Friday, July 28, 2006

Random Thought: Poor Floyd

People just need to get a damn grip.
The poor guy is guilty before he even actually becomes guilty.
I mean... the RATIO is off - and not that the level was too high.

I mean, he grew up Amish (or Mennonite), for cryin' out loud!

People are idiots.
They're like vultures smelling blood when they think there may be some remote possibility of some misfortune (no matter how small) befalling someone...
They need to get a life!

I hate idiots.

Footpod Versus Pedometer

For those who wrote to me and asked if they should get the footpod, this is my answer...

Whether you walk or run, if you are anal about the exact numbers on how far you go, how fast you get there, what your heart rate may be while doing the activity, how fast you go per mile, and would like to automatically know when you've reach a mile, then you should get the Polar. It's pricey but not as pricey as the triathlon version and or that anal peace of mind, isn't it worth it?

On the other hand, if you feel that you can do with a generalized less exact "pretty close but no cigar" kinda measurement, then get a pedometer. Especially if you intend to just walk - as opposed to running.

Both need calibration, although the pedometer is much less exact in the calibration methods. The Polar also comes with the HRM strap. And it's more complicated to use - you have to read the manual - after that it's not that hard but at first it can seem overwhelming.

I personally have both. The Polar has a footpod that can only attach to a shoe with laces. And some people may wonder why you have this knobby thing with a little blinking green light on your dress shoes. The pedometer clips to your waistband. Good thing I only wear pants - I wear skirts, dresses, or other clothing without legs only upon threat to my life.

If you decide to get the pedometer, get one with a big strong clip. I had three of them fall off my person and to their deaths - at $27.99 each, each was a hard death to take! My current one is a different brand, cost $24.99, has a HUGE clip and this time, I actually remembered to ask for my running club discount! It hasn't fallen off of my person yet! But then I am more careful about it.

Also, be sure that the pedometer comes with a cover. A lot of them don't because they assume you will do "fitness walking" (whatever that is) and won't be leaning up again things to reset the pedometer by mistake. I wear mine all the time, so the ONE TIME I did get one without a cover, I kept leaning up against the desk and the counter, and my fat roll included, kept resetting the darn thing.

Oh. And don't get one that TALKS to you. It is infinitely irritating.
Okay. Hope that helps answer questions!

I didn't run because...

...i got to bed an hour later than usual...
...and got up an hour later than usual...
...and because it was already 77* at 5:55 am...
...with a high humidity level...

No way was I getting out there.
Instead, I will do 6 miles easy tomorrow instead of 4.
So much for getting my mileage over 40 miles this week!

Filling in and Filling out...

I cannot remember when the filling in was done.
But the filling out was last night.
After dinner. Thank goodness!

I was flossing my teeth. I am a floss fanatic. I literally get what I call "Floss Emergencies" where if I don't get my hands on a piece of floss, I feel like all my teeth are going fall out from all the gunk (usually imaginary) that are filling in all the spaces in between (not that I have big spaces). Anway... for the last week, there was this one tooth (back left molar) that my floss wouldn't go through. And I did notice a funny "shifting" going on in that area... I thought I might have either cracked another tooth or cracked a filling but I didn't want to think about it. Anyway, I broke about 10 floss picks in one sitting trying to get back there! ARG!!!

Anyway, last night, I found out why. I finally got my floss in there and then when I went to pull it out, it got stuck. So I pulled and tugged. Out came the floss, and out popped a fillng! GASP!!! And it's a big ole piece of filling, too.

Luckily, I don't have any sensitivity back there (knock on wood). I'll call the dentist today and see if they want me to come in right away or wait a few weeks for my 6 month checkup. At this point, after brushing my teeth, rinsing my mouth, drinking hot coffee and cold orange juice, and having my omelet, all without incident, I am not too too worried about any kinda real pain. All of my fillings are from cracked teeth, as opposed to cavities, so it's less likely I'll have a truly sensitive area...

Anyway...the hardest part is chewing on the other side of my mouth for the most part. The filling fell out of my left side which is where I do most of chewing. That, and worrying about the food particles that might imbed themselves in that big ole filling hole!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Death of an iPod

So, as with people, those who make it to surgery don't always come out of surgery better.
Sometimes they struggle and recover while others - well... never make it.
And so it was with my iPod.

I received the new battery yesterday.
I took the bottom apart just like I was supposed to.
It was pretty easy when they said it might be hard.
Then I tried sliding the motherboard out.
They said it would be easy and that it would just slide out.
They lied.

