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Holiday tolls

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I already know I'm going to get slammed by violation on tolls blown through during my move here. I have the i-pass transponder the Illinois DOT uses, because over the last ten years I traveled through Illinois, going to, or through Chicago often enough to make it worth having. Although the balance I had in the system dropped under the $10 auto-refresh threshold after my day after Thanksgiving run to Chicago, the e-mail informing me that the credit card I had on file was expired, and it failed to add funds didn't arrive until after I moved,, going through gates worth approximately $6-7 in tolls. I didn't see the e-mail until a couple days further on. I made a good few attempt to get in touch with the IDOT folks, but their customer service phone line is pretty much useless; rather than putting someone on hold if no one is available to take the call, it seems like you're just given a busy signal, and expected to call back or something. Bottom line, here's hoping the violation fees aren't too ludicrous.

That's not necessarily the toll I was speaking of in the title, though, what with the holiday eating getting out of hand over the past week. I did a mid-day weighing today, and saw a number 9 pounds heavier than the last weight I took in Wisconsin, ten days ago. I'm not sweating it, what with a) it coming in the middle of the day, b) after a heavy lunch, c) while I was full of crap (literally), and d) with a few other, less scatological reasons involved. But it's a reminder how easily the weight can go on, as set against the knowledge of how much effort it takes to get rid of.

The fact of the weight loss over the past year gives me a certain level of confidence (tempered, of course by the paranoia mentioned often in this space about how I'm afraid the thinner me is the reality rather than the reality) that whatever portion of that excess is real will be dealt with, once I do join a gym, once the holiday and its more frequent temptations pass, et cetera. But, it's definitely a sobering thought to realize that however imperfect a measure, it's easily possible to change weight, and not for the better, by nearly ten pounds in ten days.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLEURGARDEN 12/27/2012 11:04AM

    I hope your fines aren't too bad, and that they show you some holiday leniency and good will.

And hopefully both of our holiday weight gains will vaporize quickly!

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HEARTOFROSE 12/27/2012 9:14AM

    Hang in there! You will be surprised at your rapid weight loss after a decent bowel movement :p



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1CRAZYDOG 12/27/2012 9:11AM

    As for IDOT . . . I am from IL too, moved to WI 5 yrs. ago and got that transponder. YIKES . . . I don't even know why they have that customer service line! They're IDOT idiots! But alas, I guess it's one way to make sure they get revenue from fines, etc.!

Yup . . . time to get back in the caravan for a healthier lifestyle after the holidays. Keep pushing!



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REDDBETSY 12/27/2012 2:47AM

    wow. dude, that is a scary blog!
tolls, fines, and gains: oh my!
here's hoping that you are right about it being a transitory state--
keep pushing back!
glad you are moved, though. moving is dreadful. better to have it behind you!
Here is to a new year and a clean slate!
Cheers!


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Arriving somewhere...but not here

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

If anyone's stalking closely enough, they'll notice that I just dipped my toe into the 'community journal' forum and started a topic with that same name. As I typed there, that seems to be the quick thought, talking to myself version of what I end up rambling on about in a blog post, so maybe that will prove a decent outlet for thoughts I leave out of these blog posts (which, given the way I ramble and have no shame in doing so, might be rare), or maybe that will serve as a jumping point for things I expound upon later in this space. I really don't know how, or frankly, whether I'll use that outlet, but it's there, and it's now live, and...ummm...there seems to be a link to it on my sparkpage, which is fortuitous because otherwise it might be difficult for me to get to, if I didn't use it a couple of days and it got buried and I got annoyed that it was difficult for me to get to, so I didn't go to it, and it disappeared into the ether for an extended time...

Come to think of it, that was somewhat how this blog space was for me before I made a deliberate effort to use it over these last few weeks.

