Monday, April 01, 2013
For reasons that I will not go into, I have been rather pensive about the teachings that are being passed onto the next generation. And about the teachings that we absorbed at our own mothers' and fathers' knees.
* Drive around until you find a closer parking spot, because walking is too much work!
* Do your exercises, and you won't have a back ache.
* Don't let anyone know anything about your health - and then spring it on them when it gets really bad.
* Share your health issues so that people can learn from them, or at least do what they can to help you.
* Buy convenience foods instead of fresh.
* Learn to cook.
* Let yourself balloon.
* Keep your weight down, into your later years.
* Drink soda.
* Drink water.
And there are a thousand other lessons.
Even now, at age 50, I am struck at times by what I recall from earlier days, and I wonder why these habits can sometimes continue to shape me and fuel my decisions. And then I pull myself up short, and declare that that's just stupid - you were a kid long ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the planet, and now you know better and we all know better and it's time to stop blaming your current life for past failures and problems and issues.
And so I ask you, as you putter around in your daily lives, to consider the examples that you are setting, and the decisions you are making. Last week, Mr. j and I went to Chinatown for lunch for his birthday. There is a big pagoda-style gate at the front of Boston's Chinatown. And right in front of it, there was a food truck, selling variations on grilled cheese. There was a line.
People were rejecting good, fresh, tasty, interesting, inexpensive and mainly health foods in favor of ... grilled cheese?
I get it if people have no time, but for many of these places, you can call ahead, and they'll have your order bag waiting for you, so that's no excuse. The prices were pretty high at the truck, and they are low in many of Chinatown's restaurants, so that's not the excuse, either. The variety at the truck was okay but not great - not even enough to cover one side of a standard-sized menu printed in standard-sized fonts. So that's not the excuse.
I wonder what the people hanging around there (the area is a bit of urban green space, and has a smidgen of a park) thought of all of that. Did they think those choices were wise? Convenient? Better?
No one took a survey, no one took a poll. And don't get me wrong - I do enjoy grilled cheese on occasion. But I voted with my feet, my wallet and my stomach.
I had the chicken with mixed vegetables. It was good!
Monday, March 25, 2013
The truth is, I am posting pictures and songs about reptiles as they prefer the warm weather. Et voila, if I do so, it will magically turn warm, right?
Boston is one of the many, many parts of the United States that is currently in Spring-pause mode right now. There are crocuses and snow drops up. My hyacinth are visible (albeit still green).
And I've still got a moderate-sized snow fort in my back yard.
I am awfully sick of this.
However in other, far more relevant news, I ran my second 5K of the year on Saturday. I was dead last in a very small field, but still shaved over 4 minutes off my time for the first 5K of the year, which had been run 13 days previously. All in all, it was good, although I did nearly slip on an ice patch.
You mean - you go out and run when there's ice on the ground?
Er, uh, yeah.
You go when it's raining?
You go when it's really hot out?
You go when it's muddy?
You go when you don't feel like it?
The only times I do not go (other than for actual rest days, such as yesterday) are either (a) it's dangerous, e. g. blizzard, hurricane, frogs falling from the sky or (b) I am ill with a fever.
Otherwise, I go, and I do something. It is not always running. Given all the snow we've had, a lot of my cardio for this calendar year has involved shoveling.
But the inner child who says, "I don't wanna!" does not get her way. She would rather sit at home, and eat junk food and watch bad TV and, well, anything but that.
She needs to shut up.
Monday, March 18, 2013
And so it goes.
That has been my mantra lately, it seems.
I went through a marathon interviewing session last week. In fact, right now last week (it's a bit before noon), I was busily, earnestly, explaining how I'd do some sort of project that has details that I have already, mercifully, forgotten.
And if you read last week's blog, you'd know that I also pounded the table and didn't overeat french fries and tried to be knowledgeable, charming and sincere.
And it was not enough.
I was told on Thursday that they didn't feel there was a fit.
But that's the point of this blog.
I am not saddened by this. I'm still a bit peeved at all the time and energy that went into a marathon that got me nowhere. But I do all sorts of stuff that, seemingly, gets me nowhere. I walk around my neighborhood and, when I've been a gym member, I've walked on a treadmill, the very epitome of things that don't seem to get anywhere.
I take one less chip, or drink an extra ounce of water, or I walk around my car the long way around instead of the short one, and none of these things has any form of instant gratification or results or success whatsoever.
It all seems to, sometimes, take forever, eh? It can certainly feel futile at times.
Another drink of water? Another walk around the pond? Another rep? Another meal to track? Another measurement to be recorded? Another step on the scale?
I know, and I am not without sympathy. It can seem like such an uphill battle, in both directions.
But the way I have learned to view it is like a system of gates and checkpoints. To get to your destination, you have to go through these points. Those points are that extra rep, or that ounce of water, or those rejected french fries. There are stops, too, as your body readjusts, and you readjust. And sometimes there are setbacks or slips, for those are a part of it all as well. There is no reason why this is going to be an easy or fast or pain-free voyage. For it will not be. That is not what was promised you.
It's the same with this seemingly endless search for professional fulfillment. The marathon interview session was just an annoying checkpoint I had to go through. So is this day's tracking - that's a part of today's checkpoint for getting and staying healthy. So be it. And we will push onwards, for all of our goals, whatever they may be.
And so it goes.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I am one tired puppy.
Yesterday was a LONG day. It was an enormous job interview, and I didn't even see everyone I was supposed to! Hence, even if all is positive and wonderful and lovely, I would STILL have to have a phone screen with this last dude.
That would be my third phone screen, on top of six hours of interviewing which included a one-hour presentation by me.
