Friday, December 31, 2010

Patterns: the obligatory end-of-the-year review post

Quote du jour: My life seemed to be a series of events and accidents. Yet when I look back I see a pattern. -Benoît Mandelbrot

Things I've learned:
Looking back from the time I've started this blog, I really have actually learned things.

- Exercise is for every day, not special occasions. If you force yourself to exercise every day, eventually, eventually, eventually it becomes a habit to do something every day.

- Vegetables aren't all bad. And I love the way I feel after I eat a salad -- light, full of energy -- as opposed to how I feel after I eat a McGreasy burger.

- Even a fat chick can train to run a 5k, do 100 push ups, 200 situps, or 200 squats.

- An injury doesn't mean I need to stop exercising.

Things I still need to pound into my thick skull:

- I still react the wrong way to stress and negative things thrown at me. I want to eat bad food, drink wine, curl up in a ball under a fluffy comforter until the mean people go away. I want to be the kind of person who will get on the elliptical and sweat the anger/fear/frustration/hurt feelings away. And then go calmly confront the mean person, who probably didn't mean to be quite that mean, if you see what I mean.

- It's okay to push myself a bit more sometimes. I don't know my limits until I injure myself, but that's okay. I learn, I avoid the problem next time, and I keep going even if it's at a slower pace or through a different form of exercise.

- However, when I do injure myself, I need to stop and not try to stubborn my way through the pain.

- My exercise plan doesn't have to be followed perfectly; my diet plan doesn't have to be followed perfectly. They just have to be followed. I don't have to be perfect.

Exercise du jour: Wanna do the 3 mile jog. The sun is shining, but it's also cold out there. If the asthma kicks in and I can't jog, I can walk. Or I can whine stay indoors and lift weights. One way or another, I'm going to get a gold star up here.
Done! No, not the jog. I walked instead, but to make up for the slackness of not running I extended the walk to 5-1/2 miles instead. Very brisk walking, thanks to the cold. It was exercise, definitely. (HBBC 5)

Happy New Year!

Mandelbrot set courtesy of SiriusB.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A goat? I'm sure I asked for a pony...

I now own a goat.

The good news is that someone else has to feed it and milk it and deal with any cleanup. Maybe they get to walk it as well.

Some charity organization lets you sponsor a goat or other useful whatnot for people in poorer parts of the world, so instead of buying presents for all her children, my mother bought us all goats. The grandchildren got the gift-wrapped goodies; I got to listen to my brother make jokes about how "that gets my goat."

Actually it's a good thing, feeble jokes aside. Most everyone I know already has everything they need. Indeed, many of them are trying to get rid of stuff, live simply. I like the idea of giving people things that they need instead of a gift they have to unwrap, exchange, and write a thank you note for.

Plus, I'd hate to try to take a goat on the plane.

12/24 - Walked 6 miles
12/25 - Walked 2 miles
12/26 - Walked 2 miles

Exercise du jour: Jog 3 miles

Oh hell. I'm floundering here. The parade of feeble excuses continues:
12/27 - Skipped the jog, did 30 minutes on the elliptical instead (2 points). Told myself it was okay since I'd been up since 4 in order to catch the damn plane.
12/28 - Skipped the jog, did 10 flights of stairs instead. (1 point). Would have gone jogging, but couldn't find an iPod. Couldn't face the thought of jogging without an iPod. So easily we become spoiled.
I wonder what feeble excuse will present itself tomorrow? One of these years, as God is my witness, I'll run again.
12/29 - Well, the excuse du jour is the weather. Mother Nature couldn't decide between hail, snow, rain and sunshine, so she gave me all of them. I couldn't be expected to run in sunshine, could I? Well, I could've if it had lasted for more than three minutes at a time. Sigh. At least I ate all my veggies (1 point)
12/30 - A measly 2 mile walk. Does eating my veggies still count? (3 points)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The inner slug loves the holidays

Quote du jour:
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

I'm not sure if I'm going to have time to blog for the next few days. I'm going to try to get the exercise in anyway. If I can't, then I'll pick up where I left off in a few days. Every time I stop exercising, I am afraid that the inner slug will re-awaken and take over my life again. I'm betting that posting this publicly on the blog will help me keep going.