Title song link, it's by the band Porcupine Tree. "Arriving somewhere, but not here" is a great phrase for being in the midst of a journey that you haven't reached the end of yet. Might not exactly be what the song is about (I've always thought of it in terms of a drunk driving incident, but maybe because I was living in Wisconsin?), but the title can definitely be expanded to refer to anything you need it to be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOFvMHEQL
EA

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GARDENCHRIS 12/25/2012 9:40AM

    everyday we take a breath IS a journey... it is what WE do while we are on this journey that matters.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/25/2012 8:30AM

    Life IS the journey and we never mnow where we'll end up! NO matter . . . we generally end up where we're supposed to be.

Merry Christmas!

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It's snowing snowballs and snowbricks out there!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Well, it's snowing, anyway. The entry title is from the hallmark cards ad that just came across the TV as I clicked on the button to open this blog post. Fortunate that it did, because I didn't have any idea what I was going to scribble on about today, but Hallmark is definitely a entity that can bring on a rant, even if the ad makes me laugh every time. Just too many 'holidays' out there based on commerce rather than tradition. Sure, there are people who deserve the recognition cooked up by some ad man for Secretary's Day (I don't even know if that's a real thing, although I suspect it is, and a quick trip to the google machine tell me I'm right, but that I owe an apology to all the Administrative Professionals of the working world since the word secretary might be demeaning whether we're celebrating them on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 or taking them for granted every other day of the year).

That said, Christmas is certainly a 'real' holiday, however you slice it. I've had a complicated relationship with it all along, what with not being christian and not having any religious basis for celebration, but being a kid in the United States, with a mom who really liked the idea of the holiday in a family that wasn't well off so presents were more practical than anything. The feelings have evolved over the years to a point where I'm highly amused at the religious types who deny the pagan origins of the celebrations, and agree with them heartily about the overcommercialization of the holiday. For me, the main thing about this time of year is the friends and family aspect, which is horribly cliche, and oh so true. The distance I had from family, living in Wisconsin the last 9 years, that certainly played a role. I'm a little curious, now that I've moved back to Michigan, if I'll feel differently next year, assuming I remain here throughout 2013. Guess we'll see...

Seeing friends is also a great perk of Christmas, since the holiday often brings them back to the home base (hello captain Obvious!), the only time some of us run into each other each year, or longer. On the other hand, one of those reunions leads to some fantastic overeating, fueled by the Ultimate Cheesebread from a joint called Mr. Pizza. Oh, and T-Hots, which are tater hots stuffed with spicy nacho cheese. And breaded fried mushrooms. And a couple of random items off their menu. But not pizza, because that just wouldn't be right. I mean, who gets pizza from a place called Mr. Pizza? What do they know about that particular food? It's one of those traditions born from college days, although there hasn't been any pro wrestling involved the last few years. Good times, but oh so stupid from a dietary point of view. Not that I'm complaining or apologizing. Just planning on definitely join a gym soon, since the idea of working out at home is a non starter. But so it goes.

Random aside, I have no hope of doing a squat correctly without a weight as a counterbalance right now. I can't squat down without bending at the waist, not without having the feet too wide apart. Back to the google machine to see where the deficiency is, and to see what I might be able to do about it!

Back to where I started this ramble, if you celebrate Christmas, here's hoping you have a merry, happy one! And if not, here's to a great 25th of December!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/26/2012 8:39PM

    Have a happy Holidays!

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MIDNIGHTER1 12/25/2012 2:46AM

    Merry Christmas emoticon to you also.

Comment edited on: 12/25/2012 2:47:31 AM

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REDDBETSY 12/24/2012 8:15PM

    Merry Solstice, you Rotten Heathen Pagan!

(me too-- I mostly just like having a tree in the house!)

But look up wall squats with Swiss ball here on Spark-- they gave me the support I needed to get over the bad-form-squat-issue (I always lift my heels way up and stick my knees way past my toes AND bend at the waist).

And I am jealous of your white Christmas-- I am just staying home to drink spiced cider and admire my tree with my man this year, so a nice full blanket of snow would be welcome!

Cheers!


