Monday, August 13, 2012
I wanted to post this cutie as I love the colors on that pic.
It's another Monday. Time for another rant. Or, maybe not.
I have been thinking about communication lately, and about socializing.
I come from a background that generally frowned upon socializing. I mean more in the work environment than elsewhere.
I never really had good party skills. I'm still lousy at sticking my hand out and introducing myself, even at networking events or the like, where it is expected, nay, encouraged.
I just feel so weird about it, still. I am nearly 50 years old and should be utterly comfortable in my own skin. And I mostly am. But I still find it weird to just sort of foist myself on others at events. I do far better in one on one situations, or in huge speaking halls. I have zero fear of public speaking, possibly because I don't have to look anyone squarely in the eye. The bigger the crowd, the better! I love it, no lie.
But get me to a party and I want to hide.
It used to be, I'd hide in the clam dip. I've gotten better at that, and am a lot more likely to hide behind fizzy water with a twist of something or other.
Anyway - communications.
One of the best and easiest ways I have found to communicate in person is by having something - anything! - in common with the person I am approaching. Wanting to network, to me, is not enough. It's got to be more than that.
Early last week, I saw a guy with his black lab off leash. The dog was friendly, came over and immediately leaned into me as I starting scratching the part that, obviously, the big beast could not reach. The guy came up and said, "That's Dakota." And the guy had some sort of a Western accent that I could not place. Colorado? New Mexico? Maybe one of the Dakotas? I dunno. I gave Dakota another scratch and we went our separate ways.
This morning, as I was walking along, almost back to my house (this was at around 7:15 AM or so - it's been way too hot to walk much later than that), I see a guy across the street, walking a big black lab and the guy waves at me first! Holy cow. So I wave back. I did not cross to say hi but there was still that smidgen of contact as Dakota and friend undoubtedly went home to enjoy a hearty breakfast, etc.
And that got me to thinkin', which is always dangerous.
Maybe I was the first person who said hi to this new guy in Boston, ever. And he's probably pretty far from home or, at least, far from wherever he got his accent. And while he's got Dakota, I am guessing that Dakota does not speak a lot of English.
If I hadn't gone walking that day, if I had let the heat and the humidity and the general chewiness of the air keep me from getting some aerobic exercise in, I would have missed this encounter. And Dakota would not have gotten scratched (at least, not by me). And the dude might not have had anyone say hello to him, maybe.
The point I am attempting to make is - there is more going on than just one foot in front of the other, burn calories, rack up the steps on the pedometer, tote that barge, etc. It is a true bit of community.
I have long maintained that obesity and depression are linked. They are married. They are Siamese-freakin' twins. And we lock ourselves away. And society PUTS us away. They don't want to deal with us. They don't want to hear. And they sure as hell don't want to SEE.
So get out there anyway. And pet the dogs and say good morning and crook your finger at children in strollers in a little private wave and pick up a stray bit of trash if you see any and take a photo of your neighbor's prize petunias and scan the horizon for distant ships or trucks as the case may be, but by all means GO OUT THERE.
It is not about pedometers and personal bests.
It is about being a prized, functioning and, dare I say it, beloved member of your community. Here in the United States, we have locked ourselves away in our little castles. Put down the damned drawbridge and get out there.
And I bet those dragons would like a few scratches on their rumps, too.
Monday, August 06, 2012
Frankly, I was hoping for an excuse to show this little cutie, so here it is. :)
But our goals do hide sometimes, eh? They get behind the chair or, more likely, behind the ice cream pint or the plate of french fries or pick your poison, whatever it is, and they required some moving and reshuffling and when we look up they are further away and we are left wondering just what the hell happened.
And we get distracted, as we see the neon lights of complacency and just plain old hanging around. I gotta say, it's been hot as blazes again, and so just hanging around looks awfully good. Sometimes that's one of the few options, when it's really brutal out there.
But with that hanging around and not exercising so much has to, hand in hand, come the corollary - eat less.
But it's oh, so easy to ignore that part of things, and so hanging around also turns into more of a festival of eating. We're bored. We're at home. We're sedentary.
It's so ... easy.
But it's a seductive lie.
It strips us of our purpose and diminishes our efforts.
I say, fight complacency back, and kick it in the keister.
This heat has been brutal, but the mornings aren't so bad, and neither are the evenings. So walk then. Or go to a mall and walk. Or a gym. Or head to a cooler spot - perhaps a local beach or lake? Swimming is fantastic, and walking on sand can be quite the workout as you fight sinking.
Just, don't let it block your view of what's important.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Lately, the clock has been moving way, way, WAY too fast.
I feel like I'm running in place in order to be behind, if that makes any sense.
Part of it is the heat. Part of it is just plain ole garden-variety boredom. I've been doing the same old, same old for so long that I'm just affected with fifty shades of ennui.
Another part of it is, because of said boredom, I am overbooked with all sorts of little time killers, time wasters, time scrubbers, time eaters, time smashers, and they are doing it to me, big time.
This morning - because it's a Monday - here's what I have done so far (it's 11 something AM here).