Have a wonderful Christmas (or whatever it is that you celebrate).

One last picture of the reindog.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Limitations? Bah humbug

Quote du jour: Please drive slowly. Those are cats, not speed bumps.
- A sign next to an alley that I went past today

I don't like acknowledging limitations. Pfui! as Nero Wolfe would say.

I concede that Damn Foot has been a problem in my running schedule, but I was dealing with it. I've gotten accustomed to wearing orthotics, I'm willing to dispense ibuprofen after a run, I'm dealing with it.

Then my body throws me a curve ball out of nowhere, which really pisses me off.

I've been getting more and more stressed about the holidays and the end of the year and all the things left undone that I swore I would get done before that time. I could feel the panic building inside me, but I thought (and rightly) that this was a stupid thing to panic over. So what if I didn't make my goals? They are arbitrary and mostly decided on a whim. I want to get to this point by that time, so let us try for it. Well, sometimes those goals are not within my grasp and I'll just have get it done whenever. It's all good.

Which is fine in theory, but in practice the anxiety kept building up inside me until I really did have a panic attack Monday night. And paid for it on Tuesday with an asthma attack. I could not stop wheezing, so it really was bloody stupid optimistic to venture forth and try to run. (I thought that since the stress-induced asthma was in part caused by stress at work, getting away from work and running would be a help, not a hindrance. I thought wrong.)

Tuesday's run was horrible. I ran about one mile before the lungs made it absolutely clear that they weren't going to play nice and let me get an adequate supply of oxygen. Grrrr... stupid lungs. Stupid body. Why is it playing games like this with me? My legs could have kept going, Damn Foot wasn't complaining, and I still couldn't friggin' get the run in.

Today, I'm taking a vacation day from work to devote myself to all the things I need to get done. Included in this list is yesterday's three mile run. Away from work. Away from incredibly rude co-workers.

Done. Well, sorta. Still not feeling great, so walked one mile and jog/walked three. Better than nothing.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last week of the C25k

Quote du jour: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
-Arthur C. Clarke

Quotes like this one tend to annoy me. I mean, basically he's saying you have to screw up before you can learn anything. It's probably true, but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

Damn Foot is a case in point. I pushed Damn Foot until it developed the pinched nerve before I stopped and went to the foot doctor. Now I'm getting back into the running slowly enough that I'm not pushing past its limits. (It still hurts, but not especially after running. Usually it hurts most first thing in the morning, when my feet are swollen anyway. That, I can live with. For now.)

Exercise du jour: Week 9 of the c25k
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

Not really done, but I'm putting the star up for jogging 1 mile, walking 3.

HBBC: 5 (exercise & veggies)

Photo courtesy of Nevit Dilmen.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Young unhappy cows

Quote du jour:
There are books in which the footnotes or comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margin are more interesting than the text. The world is one of these books.

- George Santayana

Exercise du jour:
I hate trying to exercise the last two weeks of the year. Let's try 10 minutes of stair climbing. Yes, self, that's all I'm asking you to do.
Only this time, I'm going to insist that you stretch those damned calf muscles after every climb. After last week's episode, the body went around with cranky calves that complained for days.

Done! 16 floors this time. Ran the last set. (Then dutifully stretched like a good girl.) 768 steps.

HBBC: 2 (stairs and veggies)

Photo courtesy of Daniel Schwen.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Maybe I'm just easily forgettable

Poetry du jour:
The goal is oblivion
I have arrived early.

- Borges, Fifteen Coins

So I went to the Christmas party at work. Ran into a woman that I know. I complimented her on her ruffly blouse, she warned me to avoid the cookies that looked like lemon drops since they contained licorice (which we both loathe). Brief friendly chitchat, then I moved on and so did she.

An hour or so later, I ran into the same woman upstairs in the restroom and the following conversation ensued:
Woman: Did you go to the Christmas party?
Self: Yes, I was there.
Woman: Oh. I didn't see you there.

I guess that's better than leaving a bad impression... right?
(Note: I don't feel bad about this conversation. It struck me as funny.)

