Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Warning--This Post is About My Uterus

Dear Uterus--

I find your lack of regularity disturbing.

Last month you decided to surprise me by having Aunt Flo show up early.  4 days early.  This month, we're right at 28 days, and she is nowhere to be found.  How do you actually make these decisions?  24 days, 27 days, 31 days.  I know that you're not susceptible to the usual external influences, boldly setting your own schedule even in the face of synthetic hormonal pressure.

I expect that perhaps you're cranky at me for not providing you an embryo to nurture.  Let's face it, Uterus, that while I trust you to do the right thing with an embryo, you really should trust me with the aftermath.  Do you realize that mammals occasionally eat their own young?  Do you want to take that risk with something of your own creation?  Do you?  Let me remind you that I have killed before.*

Is it not enough that I put up with your periodic tantrums?  Soothing them as best I can with hydration, exercise, favorite foods, occasional analgesics, and additional rest when I can attempt to achieve such a thing.  I certainly won't demand anything in return for my care and attention, but you're disappointing and confusing me here, so I would greatly appreciate some logical consideration from your end.


*Technically insects, mostly mosquitoes, but also one or two trout.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Please, please people: can we stop with the negative food talk already?

Here are the two egregious incidents, which took place during lunch yesterday.  I was in an all-day training session, and they brought us boxed lunches.  The box lunch includes: sandwich (selection of various meats or vegetarian), bag of chips, piece of fruit, and cookie.

First exchange, as I was deciding on which type of sandwich I wanted:
  Woman: "Ooh, bacon and avocado.  But I'd better be good, and stick with the turkey."
  Me: "Well, I think that you should choose whichever one would be most satisfying."
  (She stuck with the turkey, probably a bit mystified that one could make food choices not based on food policing.)

Second comment, as I was walking away with my lunch:
  Woman: "Carbs, carbs, carbs."
  Me: (In my brain.)  "Yes.  Carbs.  It's what cells crave."

At that point, I proceeded outside to enjoy my lunch in the sunshine, while looking out over the pond, which was complete with ducks, geese, seagulls, and a grebe.  I'd gone for the turkey sandwich, because I looked at it and thought, "Turkery and cranberry, that looks really good."  It was really good, with sunflower seeds adding a nutty crunch along with the turkey, cranberry sauce, lettuce and tomato.  I ended up not eating 1/2 of one slice of bread, 'cause there was just too much bread.  While I sat, a co-worker strolled by with his lunch, and I was able to unload my chips, which I really didn't want.  Then I decided that I would hold onto the apple until another day, but I did want to eat my cookie, along with a cup of coffee.

Lunch: delicious.  Feeling of satisfaction: high.  Food police: zero.  While it's rough being so familiar and aware of negative food talk, because it is indeed everywhere, it also makes me happy that I don't feel any need to engage in it myself, and I can express my contrary opinion when it seems suitable, in the hopes that perhaps, someday, other people will learn that it's just food, not a means for damning yourself.

On the weight-lifting front, we've started a new phase.  Phase 4 has moved away from the high-volume days of Phase 3, and instead is incorporating some variety in the lifting styles.  We have an exercise for power (less weight and more speed during the motion), one for strength (the typical heavy weight, for 5 sets of 5 reps), one for strength endurance (less weight, but 3 sets of 20 reps, and having to deal with definite muscle fatigue), and two on a circuit (to round things out, as far as I can tell.)  There's also some cardio intervals on the non-lifting days, though I need to figure out the best way to do them.

I'm dealing with some low back pain right now.  Nothing severe, just enough to make squats problematic.  I've got a massage scheduled for Monday, and I'm planning to book a session with my chiropractor on Thursday or so.  The neck is sore, too.  Maybe I can convince someone to give me a backrub this weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


It's funny the way that little things can trigger old memories and feelings.  Seeing a picture posted by a FB friend nearly made me start bawling (combination of sad memory and hormones).  Oh, the feels, good and bad.

