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Bring on the Change!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ahhhh relaxing weekends....NOT!

The rest of April and a good chunk of May are gearing up to be frenetically busy. Like many of you, I've got a lot going on at work, and on top of that I've got a bunch of family about to descend on us (Mom, our son and girlfriend, my brother and maybe his wife & kids, and a nephew) the first week of May, with my mom staying for about 3 weeks. Then, SWMBO and I are fixing to get ready (sadly this Boston Boy has picked up phrases like "fixing to get ready" after living in the south for a few years) to move into some new digs sometime at the end of May, so while we're organizing and cleaning for the visits, we're looking at everything with a critical eye and sending tons of stuff to Goodwill and the local shelters (why is it mostly my stuff that gets chucked?)

And she reminded me yesterday that next weekend we're hosting a big hoopla we had made plans for many moons outdoor dinner event for about 14 people. And oh yeah, we had to go shopping for it today (she'll finish the rest of it at the end of the week, but we had to go get some of the staples today....ahhh shopping). AND she gave me the hairy eyeball about getting some new shirts, so we spent some time combing over a few websites and settled on a handful of twills and bengal stripes....hmmmmm, should I start ordering the slim fits now....?

But here was the cool part of the day.....I forgot to bring my cane shopping! I thought it was great....SWMBO and #2 son, not so much. Now I've been sneaking around the house without it on short jaunts, but this was my first outdoor adventure without it. Besides, this Wednesday is my last checkup with the doc where he's supposed to clear me for a life of bipedalism after the visit. I suspect it'll be another 6-10 months before I can even consider running, but my goal is to get him to clear me to ride the bike (the road bike that is) and to start back on some weight bearing leg exercises (lunges, squats, etc.)

Anyway, today felt great and gave me a taste of something good to look forward to the rest of this week.....even with the looming visits and lifestyle changes.

Bring on the change! Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 4/11/2011 5:44PM

    Congrats on losing the cane! I didn't realize that you needed a cane for so long with hip surgery. With knee, I had it for a week or so after a week of the walker. Enjoy all your company...and, eat healthy and feed them healthy, too!

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TEXAS_GRL 4/11/2011 6:56AM

    Sounds like you will be very busy the next few weeks! I was tired just reading about it. emoticon So how did you feel after your big caneless excursion? Safari is right SWMBO might just handcuff that cane to you if you try that again. LOL

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SAFARIBABE 4/11/2011 5:20AM

    Why is your stuff getting the boot? That's easy Sugar...b/c it's Swmbo NOT Hwmbo! LOL WTG on your temporary reprieve from the cane. Careful tho, your hairy-eyed SWMBO may handcuff it to your arm if you try that again. You have enough hours at the office to cheat under the radar, but I highly recommend you behave at home. So did you scope out the 55" at the new digs?

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BOBF15 4/10/2011 9:19PM


A little Steppenwolf, Sir----


Cleared to ride.... that's what I am sayin'

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Prom Night!

Friday, April 08, 2011

So today I went to the High School a parent chaperone of course!

#2 son attends a special needs High School and these guys did some amazing stuff! SWMBO always tells me when we go to these things, "half the time you just want to cheer out loud, the other half your heart just wants to burst into tears."

So my morning started off going to "Dude's Day" where a few dads (very few unfortunately) came in to help the teens learn how to tie ties, talked to them about not overdoing the cologne, emphasized table manners, etc. But the most amazing thing was that a local High School has a Leadership Program that helps our school put on this event. About 15 teen guys (the girls had their own separate program teaching them how to get all dolled up), came in and talked to their special needs peers about how to ask a girl to dance, how to behave when you're dancing etc. I was floored! I have never seen such a mature bunch of teens.

Then tonight, the same group of guys & gals came in dressed up in 50s clothes and each picked a partner to escort throughout the night. They danced together, they ate, they laughed, they helped them fix up their clothes, escorted them to the bathrooms, helped them work through their disabilities to have an incredibly great time....certainly a better time than I had at my prom back in 19......but I digress.

I couldn't believe it! A ROTC detachment drew swords in an entry arch for the kids where their escorts accompanied them down a lighted red carpet. Each of these teens I went over to and thanked told me that the pleasure was theirs, that they loved what they did to help out the school. WOW! I was awestruck by their sense of community and service.