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EVWINGS 12/24/2012 8:10PM

    Happy December 25th to you, too!! I love your humor!!

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JANEDOE12345 12/24/2012 7:56PM

    Love your blogs. All that loving description of food. You sound as obsessive as I am, lol. Enjoy the fun of OPH (other people's holidays) and if you get time off, what a great time to relax and count reindeer.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 12/24/2012 7:28PM

    Merry Christmas!

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NORWOODGIRL 12/24/2012 7:02PM

    Have a wonderful Christmas emoticon

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OTEN36 12/24/2012 6:53PM

    emoticon
Merry Christmas to you also.
emoticon

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if you go to a gym, do you notice the other people there?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

snack attack tonight, hweet thins (ask stewie about this) and cookies and milks. no, singular on that last one. apparently, capitalization is optional tonight, and I'm opting against. first week in michigan ends with about a three pound gain, attributable almost entirely to the fast food moving day(s) binge. which is good and bad in a way, the bad being the obvious, but the good being that beyond that initial increase, and despite a lack of any traditional exercise the whole week (still logged 180 minutes, from lifting boxes and another source mentioned in a minute), i didn't put on any more lbs. The (ooh, sneaky capital t snuck in there, and I'm amused that spell check is redlining the word snuck, as any 8 year old can tell you it's a perfectly good word) 25 gym trips in 7 weeks only resulted in about 4.5 lbs lost so i feared that not going to a gym and getting in that cardio would result in rapid scale inflation, and so far that doesn't seem to be the case. but i think i'm still getting a gym membership in the new year. trying to figure out whether to go with a cheaper option that still appears to contain most of my necessities, or pay a bit more to have a better chance of running into people playing basketball (university rec center membership). leaning towards cheaper for now, wondering if there will be decent motivation there, in terms of a decent number of people.

curious, if you go to a gym, do you notice the other people? don't mean just in terms of cute members of your preferred sex, but more in terms of whether someone booking it on the machine next to you makes you run/bike/ellipticize a little harder? or for those into strength training, do the meatheads actually motivate you to push a bit more rather than intimidate/disgust you? me, the people around me didn't necessarily matter to my workout, with an occasional exception. i recall trying to keep up with someone on the next rowing machine and quickly giving up that chase, she would have beaten me by 50 meters in a 100 meter race.

wondering this because i dropped into the cheaper option, a county rec center, around 2 pm the other day, and the crowd skewed decidedly older. may have been a function of the time of day, i don't really know. the campus option would be more crowded, and with people likely working at a more active rate. i claim that the people around didn't impact my exercise, but i wonder if that's entirely true. guess i'll find out.

anyway, mentioned the other bit of exercise i got this week above, the last hour of my claimed 180 minutes, and that came in the form of bouncing off of people at a concert. it wasn't a metal show, it was more of a punk/prog/noise show, 4 bands of differing aesthetics, but similarly enticing the crowd to bump along. i haven't really experienced, or at least participated in a mosh pit set to this sort of music, so it was familiar in a way, what with all the physics of bouncing off of people, but also with a different vibe, with some guys just meandering their way through the crowd in a way that doesn't happen in a metal pit. whatever, it was fun, first time seeing a show after i moved, first time going to that particular venue in ten years or more, and totally having flashbacks to hanging out there in undergrad, and a few concerts i saw there back in the day. definitely got my cardio in in that pit, actually got tired a lot sooner than expected. definitely planning to do the same go out and see random bands thing i used to do in madison, curious to find out what the scene's like these days in ann arbor, as the city's half the size of madison, but also one that i wasn't really plugged into back in the day. whole new bunch of bands out there to discover, hope to find a few cool ones around.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/26/2012 8:26PM

    I do notice occasionally it makes me push harder. i like an active gym.

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HEARTOFROSE 12/25/2012 7:26PM

    Sounds like moving day is done. YAY!

I tend to notice people around me. It is just part of how I am wired. However, when I do workout, it is all about me vs the machine and conquering a new personal best.

