Monday, October 31, 2011
Yeah, I know it's Halloween, but I'm not gonna blog about that, not really.
Anyway, there was the first snowfall of the season the other day. And while much of the remainder of the East Coast was, effectively, hammered, Mr. J and I sighed a collective "Meh" at the devastation wrought by ...
... wait for it ...
MAYBE three-quarters of an inch of the white stuff IF you were being mondo-generous.
The 5K we were supposed to run was cancelled. And that one starts (I kid you not) right outside our house! In any event, I am guessing that the race organizers could not get in. There were, after all, parts of the Commonwealth which were walloped by a good 30". But by us? Not so much.
I am fully aware that things will get ugly soon enough, and I will be wishing for this. I just found it a tad amusing.
This morning, the roads were clear and extremely low on traffic. Both of the other people in my department worked from home today (in fact, by my boss's place, he said it looked like a tornado had hit). I suspect plenty of other people did as well. Lots of folks lost power, some for days already.
I know, I know, karma.
So I'll shaddap now about the weather, except to say that it seems that Winter really is arriving early, snowfall by my place notwithstanding, as it is getting cold again. This is less me with my chattering teeth when the mercury dips below 50 as opposed to actual, measurable temperatures. As in, by the time I got to the office this morning, it was 33.
Yeah, I don't envy the trick or treaters. Nope. Not one iota.
It feels like we should be handing out espressos.
"Here ya go, kid! Trust me; you want this more than a Mounds bar."
Actually, we keep our light off. Yes, we are THOSE kinds of people.
But, in all seriousness, we live in a college bedroom area. Most of the "young" people are old enough to drink alkyhawl. Any small children need to be imported. And sorry, I am not gonna bring in candy (and its resultant temptations) to our house in order to give it to, in all seriousness, perhaps 2 kids who go by. Or to a passel of BC students.
"Go Eagles! Here are your 50 Mounds bars."
Perhaps I'll give them the espressos.
Come to my house.
Bring your own mug and spoon.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I am thinking of warm weather (cantcha tell?). It isn't even Halloween. Egad.
So, silly me, I looked at the weather for the week, saw it would be up to 60 something today and figured, hey, I can wear a tank top under me sweater.
Oh, no, no, no, gentle reader.
It's a HIGH of 60-something (64, I think).
The day started off at 40.
For those of you who think in metric - 40 is - freakin' cold. As opposed to 30 which is MORE freakin' cold; 20, which is EVEN MORE freakin' cold; or 10, which is TOTALLY freakin' cold; or 0, which is FUGGEDABBOUDIT.
See, coffee is a multi-tasker. Not only is it necessary in order to pry my eyelids open, it's also needed for warmth.
And so it goes.
I got m'self new sneaks. This was necessary as the old ones were giving me a hard time. This happens earlier and earlier these days, as I rack up more mileage, faster than ever. We have a 5K a week from yesterday. I could not be getting nastiness from my sneaks from just walking, let alone jogging.
Last year (this will be the Oak Scare 5K), I had a slight wardrobe malfunction, so it'll be interesting to see what happens this time around. One thing I have been doing, ever since two 5Ks ago, has been to, on a daily basis, stretch the sides of my hamstrings. That is, I shoot my leg off to the side and stretch a bit. I'm hoping this can help in the quest to avoid too much in the way of post-race pain and suffering. We'll see.
In other news, I will be in New Hampshire tomorrow, to meet more work people and attempt to, well, I dunno what. I am unable to remote into my work machine, so the day may turn out to be pretty blah and slow. And two plus hours, round trip. Let's not forget that fun. I am not a fan of driving long distances but the weather looks to be decent and the only thing I will have to worry about is, perhaps, a few wet leaves on the highway and the occasional wayward wild turkey or moose. Or deer.
Er, excuse me, deeah.
As we say heeah, "Don't hit a deeah, it'll total yah cahh."
I will be careful. I think the deeah have little to worry about.
