Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mr F, update

It's Saturday morning at 8:00 my time.  I'm at home with Mr Bunches, getting ready to go to the hospital.  Sweetie spent the night with him and reports that he is able to walk on his own.  His eye is swollen shut from the surgery, but that is common, we're told.  He may get out of the Intensive Care Unit today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Please say a prayer...

9:15 a.m. UPDATE:  Mr F got out of surgery at 4:30 or so this morning.  He had two veins ruptured in his brain, and they were able to repair them both.  He has talked a little and was able to give me a high five. 

Thanks for all your kind thoughts.  I'll continue to post as I can.

... if you read this.  Mr F fell tonight, at about 8:30, and hit his head.  He passed out and we took him to the ER.  He has a subdural hematoma and went into surgery about midnight.  It's 3 a.m. now and we're waiting for word on him.

Please pray for him.  I'm taking a moment to post this because I'm alone here in the hospital with Sweetie, who's asleep, and I need people to be rooting for him. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This means war, body. (Project 190, Day Thirty-Eight)

First the doubly-good news: I worked out yesterday, so I haven't missed a day yet.

And I lost a pound -- the scale this morning said 252! and I think the decision to increase the severity of my workouts no doubt contributed to that.

The bad news, and why I didn't blog yesterday, is that when I went running, it was bad: a continuation of the run I had this weekend, all heavy legs and hard to catch my breath.  I made it through about 75% of the run and was 1/3 of the way up this hill:

When I had to stop and walk a bit, because I started having actual symptoms that I worry about: chest pains.

My rule is dull aches, things like that, get ignored and/or worked through.  Sharp pains get paid attention to, and fast.  You may remember that I've been working through a condition that I call "Yossarian's Liver," and that has never gone away; I had been taking it easy and trying not to aggravate it right up until the day I decided to start Project 190.

Yesterday, though, my body upped the ante and for most of the day I had trouble recovering -- short of breath, chest pains, and the like.

I still worked out today, but out of deference to Sweetie I have decided that yeah, I'll go back and see a doctor again even though that won't do anything, and I only biked today, which was fine because that was what I'd planned on doing anyway.

But I don't intend to give up working out, or even take a day off.  

Today's workout: Biking, level FOUR, 25:00.
Latest weight: 252.
Today's song that ironically (?) was the first one I listened to on my iPod when I started biking:  The Body Says No, The New Pornographers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Not much to say... (Project 190, Day Thirty-Six)

Today was swimming.

The larger pool is closed, so I did 34 laps in the smaller pool.

That's all.

Today's workout: Swimming, short pool, 34 laps, 20:00.
Latest Weight: 253.
Today's song that I just found looking up songs about swimming:

Swimming, Vetiver.

"Vetiver" is also a common grass native to India.  And it's mentioned in the song "Find the River," by REM:

Which is a song I can play (and sing!) on guitar.  But it's not my favorite REM song.  My favorite REM song is It's the End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine):

But that's not my favorite REM video; my favorite REM video is Imitation of Life:

Here's a link to a bunch of posts I once did on REM, in case you're interested.  It includes a post about their version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

And here's an old post that talks about how I know about the Apocalypse thanks to REM (and Johnny Cash, and the New England Patriots*)

So, now that's all.

Monday, August 13, 2012

THAT'S THE FACT, JACK! (Project 190, Day Thirty-Five)

So everyone thinks I should just take a day off?

Okay, that speech didn't really fit.  How about this one?

No, that's the exact opposite of what I was looking for.

Anyway, I can't take a day off.  I'm 43 years old.  My body has been taking days off for years.

When you're 20, and you work out, your body kicks it into high gear in 0.00002 seconds (that's a Science Fact!).  You can lose weight, when you're in your 20s, by just existing.  A 20-year-old can burn calories ordering a beer at a bar.