I pushed and pulled, and even tried to loosen the top of the ipod with the handy dandy screwdriver they sent with the battery. Nothing.
Then Joseph got a hold of it.
He pushed and pushed to no avail.

Now, I noticed he was pushing on the clickwheel, and I knew that wasn't right. But I just winced and sat there not quite able to say anything.
Then he started pushing on the display.
The liquid crystal display.
If you pop the little crystals from too much pressure, they break and the liquid comes out.
And so... well... the rest is history.
He handed the iPod back to me and didn't say much.
I looked down to see this big ole thumbprint like thing of liquid crystal.
I said, "I think my iPod is dead."
He said, " I think so, too."
I said, "umm... you do know you're not supposed to apply undo pressure on a display like that..."
He said, "umm... I know..."
I said, "My iPod is dead."

I looked on the back. It's a second generation iPod. Apple figured out how to make people send the iPod's back to them for battery replacements instead of getting them on the secondary market and replacing it themselves. They made the second generation impossible to slide out. So, I am down $10 for the battery and $299 for the iPod. I should have paid Apple $65 to do it right. Sigh...

Joseph says I can get a Nano.
Don't want one.
I like my mini.
The one that's dead.

And that is that.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For those who are interested in ordering the footpod "forks"...

I emailed Polar right from their website about the forks, and this is the response they sent me.

"You may purchase a footpod fork from us directly. The fork retails for $7.95 plus $3.50 shipping and handling. (NY, IL and NM residents are subject to sales tax)

Please forward your request (including your mailing address) along with payment to the address listed below.

Polar Electro Inc.
1111 Marcus Avenue, Suite M15
Lake Success, NY 11042-1034
Attn: Customer Service.

Or call Customer Service directly to place your order at 1-800-227-1314.

If you need further assistance please feel free to contact Customer Service at 800-227-1314 or 516-364-0400.

Thank you for choosing Polar.
Customer Service

I opted to CALL them but it took them about 10 minutes to get to me - must have a lot of people ordering footpod forks...

Anyway, the only difference is that the guy on the phone said they are $7.99 as opposed to $7.95 - 4 pennies, big deal, but I could see some knuckleheads making a big issue out of it... so I thought I'd mention it here.

Regular USPS shipping - should get here in 3-5 days - they are sending it out tomorrow morning.

Something to be said about convenience...

...especially when it concerns something I do 5 days a week...

That something is run.
With my footpod.

My handy dandy Polar R200SD has a footpod that attaches to my shoe using what I called the "footpod clip." Today, Polar duly informed me that the "clip" is called a "fork."

After three weeks of taking the clip in and out of my shoestrings, that small action has become increasingly irritating. So today, I called Polar and ordered four more forks. That's three for me and one in case my Hunny Bunny would like an extra one. I usually have four pairs of shoes in various forms of rotation. Having to sit down and unclip, pull out the fork, put the fork into another pair of shoes, clip on the footpod, day in and day out, took a couple three minutes every morning. And that fork is NOT easy to pull in and out of the shoestrings because of the little bumpy doogamahickey things on the end that clips into the footpod.

I should get them in 4 to 5 days.

Happy happy happy!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Speaking Chinese

In case anyone is interested, Joseph and I are taking a beginner's Chinese (Mandarin) class at the BCAE for fun. Yes. For FUN. What the heck was I thinking??? Anyway, the BCAE is where, when I was married to HWINLIML, I took almost every cooking class they gave. It's on Comm Ave - only a 15 minute walk from our house - on one of the most expensive areas in Boston. I love taking classes there.

We chose Mandarin because most of the educated Chinese will speak Mandarin in addition to their own regional dialect. Most of the people in Boston speak Cantonese but it turns out that only 5% of the Chinese speak it. The people in the US are descendents of the Cantonese who were brought over to work on the railroads, etc., and who decided to stay on.

Chinese is hard.
Speaking it is one thing, but I am resigned to never being able to read or write it and be a total illerate! It's all symbols. Line symbols. Not picture symbols - which are easier to memorize.

It's all about memorization.
And you need lots of time to memorize.
I remember when I was learning vocabulary words in elementary school, writing words over and over and over again, folding the paper into fourths and writing the definitions, etc, over and over again. That is how I ended up with my love of words. And when I took 5 years of Latin later on...well, that just clenched that life long love affair.
I know that this is what I need to do with Chinese.
There are four tones in Mandarin and a word with different tones can mean different things.
It's not just memorizing the words, it's memorizing the tone, and in order to do that, I HAVE TO WRITE IT DOWN!!!! But when? I HAVE NO TIME!!!

