Monday, January 04, 2010
Every day, in some way or another, I am looking for work. I have had long-term unemployment before, twice. How long term? Is three years long enough? And I've had that twice. Yeah. It stinks. You start to really, really question your value, and not just in the work arena. It messes with your vision of yourself as a contributor to society, as a person of value.
I don't blame all of my weight gain on this but it did not help, by any means. I know I packed on a good 80 or so the first time I had a three-year furlough, and probably another 60 for the second three-year furlough. As for the other 60, eh, who knows? It all happened over the course of two or so decades so it was slices of pizza and bags of papadum chips and real ice cream and of course not working out. Everyone who's reading this knows the drill.
And so I am trying my darnedest to not let that happen a third time. It is not just because of my health although that is a piece of it. It is also because of, let's face it, our finances. We are doing fine but another shock to the retirement fund is not advisable.
Hence I am beating the bushes. I have been to one networking party and today I had a networking call, actually there were two as I managed to finagle a second one with someone I really wanted to talk to. Tomorrow is a networking meeting. Then Wednesday is another networking party (same folks from the first one I went to), then another meeting on Friday. Next week is a job fair, a night at Mass. Innovation and four or five more networking meetings.
Plus there are another five people to call but that will be after surgery. I am tapped. I can't even think about any more meetings or phone calls. Between that and everything I'm trying to watch on Twitter, etc., I'm feeling a sense of losing control. I know I'm doing a lot but it is awfully tiring. Of course some of this is the almost three hours I spent shoveling snow for the past two days. But I'm also just getting a bit wiped by having to be on, and perky. I can do perky and I can explain what I want to do, yet again, to yet another person. That's all fine. And I can also tell I'm online too much, and that's fatiguing me as well.
Hence -- and now that I have made it to the top Spark trophy anyway, a new regimen is in place (some of this is shamelessly stolen from Lab Lover):
* Unsubscribe from any spark mails I don't really read. I don't need the points any more, so who cares?
* Answer blogs whenever I want to, not just two and then be done because that's all I get points for in a day. Answer one. Or none. Or seven.
* No more adding to topics if I have nothing to really say, again, just to get points. Man, I was greedy in the points department, eh? :) Answer topics, or not, as desired and for no other reason.
* No more reading articles that don't interest me, same reason as above.
* Leave teams where I'm not active.
* Continue using the food and exercise trackers. Continue tracking other goals. Continue checking in. Continue contributing to teams as desired.
I do plenty of other things online -- SparkPeople isn't my only source of long-time online syndrome. But it is a piece of it, and a piece I can take care of, probably more readily than other areas (e. g. I can't exactly cut back on moderating my site).
Again, I am rambling, I know. There are really two points to this blog entry. One, I am going to reprioritize as much as I can in order to maximize my chances of finding a job. And, two, some of that means less sparking. For me, though, it will be separating the wheat from the chaff, to only do what I need to, and want to, and no longer be a slave to the points. It feels kind of liberating to write that.
In the meantime, enjoy The Alan Parsons Project.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Guess what? www.examiner.com/x-34454-Boston-Extr
Yep, that's me. And they're gonna pay me.
Holy cow, I'm a professional author.
Thank you ALL for your amazing support. More articles to follow!
Monday, December 28, 2009
Okay, so I ramble a bit. But where else are ya gonna see so many tee shirts and bibs?
Monday, December 21, 2009
It's the Solstice, the darkest, longest night of the year. After this, the days will get longer. But it will be harder to see as it will be stormy. We've had the first major snowstorm of the Winter and two days ago it wasn't even Winter. But it's still a foot of snow on the ground.
Why the song? It seems a tad incongruous, except when you realize that Winston Churchill referred to depression as The Black Dog.
And so I am trying to shut my door to the beast.
It is not some cuddly Poodle or Lab. It's a beast. And I don't want it this year.
My main effort has been in trying to get outside. While I have a small all-spectrum light, I'd rather be outside. This has meant walking/jogging when the streets have been all right, and yesterday it was an hour and a half (this was accomplished in two shifts) of snow shoveling. I'll go to the gym today and then tomorrow there will be more shoveling. Even though it's cold, even though it's a chore, I'd just rather be outside and exerting myself.
There's a topic here on Spark, and it's one of those major ones, and it asks how people can get up and out there in the bad weather. Well, the answer is, you just do it. If you had to go to a doctor's appointment, or catch a train, you'd get up and you'd go. You'd put on a sweater or grab an umbrella or boots or whatever. It would be less than perfectly pleasant but you would still perform the task. So why is it so difficult for so many to just get up and do it if the skies are less than perfectly sunny? And, in particular, for people who are going to a gym anyway, what is it about the weather that leads to such a -- let's face it -- LAME excuse for not moving the squishy parts and making them less, well, squishy?