SWMBO and I hung out and walked around....helped some of the kids that were having the most trouble and when we looked over at our guy, he had his little Jennifer Grey look-a-like escort (Think "Baby" Houseman not Dancing with the Stars) on the dance floor raving to Y-M-C-A!

Earlier today I had rushed home in a frenzy to get changed up for this entire day was a turbulent mess of putting out varied fires. I blew off lunch, had a few cans of emergency tuna I keep in the office, blew off the gym when crisis 99 emerged, then hightailed it back home to change and get #2 son's tie tied right. 45 minutes later, my days' troubles vanished into a puff of insignificance when I saw kids overcoming physical and mental afflictions having the time of their lives because a few dozen of their peers thought it the right thing to do devoting their teenage Friday night to helping another school put on Prom Night!

Wow! All of a sudden, any angst I felt about work, about weight loss, about not working out enough, about eating too much whatever was really put into perspective....I'm pretty darn healthy and have too much to be grateful for. A great lesson in humility.

Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAINLADY 4/10/2011 6:26PM

    Wonderful blog. I have a handicapped daughter. What a thrill it would have been for her to have experienced what your son did. It seems all we hear about today's youth is the bad stuff. Something like you've explained needs to make national news so we can sit back and say, "We're still okay." God bless those young men and women who gave so unselfishly of themselves to make someone else happy.

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JUNEBUG1944 4/9/2011 5:45PM

    Now that I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes, I want to thank you for this blog. What a wonderful time for those kids. And, how wonderful that the other kids were there to lend a hand and support the special kids. Here I was all smart mouth about your prom...sorry. My twin brother is brain-damaged and I remember what we all went through when he was in school. Wish he could have experienced such a wonderful night!

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TEXAS_GRL 4/9/2011 2:54PM

    An amazing blog! I was just floored when I read about the teenage boy volunteers. So often you hear what is wrong with kids today and it was nice to hear something so positive. Sounds like everyone had a nice time. Sounds way better then my own prom!

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TIFFGETSFIT 4/9/2011 12:06PM

    What a fabulous blog :) Made me smile!!! There ARE still thoughtful, unselfish, and respectable teenagers in the world!

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BOBF15 4/9/2011 11:41AM


Sounds pretty healthy to me. You should be off the charts on your next Spark check up, where it talks about how you are feeling. More to life than calories and minutes, but you know this.

emoticon emoticon

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BRADOS 4/9/2011 10:46AM

    awesome experience and one never forgotten I would imagine - thanks for sharing - pretty uplifting to hear of teens sharing their time like that and everyone having a great time

great story to open the day with for me


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ELISA322 4/9/2011 9:12AM

    Oh that is wonderful! What a great group of teens, you must be so proud.

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SAFARIBABE 4/9/2011 5:51AM

    Phew!! I thought you came back from Vegas having some kind of mid-life crisis!! Sounds like the kids had a GREAT time last night! There's nothing like a saber arch to set the mood for the evening...that was so sweet of the teens and ROTC to volunteer their time that way. I hope you and SWMBO were able to sneak in a dance or two. If not...take her for a spind around the living room as you whipser sweet hints of 55" plasmas into her ear. Remember dancing is good cardio!!

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Stand Tall! Sit Tall!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

So I'm a people watcher.

Now I don't leer, and I don't stare, but I spend just enough time at airports that when I get bored and pull my head out of the iPhone & Crackberry, I like to watch the hustle & bustle.

So of late, I've taken to noticing how people carry themselves. It's purely selfish you understand.

As I've slimmed down about 10 lbs and gained some muscle & girth where it should be, I've paid more attention to my posture and bearing. Hence I find it interesting to watch how much variety there is in how people stand, walk, sit, etc.

Today I noticed a slim man in his 40s who stood very straight, but also looked very relaxed. I could tell that he focused his movements and posture through his core. No belly pushing out, no sway back, no shoulders slumped forward, just a balanced stance and gait as he moved. He just looked like he had his center of gravity just right and held his core firm as he moved.