Here's the story: five years ago, I was with my family in Utah, getting ready for my sister's wedding.  It was a lot of typical pre-wedding fun and craziness: getting pedicures all together, planning and buying supplies for a post-wedding brunch at my parents' house, rehearsal dinner and meeting the in-laws.  So much fun, so much family togetherness.  Gotta love it.

In the midst of this, I received a text message from my good friend and roommate, C.  A good friend of hers, and friendly acquaintance of mine, was coming off of life support after a prolonged stay in the hospital following complications from H1N1 influenza.  "Yay!" I thought, "Kitty's finally doing well enough to come off life support!"


It took me a while, reading what people were posting on FB, to discover that it was quite the opposite.  She was not coming off of life support, she was being taken off of life support because it was time to let go.  There was not much I could do to process it at the time, a death intruding into a bright and happy whirlwind of life and love and weddings.

I give a lot of credit to Kitty's friends and loved ones who were so much more deeply affected.  They have been remembering her at the start of October every year since.  It's the only way that anyone can achieve immortality in this world.

Monday, September 29, 2014

All Part of a Balanced Lunch!

I bring a home-made lunch practically every single day.  Even on those occasions where I'm going to be in a work meeting during the twelve o'clock hour and lunch will be provide for me, I still bring my own food from home just in case the catered lunch is something I wouldn't care to eat, such as pizza or anything with insufficient vegetables.

Today I have items from total ends of the spectrum.  Cauliflower soup, from a "paleo" recipe cookbook.  Creamed kohlrabi and dried apricot cake from my 1940s cookbook. Plus cocky-leeky-ricey soup, of my own creation.  This is, to me, balanced because it contains a good source of protein, some whole-grain carbohydrates, and about 2 1/2 servings of vegetables.  And I'm counting on it holding me through my workout this afternoon.

There's merit to be had in my 1940s cookbook of the standard American diet, even though I don't eat exclusively from the menus presented.  There's also merit from the "paleo" cookbook, even though I'm not a "paleo" advocate.  You can take the good from a variety of options and make it your own.

Last night I was watching "The Supersizers Go...Regency", and the episode made me a bit cranky.  First up, when Giles goes to the doctor to discuss his diet for the upcoming week.  The doctor has looked at the list of foods/meals and comments that Giles is going to consume ~5000 calories a day.  How did he even come to that conclusion?  Even if there is a list of all the dishes prepared for a single family meal, I think it's impossible that there are not leftovers.  Looking ahead from the Regency into the Victorian era, the dictates of fashionable society resulted in a ludicrous number of dishes being served at a dinner party in order to cover the table in the correct manner.  These would not be entirely consumed by a single group of diners, and there would typically be one or more additional dinner parties, with other guests, in the subsequent evenings in order to eat up the leftovers.  Also, cookbooks of the day include many recipes of made-over dishes, designed to use up extra roast meat, potatoes, etc.  Though I like "The Supersizers Go..." for their attempt at immersion into another time period, they quite often fail at real historical accuracy.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mountains or Molehills?

I've discovered that I have a problem when people think something is going to be much more difficult and time-consuming than I think it is.

Case in point: as a corrective action for a problem I investigated at work, a team is required to identify all instances where the problem occurred and correct them.  I led a meeting this morning to make sure they had a plan in place for this corrective action.  (I'm not actually required to do anything for the corrective action, I just wanted to make sure they knew exactly what needed to be done, and could start on it instead of flubbing things at the last moment.)  The meeting ended with them talking about how much work it was going to be, how they might not have time; it just seemed insurmountable to them.

Seriously?  It took a lot of tact and professionalism to point out that I could do it myself, start to finish, in 2-3 working days.  It's not like the information will be difficult to dig up.  It's not like there's any risk of scope creep.  Just three batches of material, a few rounds of testing for each, do it methodically and logically and it'll be done with no problems.  They've got an entire month to sort it out.

Not that I need to translate everything over into the realm of fitness, but apparently it's in my brain.  Perhaps this is why people back out when they're given a task which seems to be too challenging, such as running a 5K or, heck, even starting to exercise in the first place.  They see the big difference between where they are and where they think they should be and the gulf seems wide, too wide.

