Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Daily Musings, 2/18/15

Outside my window: A mirrored covered building in which I can see the reflection of my building’s other floors.  I can also see the reflection of what looks to be something masquerading as sunshine and what could be blue sky.   

I am hearing: a Glenn Beck podcast from last week. 

I am wearing: Gray pants, an white long sleeve shirt and a navy blue corduroy blazer. 

In the kitchen: My kitchen consists of my lunch cooler which has some soup, crackers, and some fruit for later.

I am thinking: I wish I knew what was happening with my grandmother who fell and hit her head and broke her hip last night.  My parents went up to State College last night but left for New York this morning to see her and find out what is going on.  She is 95 so it can’t be good. 

I also need to do something during lent (which starts today) to kick start my faith again.

I am thankful for: My warm house, car, and office.   My running shoes that I got for half off this week.  They are top of the line Asics, regularly $160.  They were last year’s model so were marked down to $130 and then were 50% off of that.  So, I got really expensive, really good, hot pink running shoes that make me want to run in the sunshine for half of what I usually pay for the less-good model.

I am reading:  The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans.  Great book.  Toby gnawed the corner off yesterday so I now own it and can read it at my leisure. 

I am hoping: it warms up at some point.  I also REALLY hope that my sweet niece’s PCS improves a little more quickly.
A few plans for the rest of the week:  Work, early night, work, swim practice, work, swim practice, swim practice, clean my house, visit my grandmother (?), Korean new year, swim practice.   

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Daily Musings, 1/28/15

Outside my window: A mirrored covered building in which I can see the reflection of what looks to be sunshine? 

I am hearing: a Pat and Stu podcast from last week.  I was caught up, but now I’m a week behind again!

I am wearing: Brown pants, an off-white long sleeve shirt and a burgundy cardigan.  I am freezing.

In the kitchen: My kitchen consists of my lunch cooler which has some soup, a roll, and some fruit for later.

I am thinking: not a whole lot.

I am thankful for: My warm house, car, and office.

I am reading:  My Miracle by Debbie Macomber.  I am listening to Unbroken which is SO good.  The narrator is great and the story is compelling. 

I am hoping: the supplements I started this week work.  I am REALLY struggling with being beyond tired this month.  Is it SAD?  Lack of sleep?  The weirdly elevated liver enzyme?  Even when I get 8 hours of sleep for several days in a row I am exhausted.   

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Work, early night, work, swim practice, work, swim practice, swim practice, sewing class, clean my house, champs, swim practice.  I think I have lunch duty on Friday too. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rhythm of My Days, Part 2

(Continued from yesterday) 

If I had $500 that I had to spend on fun, how would I spend it?

$500!?!  On fun?!?  If it was for the family - K really loves amusement parks so maybe we would go to Hershey or go down to Busch Gardens for a day and maybe stay overnight in a hotel?  For B and me, a weekend away with a nice dinner and some fun activities.  If it was $500 to spend just on me?  Gosh I don’t know.  A mani/pedi definitely.  A massage?  I’ve never had one and I’m not sure I’d like it.  A Fitbit and TRX trainer.  Does buying exercise equipment for fun make me weird(er)?

Who are the five most important people in my life? Do I wish I could see more of them?

K, B, my mom and dad, my sister.  Yes to all.

Do I like to listen to experts, or do I prefer to figure things out for myself?

Listening and then figuring out for myself.

Does paying with cash make spending money seem more “real” to me than using a credit card?

Yes.  Credit cards are evil.

Am I motivated by the thought of winning or losing a bet?

Not really.

Do I embrace the rules or flout them?

Usually embrace.

Would I be happy to see my children have the life I’ve had, more or less?

Tough one.  There are many things about my life I would be happy to see in K’s  - happy memories with my family from childhood, the opportunity to travel a little, a man who loves her unconditionally, the joy of becoming a mother and raising a child, etc.  There are many, many things that I do not wish on her - decades of depression, struggle with an ED, anxiety so bad that I was afraid to try or do anything until I was in my 30s, regrets for the things I didn’t do because I was too scared.  I don’t wish any of that on her.   But the rest of it?  Even with the struggles and hard-to-me times, life is worth living. 
To Be Continued....