Exercise du jour: Playing catch-up. Last run of week 8,c25k.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).

This might be tricky. I have found it much easier to fit the run in at work, even though it means changing to run, cleaning up and getting back into work clothes/work mode. Why is this easier than working out at home, where I have much more time and no one cares if I'm dressed for work? This maketh not sense. I'm recording it here in the hope that publicly announcing the exercise du jour will guilt me into actually getting up out of this chair and doing it.

Done! Finally. And may I say, I achieved a new PR (procrastination record) for the hours I spent putting that run off.

HBBC Yesterday, zilch. Today, 4 (the run & ellipticalling, though again I do think they should award HBBC points for gold-medal quality procrastination like that I achieved today)

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Tis the seasonings

What, your family doesn't get dressed up a bit at Christmas?

Quote du jour:
In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'
--Dave Barry

Not sure how I'm going to survive Christmas with the family. Meal-wise, I mean. Oh, okay, maybe old frictions too, but mostly meals. Turkey and pecan pie and stuffing and mince pie and rolls and pumpkin pie and ... okay, you're getting the picture.

All the more reason to work out while I can.

Exercise du jour: Week 8 of the c25k

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
Done! It was a bad run, but I felt good about it. I know that doesn't make any kind of sense. Thanks to the cramps, I couldn't eat anything all day. Went out to run anyway, but I had to take walk breaks whenever I got too dizzy and light-headed. I was a couple minutes slower than last time, but I still felt good about getting the run done. Also, walked to the Max and back.

HBBC: 7 (4-1/4 miles walked, 2-3/4 miles jog/walked)

No, this is not an actual picture of my family at Christmas. This is from Santa's Little Helper Match.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2 out of 3 pictured like these sweaters

fashion fails - Dogs Hate Winter Sweaters
see more Poorly Dressed

Quote du jour:
Look at it from the dog’s perspective. He’s spent the bulk of the last year on a 6 foot chain in someone’s back yard because he committed the unconscionable sin of no longer being a puppy. Finally, they take him for a car-ride--dumping him in a wooded area where he can have a "fighting chance." Despite everything, he waits there for their return or tries to get back home. He raids trash cans and gets sick. If he’s extremely lucky, he survives long enough for an animal lover to find him and bring him to the shelter. Then he sits in the loud, scary shelter run, starting to lose faith that his family will ever find him.

Finally, you come to the shelter and you take him home.

You not only bring him into your house, you give him his own bed and bowl, and a crate where he feels safe. You speak quietly. You feed him regularly AND give him toys and treats and nylabones. And when he goes out in the car, he always comes back.

Your rescue dog’s biggest fear is that you will spontaneously combust.
- NosyDogs, GSD rescue

That's a long quote, but I really liked it.

Exercise du jour: 10 minutes stair climbing at lunch, 50 minutes ellipticalling at home
FAIL. I hate posting a fail, and get nervous when I post two fails in a single week. Not good. I skipped the stairs because my calf muscles are still stiff as a couple of boards. (Did climb the stairs, but not as continuous exercise.) Then I skipped the ellipticalling because the cramps came back. So instead of working out, I curled up under a blanket and drank wine. Two steps backwards. Try again tomorrow.
HBBC: Cramps 1 Merry 0

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The chains of habit

Quote du jour: The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
- Samuel Johnson

I know this is true with bad habits. Hopefully the running habit works the same way.

Exercise du jour: Day 2, Week 8 of the c25k
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
Done! I'm thinking maybe I should keep up with the heavy eating, even if I have now gained back four pounds. I mean, this run flew by. It was longer than I've run in months. Also, even though I had to walk for one minute, it was faster than I've run in months. I didn't even have to walk because I was short of breath. I had to walk because yesterday's stair climbing had tightened my calf muscles to the point where I thought they'd snap. After a minute's walking, they were fine for the rest of the way.
p.s. Whoever said exercising helps cramps was either a liar or a man.
Or, I suppose, both. That's possible. ;)

HBBC: 8 (4-1/4 miles walking, 2-3/4 miles jogging. Plus veggies.)
Illustration by Charles Bell

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It IS polite to stair

Quote du jour: Walking stairs is one of the greatest exercises for weight loss.
- Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Okay, I've done 200 squats. Now what?

