Tuesday, May 19, 2015

GREAT update and explanations

A few of my May resolutions really needed explanations, so here they are in case anyone is curious (and you might be, because this is turning out to be an excellent batch of resolutions):

Goal: 60-second arm hang. I read somewhere that all the typing and texting we do is killing our collective grip strength, and that hanging from a bar is a great way to get it back. (I can't find the post that originally inspired me, but this one is similar.) Out of curiosity I decided to see how long I could hang from the pull-up bar outside my office…and found to my dismay that I could count the number of seconds on one sad, pathetic, feeble hand. So every time I walk by the bar now, I try to improve. Hanging should also be a good movement to stretch and strengthen my shoulders, but I want to be really careful on that front because of my eight-week shoulder healing extravaganza, so I will be satisfied even if I don't work up to bearing my full weight for 60 seconds.

Affirmation: Everything I do, I do out of love. This one was inspired by this blog post. It seems like such a great way to approach food, and I realized that it would be even more powerful if I applied it to everything. I don't have any particular agenda here or a way to evaluate how I'm "doing." My strategy for affirmations has been just to put them in front of myself every day and see what unfolds.

Theme: Miracle mornings. This one is a little odd, because that phrase comes from a book I have not actually read. But I gather that the idea is to start every day out doing a few things right: maybe some meditation, maybe being thankful, maybe prayer, maybe getting outside or getting some exercise—whatever would get your day off to a great start. Anyway, it sounds brilliant to me, and I'm having fun tweaking my morning routine. As a side note, my original plan was to get up and do this when M.H.'s alarm goes off at 4:30 (he drives Mik to morning swim practice) but let's face it: Getting a couple of extra hours of sleep is the real miracle.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Day One

A post titled "Day One" after a long blogging hiatus can mean only one thing: New Life Plan.

This NLP was brought about by way too many weeks of celebrating and traveling and work and eating junk at the slightest provocation (dating back to Easter, really) and also by some incredibly annoying shoulder and neck pain. Basically I've regained all the weight I had lost recently and have gone back to—well, not square one, but maybe square six, with my shoulders.

I did some reading on shoulder impingement and learned that job one is to get the inflammation down long enough for healing to occur, which requires a minimum of eight weeks on Advil. I also need to stop swimming and doing yoga for those eight weeks. I super-HATE that course of treatment, but I also hate the idea of struggling with this for the rest of my life, so I'm going to give it a try.

As far as diet, I'm going to eat ultra-low carb (under 30 grams) with no dairy and no eggs, and have a very restrained (read: low-doughnut) Carb Nite every 10th day instead of every week. That diet should also be helpfully anti-inflammatory, especially if I load it up with—according to Google—kale, garlic, peppers, onions, and green tea, which I think I can handle. In fact, add some bacon and it sounds like breakfast.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Crying over spilled milk

One fun thing we did in D.C. was visit the Hirshhorn Museum, which is filled with interesting and/or hilarious modern art. Here’s a little story about a missed opportunity I experienced there:

The third floor has a totally minimalist vibe, with the exhibits spread way out in very white spaces. I rounded a corner and spied, appropriately, a minimalist sort of guy, all by himself, wearing off-white pants and a white shirt. He had one hand on his chin and was intently studying a painting.

This was the painting.

I should have whipped out my iPhone camera immediately, but in my 1) shock, 2) amusement, 3) desire not to be rude, and 4) incompetence, I hesitated too long, and he moved on.

I have a lame photo of the scene that’s too little, too late, but I think you’re better off just imagining it in your head. It was so wonderful.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Back from the National Science Bowl

We got back this morning from a long weekend in Washington, D.C., watching Mik compete in the National Science Bowl, and I can now say without a hint of bias or exaggeration that my kid is the most wonderful, talented, intelligent, poised, and handsome eighth-grader in the entire country. The quiz-bowl portion was great, and then the team topped it off by—out of nowhere, really—winning first place in the electric car building/racing competition.

Here's a picture from the National Science Bowl’s Flickr stream of Mik celebrating their win. Yes, it was that awesome.

My sister’s family and some old friends live in the area, so tons of other fun was had, mostly involving birthdays and restaurants and eating, so it will be good to get back to eating ultra-low carb for a while. Or, to be more precise, it will be prudent go get back to eating ultra-low carb for a while.

Friday, May 1, 2015

GREAT resolutions for May

Here are my resolutions for May (as usual, most of these require more explanation, which I’ll get around to eventually):
  • Goal: 60-second arm hang.
  • Rule: Lift weights three days a week.
  • Errand: Get my bike in riding condition and ride it, at least once. And then do February’s errand even if it kills me.
  • Affirmation: Everything I do, I do out of love.
  • Theme: Miracle mornings.
I decided that I should try to keep running intervals but that my schedule probably won’t allow me to commit to a certain number of days per week or to a goal. Instead, I’m committing to weight lifting, since, one, I’ve actually already been doing it and, two, I have enough equipment that I shouldn’t ever have to go to the gym. Plus I found a simple plan in a chart format that I can print out and use to record everything. I’ve actually been following the same plan for two and a half weeks, which is kind of amazing.

Seems the magic formula for success is not having to leave the house + piece of paper.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Total success*

I suspected I was going to be swamped with work this month, and that’s what finally happened. I kept thinking, Maybe today is the day I’ll go back to running just to have something to blog about again. But the swamped-being ultimately won out, and the line graph I was making of how long I could run at a nine-minute-mile pace flatlined at around three and a half minutes. So sad for me! I might really need to give myself a do-over.

Since April is just about over and I didn’t want the GREAT resolutions to be a total flop, I did finally call and take care of the health insurance issue that was my errand. It would have been a lot smarter to do it at the beginning of the month, since it yet felt like a giant rock hanging over my head for 29 days and then it took about three minutes to make it go away forever. Live and learn.

So I didn’t achieve my goal, and the sunshine theme was kind of a bust (through no fault of my own), and I never did do the February errand that I keep advancing to each new month. Other than that, total success.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Taking a break

My back still feels kind of off, but swimming last night didn’t hurt it even a little bit, so that was good. And I did butterfly again (YAY), although the slight pain that went with it seems to have migrated back into my right shoulder, which at least is where I would expect it to be. It may not be progress, but it’s novelty.

With any luck I’ll be able to run again tomorrow. I’m afraid that if I don’t get restarted, I can kiss the nine-minute-mile goal goodbye, at least for April. In May, I might need a do-over on both that goal and the whole sunshine theme.

I have been killing myself to finish a rush editing job by tomorrow, and this morning the client emailed to ask if, just maybe, not to rush me, but could she have it today instead? I told her it wasn’t going to happen, but then I killed myself a little harder anyway to see if I could at least get it to her early tomorrow. I edited for 13 hours straight, right up until the point that writing a dullish blog post sounded like a tropical vacation in comparison, so…aloha.