My schedule seems to have lined up with a number of people who I eventually buddied up with. Though we all go into our zones as work out socializing very briefly at the gym.

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1CRAZYDOG 12/23/2012 10:07AM

    Zoned out when I'm doing gym time. Into doing my "thing".

Isn't the declention Sneek Snack Snuck (emphasis on the middle declention)! LOL

Merry Christmas.

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FLEURGARDEN 12/23/2012 10:01AM

    I tend to zone out in the gym and rarely notice other people - not even friends who wave as they walk by (they must think I'm rude or something, but I'm usually focused on my workout and not what's going on around me). The exception is, however, those people who call attention to themselves with their theatrics - grunting a lot when lifting weights, or stopping every thirty seconds on the treadmill to sigh heavily and wipe the slight sheen off their brow. I tend to notice the people who aren't really there to exercise, but to be "seen" while pretending to exercise.

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RISINGBLUESTAR 12/23/2012 9:50AM

    I think most people are focused on their own workouts. I notice people but that's because the gym I go to is small. I don't think about their size or how fast they are going. I am there to get healthy for me, not them so if they someone is going faster than me, good for them. Everyone has to start somewhere. :)

emoticon

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ASILLA 12/23/2012 9:49AM

    i Just finished a 6 week bootcamp at a very small privately owned local gym. It was twice a week for an hour and they had "homework". It was a good experience. Every Saturday a.m when I would go into do my homework there would be a man on the cardio machines,very plesant (he always spoke) and not moving very fast but he was there when i got there and still going when i left over an hour later...he had to be at least 70 years old.
THAT inspired me.

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JANEDOE12345 12/23/2012 9:32AM

    I try not to look at other people for fear they will be looking at me, and the way I look when exercising is not an inspiration to anyone.

emoticon

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GARDENCHRIS 12/23/2012 8:18AM

    i don't use a gym.... probably would not care or notice what they were doing.Unless they were into something I thought might be interesting and then I'd ask about it.... my mind is a curious thing!

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BLUE42DOWN 12/23/2012 4:01AM

    I usually am pretty focused when I'm at the gym. I do notice other people, but I don't think I've ever tried to keep up with or outwork someone around me. Instead, I tend to push myself to outperform previous efforts. (Dunno if it's true everywhere, but I do notice my gym has a very broad variety - from someone walking 2.5 mph on the treadmill to someone running at 10 mph, from those curling 15 pound dumbbells to those curling 75 pounders.)

The "meatheads" don't intimidate or disgust me. Some seriously impress me when I see them do something with very clean form (like the guy doing hanging pikes). The people who disgust me are the selfish ones who ignore all the gym etiquette rules and don't clean up after themselves, leave equipment scattered around, talk loud on their cell phone, or completely fail to handle their scent (whether B.O. or over-dosed with cologne/aftershave/perfume.)

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BRENDA_G50 12/23/2012 3:49AM

    Actually, the only time I notice or pay attention to others that are exercising is, if they are using a particular machine that I like to use, to see if they will be through using it any time soon or if I need to just go ahead and use a different machine and then go back later to the machine I really wanted to work out on.

And since I can't afford to go where I would really like to to work out, I just settled for the cheaper community gym...that's probably why I'd just rather stay at home and use the machines I have here instead. emoticon

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Chained to a bandwagon with no wheels

Saturday, December 22, 2012

That's how I used to describe my fandom of the Detroit Lions. I'm a fan because of an accident of birth and geography: I was born and grew up in southeastern Michigan, and as such, I like the Lions. But it's hard being a Lions fan, when they wasted the talents of the greatest running back ever, Barry Sanders, when they'd win a division one year and sink to last place the next, when they went 0-16 a few years ago. Just one indignity after another, and really, it was a bandwagon with a ton of space on it, regardless of the fact that NFL football is the single biggest force on the American sports scene. There were apocryphal stories parents nudging their kids away from being Lions fans because of the heartache involved, and some were probably even true.