* Lifted weights
* Walked for 85 minutes
* This blog
* Added stories to two different fic sites
* eight 8-oz glasses of water
* toured around three sites where I do community management
* talked to a recruiter
* applied for a job (unrelated to said recruiter)
* weighed in at Spark, recorded food and exercise
* email in two different accounts
* managed the RSVPs coming in (I'm planning a partay for my own 50th birthday, so there's stuff to keep organized)
* managed my fantasy baseball team (I'm in 4th place)
* took a look at the teams as they are shaping up for fantasy football
* made sure there were no comments to be moderated for my blog or my father's blog
Once I am done with this here blog, I still have Facebook and Twitter to look at.
Plus somewhere in there I have actual work to do for a place where I do community management and also some mild marketing stuff (this is online research).
Yes, folks, it's hard work being unemployed.
Now, I am well aware that most of this junk will be swept away when I begin actually working again. And I am often more nutty about such things than I need to be. I mean, is the world going to fall apart if I don't play Scrabble online one day? Not really.
And of course some things are more of a priority than others. The exercise. The food tracking. The water drinking. The job search. The work for the people who are paying me a pittance but wish they could pay me more.
I know where the lines are drawn between fun and obligations. But I don't mind blurring them on occasion. The work for the pittance people is, for the most part, kinda fun. Walking is fun. Blogging is, too.
Otherwise, I mean, sheesh - why do it at all?
Monday, July 23, 2012
I am spending much of the day indoors, yet again. The heat broke, but the relief was all too brief. We are back to air like hockey pucks. Hence I walked at 6:30 or so. It's done, that much is all well and good.
Back to other things, but the siren song of social media keeps calling me and it's screaming loud in my ear and it's like a nest full of baby birds and it won't SHADDAP ALREADY!!!
From Facebook to Twitter to my two regular blogs to writing to here and back again, around and around I go. And it's like wishing for something better, half the time or perhaps more frequently than that. I swear it's not just that we, as a culture, have short attention spans. I believe we also, again as a culture, are conditioned to, more or less all the time, covet something better.
Now, this is not necessarily such an awful thing. After all, striving for something better is why we're here, yes? We lift one more pound of weight, walk one more mile, do one more rep, drink one more cup of water. We leave it all out there on the field.
There are two fraternal twin impulses in life - Laziness and Covetousness. They are deeply ingrained in our genome. Laziness means we don't expend too much energy when we are starving, and we conserve. Covetousness means we try to get better. These sins - if you can call them that - they might just redeem us, eh?
Monday, July 16, 2012
I have been dragging myself around for days, weeks, it feels like months although I know, intellectually, it has not been quite that long.
It is HOT.
Now, the real definition of a heat wave is three consecutive days of 90+ temperatures. For those of you who use the Metric System, 90+ degrees is M*F'in' HOT.
It has not, for the most part, technically been heat waves (although I think we might hit one this week. We also had one when this nonsense started, back in mid-June). But it has been over 80, 85 most days, and it has been humid. The air is like thick, plain oatmeal. You can stand a spoon in it.
And so, of course, what did I do last weekend?
Heh, I ran my 30th 5K.
The time was godawful; the third-worst time I have ever had. I am also heavier than I have ever been for a 5K. As in, when you compare to the lightest I was for a race, I am 56.8 pounds more.
Funny thing is, I don't look huge.
Now, I don't say I look skinny by any means, but I don't look like I'm in love with the buffet at Denny's, either. This was how I was in Junior High, and High School, and into much of college and Law School. Densely packed. A surprise inside, perhaps, like a fortune cookie, eh?
A big part of that is strength training. I see people lifting 5 and 10 pound weights and I am supportive, yanno, but I last lifted a 10 pound weight for a workout back when I was recovering from abdominal surgery. Back in '10.
What do I lift now?
45 pounds, folks.
Why that amount?
Well, the thing of it is, any higher and I start to leave the realm of hand weights and hit the realm of big honkin' barbells. And I don't have the room or the budget for same.
When I was doing the gym, I was lifting more. But the gym is also not in the cards right now. Too much of a cash sink right now. I just can't justify it in the budget, even if I live there.
So I take my preexisting iPod and hand canteen that I won in the after-race raffle after one of my 5Ks, and wear my sneaks and my shades and a Red Sox cap and a tee or a halter top and cargo shorts and little New Balance socks and I go out there into the fiber-rich miasma that is Boston and I swim past the people who are panting as they barely move from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned office to air conditioned restaurant to air conditioned gym (maybe) and then, eventually, back to air conditioned house.
I go out there and I do it. I am s...l...o...w in the heat, but that's to be expected. I also only do somewhat short stints. It's generally 30 minutes or so, rather than the usual 80 (no wonder I've gained weight). At home there is a fat free yogurt and a 90-calorie fiber bar that I have stowed in the freezer and will make my fillings rattle and will, hopefully, cool me down a bit.
And then tomorrow I get to do it all over again.
And I say "uncle" to no one. Not to those who look at a woman who weighs nearly 230 and cluck and disapprove and wonder why I'm not hidden away somewhere. Not to those who think it's too hot to do ANYTHING, because even one small thing is something. Not to those who just do the air conditioner glide from house to car to office and around, almost as if they were in one large, temperature-controlled human Habitrail.
But I am getting awfully tired of the heat.
So, heatwave and near-heatwave gods? Let's have a mini-surrender, mmmkay? Otherwise I'll need to go out and buy more halter tops, and I am not so sure my public is ready for that yet.
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