Well, it's nasty outside. (In December? Go figure.) I'm still going outside at lunch for the three runs around Nike, since the running keeps me warm, but the idea of a walk is less than appealing. I need an indoor exercise that I can do at lunch, and I've decided to try stair climbing.

The downside is that I work in a building that only has three stories. There aren't too many skyscrapers out here in the 'burbs. Not sure how silly I'll feel going up and down the same few flights; I can but try.

Exercise du jour: Walk to the Max, and stair climb 15 minutes at lunch.
Done! Well, the stair climbing anyway.
Well, actually I did 10 minutes, not 15, but I very quickly decided this was a bit on the strenuous side. Did the equivalent of 14 stories, both up and down. 672 steps, all told.

HBBC: 2 (stairs and veggies)

photo courtesy of Emasmeso.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cut too many corners, you end up going in circles

Quote du jour: The neurotic doesn't know how to cope with his emotional bills; some he keeps paying over and over, others he never pays at all.
--Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook 1960

Not sure what happened last week with the running jogging.

Wednesday: horrible run. couldn't finish. walked most of the way. exhausted the rest of the day and into the evening.

Friday: fantastic run. could've kept going longer. never walked. felt up the rest of the day.

So what, you are asking yourself, did I do Thursday? Answer: I ate. Bad stuff. Chicken, mostly. Fried chicken at that. Ate several pieces. Gained three pounds. Ordinarily I'd shriek and say "three pounds! Aaaaaaargh!" But ordinarily I wouldn't have felt so much better afterwards, either.

In the past three weeks, I've actually lost about nine pounds. Mostly because I wasn't feeling well, but partly because I've been damn good with the pretty-much-vegetarian meals in limited portions. I think I might have overdone the being good stuff, to the point where the body needed those extra calories to keep up with the pace. Maybe it finally got to the point where it needed to stage a tantrum so I would feel it enough fuel.

Or maybe not. Just a theory.

Exercise du jour: Week 8 of the c25k

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
FAIL. I am a failure, I am a horrible person, I am a wastrel and a sad excuse for a human being.
Oh wait. Sorry. That was meant for my meaningless self-abuse blog.
Honestly, I let life get on top of me. Had to spend several hours off-site today, which was interesting and useful but meant that I couldn't jog at lunch or even anything approximating lunch. And I've gotten so scheduled with all the crap that needs to get done NOW that I'm feeling a bit friggin' overwhelmed with ToDo stuff.
Usually, I let Life slide and get the exercise in instead. Today, it was the reverse.
I'll try to put the run in tomorrow. And I'll try not to get friggin' @#$!$%!! stressed out about all the crap I have to get done before the holidays. Yeah, good luck with that.

HBBC: Big flippin' zero.

Squaring the Circle from Michael Maier's Atalanta fugiens, emblema XXI, 1618

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 200 Squats Challenge: just for thin people?

Confession: when I started the 200 Squats Challenge, I could barely do 10 squats.

Even then, they weren't quite "proper" squats, the kind where the thighs were close to parallel with the ground. In fact, for the first two weeks my knees were so stiff that I had to hang onto the edge of a door frame to lower myself down. (Getting back up wasn't the problem; the problem was that the muscles/tendons/ligaments wouldn't stretch.) I made a note, at the beginning, that I might not be able to do squat for six weeks.

Well, I did it. 200 squats in one fell swoop.

Progress: After the second week, the muscles/tendons/ligaments suddenly seemed to get the idea and I could do the squats more easily. Which is fortunate, because that's when they started to multiple. (The squats, that is. Not my ligaments.)

The 200 Squats Challenge starts out so easy that you don't feel discouraged. And then when it gets harder, it always feels just doable. Each week, I improved. Also, I liked making jokes about 'doing squat.' (Juvenile, I know.)

The first few squats were always a bit awkward, until the knees felt warmed up. My knees felt swollen after one session, and on several occasions the glute muscles reminded me that I'd done squat the next day after a session. Other than that, there weren't any problems -- so long as I maintained the "proper form." If I started to slouch a bit (and thus rounding the back), the lower back would remind me why this was a bad idea.

