Monday, September 29, 2014

Scary Times...

Sometimes, I find it really difficult to deal with what all is going on around me.  Tonight, there was an announcement of a patient at one of the hospitals being treated for ebola.  Granted, the patient has a very good chance of getting past this  and getting better.  My only issue is what about the others who have been in contact with this person?  Don't they need to get a booster shot or something?

Next, ISIS.  Yesterday, I read where a man beheaded a woman.  He had tried to convert her and she was not interested, so he beheaded her.  I do truly have a bad feeling about the fact that ISIS has the ways and means of convincing the naive to fight with them for their cause.  However, what if their cause is only covering up the reality - domination in order to control the oil supply?  Syria does have quite a few oil fields and the main areas that ISIS controls are hot beds for oil.  Seems like an interesting coincidence?

So much going on in this world.  Then, you have to worry about those off-balance people in your own neighborhood.  It gets pretty frustrating.

Most of the time, I know I try to move along, keep an open mind.  How you have to keep in mind that this stuff is out there and you have to be on your toes.

It is so disturbing...

The Struggle Is Real...

Ugh - my weight is just about where it was at the beginning of the year.  I did it to myself - no one else.  I will say that life has gotten increasingly insane starting in March.  My hope is that after this whirlwind week, ending with the class reunion, life will start returning to normal.  Okay - as normal as normal can be.  Hockey season starts on October 9th.  That will definitely cause some chaos in my life.

Speaking of hockey, I noticed that the games are mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Guess what I usually do on Tuesdays and Thursdays - work out with my personal trainer.  My trainer only works at the Y on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that adds a bit more complexity to my situation.  However, I may still be able to make this work by going in earlier in the day for work outs.  I will have to see what her schedule allows and look at mine.  I am not too worried about Tuesdays, but Thursdays are a bit more complicated.  I am pretty sure I can sort out the schedule properly, so that it works.

I should be back on track this month.  I do feel my endo doctor won't be too happy with me over the weight gain, but I will put it all back into perspective and deal with it.  I signed up for the million step program started by my company.  I have my FitBit Flex and it is time to get my cardio back on track.  To be perfectly honest, when I lost weight, it was due to more activity and cutting back on eating so much.  I have been horrible in both areas.  Furthermore, eating out is a killer.  Lately, I have been eating out more than cooking.  That says a lot about how crazy life has been.  There is never any excuse for that.  When I cook, that is the one time I know absolutely what was used to prepare the meal.  When I eat out, I am always taking a chance.

The other reason for getting back on track is that I have felt bloated for the past several days.  Not sure what the deal is, but I figure if I start cutting back on what I eat and get more exercise and drink more water, that may go away.

Let's see how I progress.  I will post more during the upcoming weeks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reasons to Attend a Reunion...

For the better part of a year, I have spent a lot of time and energy working on my high school class's 30th reunion.  I will admit, there have been a lot of times where I said "Next time, pass - this is just too much."

When I take time to sit back and reflect, I realize that what is going on is all due to everyone wanting to make sure that those who attend have a great time.  You cannot fault anyone for that - it is all well-meaning and in the end, you can see that genuinely, they want to have a good time and it be shared by all.

I got a bit wrapped up with the negative vibes.  Many classmates do not want to attend for so many reasons.  The vanity reasons always cause me to wonder.  Those classmates who do not wish to attend because they either did not get that fabulous job, their life is a shambles, gained too much weight, or hair loss.

First of all, my life did not turn out as I had wanted.  Reality is like that, actually.  Sometimes, the things you dream of are not right for you.  Also, it may have been great in the beginning, but due to changes, it was no longer what you desired.  You can only change what you can change and work around those areas that you cannot change. 

Second, I was overweight when I was in high school and unfortunately, gained more weight in the past 30 years.  I do not like it, but it is me.  I can change it, but it won't happen overnight.  That is an unreasonable expectation and a very unhealthy one.

Third, my job is not exactly where I wanted to be in life.  I have had my share of set backs and so forth.  However, I have reached the point in my life where my job does not define me.  I work to live, not live to work.

