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A R C H I V E D...S U N D A Y...M O N T H L Y S 


I opened my

garage door the

other day and


saw this!


Can you


see the second



H O W... E C C E N T R I C...E X E R C I S E


A F F E C T S.. F A L L I N G


We have a lot of hilly trails here. Both paved and unpaved. We even have different skill-leveled hiking groups. To be honest, the combination of our high altitude and uphill climbs challenges me sometimes (ok, always.)


I mistakenly called one trail "Suicide Hill" until someone pointed out that it was called "Heart Attack Hill." Small difference, right?

Here's the good news: for every uphill, there's a downhill. Better news: trekking downhill is not just a relief and reward, but has its own specific benefits. It's an eccentric exercise. That is, one that lengthens muscles under tension or load. It may even make bones denser - especially on concrete where impact is more forceful.  


Have you heard of Dr. Peter Attia? Stanford-educated and Johns Hopkins-trained, he is the author of Outlive the Science & Art of Longevity - Rethinking Medicine to Live Better Longer. He also has a YouTube podcast called The Drive where he discusses health, medicine, sleep, longevity, and demonstrates various exercise routines. I used to receive his newsletter - all good information - but I canceled because he was too extreme and strict for me. I want to enjoy life more than his regimen allows. But I still occasionally peek in.

One thing he said stuck with me:


When people fall at a sidewalk curb, they usually do so stepping off the curb rather than stepping up to it. This is where eccentric exercise can help prevent such falls. That is, it lengthens and strengthens muscles - and thereby stabilizes and enhances one's balance.


Other eccentric movements include lowering into squats or pushups, or stepping off an exercise box. The lowering motion of arm curls is also eccentric. The slower you go, the greater the benefit.

Concentric exercise is the opposite - it shortens muscles during the exercise. Walking uphill, and pushing out of a squat or pushup, are concentric.  


Isometric exercise does not change the length of a muscle - as in planking.


Concentric exercise takes more oxygen and burns more calories so it seems like the hero. But eccentric exercise can develop more muscle. This information is probably not new to most of you but it surprised my friend as we reached the peak of one of our trails. She was happy to know our trip back had specific plusses.


A ..R E T I R E M E N T.. P H E N O M E N O N


During my years at PLC Interiors, clients would retire from time to time - and I'd think, "Good, we'll have more time to work together and complete projects faster." Wrong! Each client became busier than ever. And now... I'm in the same fortunate boat.


I have more time for hobbies, fun, and trying new things. The last art class I took was in kindergarten. I recently found a drawing of a pumpkin my mother had saved all these years. My teacher wrote at the bottom, "Patricia did a good job drawing a circle." News to me!


The art class at Justin-Siena High School was located at the end of the corridor closest to the parking lot. For four years, I walked by wanting to join the students inside but felt it outside my comfort zone.


As I write this now, I realize I did take one other art class - but does it count if I never attended? It was my last quarter in college and I needed a few more credits to graduate. It had to be easy because I was loaded with math classes - fulfilling my major.


I had already taken Spanish 1 & 2, Italian 1, and Latin 1 - easy. What else was left? An art class? I didn't think it would be easy but one looked intriguing.

I signed up but in the end, that same high school intimidation took over - which is why I never went. But, I needed those credits! I could get them if I completed the final assignment which was to paint something showing motion. Trains? Automobiles, a fast pitch, rushing water, swimming? How could I ever paint that?

In desperation, I came up with the crazy idea to drop quarter-size dots of watercolor paint all over a piece of craft paper. And, while the paint was still wet, turned the paper on its end so that the paint rolled down it.




When I first moved to Somersett, I looked up all the classes it offered. Many, including watercolor painting. But when I went to the Lodge (our club house), where the class was held, I saw a window full of paintings that students had done. So impressive... Darn! I was intimidated again.


And so, it took two years for me to get the nerve to join in. I only did so because the door was open one day my friend, Colleen, waved me inside where and I received an encouraging welcome from the rest of the painters. I showed up the following Monday and dove in. Unfortunately, the class lost its teacher, so we just paint whatever we want. I use YouTube videos to "learn" basic techniques.

How surprised was I to see that the professor pinned my masterpiece in the hall's display case! Proof that art is in the eye of the beholder. Hmm... don't think I've told this story before. Too ashamed for being such a slacker. I'm just glad I passed the class - and graduated.


A R T...v s...D E S I G N

A R T.. D R A W S.. Y O U.. I N.. ~  ..D E S I G N .. I S.. B E S T ..V I E W E D ..F R O M.. A F A R


When I left my secure math and tech world to pursue a degree in Architectural Interior Design, people thought I was crazy. I was working in San Francisco's Financial District, not far from FIDM (a design school) in Union Square. Every time I saw the school, I felt the same emotional draw I had walking by the art class at Justin-Siena. Design is different than art. More technical and more my speed.


In 2011, I was invited to speak at Sausalito Open Studios. In preparation, I explored these differences.

Chris James of Quantum Design Lab has some interesting insight: "Good art inspires. Good design motivates. Good art is interpreted. Good design is understood. Good art is a talent. Good design is a skill. Good art sends a different message to everyone. Good design sends the same message to everyone."


Based on my own definitions, I question if my paintings qualify as art. They are more of a reflection of things I like - buttercream-frosted cupcakes, fountain pens, the beach, and baby animals. Maybe art is doing something that carries one away - to dreamy, happy places. 


To read more, click on Archived Columns below and search "Art Versus Design."



The moral of this long story is...

J U M P   I N

Do what you've always wanted to do.

Why not?

Time is precious.


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