Monday, October 17, 2011
This is going to be a bit of a mixed bag blog 'cause I don't have a central focus right now.
Topic Numbah One.
I am cold.
Well, not RIGHT now (as I am in the office), but this is nuts. Here it is, we are less than 2/3 of the way through October and all I can think of is, I hate this, I am miserably cold and we aren't even halfway through the autumn.
Now, some things are conspiring (but hear me out!) to keep me cold. One is, I could be wearing a warmer jacket. But I did that last year, and all that happened was that I was still cold, and then, when it got really bad and I was at Defcon-5 in terms of bundlage, I had nowhere to go, for months.
At some point, one gets too Eskimo-ey, and you end up looking 5' x 5' and are wearing a ski mask and hey, I suppose I could knock over a liquor store while I'm at it. Long as they've got heat.
So my plan for this year is to make the effort to stay strong as long as possible. Hence this morning, I had on a short-sleeve shirt, a long-sleeve moleskin shirt over it, a fiberfill vest, a pair of fiber-y fake-o pretend wool gloves, a pair of chinos, regular socks and regular sneakers. And I was cursing the day and thinking about how much I wanted my leather jacket. But I am trying to hold out for an under 50 degree morning for that, or November first, whichever comes first.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I moved to New England voluntarily. And I love it here. But after losing a good 135 lbs. (and despite the fact that I still have a passel o' insulating fat), I am still freezing once the mercury goes below 60.
See, this is one of the things they don't tell you about losing a boatload o' weight - JUST HOW FREAKIN' COLD YOU WILL BECOME FOR THE REST OF YOUR *(CHILLY)* DAYS.
Don't tell me to chillax.
Every day is chill, babe.
Topic Numbah Two.
I am working now (I told everyone on the planet; I have little doubt that you are now sick of this), and the world of regular work is, still, a source of great amusement, mystery and fascination. I find the land o' cubicles to be captivating much of the time. Life's little observations, as it were.
Case in pernt.
This morning, I break out the NEW oatmeal. It is not much different from the old stuff, save that it comes in a nifty vertical pack to save space and it has some mild chocolate-y flavor. I am looking forward to this as I have a sad little life and need the excitement. I go to the coffee area (where, among other things, there is a cappuccino machine the size of Neptune that makes sounds like an aircraft carrier when it's engaged) and I begin to pour hot water into the acid green bowl (hey, it wakes me up!) and then I start pouring coffee into my big honkin' BU mug. I figure it is good coffee if it is named after some Third World Country (in this case, Sumatra).
And I must've been staring at the oatmeal a lil too long, as I am tired and I am zoning out, plus I am not yet caffeinated and the NEW oatmeal has larger oats than the old stuff and so it is not absorbing the water as quickly. I suppose I appeared contemplative.
So some dude I had never seen before comes over and says, "I can never get the amount of water, right, either." And I snap out of it and realize he is talking about the oatmeal. We begin discussing the fact that the only good way to eat oatmeal is if it is barely wet. Flavored wallpaper paste is my oatmealian Nirvana. The spoon MUST be able to stand up.
I go back to my desk (Note: Oatmeal Dude is kinda good-lookin') and I suddenly think, Was Oatmeal Dude hittin' on me?
I have no idear. Not that I care or anything (I am married, etc. and even a serious bonding experience over Splenda-flavored spackling will not make me jump ship or anything), but it did give me pause.
That was a few hours ago and since I never saw Oatmeal Dude before, and I have not seen him since, I am instead suspecting that this was a Sumatra coffee-fume-influenced fever dream and instead I was probably just talking to the cappuccino machine.
Topic Numbah Three.
There was a recent article, er, somewhere (perhaps in my fever dream) about what Steve Jobs can teach us all about the world o' work. And all I can think of is, now that the dude is dead, his name is gonna be used to invoke all sorts of stuff. Not that this was inaccurate or not nice or whatever, but I predict that, at some point, we will begin to see those awful chain letters with positive messages of hope that, if we break the chain WE WILL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH INVOLVING SHOVELS.