For my classmates, I do not care if your life did not turn out as you wanted.  That is not important.  You gained a lot of weight or experienced hair loss - so what - that is part of mother nature and does not change who you are.  You did not get that fabulous job you expected to have at this point - that is okay, too.

What really matters is YOU.  You - you are still with us.  You are still a part of this world and you are here.  The other stuff is fluff.  If a situation in your life is not perfect, then maybe you might run into someone who might be able to help you change that.  

I will say this much - I have no need for judgmental people attending a reunion.  No one likes the upmanship attitude.  If you attend a reunion, you do it to connect with people you have not seen in years.  You are truly interested in how they are, what they are doing and get that reconnect.

For my high school reunion, it is my hope that everyone has a wonderful time and walks away saying "That was great!  I cannot wait to do it again in another 5/10 years."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Clutter, Clutter, Clutter - Reorganize...

Life since my mom's passing has been nothing but quiet.  Before she passed away, the apartment was manageable, but quickly got out of control after I started spending more and more time at her house and not mine.  Once she passed away, it seemed that work overtook the time that I was spending with my mom.  I was lucky to get the laundry and dishes washed.

One of the things I had to come to grips with was that my job was not my life.  It is a part of my life, but it should not be my life.  I made the effort to change positions, so that I could concentrate on my life and health.  I will admit, I felt that those in charge did not believe in "my health", I had to take care of it.  When I made decisions regarding my life, those same people were angry with me because they were depending upon me to continue to do that job.  On reflection, that is their problem, not mine.

I got a personal trainer to help me understand how to do certain exercises and try to help me be more active.  My problem is that after I would finish with some sessions, my muscles and such would ache for days, thus preventing me from wanting to do any more.  I finally got the point where I just did not walk in place as I had done.

I am trying to take some time this month to re-evaluate where I can make improvements in my life.  I want to lose weight to be healthier, feel better, and wear better clothing.  While I feel like a slob most of the time, that is pretty much the best I can do clothing-wise.  

Next, I want to clear the clutter in my apartment and sort out what to keep and throw out.  It is appeasing to be a minimalist and downsize to the point of where it all looks great.  However, what if that system does not work.  I am reading a book by Julie Morgenstern, Organizing From the Inside Out.  The direction she takes is do not just "attack" the problem, but you need to examine what it is that is causing you not to handle it.  Figure out what is preventing you from getting to where you want to be and not get caught in the vicious circle of clearing and having it start all over again.

Most importantly, you have to find a system that works for YOU.  Sure, there are so many different tips and tricks, but what if it does not work for you?  If you throw out something you have not used in 6 months, that may not work for you as you could throw out something important.  I get the minimalist ideal, but there are extremes.  Everyone has a system that makes them happy.  I need to find that and incorporate it.

So, as I look inward for self-development, it should be an interesting adventure.

Today, we believe God wants you to know that ...

creativity is good for the soul.

Creativity is when your spirit gets a chance to play and express itself. So whether art, dance, cooking, making music, writing, or creating a garden, let yourself go! Create!

Shaking It Off...

As of late, I am trying to learn the art of "shaking it off."  "IT" being whatever is messing with my mind and just won't leave.  That "IT" that irritates and makes me angry.  Life is too short to allow "IT" to take residence in my mind.

What are the "IT" things that I have issues shaking off:

  • A person trying to constantly get something for free for whatever reason.  One in particular was supposed to do something and it looks like that is not going to happen.  However, had the gall to ask if a couple of other people could attend this event without paying for them as well.  Yeah - that pissed me off.
  • Certain people who work in the area I do and presume that my new position requires that I do production support.  Apparently, a year ago, they did not read the memo that was sent out by senior management where this group was looking for someone to work in the "development area" - NO PRODUCTION SUPPORT.  I find it annoying how some people truly assume something without no knowledge.
  • The person that always has an excuse for not attending meetings, but you have to depend on that person for something.  If you volunteer, then you need to make some effort.  I am getting good at washing my hands of that matter.  I did not assign that person the task and letting the person that did handle it.
  • Apartment complex does not believe that a chirping smoke alarm is a priority and it can wait three business days before changing out the battery in my apartment.  The two in question are located at the top of a vaulted ceiling and I cannot reach them.  It is pertinent that these are changed in a timely manner because the sound hurts my dogs' ears.  It is important enough for me to pay $45 + tip for someone to come out on a Sunday to change the batteries.  I think it would be greatly appreciated to have that amount taken out of my monthly rent.
  • This one is on me - enduring pain in my legs because they are not strong enough to handle the nth number of times I had to do squats with my trainer.  I am sure I did about 60 to 70 squats the other day with the trainer.  It took about 4 days before the pain would subside.  When that happens, I am not motivated to continue working out.
I need to learn that these things are all part of life and I need not to spend a whole lot of time dwelling on them.  Some of them, as I pointed out, I am starting to get the "shake it off" perspective.  Mainly because either I can do something about it or if I cannot, then it is someone else's burden to manage.  Why should I spend time dealing with it?

Time to get the ugliness out of residence.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Meeting My First Crush...

When I was 15, I started listening to George Gilmarc every Sunday night on KZEW to hear all of the "new wave/punk" music.  At the time, I was a huge Police fan and loved their music immensely.  The cool part about George's show was that he introduced me to music that just did not make the regular rotation on other stations.  (Well, not until THE EDGE showed up in 1989).  

I heard the G0-Gos, Magazine, UB-40, U2, Depeche Mode, Devo, Bauhaus, The Sparks, and many others.  My other favorite band was called Ultravox.  Their music followed along with the "New Romantic" era - mainly synthesizers, but it rocked as well.  The song I fell in love with was called "Vienna".  I had seen the video on one of the late night music video shows.  At that time, the video was quite the experience - it captured a story and was elegant.  I loved it.

Soon, the next song I fell in love with was "Reap the Wild Wind".  Something about that song the first time I heard it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  I immediately fell in love with it.  I had wanted to see the band perform, but at that time, most of these bands rarely played Reunion arena - they played nightclubs where I was too  young to attend alone.

By my freshman year in college, I was a full-blown Ultravox fan with the entire vinyl and cassette collection I could get my hands on.  My friend, Caroline, would encourage my fandom by getting bits and pieces of articles and press releases for me - at the time, she was working her way to be a music journalist.  Her thoughts were that I should not go into computers, but be a writer - I had gained an extensive background on the British music scene and could provide accurate information on all bands.  (I spent too much time reading and listening to music.)

In 1984, when Band Aid recorded Do They Know It's Christmas?, I was all over that because the lead singer, Midge Ure, from Ultravox had helped write the song with Bob Geldof.  Live Aid - I stayed up and recorded the entire show, but was only interested in the London performers.  When Ultravox came to the stage, I was glued to the TV.  I missed hearing Reap the Wild Wind, but was able to see the band perform the other songs.

After that, hearing much from Ultravox was scarce.  The band never really came back to the US for touring.  Next, was Midge's solo stuff.  For his first solo album in 1985, he toured in NY and other east coast places, but never made it to Dallas.  It seemed to be a trend with many British bands - after their "heyday", no one rarely saw them tour this part of the states.  I figured I would probably never get to see him live and I just lived with that.

In July, Retro Futura started promoting their tour of British 80's bands, such as Howard Jones, Thompson Twins (Tom Bailey), Katrina from Katrina and the Waves, China Crisis, and MIDGE URE.  Whoa!  I started viewing the tour dates.  Again, only touring in the east and west coasts.  The closest place to see the band would have been in California or Las Vegas, NV.  Due to animal health issues, I just cannot spend the money for that.  I posted a message:

Why won't you come to Dallas?

The organizers of the tour stated that bands like them did not sell well in the SE.  I thought, maybe I should contact KXT and see if they could help as they had supported various other 80's bands going to the The Granada Theater.  I figured it would be the perfect venue for the bands.

I got wrapped up with work and pet stuff, then an announcement was made that the tour would be making a stop in Dallas at the Verizon Center.  I decided I really should go because I had posted that question and next, how could I possibly miss getting to see Midge Ure?  This might be my last chance!  So, when tickets were released for sale - I got one!

