV series version.

The Crazy Game: How I Survived in the Crease and Beyond by Clint Malarchuk

(Trigger warning: this section mentions a suicide attempt and trauma). I remember seeing an interview with Clint Malarchuk when this book came out. He is best known for being the NHL goalie who has his necked sliced by a skate in a game and nearly bled to death live on television. He ended up with PTSD from the experience and he also deals with OCD and alcoholism. In the book he talks about growing up, his hockey career, and dealing with his mental health issues (like how he challenged the obsessiveness that comes with OCD into his training as a goalie and his experiences in rehab). He also talks about his suicide attempt, where he put a gun to his chin and pulled the trigger in front of his wife saying “Look what you made me do!”). On the one hand, I think it’s really good that people are talking more about mental health, especially in an industry like professional hockey where men are expected to be “tough” and talking about mental health is seen as “weak”. On the other hand, parts of this book were difficult to read – Malarchuk was verbally and psychologically abusive to his wives1 and I found reading about the way he would gaslight his wife brought up stuff from my past that was somewhat triggering for me. I also found that in the next hockey game I played after reading about the skate blade incident, I was very aware of my neck2.

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

This book was recommended by Dr. Dan and it was a phenomenal read. It was very different than anything I’ve read before. Parts of it are memoir of growing up in Nunavut, parts are fiction and mythology, and parts are poetry. She moves among these in such a way that I wasn’t always sure what I was reading and then she’d take your breath away with a description of violence she experienced, or a scene of surreal beauty. It’s really hard to describe – you must read it for yourself!


So there are 5 of the 6 books that I’ve read this year. I’ll have to find some time to sit down and write a full blog posting about the 6th book that I’ve read, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. As a teaser, I’ll say that (a) you should read this book for yourself because there is no way I can do it justice, and (b) a major takeaway from this book is that not only do we have to do more than learn how to talk about race, we need to take action to support social justice for all people, if we really care about justice.

Also as a teaser, here are some of the other books that I’m currently reading (which I’ve just realized as I wrote out this list are all textbooks!):

Perhaps I should start a new fiction book too!
  1. In the book, he only refers to his current wife, Joan, by her name – the others are just “my first wife,” “my second wife”, and “my third wife”… at least, I think he had four wives – it was a little while ago now that I read the book, so maybe it was just three. It’s possible that he doesn’t include the names of his other wives out of respect for their privacy, but when reading it I felt like it came across as if they didn’t matter. []
  2. I always wear a neck guard when I play, in large part from having seen videos like the one of Malarchuk with blood spraying from his neck. But also because I’ve taken a few sticks and pucks to the throat and those hurt even with a neck guard on – I can’t imagine how bad they’d be without! []

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Goals for 2019

Since I did a lot better on my 2018 goals than I had on my previous two years’ goals, I’m going to stick with the format I used in 2018 – stating my SMART goals as if they have already been accomplish

Home Stuff

The last couple of years I’ve had, and failed to complete, “finish KonMaring my condo” on my list of goals. But now that I think about it, it’s too big of a goal. I tend to work better when I chunk out my goals into smaller tasks. So the main things I plant to have accomplished around the condo this year are:

  1. I’ve built a closet organizer in the front hall closet. The front hall closet is a bit of disaster, but I think having a proper organizer in there would help a lot!
  2. I’ve KonMari’ed all the bathroom stuff (including toiletries, make-up, and towels). My linen closet is also a disaster, but it’s more due to having too much stuff than a lack of shelving.
  3. I’ve KonMari’ed all the kitchen stuff. I have a *lot* of kitchen stuff. A lot of it good stuff, but I’m sure I could pare down a bit.
  4. I’ve installed a lazy Susan in each of the two corner cabinets in the kitchen. These cabinets are quite deep and they drive me insane when I have to get something from them because everything is piled on top of everything else and it’s hard to find stuff. In my old apartment, I’d put a lazy Susan in one of the cabinets and it made my life so. much. better. 
  5. I’ve built a closet organizer in the pantry closet. This pantry closet about filled with about 90% Tupperware and travel mugs (as well as various other stuff), plus where the recycling bins are. It definitely could be better organized than it is.
  6. I’ve painted the inside of both the front hall closet and the office closet. I have the leftover paint from when the condo was painted, so it’s just a matter of finding the time to do it!
  7. I’ve cleaned up the pile of bins in the office that are driving Scott crazy. Last year I did KonMari my books and managed to get rid of 2 full bookshelves, but there is a bunch of stuff in some bins that I need to sort through, figure out what to keep and what to get rid of, and then find proper homes for the former.
  8. I’ve compiled a list of all my accounts and other relevant information for my executrix. I wrote a will awhile ago but if I were to die today it would be a real pain in the butt for the executrix of my will to figure out where my money, investments, insurance, etc. is, so I really should get that organized!