I cannot begin to tell you how beat I am. But how do I feel about it all? Does the linked song provide a clue, perhaps?
In the morning, I had four separate interviews. I think they were mainly good. One was a woman I had phone screened with, and I had thought I'd blown the phone screen, but obviously didn't. I felt similarly in the interview, and then reminded myself that that was what I'd felt before, so it was likely to be all right.
Then I met, erm, someone (it's blurring together), then a gal who would be a peer. The peer mentioned that she lives in Somerville. Well, I had been in Somerville the day before, running a 5K. baevents.com/rasnaheireann/ Hence we suddenly had what to talk about (she had not run it). But it was a good icebreaker. Then I met the only man I met with at all that day; he was more of a mathematical kind of a person and gave me a scenario and asked me what I'd do. When I told him, he said that that was exactly what he had done - apparently a part of this job is to revive that older project (as you can imagine, I cannot say too much about such things).
Then it was time for lunch. My hoped-for boss took me. She's another Somerville resident, and asked me about the race. It seems she's also a runner but she didn't run it, either. But there's also a gym in the building, at the end of the day, would I like to see it? Sure. I think I handled the lunch okay. I got a sandwich that turned out to be messy, and it turned out to be served with fries. By that time, I was already pretty fried, and my only coherent thought was to have them hold the bacon. But the fries? They were meh. There was a time when I would have cleaned my plate of even meh fries. Instead, I ate my turkey and avocado sandwich and had maybe ten of the meh fries and that was good enough. Got back and washed my hands really well.
On to the presentation.
I could pick anything I wanted, and I did not have a deck of slides from anything, so I had to do it all from scratch. I selected Social Technographics ( empowered.forrester.com/tool_
consumer.html ) for my topic. It is, essentially, about how and why people use the web in different ways.
I ran slides. I pointed. I paced (I hate sitting for such things). I pounded the table. I modulated my voice. I answered questions (and I even clarified an answer in one of my thank you notes). I am thinking that part went really well but who knows.
Then, one more interview ('cause I hadn't had enough of 'em, apparently) and then I would have had a phone screen with the guy who ended up being stuck in the air, flying back from Detroit.
Then I got my little tour of the little gym, and my hoped-for future boss remarked that she had offered to lots of people to show them the gym but I was the only person who had taken her up on it. We shook hands, she gave me directions to get onto Route 128 (even though I have a GPS) and she told me I'd hear this week, most likely, as to whether I'd be talking to this guy.
My impressions are that they are very thorough but perhaps too much so. Sometimes, you have to punt, you know. And sometimes there are deadlines and you just can't do everything according to Hoyle. So that's all kind of strange. They were recently purchased by a company in the Midwest (I had originally thought that the new parent company was overseas, but they aren't; they're in the Mountain time zone) but the transition is still not complete. Those sorts of transitions can be troublesome; my experience is that those usually mean layoffs. Hence I could be going into a situation that could end abruptly.
The commute was okay; I had been worried that it would be a real pain. The gym is okay, but the area is flat and seems safe and well-plowed, so outside walking during lunch might be a better way to get in fitness minutes. While I was there, someone had brought in homemade Irish soda bread and put it in the break room, but I just ignored it as if it were a fancy paperweight with raisins.
Do I want this job? I think it could be a productive way to spend some time, and I could learn quite a bit. Is it my passion? No. Is it exactly what I want to do? No. But it will more than pay my bills until I can fulfill my passion.
But if I'm going to be hired, I have to go through another damned phone screen.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Many doings here, in Jespahland.
I had an in-person interview today. And on Wednesday, I'll have a second phone screen with a different place. Progress, no?
Both are in data analysis. Hence I want to do neither.
But my current gig is a startup and they just don't have enough bucks.
I am not asking for enough for Caribbean vacations. I am asking for enough to pay my mortgage.
But the one from today was/is a temp gig until the end of the calendar year. Hence there is some appeal there - make some cabbage and hold my nose and do the work, but at least there's an end in sight.
Now, contrast that with the whole weight loss experience.
We don't interview for it - it just happens in the sense that we have metabolisms that begin to falter, or we don't eat right or we don't work out enough or whatever - there are all sorts of reasons for becoming overweight, but we get there. Kinda doesn't matter if we take the train or the trolley, eh? So we get there. And we might try on various methodologies. We work hard and, perhaps we prove ourselves or the methods become proven or whatever.
And we go on for a while, and then, eventually, well, what?
It's not a short-term contract with a hard and fast end date. It's a permanent gig. It's not something where there is an end to the behaviors - the behaviors go on. And that can sometimes be a little hard to take.
After all, we want to get back to "normal", right?
So, what's normal? What's the end point? What's the part that happens after?
It's not a backslide into older behaviors, for then you get back to Square One and you've gotta do it all over again. That's no good. But it's not necessarily doing the exact same thing, day in, day out, forever. After all, our bodies change, and sometimes things (seemingly inexplicably) stop working. Or we tear our hair out, hating the rut. Or age or injury or whatever conspire to make it so that we really can't continue to do the precise, exact same thing until we finally keel over.
It's little differences, and strangenesses, and quirks, yes, and a boatload of creativity and improvisation. We roll with the punches, as the scale seems to, at times, have a mind of its own, or our measurements feel less than optimal, or that pair of jeans that fit just fine last year are suddenly too tight. Or too loose. For even the positive serendipitous changes are still changes.
In some ways, I suppose, this journey is a job. So let us make it a good job, that we do with pride and creative spirit. One where we don't keep hitting the alarm clock every morning because we hate getting up and going to it. One where we pull together and buy into its success.
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