Results: After six weeks, I can tell that my legs are a lot stronger than they were when I started. They even look more shapely (as does my behind). Jogging up a hill is noticeably less of a challenge now; the glute muscles propel me up the slope easily. Squats are a fabulous way to get the heart rate up when you don't have time for a full workout.

And frankly, I feel good about this because I didn't know if I could make it. I love it when this overweight, out-of-shape body surprises me with its capacity for improvement.

No, the 200 Squats challenge is not just for thin people.

Exercise du jour: I wanna do 40 minutes on the elliptical. Can I go that long? I have no idea. Let's find out.

Done! Did 45, so I could count it all for the HBBC challenge.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Goal met: 200 squats in one fell swoop

All right, maybe it wasn't the fastest fell swoop on the planet (they say you should aim to do 200 squats in 5 minutes), but I did it.

200 squats, no breaks. Let me tell you, that is one great way to break out in a sweat.

Done! Plus, 20 minutes on the elliptical to warm up the knees, and an additional few minutes doing some push ups and sundry to make the squats session last long enough to qualify for a point. Plus, a second 20 minutes ellipticalling in the evening.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Run, Merry, Run

Quote du jour:You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.
- Anatole France

It's odd, but I don't feel like a runner. I've been doing this for a long while, but I still feel like a beginner. Every day, I'm starting all over again.

Exercise du jour: Week 7 of the C25k.
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
Done! Wow, this couldn't have been more different than the last time. I got into a rhythm and never needed to stop. I could've kept going more than 2.5 miles, no problem. It felt like I could've gone on forever. What a difference a couple days (of rest and no restriction of calories) makes.

HBBC: 5 (walked 1-1/2 miles, jogged 2-1/2 miles, plus ate my veggies)

Photo courtesy of Jacopo Werther.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Last day of doing squat

Yeah, it looks easy when you've got a rock to sit on, dude...

Quote du jour: The road to success is lined with many tempting parking spaces.

Exercise du jour: The last, the very last I hope, day of week 6 of the 200 Squats challenge.

Finally. Done.

HBBC: 2 (squats and veggies)

Photo courtesy of Massimo Finizio.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Broccoli is beautiful

See? I like vegetables. Sometimes. I love the way mathematical theory meshes with the patterns in nature.

Quote du jour:
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into actions, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, or how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
— Martha Graham

Exercise du jour: Week 7 of the C25k.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
Done. Or good enough. I mean, I didn't jog 2.5 miles, more like 2, but I walked the rest. I felt like a car that had run out of gas -- there weren't even fumes. I'm still wiped out, hours later. If I could've found a co-worker driving my way, I'd have hitched a lift rather than doing the walk home. Is this all because I leapt out of bed at 5 am and did 20 minutes on the elliptical before walking to the Max station? Sheesh.
Walked: 4-1/2 miles. Jogged (sorta) 2-1/2 miles. 20 minutes elliptical.

HBBC: 9 (ate my veggies too)

Now I'm going to have a hot bath and maybe just go to bed.

Fractal photo of broccoli courtesy of Jon Sullivan. Coincidentally, Nova on PBS (American television) is showing a program on fractals this week.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Almost done with the 200 Squat challenge... I hope

see more funny videos

Quote du jour:
The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
- James D. Nicoll

The quote and the picture have nothing to do with anything except perhaps that fact that it's a Tuesday. I can survive a Monday by pretending it's just a one-shot deal, but having to get up and go to work all over again on a Tuesday always gets to me.

Exercise du jour: Almost there. Day 2 of week 6 of the 200 Squats challenge. This is getting to be quite the workout. I hope I can pass the test this weekend.

Done! Not fun, but done. Well, the last set was not fun. But the others... y'know something? I didn't mind them. It's gotten to the point where 20 squats feels like a warm up.

