Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Going through the motions: can it make a difference?

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Study du jour: Biking for as little as five minutes a day can help women minimize weight gain as they enter middle age, especially if they're overweight to begin with, a new study suggests.

I don't usually pay too much attention to studies. I mean, if you wait a few minutes another study will usually come along to contradict it. But my attention & respect are attracted by numbers.

This study followed more than 18,000 premenopausal women between the ages of 25 and 42 for 16 years. During that time, the women gained an average of about 20.5 pounds.
Women who started biking for just five minutes a day gained about 1.5 fewer pounds over the course of the study than similar women who didn't take up biking, the researchers found. Women who increased their daily biking by 30 minutes during the study kept even more weight off, gaining about 3.5 fewer pounds than those whose biking habits stayed the same.

Well, it's worth a try. The knees are still bothering me, whether sitting or standing. However, when I tried the exercise cycle at zero resistance, just going through the range of motion with no pressure at all, there was no pain at all. Very strange. If the pain isn't any worse tomorrow, then at least I'll know that I found a way to get the blood pumping without increasing the pain level.

Exercise du jour: 10 minutes on the exercise cycle

Done! The knees hurt /before/ I got on the cycle, and the knees hurt now that I've gotten off -- but the knees didn't have a problem with going through the motions of cycling. Weird, but what the hell. Maybe I should do more zero-resistance workouts. Whatever works.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Those sheep were starting to look pretty good

Oh please. You know me better than that.

What I meant was that my lawn-trimming plan was based on the necessity of having a non-wet day outside, and after several weeks of non-stop rain, the grass was getting... well, I worried about having to send out search parties when the dog went out in the morning. I was starting to daydream about getting a couple sheep for grass-trimming.

Luckily, it stopped pouring long enough for me to do the necessary yard work, but it turns out that there's a guy actually running a business for problems like that one. This guy rents out goats to clear out "unwanted vegetation and noxious weeds." Of course, they'd probably also clear out the roses. Might almost be worth it -- according to the article, the goats are especially fond of eating blackberry bushes.

Exercise du jour: After several doses of vitamin I, the swelling around the knees has gone down. Going for three miles of walking.
Fail. Though I swear to God it's not my fault. For once, no guilt. Some pain though. For some reason even though I have gone out of my way not to use or abuse them, the knees are still friggin' complaining. I don't know what I did to piss them off. I'd swear the bicycle seat was the right height -- and anyway, I've been riding that bike for several years without the knees raising a fuss once. Maybe I've shrunk and that's why I can't ride a bike without knee complaints.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Someone else better do the praying tonight...

I can't bend my knees.

Almost six hours on the bike, off and on, and now my knees don't want to bend.
You know you've got a problem when you're too stiff to perform one of the basic necessities of life. Times like this, it would be very useful to be a man.

Still, beautiful day and beautiful scenes.

A long and winding road.

Paul McCartney would be proud...

Hidden driveways.

Can you see the driveways? Well then. Good thing you were warned.

A flower garden specifically for butterflies.
Apparently these flowers are especially appealing to butterflies.
Or at least that's what the sign says.

People yakking and kayaking on the Tualatin.

And now my knees feel like toast. Time to stop and smell the roses.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The sky is blue? Who Knew?

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Very weird day -- the sky was some strange color called blue, and there was this odd yellow thing up in the sky called something like the 'son'. And it was warm, almost as if it were summer here in the Pacific Northwest. Bizarre.

Exercise du jour: Six miles walking.
Done! In the 'son'shine. And my skin is the warm reddish-pink color now. No idea what caused that.

Lesson #2: this thing called 'air conditioning' -- what is it, and do I need it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Today's the first day of bummer

Quote du jour: "People keep telling me I'm stupid. I think it's because I work for 76."
- A gas station attendant, overheard at the gas station as I was refueling the car. He was lighting a cigarette at the time.

Person I've managed to inadvertently piss off du jour: "You want to do what? Speak to Dr. Pucciarelli's assistant? Who are you, anyway?"
- The receptionist at my doctor's office, in a tone that made it clear she was working hard to keep from telling me to go to hell.

Please-tell-me-this-is-a-joke du jour: There's a Twilight Cookbook out? Dear lord. Suppose they have blood pudding as one of the recipes? Though I was moderately amused by an Amazon review, purportedly by the author, that took umbrage with another reviewer. "Your comments sound more like a jealous individual than a person that has actually purchased this book. Your recommendation to amazon that they not stock this book, sounds like sour grapes, which is not a recipe found in the book." Anyone who can do something like that to an innocent defenseless comma should be locked up in a room with some frustrated editors and a sharp-pointed red pen.

