Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Five years ago, Chauncey Starr died. He was, in stature, a short man, probably just over five feet. But he had a mind and a heart that were larger than life. I've blogged before about how he tried to sign up for WWII after the Day of Infamy. The recruiting officer told him to go back to work because he could do more good there when, in answer to the question of what he did for a living, Chauncey said something about working with nuclear fission.
In his last years, he worked tirelessly to promote efficient, safe, cost-effective forms of and delivery for energy. I once heard him say that the fad for corn for ethanol would punish the poor unfairly because corn is such a food staple in many parts of the world. In my experience, it is rare to find a scientist of his calibre to be so in touch with the impacts of various decisions.
He also had the one-on-one touch. He sat with a young woman who was beginning her dream come true of opening a restaurant and showed her things she could do to conserve costs by conserving energy.
Dr. Starr's legacy is huge, larger than his life (95 years).
I am humbled. Not that I strive for fame (though fortune would be nice - kidding a little), but I do wonder. In my daily life, what impact do I have? When I am gone, what will be legacy be?
I am an overcomer. I have overcome many things the litany of which does not need to be repeated here. But I still have hurdles to conquer. Somehow, I need to find that switch within that would make me do what I know I need to do. MOVE IT! Burn some calories! Get stronger! Get functionally fit!
In a few weeks, they will be having children at work day. I used to teach and, like many teens and college students, have done my share of babysitting. But I have gotten older and out of touch. I have been drafted to assist and am nervous about the impact I might have on those young minds. I had the same fear when I was a teacher. I was in my 20s, not much older than the 7th graders that I taught, and I was terrified that I would scar them for life! I was very, very young, inexperienced and had zero self-confidence. Some of that still remains. Last year, I helped with the same event, working with a young attorney to share concepts about trademarks and patents - the aim was to show that the world allows for people of all kinds of talents to do many wonderful things. Not everyone is a scientist, some people may be creative in a different way and could, as I did, end up in the law department and still be able to add value to a company and the company's mission.
I will be leaving work to pick up my laptop from the Best Buy store that is closing, drive over to another Best Buy that is not closing and have them ship my fried computer off for evaluation (repair or replace is the question). The store is not closing until May 12 and they told me that it would be about 3 weeks when I dropped it off on Friday as a worst case scenario. I am not happy to have received a voicemail last night that they cannot ship it out and I have to do this. My challenge is not to come unglued at the people who work at the store soon to close and yet let Best Buy know that this is really poor customer service, especially since I am one of their Geek Squad customers. The delay in getting my computer repaired or replaced is not acceptable. I will ask why they could not ship it out and have me designate which open store I would like to go to when the unit is repaired or replaced. I was in customer service for decades so I have a very high standard for acceptable service, but I also know how things can happen. I see this as an issue for Best Buy the corporation not Best Buy the store that is closing.
I had lunch with two friends at Olive Garden today. I did not inhale everything in sight. I really thought about what I was going to order though I did not have time to check their menu on the website beforehand. Otherwise, I probably would have been wiser in my choice. I wish their salads were not already drenched in dressing....I wish their breadsticks did not taste so good even though I know, as I told one friend, they are just empty calories...
I like the quotes that I read in the Spark emails. I wish I could remember them. One I read recently said something about making good choices. My lunch choices were not good, but they were better than before. I like it that I have started caring about what goes into my mouth again.
Last night, I was so tired, I reread the same page in "You on a Diet" several times before I realized I needed to sleep. I have a feeling tonight will be the same. I really hate having errands on the way home from work, so visiting two Best Buy stores tonight is not a happy prospect. But, I will love what it does for my step count!
Monday, April 16, 2012
I came home yesterday and ate all kinds of miscellaneous food - nothing unhealthy, but I ended up, I know, eating too much. Stress, I'll call it. I did not even track it, partly because, 24 hours later, I don't remember what "dinner" was. I need to start writing it down on paper and putting it in my tracker after work when I am on my own time.
No word about how long I'll be without my home computer. The good thing is, I am reading 3 books now (One about Contract Law for professional development, one about Franklin Delano Roosevelt for curiosity and You On a Diet because a Sparkfriend mentioned that she had read it. I also pick up a kettlebell now and then (or my 14 pound Maine Coon cat named Juneau!).
I had gotten off track with water but am back on track. I'll bet that has contributed to a measurable increase in my energy level (duh). I am also better on track with food, last night's food frenzy notwithstanding.
Points: 20 for logging in, 25 because it was my 30th day and 100 Sparkgoodie points on the bonus wheel. Nice, but I'd rather take days when I get 7s, 5s, 10s and NO TWOs! HAHA!
My quandary is, given my time constraints tonight, do I do chores or do I exercise? I don't have time to do it all and I am trying to get back on the good sleeping schedule where I can get up and in to our tiny gym early in the morning...