But every challenging task can be broken up into small, obtainable milestones.  Once I am comfortable with squatting 75 pounds, I increase it to 80.  Probably won't get the same number of reps, but that will come in a week or two.  Even though my goal may be a squat weight of 100 pounds, I don't see the 25 pound difference between 75 and 100.  I see five 5 pound differences, and know that it will take two or three months to get there.

So, I will continue to shake my head at my coworkers and hope that, once it takes hardly any time at all, they freak out less the next time this comes up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Still Working on my Relationship

Go ahead and answer the following sentence.  Having a healthy relationship with food means...

For me, as evidenced by the past few days, having a healthy relationship with food means that I can ignore an array of donuts two mornings in a row because they don't have the kind I want.  Actually, this morning there was a glazed old-fashioned, but it simply didn't look as delicious as I wanted it to be.  Plus, I was already full from breakfast (lentil-rice goat soup, a hard-boiled egg, and some strawberries.)

Having a healthy relationship with food also means that I can have two slices of home-baked apple pie in the same day.  Mmmm...pie.  The traces of autumn I could detect in the air made me long to snuggle down in my house and do some wonderful fall activities.  So, inspired by a FB post, I invited a (thoroughly attractive) male friend to come over and bake the first pie of the season with me.

Having a healthy relationship with food thirdly means that I desire foods for what they are, not because they are "clean" or "healthy" or "forbidden".  At dinner yesterday evening I had the sweetest, most delicious red bell pepper I have ever tasted.  There are three more in my fridge from the same source, which I now plan to savor raw because cooking with them would just ruin the sweet, peppy crispness.  I also keep making the same coleslaw recipe over and over again because it's just so darned good!  (And so easy!  And it helps me use up the stockpile of cabbage I keep receiving from Fifth Crow Farm.)  Plus, I can cook the recipes I like out of a "paleo" cookbook and eat them alongside distinctively non-"paleo" things, and think nothing of it.  It is just food.

In muscle news, we've started Phase 3 of the body recomposition project.  I never expected to spend 50 solid minutes lifting weights, but that's what I did yesterday after work, and for only the upper body.  It was something like four different exercises for the upper back, three for shoulders, three for chest, and then one each for biceps and triceps.  There was some serious fatigue going on.  It'll be interesting to see what kind of delayed-onset soreness kicks in as today wears on.  Tomorrow's symphony rehearsal could get really interesting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Numbers Are In!

This morning contained a voluntary health screening put on by my company.  They'll knock off something like $20 per month from my health insurance premium if I either attend the sponsored health screening or visit my doctor for the same basic tests and upload the data.  It provides a forum for intervention if the numbers aren't in the desirable range.  Sometimes I wonder whether the numbers are used for some fiendish planning, but I go for the superficial here: it's free and quick and saves me money.  So they're welcome to prick my finger for a little blood and compare my results to the recommended health limits.

Of course, it certainly makes me feel good that my results continue to be awesome!  I have the results for the past three years here, so I can see how things compare:

10/11/12 10/10/13 9/16/14 Recommended
Total Cholesterol 140 160 158 <200 td="">
HDL 70 60 69 >60
LDL 61 81 80 <130 td="">
Total/HDL 2.0 2.5 2.3 <3 .1="" td="">
Triglycerides 45 75 45 <100 td="">
Fasting Glucose 81 83 86 70-99
Weight 148 146 148 Whatevs

Also, my blood pressure was great this morning.  One thing that makes me happy is the way that my weight has been so stable for the past few years, and, indeed, the years before that.

What's my secret?  Well, it's not a secret.  It is a sound genetic constitution plus a lifestyle that actually follows all the recommendations that the health professionals hand out.  I exercise 5-6 days per week.  I eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and minimize my consumption of processed food.  I sleep for about eight hours per night, going to bed typically before 10 pm.  I engage in a variety of hobbies that make me happy and keep me engaged with the world around me.  I'm still working on flossing every day, but I do have a dentist appointment next week.  :)