And it's not even a full moon. Only 'waxing gibbous.' I'm tempted to put my head under the covers and ignore life, but I still need to work some more tonight, plus fit in some kind of exercise. Jogging or cycling or banging my head against the wall.
There will be something. I have spoken.
Choosing to exercise is one way of proving to myself that I do have some control over this life-thing I'm going through.

Done! Yes, only did 20 minutes on the elliptical, but considering it took me until 11:30 to make it that far, I figure I done good. Or as good as I can get on a day like this one.

Friday, June 18, 2010

We made it to Friday! Now, if it would only stop raining...

Quote du jour:“If you could actually get rid of your special power which alienates you from the rest of the world, would you do it? It's a metaphor very much about intolerance, I think, fear of anything that's different. If you could choose to not be Jewish or not be gay or not be African-American. Life maybe is not as easy if you're a minority. Would you take the opportunity to change that if you could?” - Hugh Jackman

Site du jour: http://yearofgiving.wordpress.com/lend-a-hand

This guy got laid off from his job and is looking for another one. But that's not what his blog is about. He's giving away $10 a day every day for a year. Each day he finds someone, learns their name, gives them the 10 and asks what they plan to do with it. The 'lend a hand' page describes people he's met who have specific needs; these range from needing a job to needing a new music stand to finding someone to help a woman file her Social Security Disability claim. One man wants information on low-cost housing in Guatemala, another man wants ideas on what he should put on the signs that he holds up when he stands outside the Vatican's embassy in DC.

Exercise du jour: 3 miles walking, 30 minutes cycling
Done! Well... pretty much. All right, so I forgot the cycling part, okay? Completely left my mind until midnight, by which time I figured it would have to count on another day's tally so screw it.

Photo courtesy of Flickr (Gandalf)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not politically correct, but certainly morally apt

Warning: post contains quotations that contain language that might not be deemed appropriate for all audiences. If you're pregnant, or nursing, or know a pregnant nurse, you should be fine. But if you're under 5 years of age, a)I'm impressed at your reading level and b) don't read any further.

Site du jour: The Onion has an article that I thought particularly apt: Massive Flow of Bullshit Continues to Gush From BP's Headquarters. "Everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact of this will be very, very modest," said BP CEO Tony Hayward, letting loose a colossal stream of undiluted bullshit. "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean, and the volume of oil we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total volume of water."

Exercise du jour: I'm going to try breaking up the exercise into Doable BitsTM. To wit, 3 miles walking, 30 minutes ellipticalling.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good thing I didn't mention Ranier Maria Rilke...

I had a colleague show me his iPad. He was very proud of it and showed off all the features. "I call it Maxi," he said.

Keeping my expression bland, as if I didn't catch the reference, I nodded and switched the topic. "Hey, you can download books that you want to read!"

"Yep," he said proudly. "I have lots of sci-fi and fantasy books. You might not be familiar with them."

At last, I thought, we had a chance to reach some common ground in this conversation. "Oh no, I've read a lot of authors in that field. For example, I love reading Terry Pratchett."

"Ah," he paused. "Yes. Well, I haven't gotten around to reading her books yet."

I gave up at that point.

Bizarre link du jour: This is truly bizarre. As a result of a couple of car accidents, this British woman's memory is toast. She wakes up every day thinking it's 1994. Can't imagine living one day over and over again. Wonder if she's ever watched Groundhog Day?

Exercise du jour: Five miles walking.
Sorta done. Well, walking did ensue. But only 1-1/2 miles. But it's still walking, and I don't have a half-star graphic. Not a total fail, anyway.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My cunning new plan

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My cunning new plan is working. I cannot stir foot in my living room without tripping over exercise equipment. (Tripping burns calories. These little things add up.) Occasionally, rather than tripping over the exercise equip, I land on it instead. Which leads to something approximating a workout.

Hey, maybe I look silly. But if it works? I'll take it. Any bruises that occur in the process, well, they add local color.

Site du jour: Far Beyond the Stars. He wrote a post on How to Live with 50 Things, which is the exact opposite of the approach I've been taking re exercise equipment. I don't know if I could pare down my life to that extent, but the idea has an appeal to it.

He apparently got so minimalist that he had to go to the laudromat every week since every single piece of clothing he owned needed washing. I don't think I could take matters that far.

Another approach was taken by the guy from Get Rich Slowly. He marked the clothes that he took out of his closet and found that it really was true: he was only using 20% of the clothes he had stored in the closet. Methinks I would find the same situation in my closet.