I could rattle on about this, that and the other thing, but it will take me nearly an hour to drive my 7 miles home so I'd better get going.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I slept in until about 7 and that was later than I intended to, but it sure felt good! Off to the laundromat. You folks who have machines in your homes are blessed and I am envious! But, as I thought would happen, I missed the "we just opened" crowd and the "just got out of early Mass" crowd, so I was able to get in and out within a reasonable period of time. I walked over to the post office to check my mail and walked through the grocery store - there was something I needed but couldn't remember what. I never did remember what was nagging in the back of my mind, but I did find something else I'd been looking for (a specific drain stopper). I had looked at big box stores, hardware stores and everywhere else without success. Lo, and behold, I found it at this little grocery store!
Dropped the laundry off at home and then it was off to Home Depot to both pay a bill and use a coupon and pick up some miscellaneous things on my list. I also walked over to Best Buy, the store that's closing next month, to pay my bill and to explore their sales. The announcement about the closing was made yesterday. They had all the employees come in yesterday but the store was closed. Presumably, the employees got their layoff notices and then had to get ready for the closing sales. This, being the first day, was unimpressive. Twenty percent on some items, ten on others. By the time the sale prices are really slashed, nothing will be left. People were streaming in and walking out with bags, boxes and delivery tags. Had that occurred before, those employees may not have been laid off. I know it's a tough economy - my whole life has been a tough economy. But this is just really sad. I live in one of the poorest cities in one of the richest counties in the Bay Area. People who've lived here a long time are being displaced by "gentrification" - the closure of small independent businesses, the razing of individual homes and the erection of high rise apartments and big box stores.
Anyway, after all that, I came up to use my work computer to get into email and SparkPeople (my VP said I could). I was able to finish up yesterday's food and, no surprise, was over on calories and carbs. I was still hungry after dinner so I had a bowl of dense cereal and that's what put me over. But, on balance, yesterday was a good day. I made good food choices. I did not eat junk, but I did eat too much. I went to bed feeling comfortable. I was not hungry and I was not stuffed.
Today, for the first time in who knows how long, I had energy. It's starting to leave now, but all that walking, all the careful eating translated into feeling more energetic than I have in eons. I can't believe my pedometer has me at below 7K steps - I feel as if I have done at least 12K!
I will never take having the energy to do anything for granted again!
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Thank you, Sparkfriends, who commented on yesterday's blog. My mood is better today even though my circumstances are not.
This morning, I had a wonderful cup of coffee and gave my cats their favorite treats as a tribute to a very special man. Dr. Chauncey Starr would be 100 today if he were still alive. He died at 95 and was at work the day before he died. The story is that he ate breakfast (he liked good food) and decided to take a nap before coming to work on April 16. He never woke up from that nap. What a wonderful way to go! He was the smartest man I have ever known. I work with and am related to lots of smart people. Intelligence is something I value highly and Chauncey was more than a cut above everyone else. We had a party for his 90th birthday and, around that time, we had a company meeting where some technical information was shared. I was in the very back of the room and raised my hand and asked a question about why we were doing the research. The then current CEO gave an answer and, a few minutes later, Chauncey decided he wanted to reply to my question. He made some really nice comment about my question and, considering I am not a scientist, I treasured that acknowledgement from him! I sent him an email thanking him for validating my question and, because one of the pictures displayed for his 90th birthday was of him with a couple of tigers, I commented about the cats. His reply included the comment that he had a cat at home that ran the house. When he died, I wore a cat pin in his honor. No one else knew the significance, but he did! So I am sure that, in heaven, he saw the cup of really good coffee and that my girls got a special treat and appreciated my salute to the centennial of his birth. I was at school when we had the 95th birthday celebration, so our email conversation was my last contact with him. I lack the words to adequately express what a wonderful man he was!
So last night I took my laptop to Best Buy's Geek Squad and it was a good news/bad news situation. Yes, the computer is fried. (bad). I am at work now because I don't have a computer at home now. They are able to retrieve some data from the hard drive. (good) So I hope my pictures and the few documents I had are not lost. They are sending the laptop off for repair or replacement. The good news is something I had forgotten about. When I bought the laptop, I bought the replacement coverage! YAY! So if it cannot be replaced, I get a new computer! And, because I bought the 3 year Geek Squad service, last night's evaluation did not cost me anything! I may not have a computer for up to 3 weeks...UGH! Unfortunately, I learned this morning that my local Best Buy store is closing in a few weeks! I hope those workers will be hired at other locales and I really hope my computer situation is resolved before this store closes! Yikes!
On my way to work so I could Spark and check emails, I decided to recycle my cans and bottles and drop stuff off for Goodwill. As I was driving in the parking lot, very slowly, looking for a parking spot, a lady in a while SUV backed into me. I motioned for her to follow me into the next parking aisle so we could exchange information, but, when I parked, grabbed my purse and got out of the car, there was no sign of her. The panel above the driver's rear wheel well is scraped. It looks to be just cosmetic, but, given that I have a Bug and that piece is all one, this is a big deal. That panel extends from one wheel well, across the rear of the car (above the bumper) and over the wheel well on the other side. It's all one piece. That means that, potentially, this rises to the economic threshold of requiring a report to the California DMV. I will fill out the report but I know nothing about the driver and her vehicle except that she was a lady with brown hair and her car was a white SUV. No plate, nothing. I am still stunned that she kept going. I am fine and I will probably not replace or repair the damage (my car is 12 years old, has nearly 120K miles on it and I just spent $3K on necessary repairs).