But in your forties?  It's impossible.  By now, my metabolism has given up.  When I eat vegetables or fruits, my body is all "Eh, what's the point? He's probably going to wash it down with some Cap'n Crunch, so just send 'em on through."  Meanwhile, 98% of my cells are made of pizza and sugared cereal and Butterfingers, so when those things pass my teeth, all their former buddies are there saying "Hey, why don't you hang around a decade or so and we'll see how crazy it makes this guy when he somehow feels hungry despite having tons of fat stored up!"

(Which is how you know that at least some Science Facts, like "Your Body Stores Fat In Case It Gets Hungry" are wrong: if that was true, your body would never get hungry until you were out of fat, so either scientists, or your body, or both, are lying to you.)

So I have to make my body think it's 20 again.  Or make it realize that until it gets into shape, this continues and I'll be up at 5:45 every day.

Today's workout: Biking, level 3, 25:00.
Latest weight: 253.
Today's motivational song that I didn't listen to while I biked because my iPod battery wore down; lately it is impossible for me to keep all my electronics charged up.  I can't get my body to lose weight, but I can get my gadgets to shed electricity. Nice:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A tinier stegosaurus goes to a tinier amusement park!

See more pictures like this -- and better! (better?  YES REALLY, BETTER!) on Briane Pagel: PWNST.

If you think the trees are strangely-colored, wait 'til you see what color the dragons are!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of the things we’re always looking to do with Mr F and Mr Bunches are crafts projects – cutting, glueing, coloring, folding, that kind of thing.  We do it because Mr F and Mr Bunches are kids, first of all, and love those kinds of things, and also because with their autism, the crafts projects serve as therapy, helping them organize their thoughts and stay in touch and focus.

So we have a wealth of crayons, scissors, glue, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, and especially paper, but not just ANY OLD paper: We use AstroBrights papers.

AstroBright papers are perfect for little kids’ projects because they practically GLOW, they’re so bright.  23 different colors mean that whether you’re making a castle, a tree, a spaceship, or a spaceship attacking a castle atop a tree, you’ve got the colors you need: red for lasers, bright yellow for aliens, blue for trees. (Mr Bunches chose it, not me.)

What’s also important is that AstroBright paper isn’t just high quality or great looking; they’re helping out schools by letting you with their "Give a Brighter Year" sweepstakes to let you win prizes totaling $30,000 in cash and supplised for the school of your choice.

Between that and their other contest, they’ve got a lot going on – because you can also enter the "Make Something Astrobright" challenge, and use your creativity to make projects to share on Pinterest and Twitter (use the hashtag #goastrobrights), and see what you can come up with (and what others come up with.)

Find out more-- check out Astrobrights on Facebook, and get creativing!

I mean, um... get creative!


Visit Sponsor's Site

I should've told Mom-In-Law about this.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SAVE for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

As everyone knows, our big "trip" this summer was to Orlando, Florida -- a place I've been to before, and I hate to repeat vacations.

Now I hate it even MORE, because I just learned that San Antonio, Texas, is the REAL vacation capital of the world, and they're proving it to people with their "SAVE" promotion of Limited Time Offers.  And that they have an amusement park in a hole.  But more on that in a second.

"SAVE" stands for "San Antonio Vacation Experience," and it's the promotion San Antonio is running this summer to encourage people to go there for vacation, and after reading about what there is to do there, I have to say, I WISH WE'D GONE THERE.

Let's compare the vacation I DID have with the one I COULD HAVE HAD.

Actual Vacation Days 1 and 2:  Driving.  Lots and lots of driving.

San Antonio Vacation Days 1 and 2: Flying -- with the more than $600 in savings offers that SAVE is offering for San Antonio, we could have flown.  (Seriously: the Drury Inn & Suites on the San Antonio Riverwalk are only $99!, which is at least $50 less than every hotel I've ever stayed at.)

Actual Vacation Day 3: Sit around in the rain, eventually go swimming at the pool.

San Antonio Day 3: Assuming it DID rain, we could have walked along the River Walk, a public park full of restaurants, hotels, and shops with lots of covered walks.  We could have STAYED on the River Walk, instead of the middle of nowhere -- lots of the River Walk hotels are partners in the SAVE promotion, so we could stay in a swanky hotel with easy access to downtown San Antonio.  And then we could shop someplace like the North Star Mall, which would give us a free "Premier Passport" and we could see the world's largest pair of cowboy boots!)

