Saturday, February 23, 2013

The downside of cellphones

One of the worst side effects of having technology available round the clock is the disappearance of a little virtue known as patience. I know I'm significantly less patient than I once was.

Years ago, I was able to wait for things. I remember having a long commute to work and thinking of thinking of it as "the work to home transition". When I was stuck in traffic, I had a ritual: I would pop in some Bob Marley and chill out. I had no way of letting them know I would be late; this was before cell phones were commonplace. Since there was nothing I could do, I didn't get impatient or upset. I just went with it.

Ironically, it was AFTER I got a mobile phone that I got more stressed out in traffic. I'd be frantically trying to dial and keep an eye on traffic all the while petrified that I would crash. And God forbid if nobody answered at work! I'd be paranoid that nobody was going to check the voicemail. The only thing worse was somebody answering. I'd hear all the chaos in the background and feel guilty about being late. Then I'd become all agitated and impatient with the two guys involved in the fender bender that had caused the delay. Even Bob Marley couldn't help. In the end, technology achieved the exact opposite of its intended goal.

Flash forward to today. I live by the frickin weather channel.Com all winter. I spend time looking up the most pointless information, like "what happened to the kid from About a Boy".  I see absolutely no reason why I shouldn't know the answer to every little thing I wonder about all day long. And I'm not even one of those people connected to their phone 24/7, taking pictures of their Starbucks cup and Instagraming it to the world. I cannot imagine what it's like inside their heads!

So today, when I was out running errands, I ran into one traffic jam after another all afternoon. On top of that, I discovered that I had left my cellphone at home. Well, I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself. I couldn't return phone calls. I couldn't check text messages. I could only sit in my jeepy-jeep and be agrevated and impatient. Then, Bob Marley came on the radio. And I remembered what it used to be like in a world without cellphones.

And I chilled out to Bob Marley for a while.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wishy Washy Weekend

The good news is: still off caffeine and I'm noticing that I am no longer waking up in the morning with headaches. That's a good thing!

The bad news is: my car is leaking power steering fluid and I have a loaner for the weekend. Which means I cannot go up to adaptive skiing.

The iffy news is: we may get walloped again with snow. Or not. It may turn to rain. Hard to tell.

And that's why I'm so wishy washy this weekend. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Today marks my second day without caffeine. I have been saying for months-- no, years -- that I need to quit caffeine. But this weekend, I realized that it is only a mere 6 weeks until I embark on a big adventure in which I will not have access to caffeinated beverages any time I wish for a quick pick-me-up.

This left me with two choices: 1) keep on caffeinating and deal with the withdrawal on the first week of the trip OR 2) start weaning myself off diet coke now, so that I can begin fresh and new in 6 weeks. I decided on the latter.

At first, I thought I'd just decrease my caffeine intake little by little each day, and within a week or two, I'd be off the hootch. Then I remembered all the times I have attempted to do that in the past. It's a slippery slope. Once you have that first caffeine buzz, it's far too easy to just keep on going. So I opted for a different tactic.

I'm still doing a gradual wean off, but like this: This week, I switched to caffeine free soda. Next week, I switch from soda to sparkling water (I like the bubbles). Week three I go from sparkling water to flavored water. And week four I go from flavored water to plain water. Sounds good, eh?

For the past two days, I've been doing the caffeine free diet coke. Plus, I've been drinking "detox tea" like there is no tomorrow. I got the recipe for detox tea from some Pinterest posting and basically, it's a liter of green tea with a tablespoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of cranberry juice, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. (I have no idea what the rationale is behind this recipe. I just blindly followed it like   some kind of obsessed fanatic.) I did use a lemon wedge rather than lemon juice, though, so that proved that I'm still a free thinking, logical, clear minded individual and not one of the masses. Right?

Anyway, it's been surprisingly not bad. Yesterday I was feeling a little sluggish, headachy, and fuzzy headed in the morning. But not constantly. I had like these 15 to 20 minute spells periodically and then they'd pass. Today, I just got a couple of those feelings (lasting about 5 to 10 minutes) in the mid afternoon. But they passed pretty quickly, as well.

The only other drawback is that I've had the hungry horrors for the past two days. I'm guessing I'm craving food to take the place of the quick energy I got from the heroin  diet coke I consumed every afternoon.