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Rhythm of My Days, Part 1

A few months ago I came across an interesting series of questions to help one take stock of one's life, etc.  I am a sucker for those sorts of things, so of course I started working on it and never got to finish it.  I will endeavor to complete the entire long list in stages over the coming weeks.  Feel free to do your own and share it with me (all two of you).

Would I rather be ten minutes late or ten minutes early?

Definitely 10 minutes early.  I hate being late.  I think it is rude when other people are late and it seems to show a disregard for other people and a disrespect for their time.

What errands do I regularly do? How many times each week?

Very few, actually.  Usually grocery shopping once a week, although B has been doing it lately b/c of work/swim schedules.  Occasionally I’ll make a trip to Target or Walmart once a week and usually a trip to the library to get and return books.

How much control do I have over my time: what time I get up, go to work, go home, go to the gym, leisure time?

I guess the short answer is “complete.”  I like to complain about and curse my schedule, but it really is my choice, isn’t it?  I choose to get up early to work out before work rather than give up family time to do it at another time or skip it altogether.  I choose to start and end work early to avoid the traffic on 422 as much as possible.  I choose to work 8 hour days instead of 9 or 10 hour days so that I can coach swimming and have an extra hour with my family.  I choose to coach swimming.  All of the things I hate about my schedule are my choice.  And yet…there are times when I feel trapped by my obligations and the unrelenting nature of the schedule.  But I am truly blessed.  I only have 1 kid who is only involved in 2 non-school activities (piano and swim).  I have a job that lets me be super flexible with my schedule – working at home when I need to, approving time off when I ask for it.  I am making a conscious effort this year to workout primarily on work at home days and weekends so that I can sleep an extra 45 minutes on days I work in the office (3:45am, woohoo!) and hopefully end up slightly less exhausted at the end of the week.  We shall see how that works as the year progresses.

How much time do I spend commuting or taking other people to activities?

Commute – 7 hours over 3 days.

Taking K to swim – 3 hours, plus time on deck.

Would I like to spend more time with friends, or by myself?

In general, I really prefer my alone time.  I am an introvert.  After periods of time where I am around people – especially large quantities of people – and interacting on a high level (example – coaching or giving training or having a ton of meetings in one day), I kind of crash, beat myself up for every interaction that I don’t think went as well as it needed to, and need to regroup. I don’t have many close relationships, and it is a chicken-egg thing as to whether I don’t have them because I am just not good at them or I am not good at them because I don’t have them.  People don’t seek me out for companionship and friendship.  I don’t know why that is but I do wonder if it is because I am a terrible person, a bad friend, or just not likable?  Or is it because I am so introverted that I just don’t throw myself out there all that much.  I am also fiercely protective of the little down time I have and pretty choosy about what will make me give up time with my family (or a good book or some sleep). 

One of my anti-resolutions this year was to stop wasting time trying to get the attention of people who just can’t be bothered putting the same effort/energy into a relationship.  People who don’t answer texts or e-mails, people who don’t ever invite me to do anything, people who really couldn’t care-less.  Of course, recent and not-so-recent efforts to increase and encourage relationships with people have failed miserably leading me right back to that thought that a relationship with me is just not worth anyone’s time. 

So…the upshot of that is that I do treasure my alone time.  But, I get even less time with the very few friends than I do actually have so I would like to add some friend time as busy schedules allow. Or some dedicated Brian time since he is truly my very best friend. 

At what time of day do I feel energized? When do I drag?

Although I drag majorly when I get up in the morning, once I walk the dogs and get moving, I have the most energy in the AM.  I am dragging mid-afternoon and then evening. 

Do I like racing from one activity to another, or do I prefer unhurried transitions?

Unhurried although that is kind of rare. 

What activities take up my time but aren’t particularly useful or stimulating?

Facebook.  Game apps. 

Do I want to spend more time outside?