"That's how I want to be," I told myself. So I took to noticing how many other people stood or moved like that.

Not many. Lot's of people slouched over, shoulders turned forward or hunched up. Almost everyone sat with a big old curve in their back. Many folks had their heads and neck thrust forward (unlike cool 40s guy who had it balanced right over the plane of his shoulders).

So I forced myself to sit up straight, engage the core, tighten the butt, get my lower back off the back of the chair, and it felt pretty good! But it took constant attention. Every 2-3 minutes I noticed how I got back into my slouch. As I walked, I made a point of standing straight, firming up the core (front and back), pulling my shoulders back and down. Again, it felt good, but again, after a few moments of wandering thought, back I would go. Tried it again driving home....felt good, but when the next song came on the radio, I had gone back to my slouch.

I'm going to spend some more effort on this one....I think it could be a high payoff item in a healthy lifestyle....more to follow.

Good to be back home....goodnight Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 4/8/2011 8:59PM

    You will look so HOT if you stand tall! LOL! When I learned to type, we had to sit straight and our backs could not touch the back of the chair. I did that for many years but find myself slouching now...I'll have to straighten up and fly right! See, when I people watch it's to find the stupid-dressed ones, not the ones who look good...guess I'd better mend my ways...

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NEEBREW 4/8/2011 7:51AM

    I noticed a coworker of mine sitting at her computer yesterday, back perfectly straight. I only noticed because it is very abnormal to witness someone with really good posture. I admit, it is very difficult for me to sit with my back straight but today I'm going to make an extreme effort to monitor myself just in case I'm the object of someone's people watching!

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SAFARIBABE 4/8/2011 5:56AM

    Welcome Home!! Loved the blog, tho I do miss your mis-adventures with TSA agents named Bubba feeling you up. LOL Seriously tho, when I was a kid I had a naturally (read that as grandmother forced me) ram rod straight posture. But years of sitting slumped over laptops and teenage years where you want to appear cool and not like you had a rod rammed up your...back... have led to more curvature and less straightness. This is something that I've also been thinking of for a bit and trying (off and on) to improve. Thanks for the reminder!!

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LOVE_LIANE 4/7/2011 11:06PM

    It's so interesting how losing weight and gaining muscle affects posture - I've been a lot more conscientious about mine lately, as well. It IS hard, but so, so much better for us.

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BRADOS 4/7/2011 10:52PM

    neat observation - and always good to be home - have a great weekend

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JONESINATOR 4/7/2011 10:52PM

    It's a great pay off. I've gotta be honest, as my back as strengthened significantly and I've lost weight in the lower back, my posture is 100% different. I've noticed that old chairs in classrooms have that classic lumbar spinal curve built INTO the chair. Now, most chairs are straight backed, and when I sit down a lot, I find my upper back against the backing and my lower back unsupported! Talk about painful after a while!

If you get your back into super powerful strength and have the core going, you're going to walk with perfect shoulder and spinal placement. Also, not lying, but more than just people watchers notice - everyone notices!

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KENNY83 4/7/2011 10:38PM

    Interesting observation. The way people walk could be a manifestation of their confidence. Maybe if you walk with a good posture it'll give you the placebo effect of instilling confidence in yourself...just a thought. Thanks for the insight. emoticon

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Dining Out...Without The Angst!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Well tonight we go out for dinner with my staff here in Vegas. The guys picked some BBQ joint for the event. And I'm totally OK with it.

What a change in just a few months! In January/February going out to eat was a significant emotional event. I was racked with worries about overeating, busting through my limits and all sorts of existential angst.

Today, it's just another meal. Something I need to be wary of and plan for, but I'm better because I have the tools and the confidence to plan effectively. This morning I cranked out a 45 minute workout at 5:00 AM (pacific time, my body is still on central time), scarfed up a pear for breakfast, a few mini-sandwiches at our working lunch, and just had a banana before heading out so I don't arrive too hungry at the restaurant. That leaves me sitting at about 800 calories leaving me about another 800 to play with at the restaurant (of course I could blow that whole stack with one careless side dish and a few rolls, so I'm not totally out of danger).

