Friday, February 28, 2014

Green tea and The Virus

I was just telling someone that, since starting to give Dex iced green tea every day (remember that?), he never gets sick anymore. He went through, like, five quarters of school in a row without a single illness so, naturally, immediately after I started patting myself on the back about it, he came down with a nasty cold and missed three days of school.

Sorry, kid. I know in my heart I jinxed you, but it was for a good cause: People need to hear that green tea really does do something amazing to the immune system. I never ever ever EVER get sick, and I’m not afraid to brag about it, even with The Virus in the house, because I drink enough green tea to be also immune to jinxing.

But I had forgotten how much illnesses completely ruin everything, so I think I’m going to redouble my green tea and Vitamin D efforts with the kids. Michael has the state swim meet next weekend and would be devastated if he got sick, although he is convinced that he won’t because he eats Paleo—which is an indication that my nutritional brainwashing campaign has been even more effective than my antivirus one.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why I memorized the book of Romans

I met for the last time last night with my group that’s memorizing Romans, or at least the tiny handful of survivors of that group who hung on for nearly two and a half years without giving up or getting married or moving away. We recited the whole thing—56 minutes from “Paul” to “Amen”—and then declared ourselves officially done.

Was every word correct? No. Could any of us have done it alone without skipping a paragraph or needing a prompt? Probably not. (At least I couldn’t have.) But, as a group, we got through it pretty smoothly, and I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that I’ve now memorized the book.

So, why? Hmm. For me, it started off as a challenge—probably to replace the void left by training for an Ironman—and an opportunity to meet some people. (And it was truly great to meet some people.) But soon I started understanding that the point of memorizing is not to achieve something, or even really to “hide the word of God in your heart,” as people like to say. Memorizing is a lot different from reading, or even studying. Memorizing a text puts you right into the head of the writer.

Our pastor’s sermon series added even more context and depth to this understanding, but I found that memorizing alone had really given me all I needed to “get” it—and even to occasionally disagree about some of the points in the sermons. (Maybe I should say question some points; this didn’t magically turn me into a scholar.)

But anyway. Memorizing is a great way to interact with the Bible, assuming you want to (depending on your view) get into God’s head or get into the heads of some of those people who understand Him best. That’s why.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

New fan

M.H. and I went to see Neil Gaiman talk in Billings last night—well, M.H. went to see him; I went as M.H.’s clueless arm candy. I was obviously aware that Gaiman is a very popular writer, but I’d never read anything of his and didn’t know much else about him.

Well! The man is a rockstar! I loved the short stories he read us (including this one), but more than that, he just comes across as so intelligent and kind and funny and charismatic…there was no leaving that auditorium not a fan.

Guess I have some reading to do.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Productivity games for busy days

I just wrapped up a busy week copy editing the Internet for Sneezy and also finished up a fairly huge book I proofed for Dopey. My computer attempted to sabotage the whole thing and ruin my life by blipping itself off intermittently every two minutes to three hours (once destroying the current version of my 840-page PDF), but I managed to muddle through with the help of Dex and M.H. and Dropbox and file backups and a laptop and a wireless keyboard/mouse. If I’d had to work on a laptop keyboard and a trackpad for the past two days, it really would have ruined my life.

When I get really busy like this, my brain starts trying to escape by turning work into a game. What else can it do? I mean, I could just take actual breaks and weekends and things like that to keep my sanity, but then, blip, there go my deadlines and my livelihood.

Here are some of my favorite games:
  • Never clean the shower. Divide the shower up into seven zones (e.g., back wall, side wall, front wall, door 1, door 2, horizontal surfaces, floor). Every day, while showering, wipe down one zone with a vinegar solution and a sponge. Object: See how long this allows you to put off actually cleaning the shower. (If you don't even have time to shower every day, you automatically lose.)
  • Cook food for your family. This is a good game when you’re responsible for a family that needs food as well as money. Divide every hour into three parts. The first 35 minutes of the hour (8 to 8:35, say) sit in your chair and work with a laserlike focus. The next 20 minutes of the hour (8:35 to 8:55) go down to the kitchen and do some sort of food preparation. You can put things in the oven, but only if the timer won't go off during your work time. If you run out of cooking tasks, you're allowed to clean. The last five minutes of the hour, you can do anything you want. Object: See how many times you can go through this cycle before breaking (record: 10).
  • Housework cardio. Work for 25 minutes and then get out of your chair and run around as fast as you can picking up any laundry or clutter in your path for five minutes. Object: Get your house into a state that would not mortify you if someone came to the door. Extra points if you can get your heart rate up.
  • Intermittent Scrabble. A good game to play when you’ve just won housework cardio. Every 10 pages edited earns you one turn in one game of Facebook Scrabble. No excessive thinking about your play; if it takes more than a few minutes, you have to edit 10 more pages before you can try again. Object: Win all the Scrabble games. Finish the book.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Swearing off sugar AGAIN (with “swearing” being the operative word)

UGH. I cannot believe how quickly my life can spiral into a Category IV sugar disaster. The first big mistake in the latest series of mistakes was buying a container of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts from Costco back in January. M.H. and I told ourselves we were bringing them to my parents’ Super Bowl party—but instead we ate all of them, within days and fairly remorselessly.

Then it was my birthday and two kinds of ice cream.

Then it was Valentine’s Day, and my beloved bought me ANOTHER Costco-size chocolate-covered macadamia nuts (repackaged in a heart-shaped box we keep just for that purpose). Truly the candy I hate to love. Let’s just say they won’t be troubling me much longer.