Okay. It's all about priorities.
So far, it's been a fun class and I like taking it with my Hunny Bunny!

The one upside is that Chinese isn't as impossible as Icelandic.
Now THAT's more of a secret code than a language. Sheesh.

Stopping the insanity...

...can be a slow process...

First, one must see that things are out of control.
Then, one must admit that things are out of control.
After that, one must care that things are out of control and want to do something about it.
But wanting is not enough. It never is.
To go from wanting to doing takes concerted effort.
It means getting out of our comfortable, whiny, woe-is-me zone and actually putting forth some sort of physical and mental effort.
It usually takes great motivation - or trauma.
And trauma comes in various sizes and means various things to various people.
Trauma is relative and it's also a great motivator.

So, for the past two years, now going on three, I've been whining and complaining and "woe-is-me-ing" about the fact that I've gained about 12 pounds - most of which was put on during the great kitchen renovation. And even though I've lamented about the situation at almost every turn, I've done nothing but put in nominal effort to actually DO something about it. That is until last weekend.
Two weeks ago, I got on the scale ever day. Every day, the numbers registered a little higher. This is while I'd been been eating pretty well but something wasn't working. I had also started running again but the numbers were still rising.

Then on that fateful Friday, I had my trauma.
I had gained another 2 pounds. Now I was up 14-15 pounds from two-three years ago.
And I was up 21 pounds from my ideal - yes, I have a small bone structure even if I like to deny this - and I felt terrible.
Joseph saw the numbers. And on that day of all days, he didn't give me any rationale, no reasons, no excuses, no "perfectly logical explanations"... he just looked at me... and that is when I knew.

I had to quit complaining and whining; I had to do something!!!

So, I got out my old eating plans from 10 years ago when I trained with a personal trainer, who would soon become of my closest friends. I tailored some of it for my running.

It's basically a diabetic diet - similar to South Beach, I guess. But since it was 10 years ago, it has a very different set menu. I modify to eat a bit more carbs on the days that I run, etc., but mostly, I keep the carbs very low. This means that in order to refill my glycogen stores I have to eat much more protein - which, as a meat-eater, is just fine with me.

In one week, I've lost 3 pounds. I've actually hit a low of 4 pounds but my weight goes up and down on any given day. This is the second week of this set menu. Next week, I am starting South Beach For Beginners Phase I. I am skipping the "induction phase" where I have NO CARBS WHATSOEVER. I can't do that with my running schedule.

The best part of this, other than the weight loss so far, is that I can have bologna. I love bologne. Flat hot dogs. Yum. And I can have pistachio nuts for snacks - which is good since I have a huge bowl I pick from all day long at work and I get a little hungry. Usually, 10-12 nuts will make me not hungry.

3 pounds in a week is great.
3 pounds every week is unrealistic.
If I can lose 1 pound every 1-2 weeks, I'll be ecstatic!

I am stopping the insanity and taking responsibility.
It feels good to be in control again.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Good news and bad news...

Let's start with the bad news.
I think I mentioned this before.
Our EVP is retiring.
And I had such a good relationship with him.

Okay. The good news.
My best friend Joanne, who once worked here, worked with the NEW EVP for a year implementing a new system.
He's from a consulting firm.
He's young and when I saw his picture, I instantly got pretty good vibes.
And yes, I believe in all that kinda hokey pokey.
Anyway, I talked to Joanne and she told me all about him.
I told her to put in a good word for me and she said she'd call him to congratulate him and bring it up in conversation.

Happy happy happy!

On a side note, I am in a meeting about this and they are already company-izing the guy's schedule. Wonder what he's gonna be like...

Should be interesting.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Book Review #6: 1215

1215: The Year of the Magna Carta by Danny Danzinger
Okay. This is the same guy who wrote the Year 1000.
And no, I haven't read that book but I am going to.

So, if you like history, British History specifically, this book is for you.
I happen to like history, especially British History.

It covers the year 1215 and the events that lead up to the Magna Carta.
In addition to the politics of the various French, Spanish, and British courts, it also highlights the life of the locals - everything from their housing to what they eat and drink. It also talks about daily life of the serfs and the tenants of the courts and how the kingdoms and feifdoms were divided.