But I'm not worried, mostly because I feel less compulsion to order up a full rack of ribs (as I have done often in the past). Nor do I feel like I'd be "cheated out of the experience" if I didn't have huge sides and dessert. Today, I'm content getting something that tastes good, that doesn't have to be totally filling.

So while I don't guarantee that I'll never again express doubt or concern to my Spark friends about dining mis-adventures, tonight I owe you my thanks for past support, making this evening's dining a little less stressful.

Thanks Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRADOS 4/6/2011 12:01AM

    love hearing about your temptations, your resolve, and your battles on the road

Enjoy tonight - have fun and as always - thanks for sharing your journey - your work is so much more interesting than mine I suspect :)

emoticon emoticon

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BOBF15 4/5/2011 11:04PM

    I still wrestle with this notion my mother told me about. There are two kinds of people in the world those who live to eat and those who eat to live.

I have always been in the first category, and I suspect most people are there. Ahhhh, the mystique of epicurianism. emoticon

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SAFARIBABE 4/5/2011 10:35PM

    Awesome!! Amazing what a difference a few weeks can make eh? Do NOT know how you workout that early in the morning! UGh I'm up then but NOT functional. LOL So did my Ribs detour have any influence on your dinner choice? Gotta go do some ST & stretching before bed. More later!!

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RIKKI572 4/5/2011 9:16PM

    Wow, you have a great attitude!! Hope you have a wonderful dinner.

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Decisions, Decisions, it's ALWAYS About Decisions

Monday, April 04, 2011

Decisions, decisions, it's ALWAYS about decisions.

Do I get up early and workout out, or do I wait till later in the day? If I workout early, it's done, I'm just not as motivated first thing. If I wait till later, there's always risk that I may not get to to it.

Do I eat what tastes good now and cut down later, or do I eat sensible now and leave room for a treat at night? If I splurge early, there's always the risk that I may also overdo it at night.

Decisions, decisions, it's ALWAYS about decisions.

So this morning I rolled over wide-awake at 4:00 AM (Pacific Time) and didn't have my first meeting till 8:00 AM. I putzed around, got caught up on Sparkpeople, then called my traveling chum and said, "Let's go, gym opens at 6:00, we're working out"

I installed him on the elliptical, then made my way over to the spin bike and programmed in a 45 minute ride. Ahhhhh, heaven! He jumped off at 30 minutes, then I caught up with him in the free weight room for a couple of quick back exercises.

As we drove to the rooms, I noticed he was still wheezing from the workout! "I think it's the altitude," he wheezed. "Las Vegas is only 2000' above sea level," I reminded him. "Maybe it's the desert air," he opined. "Maybe, you haven't been working out lately" I surmized.

So how do decisions play into this? Well I decided that after working out, I needed to hydrate....with water. He hydrated with Diet Coke. "How's that working out for you," I asked. "It's good, I was thirsty and needed the caffeine," he grinned. "Ever think about replenishing the sweat you jettisoned on the elliptical," I queried. "Oh, this has no sugar, it's mostly water, AND has caffeine." He grinned and winked at me.

Now Safaribabe would say "Why don't you just clobber him with a copy of The Spark?!?" Not there yet.

At lunch, we hit a local diner place. I looked at the menu in dismay, then settled on a Turkey Wrap and water (worst case 400 calories), he gets a cheeseburger, fries, and coke. "Man that was a good workout this morning, I'm starving!" he exclaimed. "Yeah it was, but I'm trying to keep myself from starving, so figured I'd eat this wrap now, then get a quick snack later before dinner so I'm not starving tonight."

He gave me the RCA dog look.

Later in the day, I went down to the office snack bar, combed over the wrappers of everything they had, and decided on a 150 calorie fruit & nut bar of something to tide me over till dinner. Gave a quick check on the Sparkpeople app, and I was sitting at 700 calories by about 5:00 PM. He grabbed a snickers bar and we chomped in unison. That's when I decided to broach the subject.

"I'm down to 187 lbs," I told him. "That's great, I'm back up to 197," he said. I finally divulged, "You know with me, it's all about the food. I can workout all day, but if I eat like a madman, I just keep gaining weight. My goal is to stay between 1600-1900 calories a day. It's tough, but I log it all into my iPhone and track it throughout the day" (OK, so for guys, that's about as close to a confession as you're going to get Tori!)