HBBC: 2 3 (walked and ate my veggies -- plus did squat)

Monday, December 06, 2010

From Chaos, with love

Quote du jour: How is it they live in such harmony, the billions of stars, when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know?
- Thomas Aquinas

For some reason, I'm on the Organization kick. I don't understand what's behind this urge to purge and organize my life, but it feels right so I'm going with it. October was the month of Cleaning Out the Garage. November was devoted to purging all the Stuff that I couldn't get rid of in the garage clean. Now in December I'm focusing on organizing the office and bedroom.

Basically, I'm moving from one end of the house to another, going from the large areas to the smaller ones. This mimics what I tend to do every winter. As the days get shorter and the nights get darker (Oregon gets a lot darker at night than California), I tend to spend more time in small enclosed areas that I can easily keep warm and bright. It would be very hard to spend any time out in the freezing cold garage trying to sort things right now, but it feels natural to hole up in the bedroom.

It's not a retreat; I don't feel like I'm hiding from life. I'm putting my things in order and by extension doing the same thing to myself. In the darkest part of the year, I'm creating order out of the chaos around me and in me.

This has been one hell of a fall cleaning, but I think the end is in sight. One thing that I told myself I would do, after the dog died, was get out more. If you've ever had an older dog, you know how it gets: they can't get out much, yet all they want is to be near you. The obligation binds you close to home. Now that I'm no longer tied that way, and once I get my house in order, I need to get out and explore. Heard tell there's a whole universe out there.

Exercise du jour: Week 7 of the C25k.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
Done! Plus, walked 5-1/2 miles and ate all my veggies. So there.

HBBC: A very smug 9
Mind you, my legs aren't feeling smug. They think I'm an idiot for squeezing that extra half mile of walking in so the numbers would line up evenly.
Graphic courtesy of NASA.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

HBBC: I exist to make you all look good

Quote du jour: Nothing like getting your ass kicked to make your ass hurt.
- Buffy

I put off posting my numbers on the HBBC spreadsheet because I'd heard rumors (from a reasonably reliable source) that people were kicking ass, posting thousands a whole lot of exercise points each day.

I thought looking at their exuberance would depress me. I was right. It did.

And then I thought -- so what? Doing this HBBC challenge has gotten me off my couch and onto my elliptical several times in the past couple weeks. It's gotten me to extend my exercise hours and mileage -- in a small way maybe, but it's still made me stretch. I may not win a prize for total exercise insanity great achievements, but I am improving.

You know those cheesy self-help books that tell cheesy self-help stories to cheer you up and make you feel better about shelling out $$$ for them? Well, here's another self-help story:

A little boy kept throwing a baseball up in the air and trying to hit it with his bat. Each time he swung, he missed.
Obviously discouraged, he stopped trying after a while, and said "I am the worst batter in the entire world." He threw down the bat and started to walk away.
Then he stopped, tossed the baseball up in the air and caught it. A look of triumph spread over his face. "I," he proclaimed, "am the greatest pitcher ever!"

Well, that's kind of how I feel. I may not be good at exercising for hours a day earning a lot of HBBC points, but I am damn good at holding down the low end of the achievement curve. I am there to make all of you HBBC people look good. I hope you appreciate me.

Exercise du jour: I passed the week 5 test, so it's on to week 6 of the 200 Squats challenge.


HBBC: Yesterday, 4 (yoga and ellipticalling)

Today: Just 1 2. Don't know what I'd do without my friend the elliptical. Also, did squat.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Survived week 6 of the C25k

see more Lol Celebs

Okay, so maybe he's not exactly a hunk, but I liked the pun.

Quote du jour: The impossible is often the untried.
- Jim Goodwin

Word du jour: Minging. I had to look this word up, as I'd never encountered it before. Used in reference to haggis-flavored potato chips, it apparently means "smelly, distasteful, ugly or drunk." I'm going to assume the potato chips weren't actually drunk. (Thanks to Shauna from The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl for expanding my vocabulary.)

Site du jour: You've probably seen this before, but I loved Dogs don't understand moving, from Hyperbole and a half. Almost as funny as their classic pain scale. ("Huh. I never knew that about giraffes.")

Exercise du jour:Last day of c25k, week 6
Brisk five-minute warm up walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 25 minutes) with no walking. Watch this space for a gold star.