Health Stuff

Health-wise, by the end of 2019, I plan to have accomplished:

  1. I’ve done a single unassisted pull up. Pull ups (when your palms are facing forward) are harder than chin ups (with palms facing towards you) and I haven’t done one unassisted… yet.
  2. I’ve done 10 unassisted chin ups in a row. My current record is 4 – though some days even one is a struggle. I’m confident that I can keep at them and get to 10 by the end of the year.
  3. I’ve deadlifted 90 kg (198 lbs). Current record is 75 kg.
  4. I’ve squatted 90 kg (198 lbs). Current record is 75 kg.
  5. I’ve slept an average of 7 hours per night1. I don’t get nearly enough sleep, but I know that is bad for you, both mentally and physically. So I’m going to make a concerted effort to be better at going to bed at a reasonable hour this year. (It also helps that I moved offices, so my commute is shorter now – I can just a little bit later than I used to on work days!)

Fun Stuff

And just for fun, by the end of 2019, I plan to have accomplished:

  1. I’ve made 19 new foods and/or beverages that I’ve never made before – and blogged about each of them.
  2. I’ve read 20 books – and blogged about each of them.
  3. I’ve written in my journal at least one time per week, on average.
  4. I’ve sewn 5 items.
  5. I’ve had people over for dinner 5 times.
  6. I’ve published 78 blog postings (that’s 1.5 per week, which is probably more realistic than the goals I’ve set in previous years).

Image credit:

Wood image created by Freepik; available on this page.

  1. I just got a Fitbit that will track this, so I won’t have to track it manually []

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How Did I Do On My 2018 Goals?

I set 18 goals for myself for 2018 – let’s see how I did!

Achieved:

  1. deadlifted my own body weight – record is now 75 kg (165 lbs) well above my body weight.
  2. set up and implemented a performance planning and review system for my team at work – done!
  3. painted my condo 
  4. did a chin-up or pull-up without the help of a resistance bandI did it! And then I did two in a row! By the end of December, my record was 4 in a row, which I managed one time. Chin ups are a tricky thing – some days I can barely get one done and other days I’ll get a few. But I’m very proud that my hard work all year paid off that chin ups are now a thing I can do.
  5. wrote in my journal at least one time per week, on average – accomplished! Some of them are brief, but the main thing here is that I feel like I’ve established a habit of journal writing again.
  6. made 18 new foods and/or beverages that I’ve never made before – done! 
  7. buy a freezer
  8. learned 12 new things – I learned about the following 12 things:
    1. home repair (specifically, fixing a cabinet hinge and a toilet seat)
    2. how to surf
    3. how to snorkel
    4. how to sew zippers
    5. how to use a hammerdrill
    6. Excel tricks
    7. mobile mesh networks
    8. drywall
    9. how to register a trademark
    10. Aeropress coffee making
    11. Tableau software
    12. scotch
  9. read 18 books I read 20! Also, my friend Linda used my goal to inspire herself to read 18 books this year and she did it too!

 

Did Not Achieve:

  1. Sew 5 items – I sewed 2 zipper pouches, so this goal was only 2/5 completed
  2. finish Konmaring my condo – not even close
  3. meditating once a week – also not even close
  4. submitted 3 papers for publication – submitted one, but had to withdraw it as by the time the reviews came back, I didn’t have any time to work on suggested revisions. I’m getting some research assistant help this year, so hopefully can get a few papers out.
  5. applying for a Nexus card – just didn’t get around to it. This one is going on the 2019 list!
  6. donating blood twice – didn’t even do it once
  7. published 118 blog postings – I only did 70, or 59% of my goal
  8. publish at least six are long form blog postings – I managed three
  9. bringing my lunch to work at least 75% of the time – didn’t even manage to track this!

So there you have it – I completed 50% of my 2018 goals, which is up from last year’s pathetic showing of 29%. Perhaps my tactic of writing my goals as if they were already achieved work? I think I’ll try it again for my 2019 goals!