Last year, it started to change a bit, as with a couple of high draft picks, a new coach, the Lions showed a bit of spark, and started winning the close games that they'd inevitably choked away in years past. Somehow, they kept wining. Somehow, they made the playoffs. That they lost in the wild card game didn't matter, things were looking up, the bandwagon suddenly had more people on it, who were willing to believe and lift it up from the gloomy muck the diehards had been wallowing in for so long.

And then, this year happened. A couple of unexpected early losses. A mini streak getting the team back to 4-4 at the halfway mark of the season, and then....THUNK! They haven't won a game since. You see it on the message boards, the rats jumping ship, calling for the head of the head coach. You hear it on sports radio, the vitriol spewing from the speakers. SAME OLD LIONS. Yeah, they fell back to their old tricks of losing games under a different heartbreaking scenario each week, upping the ante on failure every time out. But, really, people? You were so quick to latch on when they were winning, and now fuggedaboutit?

One of the curses of sports fandom, people like winners and barely tolerate losers. I didn't think that I was a fair weather fan, until the Detroit Pistons sunk towards the bottom of the NBA, and for the first time eve, I found myself not caring much about one of my teams because they'd become boring to watch. Granted, the way the NBA controls radio feeds, I didn't have a cheap way to keep up with the team while out in Wisconsin, so that played a role. Now that I'm back in Michigan, and have access to the radio and TV broadcasts, we'll see if that changes things, or whether I'll pay more attention to what is still a pathetic team.

I only intended to use the bandwagon analogy as a jumping off point, but got caught up in a rant. Ten minutes ago, I meant to point to the wagon as something we had to stay on, whether in terms of sticking to a diet plan, or an exercise regiment, where falling off means falling behind, getting further away from where we want to be. But then I used the phraseology of the title of this entry, and I started thinking of it in a different way, where WE ARE THE WAGON. If things aren't working, then, we're the ones who have failed to provide the wheels. Sometimes, when we're not taking care of ourselves, other people don't seem to care. Bit of a vicious logic there, in that if you let yourself slip, others might stop believing in you, just when you need their support the most to get back in the driver's seat of your own wagon, but there's a sad reality to it - before you get that support, you have to make the first effort, whether it's logging in to a site like this, joining a gym, whatever.

It's not a new realization, I figured this out 15 months ago, before I decided to poke my head into this place. But sometimes, you just start ranting, and an old insight hits you in a new way. I finally had to change things as far as diet and to a lesser degree exercise, and then you guys helped me push my wagon back on the road. And for that, thanks.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/26/2012 8:30PM

    LOL The lions and the bears play Sunday. I am an avid bears fan. we need this win to make the playoffs I really hope the Lions continue to play poorly.

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NIKKICOLE83 12/22/2012 9:03PM

    Fabulous bog. I, by the way, was a HUGE Detroit Pistons fan from 2002-2006. When they traded Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups, I couldn't get over it. But my ultimate favorite was crazy Rasheed Wallace whom I ultimately followed to Boston with the Celtics. I love my Celtics, even after Rasheed left with his back issue. My all-time favorite is Rajon Rondo. He is the most arrogantson0of-a-gun, but I love him. They have consistently gotten worse as a team the past two seasons but I still bought tickets to see them in February.

Now that i am off of my sports schpeel, I love the anology you have provided here. It is so accurate. It is amazing to me the amount of support I have received once I lost the first 30 lbs. When I was 272, I wasn't getting that. It is completely ironic but like you said, you have to be able to drive yourself because your supporters won't continue to withstand disappointing seasons.

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LITTOGREENWITCH 12/22/2012 6:42PM

    I'll be there to root on your bandwagon emoticon

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DMEYER4 12/22/2012 4:12PM

  even if your team is not doing good you should still be there to encourage them to play their best and it is also true in every aspect of life. you should encourage your family and friends to go on but most of all encourage yourself. Only you can drive your own wagon.

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