Of course, the reason I keep holding on to clothes I don't wear is that they're too small for me right now, but 'any day now' the weight will magically drop off and I'll fit into them: I will look beautiful, the sun will come out from behind the clouds, and unicorns will frolic with rainbows in my weed-free backyard. Any day now.

Perhaps I couldn't pare down my clothing to just a few items, but it's time to start thinking of what I could let go. Dare I let go of Manuel? With my new toys, I have been neglecting him of late.

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes cycling. Plus, I want to try 10 minutes of cross-country, just to see if I really like it.
Done! Well, the cycling anyway. I didn't do the cross-country, but that wasn't my fault. Well, okay, it was, but ... oh, the explanation is too tedious. Short version: no iPod, no cross country. Still got a workout, so I figure that gold star is mine.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Terms of endearment

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Really, you'd think everyone knows by now that I don't appreciate being called 'hon' or some other condescending moniker by some young whippersnapper young enough to be my daughter.

Apparently people in Roseburg do not read my blog.

While the nice young man was filling the gas tank, I went into the store for sugary caffeiny substances to keep me alert on the long drive down I-5.

It was a small store, with the cashier chatting with a friend. "Just let me know when you're ready, and I'll ring you up, hon."


Recalling McB's sage* advice, I responded appropriately. "Thanks, hon."
The girl replied, "no problem, darlin'."
"That's kind of you, darlin'," says I.
"No problem, dear," she says.

At that point I gave up. If I'd kept going, I would have called her another word, and it wasn't 'dear.'

Looking back, it occurs to me that I should've called her 'kid' or something like that. Would've been more polite than the word that I'd wanted to use.

Site du jour: Gina, of Fit by 41, maybe 42, is trying to re-motivate by starting a challenge. It's good to have company for these things, and I'm certainly not Miss Motivation right now, so I'm in. When I get to work, I'm going to make a pot of herb tea. That way, I'll be sure to keep up with the drinking water. One good thing about work, they have some tasty herb teas.

Exercise du jourWalk 5 miles.
Semi-done, but I'll take even 2 miles as a victory. Plus 2 pots of herb tea, so I did good on the drinkin' side of things.

*And thymely, too.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Surviving the family reunion

Survived the road trip and the family reunion. Plus, scored some nifty stuff.

Number of people who made fat jokes: 0 (nice change)
Number of deer who wanted to meet my front bumper: 1/2 (he changed his mind at the last minute)
Number of people who asked me when I was going to have my poor dog put to sleep: 4

So, win some/lose some.

[Dog update, for anyone who cares: Since what she's allergic to is the local environment, the road trip helped her. Plus, the Atopica is kicking in. She is getting better. And I'm not going to have her put down while she's still interested in life, food, and belly rubs. So long as she's comfortable, I'm going to let her do what she likes.]

Plus, I scored another piece of exercise equipment: a cross-country skier/rower machine. Actually, it's not what I'd call a rower, since the rower seat is fixed and you only move the arm pieces. But the cross-country part works fine. And I couldn't argue with the price, since it was free.

Exercise du jour: Spent part of the afternoon doing weight lifting, i.e. picking up, carrying (okay, wheelbarrowing), and raking 20 50-lb bags of gravel. I think I sprained something.
Als0, 30 minutes cycling, an activity which does not involve using my shoulder in any way.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Time for a pithy party

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Okay, I’ll keep this short.

I don’t wanna.

I’m simply documenting this, not asking for sympathy or ‘you go girl’ or a kick-in-the-virtual-pants. Just noting that I really really don’t want to go out there and work out. It helps to write it down and post it up here. Even whining is useful, or so I’m choosing to believe. I really don’ wanna. I’m tired, I’m sick, and I’ve gotten out of the habit.

Yes, I know I’m gonna do it anyway. I have to. Done whining now.

Exercise du jour: Walking. In the rain. Which means that at least the air will be fresh and clear ... and wet ... whine...
Done. Finally.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Three questions

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Who am I? Not sure yet. More caffeine is indicated here.

Where am I? Back home after a week traveling. In my absence, the weeds/lawn/green stuff have grown several feet. Anybody got a scythe I can borrow?

Why am I here? Not sure, but I suspect to do some serious gardening. Will squeeze in some exercise while I'm at it. (Yes, I know mowing the lawn is exercise, but somehow it doesn't count as lose-weight exercise. Not to me.)

Exercise du jour: At least 30 minutes of cycling, since I'm going to return the rental car and cycle back. Will try for another 30 on the stationary in between doing Useful Stuff.