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All the rest of the new foods that I made this year

I’m back dating this posting to yesterday because I had it mostly written but didn’t quite get around to finishing it before I had to leave for a New Year’s Eve party last night.

When I last wrote about the new foods I made this year as part of my goal to make 18 food items or beverages that I have never made before, I’d only made 5 foods. Of course, that was back in February, and I’ve made a lot of things since then. Thirteen things, so be specific.

  1. a saison beer
  2. olive tapenade
  3. beer battered fish tacos
  4. salmon cakes
  5. balsamic vinaigrette
  6. peach-bourbon jam – made this from peaches I got in the Okanagan. And it was a huge hit with those who I shared it with1
  7. mint juleps – made these for my friend Kim and her boyfriend when they came over for dinner with mint from my balcony garden
  8. pickling spice – made this so I could make spicy pickled carrots
  9. spicy pickled carrots
  10. cream of asparagus soup – made this with my sister’s Vitamix for my aunt who came over for lunch when I was at my sister’s place over Christmas
  11. Godfather – a delicious beverages that is made from whiskey & amaretto
  12. sugar pie – made this for Christmas dinner
  13. Irish soda bread – got this recipe from a friend of mine who tweeted their grandmother’s recipe. It is so simple to make and very delicious!

So there you have it – the remaining 13 new things I made this year to complete my goal of making 18 new foods and/or beverages this year. 

And I’m already looking forward to making even more new things in 2019. The list of ideas so far include: sourdough bread, plus sauce, ginger beer, pickled asparagus, and, inspired from our trip to Scotland: Scottish tablet and Cullen skink.

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Stuff I Learned This year: Tableau edition

One of the things on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days is “Learn a new software program” and this year, I did just that. The program in question is Tableau, which is a fantastic software for data visualization. 

This was something that I did for work, as my team and I had to create a dashboard to present data that needs to be monitored on an ongoing basis. We were able to get Tableau licences and a place to store our dashboard on a Tableau server that the organization has, so we had to teach ourselves how to use it quite quickly. It wasn’t very intuitive at first, but once we got the hang of it, we were able to create some very cool dashboards.

As these dashboards are part of my work, I can’t actually share them here – they are limited to within the organization. But they are awfully beautiful and they are interactive too, so you can hover over things on the graphs to get more information or filter them (e.g., to see the data for different hospitals, or different units within the hospitals).

I won’t say that I’m a Tableau expert by any stretch of the imagination – several of the people on my team who work on our dashboard regularly are much more skilled at it than I am. But I learned the basics and I think that counts as a new thing I learned this year!

Image credits: Tableau logo was posted in the Wikimedia Commons with a Creative Commons license

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Stuff I Learned This Year: Trademark Edition

Another thing I learned this year is how to register a trademark in Canada.

Did you know that for just $2501? All you need to do is to fill in a simple form (with your name and address, what you want to trademark, what goods and/or services will be associated with your trademark and how you intend to use it), send them $250 ,and then wait.

After you file your application, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), will review your application to make sure that what you want to trademark can be registered (e.g., make sure it’s not in conflict with an existing trademark). If your application is approved, it gets published in the “Trade-marks Journal” for two months, during which others can oppose it). If it doesn’t get opposed (or if the opposition isn’t successful), your application will be “allowed”. Then you pay another $200 to register the trademark.

Once registered, you have 3 years to use the trademark – and it’s a case of if you don’t use it, you lose it! After 15 years (and every 15 years thereafter), you have to pay a renewal fee of $3502.

So it’s actually a pretty simple process – assuming that no one opposes your trademark. If they do, you have to provide evidence and written arguments and it could even end up going to court – which I’m sure would end up being pretty costly!)