Yes!  I am sick of being indoors.  January sucks.  I have been making an effort to get outside when it is light out.  I also ordered a few supplements which I hope will help with the tiredness and general January slump.

To Be Continued…

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Scanning through the current top sellers on Amazon, there is a clear New Year trend – weight loss and diet books.  The same thing happens every year.  Not only are there a huge crop of new diets and new weight loss books that release right at the end of the year each year, but there is a resurgence of the favorites from the prior year.  In the top 20 new releases, there are 7 diet/exercise/health books.  Seven!  Another 4 in the next 20.  Plus another 6 or 7 rounding out the top 100.  That’s not including the “better your life” books that aren’t necessarily diet or health related.
So, I’ve decided to write my own diet and exercise book for the end of 2015 – the working title is, “Burn More Calories Then You Eat” or alternately, “Get Off Your Ass and Eat Less.”  The concept is pretty simple, as you might imagine.  I have the first chapter written already too if you care to read it:
“If you really want to lose weight, burn more calories than you eat.  The end.” 
What do you think?
I am all for people making positive changes and doing things to better their health.  I admit, it annoys me a teensy, tiny bit when a newbies come to the gym each January and February.  I don’t get annoyed because they are there, per se, quite the opposite, but do get annoyed because those short-timers are more inclined to be there just taking up space, looking pretty, and drinking their lattes or engaging in poor gym etiquette such as hogging lanes or machines, not wiping things down, talking on the phone, etc. (see also, zombie walkers).  Truthfully, I am always really glad to see people there – working towards a goal and trying to get healthy whether they have failed in the past or have just decided to try.  That is one of the reasons I want to become a personal trainer – not only to help my swimmers, but also because I think that everyone can and should enjoy exercise, can and should get stronger, and can and should get healthier.  But it involves a commitment and it isn’t going to happen by just showing up for a couple of weeks or making the change only about that hour you are in the gym each week. 
Speaking of changes at the gym – this morning there was no hot water.  None. Not even a drop of luke- warm.  It was C*O*L*D!  And of course, I was naked and running late by the time I realized my much needed shower wasn’t going to actually warm up enough for me to get in it.  So I washed my hair by leaning in as much as possible and trying to keep the water off my skin and then by soaping up and splashing water on to rinse off the soap rather than jumping under the spray.  I honestly didn’t want to die of a heart attack by standing under the spray so I probably smell a little off today.  Because I had washed my hair upside down and not rinsed it really well it was hard to get a comb through it at all and it is slightly gummy today as well.  It took me until about 30 minutes after I arrived in my office and was huddled in front of my space heater drinking coffee to warm up fully. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

20 Tips for a Positive Year - 2015, from Jon Gordon

From Jon Gordon's Blog

1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.

2. Take a morning walk of gratitude. I call it a "Thank You Walk." It will create a fertile mind ready for success.
3. Make your first meal the biggest and your last meal the smallest. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
4. Zoom Focus. Each day when you wake up in the morning ask: "What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?" Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions.
5. Talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself. Instead of listening to your complaints, fears and doubts, talk to yourself and feed your mind with the words and encouragement you need to keep moving forward.
6. Choose faith instead of fear. Faith turns adversities and dead-ends into detours to a better outcome than you thought possible.
7. Don’t chase dollars or success. Decide to make a difference and build meaningful relationships and success will find you.
8. Get more sleep. You can’t replace sleep with a double latte.
9. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in your purpose, people and the positive present moment.
10. Build your life and career with the 3 greatest success strategies of all. Love, Serve and Care.
11. Every day focus on your purpose. Remember why you do what you do. We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.
12. Remember there’s no such thing as an overnight success. There’s no substitute for hard work.
13. Believe that everything happens for a reason and expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.
14. Implement the No Complaining Rule. If you are complaining, you’re not leading.
15. Read more books than you did in 2014. I happen to know of a few good ones. : )
16. Don’t seek happiness. Instead decide to live with passion and purpose and happiness will find you.
17. Focus on "Get to" vs "Have to." Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation.
18. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
I am thankful for __________.
Today I accomplished____________.
19. Smile and laugh more. They are natural anti-depressants.
20. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Confessions of a gym snob, 1/1/2015

Some things I have observed at the gym.