Done! Finally. Plus, walked 4 miles.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Survived week 5 of the 200 Squat Challenge

Cinderella: Better In Reverse
see more Lol Celebs

Quote du jour:
Plant your own garden
and cultivate your soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

- Veronica Shankill

During the 30-day purge, I used to grab a box of paperwork that I had to go through, take it to the living room, and watch a DVD while I purged. Made the drudgery marginally less drudgy. (Only marginally. Especially after the 20th box.)

I ended up watching a lot of Buffy videos (catching up on all the episodes I missed, which is most of them). So I've been receiving a lot of visual messages of women and empowerment. Maybe the squats will help me kick my own ass. Buffy probably did lots of squats.

Exercise du jour 200 Squat challenge, week 5
max (at least 40)
Done! Weirdly, that was easier than Tuesday's stint, even though it was about 20 more squats. Plus, did yoga and elliptical (gotta get those HBBC points in somehow).


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

'Tis the season for the hunting of the haggis...

funny food photos - Pretty Pricy for a LIE
see more My Food Looks Funny

Quote du jour: You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.
- Henrik Ibsen

Site du jour: Yes, it's that time of year again. It's Haggis Hunting Season. Maybe I could bag one and win a free trip to Scotland.

Exercise du jour: While hunting the haggis, still going on with week 6 of the c25k

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

* Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
* Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
* Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)

Done! Tried to do some quick intervals the first set, but that might have been a mistake. Those suckers take it out of you. (Yes, I know that they're meant to, but the last jog I gritted my teeth and practiced that endurance thing.) Plus, ellipticalling.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No more purging!

Quote du jour: The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.
- Søren Kierkegaard

I come by my pack rat tendencies honestly -- I inherited them. When I moved up to Oregon, my mother sent me a box of personal papers (birth certificate, baptismal record, etc.).

I was touched that even after bringing seven other children home from the hospital (and giving birth to another one who never made it home), she'd still saved every single scrap of paper that she'd been given in the hospital, all the birth information, hospital bill (she spent four days in the hospital, it cost $7, thank you USAF), and every single "Congratulations on the birth of your child" card.

Until I started looking at the cards, and found that some of them were "Congratulations on the birth of your son!" and mentioned the name of #7 child. And there was a birth announcement from 17 years earlier on the birth of #1 child. Also, she'd included the summer school report card from #2 child, and the Band and Orchestra report card from #4 child. Basically, the contents (except for the one about #1 child) were collected the year I was born, or from a couple years before that, and dumped in the box.

(The birth announcement re #1 child had been sent to my grandmother, who'd saved it for 18 years and then sent it back to my mother. Presumably it was intended for #1 child, but ended up being saved in my box for another... well... 47 years.)

It's not my fault that I create little time capsules of paperwork and carry them around with me for decades. It's heredity.

[Note: also, of course, my mother was working full-time and had 8 children living at home, i.e. she came home and worked too. I only work one job.]

Goal of the month: This is the last day of the 30-day Purge. I think I can say I survived. I would like to say I feel freer, but really all I feel is relieved. And unlike Kierkegaard, I don't miss all the stuff that I've been holding onto for so long. The stuff probably doesn't miss me either.

Exercise du jour:
200 Squats Challenge
max (at least 34)
Done! And, may I say, @#!$%$!#@!!!!! Thank you. I needed to say that. I might need to repeat this week. That was only 135 squats. Felt like 535 instead.

An extra star for making NaBloPoMo, 30 days straight of blogging.

Today, I was good. Well, good for me.
20 minutes yoga, 20 ellipticalling, 3 miles walked, veggies consumed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Facebook makes people strange

The problem with not being on Facebook is that you tend to notice its effect on your friends. They start behaving oddly.

One woman dropped by my house, at a time convenient for her, and seemed surprised that I wasn't prepared to stop what I was doing to entertain her. "But I announced on Facebook that I'd be in the neighborhood!" (And no, she's not the Queen of England. Not an evil person either, usually.)

Another example? I got an email from a friend. "Those of you who are on Facebook will have heard the story of the scandal behind X's baby picture. And here's another picture of Z, and you all know about her story. " Um... no, I don't know the story. Should I care?