Anyway, it’s all summarized here on the Government of Canada’s website, if you are interested: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr04355.html?Open&wt_src=cipo-tm-main 

  1. $300 if you want to file on a paper form instead of online – but why would you, really? []
  2. $400 if you file on paper – but again, why would you? []

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30 days to go for my 2018 goals

There are a mere 30 days left in 2018, so I figured I’d check in on how I’m doing on my 2018 goals. When last we checked in, I had achieved 3 of my 2018 goals. I have now achieved two more of my goals:

And I’m nearly done:

  • read 18 books (I’m on book #18 for the year)
  • make 18 new foods and/or beverages that I’ve never made before (I’ve made 14/18 new things this year, but I haven’t yet done my Christmas baking)
  • learn 12 new things – I’ve only blogged about 7, but I have 4 other things that I’ve learned about but haven’t yet blogged. Which means I only have to learn about one more thing (or remember one other thing that I learned but haven’t yet put on my list) – that’s totally do-able

There’s a few others that are within the realm of possibility:

  • write in my journal at least one time per week, on average – I’ve been writing in it lately, though I’d need to check exactly how many times to see how many more I’d need to do to reach 52
  • sew 5 items – I’ve only done 2, but 3 more isn’t that much if I just make the time to do it!
  • apply for a Nexus card – also something that I can do if I dedicate the time to it
  • publish 118 blog postings – so far I’ve done a meagre 47, which means I’d need to do 2-3 postings a day from now until the end of the year to hit this. So not impossible, but would require a lot of time (and would probably annoy the hell out of everyone who follows me on Twitter).
  • publish at least six long form blog postings(minimum of 3000 words) – I’ve done 2 and I expect when I finally do my big recap of my Scotland trip, that will be more than 3000 words, but I’m not sure what else I’d want to write that’s that long. So possible, but I guess we’ll see whether I get it done or not.

So that makes 8/18 that are highly likely to be completed, and I could possibly be as high as 13/18 if I do all of the possible ones. Wish me luck!

 

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I Did A Chin Up!

The other day, my gym posted on Facebook that one of the trainers, Cindy Lou, had achieved her goal of doing an unassisted chin up. As you may recall, doing an unassisted chin up or pull up1 is also one of my goals and I’ve been working a lot on building up the muscles one needs to do an unassisted chin up2. So the next time I was at the gym, I told Cindy Lou that she was my hero as I was working towards that goal too. And she said, “Give it a try. You’ve been working hard, you might be able to do it now. The trick is not to think. Don’t hang. Just grab on and pull up right away.”

And so I decided to give it a try after the first set of my workout (so that my muscles would have a chance to be activated). I went over to one of the cages, climbed up on a box to reach the bar… and then I thought about it for too long and could barely lift myself two inches. Cindy Lou and I started chatting about it – basically me saying, “I was thinking too much!” and then right in the middle of chatting, I just reached up, grabbed on to the bar, and pulled myself up! The last little bit was a struggle, but I did it! I did a full on chin up, all with my own strength! No assistance3 whatsoever! I have to say, I was pretty chuffed! And there may have been a few high fives in celebration.

The trainer who writes my program, Dee, sent me a congratulatory email when she heard about it the next day. Because that’s the kind of trainers we have at my gym – they are genuinely excited and so proud of you when they’ve seen you work hard and finally achieve that goal you’ve been striving for for so long! She suggested that I now add in a chin up every day that I go to the gym. And when I get used to that, add one before every super set4. And then make it two. And it grows from there!

The next day when I went into the gym, I got lots of high fives from the trainers – like I said, the trainers at my gym are genuinely excited for us when we make progress. And I did another chin up and it felt so much easier than the day before. My first one was a bit shaky, especially at the top, but this one was smooth and I felt so strong! Now I feel like it’s not just that “I did an unassisted chin up”, but “I’m a person who does unassisted chin ups!”

Footnotes:

  1. Chin ups are where you grip the bar with your palms facing you (or you can do a neutral grip with your palms facing together, which requires a chin up bar that has grips facing this way), and a pull up is done with your palms facing away from you. The pull up is harder than the chin up. For the record, the one I did was a neutral grip chin up. []
  2. Chin ups are especially challenging for women, who tend to have less upper body strength compared to men. They have also been increasingly challenging for me as I’ve put on a fair amount of muscle since I started lifting, which means that I have to lift more weight! []
  3. In my training towards getting to this point, I have been doing, among other things, chin ups and pull ups where you tie a resistance band to the bar and you stand in it while you do your chin up or pull up – it takes away a bit of your weight so that you can practice the movement but without having to lift your entire body weight. When I started training, I used several bands and as my training progressed, I used fewer bands, and lighter bands, so that I was lifting more and more of my weight. []
  4. The way our programs are designed, we often have two or three exercises groups together. So say you are doing 3 sets each of exercises A1 and A2 – you’d do A1, A2, A1, A2, A1, A2 – and all that together is called a “super set”). Then you move on to your B exercises, then C, and sometimes also D. []