 Maybe I should add week 5: cut out the sweets.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wimping Out

Yesterday marked the day of the "Frozen Pilgrim 10k". It's an annual race here in Plymouth in the dead of winter aimed at getting everyone out and active and into the brisk cold air for a run. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Well, I wimped out.

As much as I endorse being outside for fresh air and exercise, I do have my limits. Yesterday the weather was over the limit.

Yesterday we got 6 inches of snow with wind gusts up to 50 mph and a wind-chill factor of (-7). I did go outside. I shoveled out my car. And then I went back inside. There was no way I was going to try to run in that.

However, at least 50 brave souls showed up at the start line and bravely ran 6 miles through blizzard conditions for the honor of calling themselves "Winter Warriors". I saw the video on the race website.

It did inspire me enough to go to the gym and run 6 miles on the treadmill.

Treadmills are boring.

But running in a blizzard is nuts.

Or I'm just a wimp.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blizzard of Kindness

There's just nothing like a snowstorm. And last weekend, we had a doozy! Snowstorms like the one we had last week turn the world into an entirely new place. Sometimes, it makes you see people in an entirely new light, as well.

Take, for instance, me. Normally you would say I was a person of fairly good intelligence who is able to logically plan for and execute household tasks with relative ease. Enter the blizzard called Nemo. Friday found me driving around in the morning, looking for firewood to burn should the electricity go out. Note to self: the time to acquire Duraflame logs is not the day that the blizzard hits. I was like one of those people interviewed on the news who is apparently oblivious to all the warnings that have been broadcasting non-stop for the past 72 hours. "Oh. Well, when you said be prepared and get supplies, I didn't know you meant me." That's okay. I had plenty of candles and batteries.

Shoveling snow isn't a bad way to pass an afternoon, provided you have nowhere to be. I despise getting up early to shovel out the car before work on a weekday morning. But when there is a driving ban in effect and nothing is open anyway, shoveling is actually quite pleasant. Plus, when all your neighbors are out there, too, and you all join in together to lift the fallen tree branches up and out of the parking lot, well it's kind of like an Amish barn raising, isn't it? Weird how normally in the winter months, neighbors get nothing more than a smile and a wave until a couple feet of snow enter the picture. Then you are all part of a community.

I was at least lucky. My fire-less, power-less existence lasted only two days. Some people are still without power! Those folks are generally on the outskirts of the grid, meaning that many have well water, not town water. So the very people who need power more than anyone else, since they don't have any running water, are the last to get it back. But when a couple feet of snow enter the picture, then you are all part of a community. I'm happy to say that all of my friends and co-workers who found themselves on the end of the grid were accounted for and staying with family or neighbors in warm, lighted houses. (One co-worker even said that her neighbor from two streets over made her lunch every day before she left for work! "Did she write a note with a smiley face on the napkin?" we all asked her.) Snow will do that.

Then there was Valentines's Day. I stopped at the gas station on the way to work and saw that there were 8 or 9 work trucks gassing up. When I went in the store, it was an absolute love fest in there! People were clapping the electrical workers on the shoulder, buying them coffee and donuts, and thanking them over and over. It was nice. Normally, people don't give a second thought to the people who make sure the lights and water are working. This day, everyone was acknowledging and giving little gifts of appreciation to the people who restored the know, just in time for the next snowstorm to hit this weekend!

Yep, there's just nothing like a snow storm.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Auntie Dearest

Last weekend, I went over to help my niece with her history paper. Not that I'm some kind of  expert in world history. It's more like she called me on the verge of hysterics, saying that "Dad won't help me! I need somebody to look over my outline and my thesis statement and help me figure out how to put all my resources together! Please, please, please say you'll help me!" Of course, I had no choice.

I figured I'd be there for an hour or two, proof reading and giving out little hints here and there to tweak the final product. Then I saw the beginning product:

"Nationalism was a major contributing factor to World War I because nationalistic nations focused more on nationalism than on peace."

This was going to take more than an hour or two.

I learned a lot this weekend. First off, the definition of nationalism. Secondly, how to get a 13 year old girl to define nationalism without using the actual word nationalism. Mostly, though, I learned that I am much stricter than my brother and sister and law.