But ... the article.
It said, among other lovely things, that one should do meaningful work.
And yeah, that's an awfully nice thing.
And I know people, here and elsewhere, who do awesome, meaningful work. They are nurses, they save the environment, they are teachers, they invent stuff, etc. etc. etc.
But yanno something?
Quite a few of us do things that are pretty dang mundane. This morning, I ran four database reports. Now, financial decisions will be made based upon my stuff (yes, the company I work for is more or less right in the gunsights of the Occupy movement - we see them nearby, every morning. There are often the sounds of singing coming from their lil encampment), but, really, c'mon, people! Empires will neither rise nor fall based upon my happy little database reports.
And yanno something?
It's all good.
And I don't mean that in a patronizing - "oh, it's okay that you're not important" kind of passive-agressive BS manner. No.
Instead, what I mean is, many of us do not make either the grand gestures or even the midrange gestures. We make small gestures. And those remain vital as well. Empires may neither rise nor fall, but we still help make the Earth turn.
We make your morning coffee. We drive your bus. We deliver your paper. We walk your dog. We fix your computer. We sell you your insurance. And yeah, we deliver database reports, too.
We are the fabric of life, just as surely as the heart surgeon and the astronaut and the soldier are. We are everyday Janes and Joes. I hesitate to use the phrase "everyday hero", as I feel it is overdone. But the finish line is the same for all.
And yeah, there's even an actual weight loss point in the midst of all of this Sumatra-fueled brain mixmaster detritus, so thick that you can stand up a spoon in it!
We all LOVE the grand gesture, the big thing. And big things are nice. They are happy things where we circle the date on our calendar and we burn it into our brains.
But the real work of weight loss, and of maintenance, is in the little gestures, the small moments. That piece of pie that goes untouched. The walk that is ten minutes longer. The heavier groceries that are carried. The water that is drunk instead of soda. It adds up, and it works.
And it is what makes our own, little, private Earths turn.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Right now, there's not much in mine. I have a lovely cold, first one of the season. This is, in part, related to the temperatures wildly fluctuating recently. It's also due to the stress/lifestyle change of starting a new job. My sleep schedule is different, my foods are different (albeit good), my exercise is different, my clothes are different. You get the picture. Differences, in my life, abound.
I had a talk with my folks relatively recently. They are considering moving, and have found a good, suitable place (my father is eighty; my mother is not too far behind). And ... suddenly there is a lot less enthusiasm for the move. I don't know if it's that they've run out of gas. I suppose that is a part of it.
But another piece of it is a resistance to the changes. The place will be smaller. They will be in another section of town - which means distance from some friends. Shopping will be different. Etc. etc. etc. on and on, changes, big and small.
And, well, YEAH. Things are going to change. For better or for worse, they are going to change. And they are going to change whether that change is desired or not. A choice is made, even when no choice is made. Instead, it becomes a passive choice, an acceptance, perhaps, but also inaction.
Just because they, perhaps, do not move, or do not move with gladness in their hearts, does not mean that moving stops being a good idea. It does not mean that time ceases in its endless march.
And the same is true for all of us.
As we step along, we can choose to be healthy, and do the right things, or not, or we can sit around and let life happen to us.
It is often a lot easier to just let life happen to us. And as we go along, and it's a chore to climb stairs or walk a mile, we shrug and say to ourselves things like ~
* That's just how life is
* I'm not meant to be at a healthy weight
* It's my bone structure/my genetics/my mother/my horoscope/whatever that is to blame
* C'est la vie; I'll fix it later
And later never comes. Or, if it does come - as is in my own case, BTW - it is so much harder, for we are older, and that makes the gradient that much steeper, and we have gained more weight, which makes the road that much longer.
And it's so hard to eat right, or drink the water, and we shrug and say things to ourselves like ~
* I'll only have a little bit - but that bit isn't so little
* I can't drink that much water! I can't live in the bathroom
* Only 400 calories for a meal? I can't live this way!