It is depression, and I suspect that depression and obesity are bastard step-twins. You eat because you feel unworthy and unlovable. You lay in bed with the covers over your head and mourn the fact that you can't exercise, all while, miraculously, surprise surprise, NOT exercising. You look at yourself in the mirror, or on a scale, and think you're a failure. So you're unlovable and unworthy and so you grab the ice cream and get into bed and think about how no one understands you and how awful it is and oh poor you and look the weather stinks and those grey skies are an omen, they are telling you that you'll never get there, you'll never get it right, and it's all for naught and we're all going to that great vale of tears anyway so why not have another piece of pie?
Or you can smack the black dog with a newspaper on its nasty snout. Get up anyway. Put away the ice cream (and not by cramming it into your mouth). Go out and walk, or shovel, or get in your car and go to a gym or a mall and get yourself moving that way. And drink water instead of an ice cream soda and look at yourself in the mirror or on the scale and say, hey, I may not be perfect but that doesn't mean I'm not worthy. It doesn't mean that no one can or will ever love me. People have before, and they will again, and they might even -- they probably even -- do right now. And I'm not going to let them down. I'm going to get out and do it, and make better choices and treat myself the way I want to be treated by others.
And maybe those red-shining eyes will be beacons in the darkness for someone else, and you can lead them out of that cave as well. And one day you'll look up, and that grey stuff will be gone. Because, you see, the paradox of Winter is that it starts off dark and dreary but even under the dark and drear it is getting better. There are tiny shoots under there, just waiting for a combination of sun and rain and temperature. There is light up there, too, above the clouds. And when the clouds part and the ground begins to thaw, you'll see it, too, and the beast will be tamed. And you, yes, YOU, will have done the taming.
Monday, December 14, 2009
The first song is because yesterday I ran the Somerville Jingle Bell Run 5K. And then the second one always seems to go with the first. But, oops, it's Chanukah. Hence song #3.
Here are the results of the race:
I came in as #4174. This was my second-best time ever, even though I was hot (note to self: Three layers, bad. Two layers, good) and felt like I'd eaten too much dried fruit before starting.
I had a blast, and the thing about this run is it must be what it's like to run on Halloween. Costumes EVERYWHERE. And I mean, everywhere. There were, to be sure, simple ones like striped socks, or antlers on the head, or candy cane barrettes, or little skater skirts over running tights.
Pshaw. There were HARD CORE costumes.
Like what, you ask?
Oh, there was the dude dressed as a Christmas tree, with gifts on his feet. I kept wondering if he was going to trip on them (these were empty boxes on top of his sneakers). Full Polar Bear outfits. A guy on what I believe were stilts. Elves, of course. Angels, too.
And, ho ho ho ....
Sure, there were Santas. But this one?
Santa, with a fake sleigh on each side of his hips, and, of course, a harness. Whaddaya put in the harness if you're Santa? Why, eight reindeer of course. The reindeer were eight other guys, all with fake reindeer heads on.
But wait, there's more!
This Santa plus sleigh plus reindeer had two elfin girls clearing the way ahead of him and a kid dressed as Rudolph up front (not in the harness). And he had bumper stickers on the back of his sleigh. One said, "How's my driving? Call 1-800-Go-Santa" and the other one said, "I brake for reindeer".
They were caroling, although I did hear Santa say at one point that things were going a tad fast for him.
So I wished Santa a Happy Chanukah.
This is my sixth and last 5K race of the year. I'll take some time off next year to recover from surgery, plus I don't want to run in ice competitively. But I want to do at least eight next year. And those times in the 40 minute range? I would like to get past them. I've only done that once this year.
But I have nothing to complain about in terms of times. For my first 5K, I took over an hour, and ran at an 18 minute-mile pace. But after that, I got into the 14 minute-mile pace and then 13 (like yesterday). My fastest pace was in November, a smokin' (for me) 12:19-mile pace. Going under 13 minutes for each mile guarantees that I'm out of the 40s. Hence that is a goal for next year.
In the meantime, I'm going to continue walking and running as much as I can (I have little things to put on my sneakers to give me more traction in the snow, plus I've still got a gym membership, which I'll hold onto as long as I can) and keep working on speed, endurance, jogging uphill and the final kick. Everything is a lesson and a goal, and I never knew that until this year when it came to running, so I am grateful that that perspective has crawled into my head.
Oh and I'm also going to enjoy my finisher medal/bottle opener. 3.bp.blogspot.com/_1qKg9LbFQlU/Su-xV
You can't open bottles with an Olympic medal.
Onwards to next year and more great fun.
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