Everything I missed in history class in the seventh grade when we discussed medieval England was covered in this book. So if you have kids who are studying this topic in school and they are grousing about it, let them. The bottom line is that almost all of us never appreciate a topic that is not personally deemed as "fun" or "interesting" and we dub such as nothing more than painful and punishing. However, if they are of a mind to, they will grow interest in many of those topics when they are older. And like I did, they will pick up a book and their eyes will open wide and recall those tedious seventh grade lessons. British history is like that for me.

Anyway, it was a very good book. It tended to drag in parts when they talked about the court politics (politics are politics, after all) and sometimes I couldn't remember which king was killed by which brother. But much of it was interesting for me.

Also, I now understand what Runnymeade is about and how the ABA (yes, that's right, our very own AMERICAN Bar Association) would be motivated to put a plaque there. This is more significant because we went to Runnymeade on our way to Windsor Castle during out UK trip last spring. And the descriptions brought it vividly back to mind, in full color.

Really good book.
I stop short of saying it is great because, well, it's basically a history lesson!


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Supplemental Disability Insurance

...and why we need it...

My mother died of lung cancer.
She didn't have a lot other than the house she worked her fingers to a bloody bone to pay for.
And she had her faith in God, her love for her children (in her own weird whacked out insane sort of way), and her dignity.
That's all.
And that is all she asked of life, especially in her later years when she had lost everything - her husband, the life she once had, her dreams of what life could be, her youth and the potential that it promised.

My mother died of lung cancer.
It is not genetic.
It is environmental.
She never smoked a day in her life.
But every day, she worked her fingers to the bloody bone at a company with a bunchasmokers where they had a breakroom for those same smokers. She sat in that break room day after day, hour upon hour, until that one fateful day, when her body decided that it couldn't fight anymore and decided to let a little mass appear on one of her lobes.

I guess that is the long and short of it, the beginning of the end of the story that is her life. And the story of her decline could have started many years before when she got the job, when her mental issues finally drove her family apart, or that fateful day she went to the doctor because she couldn't breathe well.

It took about 3-4 months from the time she was diagnosed until she ended up with Hospice - that selfless organization that helps guide so many people down the path to their final destination. The 3-4 months is a guess because I was so estranged from her that I can only repeat hearsay.

During those 3-4 months, she declined quickly. The nursing home? Never. She couldn't be deprived of the dignity that she held onto through thick and thin. The hospital? Well... she could stand on her own two feet and she could tell right from wrong... so she couldn't stay there... they need the beds for those who can't stand or sit or remain awake in the real world. So she was sent home.

She ended up on oxygen...could barely go a few steps...couldn't leave the house. She basically lived on the couch, like the mother character in the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Except, my mother wasn't morbidly obese; she was a paltry 80 pounds at best. Paperweight. Feather-light.

Who would take care of her?

My sister. The angel. The one that God sent to watch over my mother. She was always there for her when my brother couldn't be and when I refused to be. My sister, the third wheel, the "accident." All things happen for a reason and by God's design - of this, I am convinced.

She dropped out of school. She quit. Everything. She went back home. And stayed with my mother. Took care of her and all things, big and small. She gave up her life so that my brother wouldn't have to, and so that I didn't have to be bothered.

I often wonder about the paths we choose. I wonder if she hadn't done this, what could my sister be doing today? The most brilliant of the three kids, the funniest with the driest sense of humor, with a keen eye and the ability to see things three or four layers deep, able to catch nuances and ironies that most of us miss... I often wonder how she can be so isolated and be so happy? I know now. It's because she is alone with her wonderful, creative, brilliant mind. It's all the entertainment and companionship she needs.

But she still "gave up her life." And if my mother had not passed away in the Hospice-required 6-month time frame, I know my sister would have continued sitting there with her, day after day, tending to Mother's needs.

If she had gone into the nursing home, that would have happened as well. Maybe not living with her in the same room, but I know that she would have gone to her to take care of her, just as Joseph's parents to go the nursing home to take care of his grandmother. "...must check up on things..." "always" or "things aren't taken care of" so you have to be "constantly on top of things", as Joseph's own mother said to me a couple of times.

And that is why we should get supplemental disability insurance.

And it doesn't end there.
When is the right time?
Do you take a chance for the next 10 years? Even if the premium is $50 (or so) higher? Because it might be closer to the time you might need it?

In Korean, they hire full time "nannies" for family in the hospital if a family member cannot be with them 90-100% of the time. They even sleep with the patient in the hospital room on a cot.