I logged in my food this morning. I have not done that in a long time. I am on track and am going to end this blog and go to the tiny gym at work. Perhaps the elliptical or the stationary bike can help work out the pain in my knees. I'll try it and see. If it does not help, I will stop and will do Kettlebells at home.
I'll come back up here tomorrow to Spark and check emails. It's amazing how out of touch I feel without my laptop! But things could be so much worse. I have no right to complain.
OH ONE OTHER THING!
When I was in the line at the recycle van, a guy behind me climbed out of a Mercedes or BMW sports car with bags and bags of cans and bottles. I was probably 7th in line and was about to think snarky thoughts about him when he marched up to the front of the line. He grabbed some empty buckets and headed back down the line. I thought he was taking cuts, but he
gave the buckets to the lady two positions ahead of me and helped her dump her bags' contents into the buckets. As new buckets were emptied, he continued to assist on down the line. He helped the lady put her buckets on the scale and then moved on to help the older gentleman in front of me. Then he gave me two buckets (all I needed) and continued to help everyone move forward. Then several of us returned the favor for him. It felt like we were a small community. For a few moments, I forgot about being backed into (which had happened moments before) and it felt good to give and receive kindness. I am smiling as I share this!
And guess what?! I have not yet started overeating today and I am not going to do that today. I feel comfortable. Not hungry, not stuffed, just comfortable. My circumstances have not changed, but I don't feel as down as I did yesterday.
Thank you for your love and support. It truly helps!
Friday, April 13, 2012
Is it a negative affirmation, a perpetuation of negativity if I say that I am struggling? If I recount all the struggles, does that feed into some kind of karma that means they will continue to occur? If yes, then I am doomed. I am as stuck as those dinosaurs were when they found the La Brea tar pits (never been there, just seen shows about the place).
Those who've followed my blogs know that a) I hate to exercise b) I have a minor handicap c) I have reached that point of life where there are more deaths than marriages or births d) I am in some sort of depressed state e) I just spent over $3K getting my old car fixed and...
Exercise = pain, exercise = failure and I choose to experience neither. Is it any wonder that I am obese? No, the truth is in the choices I've made and only a small part of it has to do with the limitations I've been given. You'd think it were the other way around from the way I look, sound and act.
I've lost people who were very important to me, mostly through death but some through indifference or life's vicissitudes. I find that I seem to care far more for certain people than they do me and when a situation highlights that, it can be painful. I am choosing not to deal with that pain.
Or should I say I am choosing not to deal with that pain in the most constructive possible manner. I have been "self-medicating" by eating. There. I said it. I am so numb, I don't even have a reaction. I "should" do better. I must do better - my life depends on it.
I have no energy. I do not have energy to laugh and be joyful. I do not have the energy to cry, be sad or be angry. The msot I can muster is irritation. And I have snarky down, believe me. Maybe that's why I have no friends.
I have been hemmorhaging money this year with car repair ($3k is a lot but it is cheaper than a newer car), maintenance for my home (the mobile home is nearly as old as I am and is showing its age in expensive ways).
Today, I told the family that I would likely not be able to make it to the reunion with Mom Angell. The daughters are saying that this is likely her last year. In my head, I know what that means but my heart is in denial. Mom Angell was the subject of at least one blog earlier - without her, I might not have finished my senior year of college. Without her, I would have probably committed suicide that summer. We have been close ever since. (Long beautiful story about a truly beautiful woman!) She is my "adopted" mom and I love her without end.
On top of all the other stressers, I am probably in perimenopause and having most of the classic symptoms - brain fog, energy drain, very mild (so far) flashes, mood issues, etc.
Last night, we had thunder and lightning and very heavy rain. The lightning and thunder woke me up, my cats were very nervous and my roof leaked. But I gave thanks for the rain because California needs it.
This morning, I powered on my laptop at home before heading off to work. I seldom do that, saving all my SP and email time for after work, so this was unusual. I woke up extra early because of the storm and could not go back to sleep. The laptop powered up and I logged in. Before I could do much else, it suddenly went black. No power. Not from the cord, not from the battery. No warning.
I am afraid it is fried. I am on my way to Best Buy (where I bought it and where I have a service plan). I am terrified that it is toast. I had been intending to buy a surge protector but had not gotten around to it. I am kicking myself for that and also for not backing up my files, such as they are (pictures, geneology research and a handful of documents). Fortunately, the most critical stuff like bank info is on a flash drive and I have that.
I am car dumb. I don't want to learn how to repair cars. I would rather pay people to do it. I am not that bad with computers, but I have been lazy. It goes back to that complete lack of energy.
So I am off to Best Buy's Geek Squad hoping they can be my heroes again and praying I don't have a very expensive piece of nothing in my computer case.
Thanks for reading. I know no one has a magic wand, but I will accept prayers, positive thoughts, etc not just about the computer (in the grand scheme of things, even the worst scenario with the computer is minor), but everything. I truly need help.
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