Actual Vacation Day 4: Went shopping, swam.

San Antonio Day 4: We could have gone on SAFARI -- the San Antonio Zoo and the Natural Bridge park both have safari exhibits.  And they're cheaper, too, with SAVE -- the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is offering $2.00 off entrance (we'd have saved $10), and the Zoo is $2 off, too, so we'd save another $10 there and that $20 is like a free lunch!

Even with all that, we could have packed more in and gone to the Schlitterbarn Waterpark -- they've got $2 off per ticket, too, for another $10 in savings -- and then go to the best of all, the Amusement Park in A Hole:  Six Flags Fiesta Texas, with 8 roller coasters and 50 rides, is a SAVE Partner, so we could've gone THERE (one reason we skipped the theme parks this last time? The price -- why pay all that money if the boys aren't going to like it?) and it's IN A HOLE, as I said.

Literally: it's built in an old quarry, so your theme park experience is surrounded by scenic carved rock walls -- which means, people, it's ECOFRIENDLY or whatever it is the Sierra Club likes because it's reclaiming old quarry land.  (And Six Flags is offering LOTS OF DIFFERENT WAYS to save money: coupons to let everyone pay kids' price, buy one get one, next day free, it's like they're giving YOU money.) (We'd have gotten in for half-price with buy-one-get-one, alone, but everyone pays kids price would have let us get our tickets for $60 less than usual!)

It's too late for me -- I've already gone on vacation.  But you can SAVE yourself (get it?) by using the SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience site to get deals on that end-of-summer trip.  So go to that site, or follow @SAVEinSA on Twitter for up-to-the-minute deals.

Visit Sponsor's Site

If you read to the end, you will get to decide whether Sweetie is a patriot or not. (Project 190, Day Thirty-Four)

There are victories, and then there are victories.

I wasn't going to raise my arms in the V-For-Victory today after my run because it was an awful run.  I got maybe 7 minutes into it, out there on the nature trail, and I knew it wasn't going well because my entire body was rebelling, constantly trying to stop jogging and not even walk, just trying to stop and sit down.

I forced myself to go the seven minutes, plodding through every minute of it, and then walked-and-ran the rest of the trail, walking 100 steps, then running 100 steps, and so on, until I got done, each step harder than the last.

Usually, fighting through that kind of job makes me at least feel proud, like I'm pushing myself the way Alberto Salazar might have (only about 1/1,000,000th as tough, if that) but today it didn't even do that. It was just grim determination that kept me going, the grit-your-teeth-I'm-not-giving-up-and-just-walking kind of thinking that made me finish up without just walking.

I jogged the last 100 yards, and the whole time I was thinking "No V-for-Victory today," but in the end I decided that this was a victory, because I'd gone on running as much as I could even in the face of my own mind fighting me.  So I raised my arms and went inside.

I was sitting on the floor, drinking a glass of milk, and I told Sweetie how bad it had been today.

"I just didn't have it," I said.

"Maybe you need to take a day off," Sweetie said.

I shook my head: "No.  This is DAY THIRTY-FOUR. That's the whole point.  No days off."

"It's just America," Sweetie said.

I nearly choked on my milk and asked her to explain, please, and she said:

"That's just America. You take a day off from exercise."

Today's workout: Running, the long outside run, 43:09. With lots of walking mixed in.
Latest Weight: 253.
Today's song that probably set the mood for me being in a grimly determined mindset:

Bale Out: The Christian Bale Remix.(NSFW)

PS: The picture on the front of this post is one of the hills I run up at the end of a run. 

15,842 new words, Word 2: Posh's Feet, and beating a grace note.