I wish we had had someone to help my sister.
I wish I had known.
I wish I had the resources IF I had known.
And most of all... I hope my sister forgives us all...

I love you, Mia.
You mean the whole world to me.

Batteries run...

…and batteries die…

I finally broke down and ordered my iPod mini replacement battery.
I did a google search and read some reviews and finally settled on a site recommended by CNET. The price was MUCH cheaper and it supposed lasts longer. Whatever. I just want my iPod to NOT crap out after two minutes of play time - and that's after a 2-day charge!

I also went ahead and ordered a new battery for my Nikon. Sometimes, it shows that the battery compartment is empty even when I have a fully charged battery in there. It was cheap enough and if it's not the battery, I will finally know. And if it's not the battery, then at least I have an extra battery. And did I mention it was CHEAP? Yup yup yup.

I opted for the standard shipping - will take about 4-5 days. For every day you want it sooner, it costs another $4-5. I figured I can survive a few days without the iPod and lordy knows that I haven't had a chance to use the camera lately since I've been so busy.

When it gets here, I must perform iPod surgery.
It had better work.
This is the iPod that my Hunny Bunny got me and put music back into my life!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Swim Relay

My Hunny Bunny is swimming a relay out in Boston Harbor.

Yes. Boston Harbor.
Major shipping lane.
Jelly fish.
Major currents.
CRAP! Quite literally.

Jetsam, flotsam, trash, lots o' waves…

High Tide is about 2pm… major implications depending on which direction they're swimming in.

You can see pictures here.

They are through the first buoy - and if you click on this picture, you can see him in the red shirt and green hat leaning over the railing (YIKES) on the left hand side.

Sheer craziness.

Cannot imagine doing something as nuts as this.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The problem with concerts...

...are the IDIOTS that ruin it...

They whistle that brain-searing whistle to show their pleasure while ruining ours.
They stand up, because, well, their backsides must be WAY more interesting for us than what's happening on the stage.
They smoke cigarettes til you can see the cancer cells forming.
They smoke dope. And these aren't kids, although there are the kids who do as well. I'm talking about the middle-aged, 40-somethings with teenage kids or kids in college who would be appalled if their kids followed their example. "So, where'd you learn to smoke pot?" "Uh, from you, Dad."
They get drunk. Falling down drunk. Refer to aforementioned note on dope-smoking parents.
And the masses of sweaty oversized people who squeeze into their seats like cork in a champagne bottle. Luckily, the one sitting next to me had to move because she was in the wrong seat, to be replaced (happily) by someone (quite literally) half her size. No burning flesh upon my flesh, thank goodness!
And that damn constant shrilling whistle!

Other than that, the concert was great.
Dave Matthews is MUCH better if you can find the lyrics on your handy dandy blackberry so you what know he's actually SAYING! I've never heard a singer who mumbles as much as he does!
And the guy can really say a lot in a single song...
Gotta go download all his lyrics!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Diet for life...

So, I've been thinking.
I am up about 12 pounds.
All the weight I lost before going to India is back.
In a single day, I gained 3 pounds.
In the following single day, I lost those 3 pounds.
Okay, so maybe I was a bit dehydrated.
But it is still emotionally draining.

First, I am going to check out the WW thing that Cher is doing.
Second, I am going to print out the Phase I diet that my Personal Trainer gave me about 10 years ago that worked GREAT.
Third, I am thinking that maybe the best thing for me to do is to STOP when I am NOT HUNGRY.
That is in direct opposition to stopping when I am FULL.
Not Hungry is very different from FULL.

I used to eat this way.
I am not sure how, why or when I stopped doing this.
I guess I found love, got dumb and happy, and forgot everything…

Anyway, the key is to eat only when I am hungry and to stop when the hunger pangs disappear.
That might mean eating 10 times a day but so what?
I used to do that. And I used to be 15-20 pounds lighter than I am now.

Right now, I feel terrible.
Not just emotionally about how I look and how I don't fit into clothes but physically.
The other day, I told Joseph that I have no desire to buy any clothes. And this was triggered by the 30-50% off sale sign in the Talbots window - not that I wear Talbots but I do wear Ann Taylor and it's even more fitted than Talbots…Anyway...

I am finding it hard to walk up the stairs.
Running 5.09 miles the other day was craziness - an exercise in a vision of a fat american on the verge of running themselves dead from a heart attack.

I think that's a wakeup call for me.
I don't know what the answer is but I have to do something.

Oh. I haven't been blogging because I have been crazy busy.
I'll catch up eventually.