* I'm a junk food junkie. Don't take away my burgers and fries!
* The kids' Halloween candy doesn't count because it's their candy, right?
* If I don't track it, it's like I never had it, right?
And on and on, in these seemingly endless circles of denial. And I understand some of it, or at least some degrees of it. I get the thing about the bathroom - so the answer is to do your best to spread out the water, and it won't be so bad. And you'll get used to it (Really!). I understand the 400 calories thing. It can feel like deprivation when you are getting started. But you will get used to that as well. And you will get used to eating better foods as you go along, too. You become used to what you do. Continue eating junk and you'll never get used to eating right, and eating less. But eat less, and eat better food, and you will start to actually CRAVE it.
Resisting doing well for yourself is not harming anyone but you.
Complaining about what you need to do is not getting you anywhere.
Cheating on the tracking, the weight training, the water drinking or anything else is not somehow fooling the rest of us. We are watching, a little, but, frankly, we're doing our own things, yanno. And we are not weighing and measuring how you are living YOUR life. Ultimately, you have to do well for yourself, and be honest with yourself, and face up to what you are or are not doing for YOURSELF.
The rest of it is noise.
Monday, October 03, 2011
Okay, so I realize this group was, like, the '90s version of ABBA, but I don't care. I like the song's pseudo-reggae beat. And I kinda like the lyric I quoted in this blog title.
It's week #2 of work. And this is not a huge deal by any means. I have been through this drill many, many times before. It's funny how you can get right back into the groove with very little preparation or mental psyching. Hey, I know how to do this! And now I'm moving in and just doing it. There's lots to learn but the basics, to me, are simple. Competency returns with very little fanfare.
And yanno ...
We restart weight loss all the time. Don't we?
And most of us have the information, and we remember it. Or it's a small thing to be reminded and then - yeah, that's right! - and we are ready to go. At least, intellectually, we are.
Now, this is not to say that certain information is never proven wrong, or is never hidden. There are plenty of diet traps out there in Restaurant Land. Companies LIE.
THEY LIE LIKE RUGS IN ORDER TO GET YOU TO EAT THEIR FOOD!
We see this all the time. Some terms are regulated; others are not. So we see all sorts of stuff on menus and it's not necessarily good for us at all.
That information is helpful. Personally, I often read the Spark Showdowns although I believe that, often, some of it is reaching. Telling me that an 800-calorie appetizer is the better choice is, well, silly. I eat about 2 1/2 times that amount of calories in a DAY. I am not about to blow that much of my diet budget on a stupid appetizer.
But I digress.
My real point in all of this is that most of this is not about the information.
EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT FRIED FOODS ARE BAD.
EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT TOO MUCH SALT CAN MAKE THEM BLOATED.
EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT THEY NEED TO DRINK WATER.
EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT EXERCISE WILL HELP THEM TO LOSE WEIGHT.
It is not about information. It is about motivation.
You need to be able to make your choices with confidence. You need to be able to say no with conviction, if something is presented that is no good for you. You need to split out your time and your energy and find a way to do things for yourself, because God knows most of the people here find time to do for others.
No one can teach you motivation, I'm sorry to say. It is a far different animal.
All that can be done by the management of Spark is to give you information. And here on the blogs, what we, your peers, can do is, we can share our own motivations, in the hopes that you find a way to siphon off a little of it, and cobble it together into something that works for you. Or we share our triumphs. Or our frustrations, or our sorrows. Or our setbacks. And, the hope is, you see something in there, and it drives your motivation, or it pumps some gas into that tank. Or, perhaps, it just begins to point you in the right direction. But you will get there when you get there.
This race does not go to the swiftest or the strongest, even as we are all attempting to become swifter and stronger. It goes to the one who is in the light, and who tries to shine that light on others. But we all climb up in there on our own.
As the song says, no one's gonna drag you up.
You have to get there on your own.
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