It's been a while since I first decided to find out how many words I already know and then learn another 15,842 new ones-- not that I'm in danger of running out of old words to say-- but it's a cloudy Sunday morning and I'm drinking my coffee and sitting with Mr Bunches, who is eating cereal and watching Mr Bean on Youtube, and with that setting the mood (we've also got a fully-set-up Mousetrap game on the table, if you want to picture the scene perfectly) let's dive in to see where I land on another new word.

The last word I didn't know was only seven words into the Oxford English Dictionary; today, I go back to that dictionary, where I see the word of the day is telos (an ultimate object or aim) and the quote of the day is Victoria Beckham talking about how she can't go to the gym because she doesn't understand the shoes,

"I'd love to go to the gym, but I just can't get my head around the footwear. ” Victoria Beckham (1974– ) British pop singer

a quote I find baffling.

Is it supposed to be funny? I have a real problem with comedians (?) who make up a joke that relies on something that just isn't funny, at all, at its core.  So let's parse Posh's joke here:

She would like to work out, but finds the footwear:

too confusing.

In some way.

I suppose.

Or is it that she doesn't like the shoes?  Is that it? That she cannot bring herself to wear -- can't get her head around -- the shoes because they're just not her?

If you Google-Image-Search the phrase "Posh's feet," you will (A) get weird looks from people and (B) find out that Posh's feet have been photographed, a lot, and (C) the photos include this:

Which  are Posh's actual feet and which were the subject of an article in 2009 about how agonizing her feet are and which I suppose we should say "Oh, man, that's terrible she's in lots of pain" but nobody made her wear those shoes, and she's worth millions for singing a bunch of songs nobody not even her can remember, so whatever; I'm glad her feet hurt.

That was mean of me.

Anyway: on to the words! And back off of the words, as the very next entry, after a, that I don't know is a battuta:

a battuta 
Pronunciation: /ˌä bäˈto͞otä/ Syllabification: 
Definition of a battuta adverb Music (typically as a direction) returning to strict tempo. 
Origin: Italian, literally 'to the beating' 
 You might think, what with my having taken piano lessons when I was a kid until I was 12, with having learned to play guitar, as well, and also having tried to learn the bagpipes but that's really hard, I would have known a battuta, but here's a confession:  I never paid much attention to the directions on how to play music.  Beethoven or Brahms or Joplin would write allegretto or have a 4/4 time signature, and I would know what they meant, but I just played it the way I liked it, and didn't worry too much about how the guys who wrote the music would have wanted 12-year-old me to play.

Although I probably would have paid more attention if Mrs. Loppnow, in teaching me what musical notation meant, would have said "now, when you see a battuta that means, literally, to the beating, and so I want you to go back to the strict tempo as though you are beating someone."  

Piano lessons always needed a bit more implied brutality.  Take THAT, grace notes! 

I'm feeling elegaic this morning.

Sad things happen, and when they do, I'm at a loss for words.

No jokes, now -- I know, it's hard to picture me being at a loss for words, but what do you say to someone who has just lost a loved one?

Right? I can't think of anything, either.  It's hard to come up with words for something so personal and so hard to relate to.  Sure, we all lose people from time to time, but we don't all feel the same way about it and we're not at the same stage in our life when it happens, and so we mumble something about being so sorry and feel inadequate.

A better way, I think, to handle the situation, is to send some sympathy flowers.  Flowers can say a lot more than we can, at times like that, and they do more than just express sympathy; they can convey beauty, and hope, two things people need at sad times.

That's what I was thinking as I looked at the floral arrangements at Designs by Guzzardos, where that link goes to.  Not just that the flowers say "I'm sorry for you" but that the way they're set up, the colors they choose, the designs, the flowers manage to say more.  They say this will pass, and they say there is hope that the sadness will end, and they say that all wordlessly, tiny creations that just band together and gather up all the emotions someone is feeling, and then repackage them as something a little brighter and nicer.

Or am I reading too much into it?  Probably not.  A properly-done, beautiful floral arrangement manages to transcend the rote expressions of sympathy that we give each other.  There's a reason, after all, that we send flowers at times like that, and it has nothing to do with marketing and Madison Avenue and has everything to do with the fact that flowers are like poetry, only more sublime.