He pondered, cogitated, the gears were clicking up and down the mental transmission chain. "Yeah, it's just so tough on the road. It's the only time I get to eat what I want."

And there you have it! Decisions, decisions, it's ALWAYS about decisions. What is it you really want? He's a great buddy, I've known him for 22 years....he's just not there yet. For him the food is a treat, it's a higher priority than the weight; the weight is a desire, not a priority.

For me, the weight (actually having a healthy body and lifestyle) is the priority....eating nice food is a desire. Working out is a priority.....getting sucked in to my work and blowing off a workout is a desire (not really, but work can easily be my excuse for not working out.)

Decisions, decisions, it's ALWAYS about decisions.

So did any of this have an effect on my pal? Well we stopped to pick up some food to bring back to the rooms tonight (didn't feel like going out to dine). He was all set to get some fried fish or fowl platter to sate his desire.....then he saw me go off to grab a sandwich from the nearby Starbucks. He saw me perusing the wrapper (510 calories turkey/pesto panini), and asked if they were any good. "It's probably 1/3 the calories of whatever you were getting there, just as filling, you can watch the gal behind the counter make one fresh for you, and if you're still hungry later, we can always grab some fruit."

He grinned and grabbed a Panini off the rack.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 4/5/2011 8:04PM

    You're so's all about decisions. I never thought about priority vs. desire...that's a great way to put it...Thanks! Good job getting your buddy to think a little, you may convert him yet! Way to go!

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TEXAS_GRL 4/5/2011 7:27AM

    Decisions, Decisions are a big part of the journey. Funny prior to spark, I didn't really think in that manner. My decisions were more about should I have 2nds. Now I constantly thinking this or that, now or later, run or bike, treat or no treat. My brain hurts! emoticon

I love how you brooched the subject with your buddy. I am sure your good example will plant the seeds.

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ASALYERS86 4/4/2011 11:28PM

    I find myself often plagued by decisions too. Its difficult, even if I set my mind to an early morning workout, to actually stick with it. I do manage to squeak one in later most days but it would be so much better to get it out of the way. I always feel so much more energized!

Good on you for giving your friend some positive insight! It may not be a priority for him yet, but when he gets there, at least he'll have someone to help him along.

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BRADOS 4/4/2011 11:27PM

    nice job being the evangelist.....reminds me of the St Francis quote "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary"


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JONESINATOR 4/4/2011 10:12PM

    Woohoo! That's spreading the Spark in a good, non-confrontational way. I find it so hard to do without preaching or turning into a bragadocio, so thanks for this blog because now I know a good way to broach a subject!

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STARL_73 4/4/2011 9:45PM

    So that's how guys do it! Make it about yourself. Which may explain some comments J has been making. I haven't pushed him at all. I've just been sharing my issues, what i've learned, how great I feel (showing him *lol*).. and I can sort of see him balancing there. Part of him wants to take the plunge, habits and doubts probably prevent him. Course, he's said the same things before.. but I'm wondering if me as an example may influence him? What's the male pov on this? I do all the cookings, so I can influence that (as long as he doesn't grab a snickers at work...). I know he used to love jogging.. but between work and the work around the place, I know he always thinks he doesn't have time. And my suggesting he walk with me won't work - tried it before. Course, i am planning on breaking the bikes out.. he won't let me do that alone, i'm guessing. But seriously - guy minds are so.. illogical... how can i get him to start leaning more towards working out again?

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SAFARIBABE 4/4/2011 9:25PM

    emoticon Even if he backslides later, at least he's seen a glimmer of the light! Thanks to you!! That's an awesome achievement! Especially with Ooey-Gooey guy. Soooooo Did he like the panini???? You left half the story out! LOL Wouldn't it be great if he gave up his cheesy, fried ways and converted to whole grains and fruit? Now don't be too hard on him about the Diet Coke. I still have a pretty serious DC addiction, though I do drink 2-3 liters of water a day and ALWAYS after a workout. So I can't be too hard on him for that. You did awesome spreading the Spark today. And NO it does not deserve a cheeseburger as a reward!!

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