It’s gotten RIDICULOUS. My clothes are fitting badly, my head is swimming, and I’m sleeping HORRIBLY. And since I still can’t do yoga, and am in the middle of a huge work project, I’ve pretty much stopped doing all forms of exercise (except, strangely, squats) and feel like my entire life is therefore spinning out of control.

I just ran across this fascinating article about a scientist who posited in the ’70s that sugar was really, really bad for us—a claim that essentially ended his career. Best line from the story:
One of the problems with the anti-sugar message—then and now—is how depressing it is. The substance is so much part of our culture, that to be told buying children an ice cream may be tantamount to poisoning them, is most unwelcome.
No kidding, right? Welcome to MY world (technically I guess it’s his world). But do I think it’s massively hypocritical to still consider myself a sort of anti-sugar evangelist while at the same time struggling with a nasty flare-up of my own “issue”? NO. The addictiveness of the stuff goes right to the heart of why it’s such a problem.

But I need to face the fact (YET AGAIN) that I am not cut out for moderation. WHY CAN’T I BE CUT OUT FOR MODERATION??

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Getting better

The stretches and exercises and “activity modification” I’ve been doing for my shoulder started helping within 24 hours. Of course that activity modification includes not doing anything that hurts, so it’s hard to say exactly how much better it is, but I’ve definitely stopped getting “zings” as I go about my day.

I have nothing but respect for Dan the Physical Therapist, because part of his method is to sit you down and explain exactly—in very technical terms, and with lots of drawings and and gesturing and models and pointing at pictures in books—what the problem is and what is going to fix it. I mean, I couldn’t really repeat it to you, but even the gist I got is valuable, because now I have all the information I need to basically fix this myself. Plus it tells me that, not only is he knowledgeable, but he loves what he does—I got the sense that half the reason for the lengthy explanation is just that he gets such a kick out of talking about this stuff.

Indeed, as I was making my pitiful in-office attempt to start strengthening my rotator cuff with an exercise band and he was correcting my form, he exclaimed: “I just love fixing shoulders! They’re so complex!” And then moments later, delivered in the same tone of delight: “You’re so disordered right now!”

Well! Great!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Good news and bad news and good news…

The good news is I made it to yoga yesterday, but the bad news is it was kind of painful on my shoulder. The other bad news is I'm not allowed to go to yoga again until my shoulder is cured, but the other good news is that it's now on the way to getting cured and I in fact have a date when Dan the Physical Therapist expects to declare it completely cured, which is March 6. The other other good news is that the little swimming club (GATORS) is starting up at my gym again next week, but of course the corresponding other other bad news is that I'm not allowed to go to that right away either.

It's my birthday, and I'll be dense and confusing if I want to.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Why I'm eating raw liver

I hinted last week that I have a new New Life Plan experiment going on, and it has to do with liver! I have been reading a ton about the health benefits of liver (and other organ meats) but never thought it was something I would actually eat. (Of course, I never thought I would ever eat brussels sprouts either…) But then I read this, which talks about the brilliant idea of making frozen liver "pills" and just swallowing them whole.

That seemed doable to me—and I'm encouraging myself to at least try things like this instead of just thinking about them—so back in January I ordered a couple of grass-fed beef livers, waited until everyone else was out of the house, painstakingly cut the livers into little cubes, froze the cubes on cookie sheets, and then dumped them all into a plastic bag to hard-freeze for two weeks. You may think it's super-gross to put raw liver in your mouth, but trust me, making liver pills is by far the worst part. It's an argument for getting the knives sharpened, is what it is.

Anyway, I've started taking a couple of them a day at breakfast when I remember, but I suppose if I want anything to actually happen, I should start being more consistent and also take more. So, New Life Plan: Take about six liver pills a day for a month or so and see if it gives me superpowers.

P.S. I STILL haven't made it to yoga because Saturday's class was canceled. But I'm planning to try again in a few hours. This class had better happen, because I just can't cope with three days in a row of getting dressed for yoga and then not doing yoga. Getting myself all ready is the hardest part. Superpowers could potentially help.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Beginning yoga

My neck has been well for about a week now, and although my PT appointment for my shoulder isn't until Monday, I really could go back to yoga. I don't know why I haven't yet. Frankly, it's alarming to me how quickly I went from wanting to go but not being able to, to being able to go but not particularly wanting to.

Well, Friday is (or used to be) my favorite class of the week, so I decided this morning would be a good day to force myself to get back in the swing of things. I finished up the work I was doing for Sneezy, notified them that I'd be back to do more in an hour and a half, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, put on yoga clothes, found my stuff, wrapped up in my scarf and coat and gloves, and opened the door to the garage.

Empty! M.H. had one car at a coffee shop, and Dex had the other parked at school (a recent development I'm apparently not used to yet).

I just stood there and laughed. It's 10 minutes to yoga class, and the gym's almost a mile away. Plus, it's -3 degrees out and there's a foot of snow on the ground.

There's a beginner's yoga class tomorrow morning, and I think I'll try to go. I might be a beginner again at this point.

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Sherlock" theory update (spoilers)

OK, so if our wild theory on "Sherlock" is correct, and Moriarty is really four women—MO, RI, AR, and TY—we would have been looking for a woman with AR in her first or last name this season. Interesting that MARY's real initials are A.G.R.A., huh? Arlene? Arden? Arabella?

Also note that Mary was one of only a handful of people who knew that Sherlock was being exiled, and Moriarty's little trick happened almost the exact minute his plane took off.

I can't bear to think how long we're going to have to wait for another season.