Both of my gyms are filled with Zombie Walkers.  Can someone tell me what benefit it is for people to walk on the treadmill HOLDING ON with both hands extended in front of them?  How is this increasing your fitness?  If you have the belt so fast or the angle so high that you can't keep up unless you hold on, it is too much for you.  Slow down.  Move your arms.  If you wouldn't walk outside like a frigging zombie, don't do it on the treadmill.  You look like an idiot.  Seriously.

Using your shirt as a kleenex is gross.  Last month I ran a the Y next to a man - another swim parent - who was apparently so congested that he could not go more than 3 minutes without blowing his nose.  In his shirt.  Yes.  I said his shirt.  In public.  On the treadmill.  His shirt.  It was....gross.  Now, I freely admit that when I run outside in colder weather, I often have to use my sweatshirt sleeve to keep the snot from running down my chin and dripping onto my shoes.  But other than the 2 people who read this blog, no one actually is aware of me doing that.  It may be quibbling over details, but I maintain that there is a BIG difference between wiping one's runny nose a couple of times on one's sleeve while running outside and blowing one's nose repeatedly in one's shirt in public on the treadmill. 

If you work at the gym, that apparently gives you the right to hog all the weights.  When I workout on Saturday mornings at the Y there are a couple of people who take every weight under 15# and pile the dumbbells in front of them while they do their 30 minute upper body routine.  Never mind if anyone else wants to lift, they don't share.  Ever. 

Grunting extra loud and swearing help you lift heavier weights.  It is usually the meat heads at both gyms who do both although Molds is FAR FAR worse than the Y for this.  I'm all for a strong exhale on the exertion, but let's all try not to act like we are cows giving birth.  Also, it is possible to carry on a conversation about an entire variety of topics without using the F word repeatedly.

Swimsuits are optional in the hot tub and the probability of people wearing them is a direct inverse of their age and fitness level.  Use your imagination on that one.  However, I did break the mold on this the other day and had an impromptu soak in the hot tub in my personal undergarments b/c I did not bring a suit with me.  This same inverse relationship also applies to how likely you are to prance about the locker room in the all together vs. slinking about in a towel.  I guess when you are 65 and saggy you want to flaunt the fact that you are there at all?  I just wrap the towel tighter and avert my eyes. 

My flip flops will probably kill me before too long.  I hydroplane while walking on a regular basis - in the shower, on the tile, walking out of the pool area, etc.  So far I have only hurt myself once and that was just a popped blood vessel in my ankle and some hair ripped out of my head (was removing my pony tail at the time).  It is only a matter of time before I crack my head open though.  I just hope I don't fall in the shower at Molds  b/c it hasn't been cleaned in, I'm not kidding, WAY more than a month and it is scary.

If you don't need a shower when you are done working out, you didn't actually work out.  There are so many women who come in with makeup on and hair done, wearing their cute little matchy-matchy leggings and tank tops.  Sometimes they even drink their coffee while they work out.  And they leave the gym looking as nice as when they came.  Huh.  How's that work?  Even when I run in 35 degree whether, I end up sweating and red faced.  Occasionally, I can get through a lifting workout and skip the immediate shower, but that isn't because I don't need one but rather because I want to do something fun like color my hair, or pick up dog poop in the yard, or walk the dogs first.  I don't wear cute outfits either.  I wear shorts and old-tshirts that eventually will smell so bad that they will have to be thrown out.  Really, I look and smell like a homeless person (or K's favorite word, a hobo) when I workout.  And I don't care.

Rowing is fun.  I can spend an entire half hour rowing down an imaginary river and not really notice the time. 

Wearing a US Master's Swimming cap and swimming more than 2 laps consecutively makes the bouncers think you are training for something important.  Never mind that those 2 laps took you 40 seconds and you only swim 2x a week max.  It looks impressive to the uninformed.  If only.

Running on a treadmill sucks.  I hate it and my joints hate it.