To me, Facebook is another networking tool. It is not the whole world. I suppose it's not FB itself that is teh evil; it's people's reactions to it. People get swallowed up by Facebook, or World of Warcraft, or any number of other time sinks perfectly good software applications.

Goal of the month: The penultimate day of the 30-day Purge of Stuff.

Exercise du jour: Week 6 of the c25k.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

* Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
* Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
* Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
* Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
* Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes
Done! Plus, 2 20 minute sets on the elliptical

Squirrel courtesy of ray eye.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sometimes, I even follow directions

I assembled the robot  Didn't read manual

Quote du jour: I have grown happier with every year of life, as though gradually conquering something in myself, for certainly my miseries were not made by others but were a part of my own mind.
- Yeats

Goal of the month: Still going on the 30 Days of Purging. Three more days. I can do it.

Update du 7:07 pm: Yes, I really am going to put a gold star next to that goal of purging. I've been avoiding the trouble spot all day. For some reason, when I get really close to finishing a goal, I slow down. I don't know why that is, but it's really annoying. I'm going to grab a timer and go in and attack. I'm posting this so that I will be accountable and Get It Done.

Finally -- done!

Exercise du jour: For some reason, I seem to do best with schedules and challenges like the 200 squats or C25k challenge. Seems dumb, but if it works, what the heck. I passed the Week 4 test for the 200 Squat Challenge, so it's on to week 5.


Done! Egads, that was 119 squats. How did that happen?
Also, 20 minutes on the elliptical, just so I'll have something to put up for the HBBC challenge.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

27th day of purging Stuff from my life

Quote du jour:
Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, to discover what is already there.
- Henry Miller, Sexus.

Goal of the month: Thank God I'm almost done with the 30 Days of Purging. Honestly, it feels as if I have spent years on purging stuff. It's only been 27 days, but if feels like a lifetime and a half.

Okay. Whine done now. And don't look at me like that. If you'd spent 40+ years hording stuff, you would be feeling the pain as well. The good news is that I am getting rid of about 80% of the paperwork that I've saved. (Good ole Pareto.) And of the rest, maybe half is going to Goodwill or to the "Dunno" box. Perchance the equation will be Less Stuff = Less Merry.
Done! I have now sorted every friggin' box of paperwork that I've been storing for years. The Find du Jour is that I now know who my godparents were. (Found my baptismal record in a file that my mother had given me.) Mind you, they're both dead now, but still it's good to know. My mother never could remember who they were -- one of the many perils of being the youngest in a large family.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Hats off to a holiday Friday!

Not only is it Friday, it's Friday of a holiday weekend. Enjoy!

Goal of the month: Day 26 of the 30-day purge. I am proud to say that there is noticeably less stuff around to purge.

Goal of the week: Get up by 8 a.m. (No, I'm not braving the stores today!)

Exercise du jour: C25k Week 5. Yes, it's that time. The infamous 20 minute jog.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.
Done! Plus, 20 minutes on the elliptical. Damn foot didn't complain about the 20 minutes jogging, but afterward he bitched a bit. 2 ibuprofen and fingers crossed. The foot doc was right: easing back into running slowly has been pretty painless... at least, it has been so far...

HBBC: 3 (argh! want more points!)
Photo courtesy of Daniel J. Mclain.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank you!

Quote du jour: If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'Thank you,' that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart

Good day to stop and think and thank. Thank you for reading this! Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for commenting. You really help.

Goal of the month: Still with the 30-day purge of Stuff from my life. I promise that I will to find some time today to purge stuff.
I am really getting tired of doing this. It's still not done -- it feels like I'm not getting anywhere. I know that I am getting somewhere, but I wish it felt like it.

Goal of the week: Since it's a holiday, I'll make this a goal to get up by 8 9:30 a.m.
I think I see the key to success -- redefining your goal to something your body will accept.

Exercise du jour: 200 Squats challenge, week 4

Done. And I'd just like to say, "Argh!"

Did 20 minutes on the elliptical earlier, and I'm off to do 20 more.


Photo courtesy of Mila Zinkova.