Thank goodness I don't have kids of my own. They would hate me and probably would not be on speaking terms with me. Because I am strict.

Right off the bat, I took away the 13 year old's phone. When she started howling that "I've been doing this for two hours!" I contradicted her, saying that though she may have been sitting in front of the computer for two hours, she was, in fact, texting and sending snap-jacks to her friends, not working. "You would have been done by now if you were, in fact, working." Then I took the phone and wouldn't let her have it back for the rest of the afternoon.

I can see my hypothetical children storming off and slamming the doors to their hypothetical rooms now.

Then, I made her start the whole paper over from the beginning, starting with the definition of nationalism. Then, when it became clear that she didn't really understand what a thesis statement was, I made her re-do her thesis statement assignment from two weeks ago. And then, made her re-do her  outline, since she failed to include the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in her "causes of the war" section.

Man, I am strict! Figment and Mirage are packing their ghostly possessions and running away!

Anyway, four and a half phone less hours later, we had a decent paper to turn in and she had a better understanding of how to write one. And even though my pretend children are as good living on the pretend streets, addicted to pretend crystal meth, the real kids in my life know they have an aunt who won't let them take the easy way out.

 The real kids know there will always be somebody who pushes them to do their best.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Clean Snacking

As part of the 30 day challenge over at RUN TO THE FINISH I've been focusing on eating clean(er). The challenge is for a clean breakfast. Most days, I drink a green smoothie for breakfast. It's my mid morning hungry horrors that get the best of me. So I decided to make a clean mid morning snack.

This is adapted from Clean Eating Magazine, that I stole from the gym a couple weeks ago.

Veggie Egg Whites

Start out by spraying some muffin tins with Pam and filling half way with either oatmeal or quinoa.

(to be extra festive, use some heart shaped muffin tins!)

Then, fill the rest of the way up with egg whites

Then top with shredded broccoli, carrots, and zucchini

 Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are firm.

Overall impression: they are okay. Not great, but okay. And much better for me that skulking off to the cafeteria to scarf down Snackwells.

(Pounds should be just melting off in a matter of days!)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Goals

January has come and gone and I have been cold just about every day. (with the exception of a very welcome 2-3 day thaw, but then right back into cold cold coldness!) January has been busy with preparations for a really big project set for later this year. But more on that later. First...

January Goals:

1) Blog Daily: About half credit. I mistakenly thought that I'd be able to blog away when I was up on trips for adaptive skiing and whatnot. That turned out to be...whatnot. But hey, half credit ain't half bad.

2) Exercise Program: Check. I'm back up and working out. (again, prep work for a later announcement)

3) Hike in Freetown State Forest: Didn't happen. It was just so darned cold, and I had so many darned trips. I did talk to my friend, Kerry about going in Feb, though.

4) Eat a Gigantic Salad Every Day: Check. Yummy! Now if only the working out and salad translated into some weight loss.

5) Girl's Weekend in Conn: Oh, jeez. Sometimes life just gets in the way of the best laid plans. One of my friends had three kids with the flu that weekend, another got horrible news that her sister has breast cancer and was in the hospital with her, and the third friend had car trouble. Apparently, it was not meant to be. Sad.

6) Try (and post) new recipe every week: Half credit. I definitely did try new recipes, just never got around to posting them.

7) Finish Patient Education Binder: Done.

8) Get a Smart Phone: January was snafu month. Verizon gave me some song and dance about how I'm not due for a new phone and I have to wait. But I'm trying to find a loophole in there somewhere.

9) Take Pictures: Fail. Fail. Fail.

10) Hang with My Buddy, Wheels: Still waiting on that one, too.

Yeah, so much for all those January goals. Luckily, each month, we get a fresh, clean slate.

February Goals:

1) Participate in the "Frozen Pilgrim" 10 k 

2) Do the Freetown Hike

3)  Finish Clinician Education Binder for Work

4) Get Tax Return Done

5) Building on the Morning Ritual from January...meditate and journal am and pm

6) Blogging 4 to 5 times per week

7) Drink adequate water each day

8) Get in that Hang Out time with WHeels

9) Get Financial and Logistics Plan Outlined for "the big adventure"

10) Make Valentine's Day Cookies for co-workers and for nieces and nephews

Today's Love:
I love living close enough to help my niece with her homework