I had a great seat near the front of the stage.  Seeing Katrina perform was great - she was chatty, but I love that.  That makes me feel like part of the performance.  China Crisis came out after her and I was reminded how much I had really liked them.  When Midge Ure hit the stage, I was excited to hear everyone give him such huge applause.  For years, I felt I was alone in liking Ultravox and his solo work in this area, but now, I knew there were other fans!

It was so great to see him perform - he was fantastic!  His voice had not changed one bit over the years and he really rocked out the songs.  At the end of Midge's set, the first 3 bands went to the front and did a meet and greet.  If I passed on that, I was crazy.  After awhile, they all showed up and signed stuff and had their pictures taken.  

When I finally got to meet Midge, I told him what I huge fan I was of Ultravox and his solo work.  I inquired if he would be able to bring his acoustic show to the Dallas area.  He told me that he was really pushing for getting into America, but when Ultravox stopped touring the US, his management group and he had lost their various contacts, but they were working on it.  I asked if Ultravox would be doing another release and he stated that the band was dormant, but the band member just needed to decide upon their next direction.  

At that point, I got my picture made - I did not have anything for him to sign.  Honestly, I had been a fan member and I had some signed stuff from that.  The picture meant more to me than anything else.  The person behind me was kind enough to take two pictures.  I am more than thrilled to have met this wonderfully talented man.  I am grateful I did not lose it, too!  LOL

I had to share this story because I have been on air since meeting Midge.  I do hope he comes through for an acoustic show.  I would be there for that!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mind of a Toy...or even a pet...

Back in my own heyday, I was into "New Romantic" phase of the British New Wave sounds.  A project, called "Visage", consisted of members from Ultravox, Magazine, and Steve Strange, a gentlemen who was big with the "Blitz" club scene.  One of their major hits was a song called "Fade to Grey".  I loved it.

Today, I read something that made me think of another song - "Mind of a Toy".  It was a picture of a pomeranian.  He was 16 years old.  Why was he surrendered?  Because he was too old.

Too old?!  Do we just cast away those that are too old or sick?  I understand needing help with care of someone who is not doing well, but is this what this world has become.  My heart breaks for this poor baby - I can only imagine in his head what he is thinking.  This song puts it all together so well:

"Mind Of A Toy" was written by Currie, William / Ure, Midge / Egan, Rusty / Mcgeoch, John Alexander / Formula, Dave / Strange, Steve.

My painted face is chipped and cracked
My mind seems to fade too fast
Clutching straws, sinking slow
Nothing less, nothing less
A puppets motion's controlled by a string
By a stranger I've never met
A nod of the head and a pull of the thread
I can't say no, can't say no
When a child throws down a toy
When I was new you wanted me
Now I'm old, you no longer see
When a child throws down a toy
Spiteful girl, hateful boy
When a child throws down a toy
I'm all dressed up and nowhere to go
Or the music box that never stops
I'll dance for you if you want me to
Move in time, move in time
A wooden head and a broken heart
Used, abused and torn apart
I gave you my best and you gave me the rest
There's time to die, time to die
When a child throws down a toy
When I was new you wanted me
Now I'm old, you no longer see me
When a child throws down a toy
Spiteful girl, hateful boy
When a child throws down a toy
When a child throws down a toy
When I was new, you wanted me
Now I'm old, you no longer see me
When a child throws down a toy
Spiteful girl, hateful boy
When a child throws down a toy

Minimalista? No - Just Trying to Break Down the Clutter...

A year or two ago, I tried to be a "minimalista" and it just did not work out for me.  Part of the problem was my waning energy levels and the other part was just not enough time.  When I was able to spend time doing the things that needed to be done, I was amazed with what I accomplished.

At this point, I have changed positions with my company.  I ended up overwhelming myself with a writing course, which I really liked and will probably take again.  Friday, I sat down and made out a schedule on what I need to do, but I think I need to re-evaluate it again.  This week is a bit nutty with going to an 80's concert tonight, then tomorrow night and Wednesday, I have to drive over to Arlington to get Chloe checked up - drop off tomorrow night and pick up the following day.  The weekend will be spend dealing with reunion stuff.

Part of me wants to wait until the reunion is wrapped up before starting on those things I should be doing.  However, it is best to do something, rather than nothing.

So, I am going to try to work on the various areas of my apartment and continue the rotation for the following two months.  My biggest issue is all of the paper.  I have seen a decrease in the amount of paper coming into the my house since I switched to electronic statements.  I would say the weekend after the reunion, I will take boxes of papers that need to be shredded to a public shredder service.  I like the idea of taking it all down and doing it all at once - be able to see the papers being shredded and feel at ease.

My plan is to focus on one room of the apartment each week.  This week - the kitchen.  I will concentrate my efforts to clearing out and cleaning the kitchen.  If I have accomplished something, that is a bonus.  What is left over to be done can be written down as an area of concentration for the next time I concentrate on that particular room.

My hope is that as I get each room depleted of clutter, then the time devoted to the rooms will go down by days, then into hours.  That way, these tasks are down to something pretty regular and not time consuming.  Basically, back to when I first moved into the apartment - it would take me two hours to pull everything into shape and I was done.

I may not get rid of everything, but it the apartment would be presentable for anyone and I could have guests.  I admire minimalists as they realize that "stuff" is a burden.  However, there are some things that we need.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Here I Go Again...Stay Strong...

I realized last night that I had been splurging a bit too much lately.  As usual, my days off did not go as I had planned.  I had planned to do lots of cleaning and get the grocery shopping done early.  As usual, life, or whatever you want to call it, intervened and I had to do some things I had not intended.  Blah!  At least, I have today and tomorrow.  If I can make a small dent into the plans I had intended, then I will call myself successful.

The other detail that I had been splurging too much was my blood sugar.  Before dinner last night, it was 396, which was unusual.  Then, again, not really.  I had been eating out a lot and it was catching up with me.  What bothered me was that when I had to take the dogs out at 3:30 AM, I checked my blood sugar and it was 185.  I could deal with that.  I still have not eaten anything at this time and my blood sugar showed 226.  Ugh.

Looking at my averages - my blood sugar has been running at about 222 for the past month.  Not good.  What does it take to get that true slap in the face?  The biggest issue is the same.  Overeating, eating food that I probably should not, not measuring, and just not moving.  This is so silly of me!  Of course, the only person who can make this turn around is me.

First, I need to lose weight to feel better and have better health.  That is important to me.  I have no visions of having a model body.  I just want to see the beauty in myself.  What makes me pretty and feel that all of the time.  Right now, I hate looking at myself in the mirror because I am not happy with what I see.  Also, I hate getting my picture made.  What I see, I do not like.  I want to change myself to be happy with myself.  That is the most important.  I matter to me.

Second, I do want to lose weight in order to wear some of my clothes.  I also want to lose weight to sit comfortably in my seat at the Dallas Stars hockey games.  Nothing like being able to sit and get up comfortably.  That is important.

Third, I do not want to lose weight for my high school reunion.  Accept me as I am or move along.  I am over that whole "I have to look like I changed and done well."  Really?  Does what they think of me really affect me?  No.  What I think of me affects me.

I will get back to logging my food intake.  Measuring and writing everything that I put in my mouth makes me accountable.  Back to getting in the swing of using my FitBit.  Those that used the FitBit and came back to me with why it did not work for them, I need to get those comments out of my head.  Sure, the FitBit is not accurate, but it is a "gauge" for me.  It helps me see where I can activity-wise.  I will probably measure more on my sleep patterns over time, but with two dogs sleeping in bed with me, I am sure their activity has a lot to do with the bumps in activity for me during sleep.

For me, and no one else, the major key to losing weight has always been a combination of food logging/measuring and exercise.  I have to stay true to it.  The other part is drinking more water.  I have not been drinking more sodas, but I have found myself drinking less water.  That needs to change as well.  I feel water is the natural flush for anything.

So, I am going to get back up on this horse and work it as hard as I can.  Other garbage can take a hike.