Karma’s a Bitch (And So Am I)

12 May

There are a lot of good people in the world.

Sometimes it seems as if there are as many — if not more — heinous people, who do  and say terrible things. Unfortunately, these are the people who end up occupying most of my thoughts. I can easily lose focus on the good and fixate on the bad.

Tuesday night I went to the gym for water aerobics. About halfway through the class I saw something out of the corner of my eye. An older man (50s, 60s?), who was standing at the opening of the men’s locker room, seemed to take an aggressive stance toward a boy who appeared to be mentally/developmentally handicapped. (I discovered later the two were father and son.)

I couldn’t hear what the man said to the boy, but I watched in shock as he began to flick the side of the child’s head several times with his fingers — and not in a loving way. In my mind, I gasped in horror. I must have gasped out loud as well, because the instructor followed my gaze to where the man and boy were standing. She looked at me sadly and mouthed the words, “I’ll take care of it.”

The man must have felt holes burning through the back of his skull, because I eyeballed him all the way as he walked with the boy from the exercise pool to the lap pool. I finished the class, but every once in a while I’d try to peek through the wall of windows that separated the two pools to see what they were up to.

As the class was coming to an end the man and his son came back into the exercise pool area to wait for us to finish so they could get in and swim. I spoke to the class instructor, who explained that this wasn’t the first time the man had exhibited this behavior, but they were wary of revoking his membership because the boy loved to come and swim. The mother (also older) is apparently nice, so it must just be the father who is a total prick and should die a slow, painful death. She told me she was going to talk to the gym director about the incident, but I think I’m going to e-mail the gym as well.

What worries me the most is what happens when they’re at home and no one is watching.

The abuse of a child is, in and of itself, reprehensible. But to abuse a child who is physically or mentally disabled? There’s a special place in Hell for people like that.

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Alive and Kicking (Stream of Consciousness Post)

10 May

Contrary to unpopular belief, I am still here. I just haven’t had much to say lately.

Unfortunately, my 50 Book Challenge has gone a bit off the rails. I’ve not gotten through many books this year, but I’m still reading, albeit very slowly. I don’t know that something like the 50 Book Challenge is suited all that well to me, as I tend to read in spurts. But I shall keep plugging away.

I’ve also gone off the rails with regard to Weight Watchers, and have gained back almost all the weight I lost. Our final WW at Work session is this Thursday, because we weren’t able to scrounge up the required number of members to keep it going. For a company of our size (about 120 employees at our Brookfield, Wis. location) we had a great run.

For me, the end of Weight Watchers has meant the beginning of Sparkpeople. It’s enabling me to track things like the amount of cholesterol and sodium I take in each day, I’ve downloaded an app for it on my Blackberry, and best of all … it’s FREE! This is a terribly difficult and bumpy road I’m traveling on, but I’m determined to see it through, no matter how long it takes. Something our WW leader said at a recent meeting has stuck with me, and I’m trying to use it as my mantra when things get hard.

You are what you repeat.

How much more simply can it be laid out than that? While I’m obviously not the poster child for perfect, sustained weight loss, I’d like to think I am banking some sort of karmic interest for at least trying.

I had my first appointment with a chiropractor tonight after work. A co-worker recommended him to me, and I really like him, even though he’s a bit chatty and some of his thories seem a bit “out there” (or at least warranting investigation on my part). I have all kinds of little issues that could potentially benefit from chiropractic, like headaches, sinus and digestive problems, lower back pain, neck and shoulder aches, ad infinitum. This first appointment was pretty long, but he did some adjustments that seemed helpful, including clearing out my sinuses a bit.

I treated my visit with him much like I would a psychic — chiropractic is somewhat otherworldly to me, not really a field of medicine I’m familiar with or understand. Therefore, I tried not to lead him in one direction or another by giving away too many of my body’s secrets, and instead waited to see what he would find as he examined me. I was pretty impressed that he was able to find my hiatal hernia without me having to tell him (it took my regular MD a barium enema and an X-ray to figure it out).

When he began to discuss weight loss through chiropractic was when I got a bit skeptical. If it were as easy as making abdominal adjustments to aid digestion, why weren’t fat people like me lining up outside chiropractors’ offices? While I have to admit he did bring down some bloating in my stomach with some of the abdominal adjustments he made, I think I will still continue to watch my calories and cholesterol. 🙂

Though I’ll let him continue to make those adjustments, because it certainly can’t hurt!

Exercising has been a big issue for me lately as well, in that I’m not doing it. I briefly toyed with the idea of canceling my membership and either working out at home or hiring a personal trainer, but I didn’t think I could keep it up or afford it, respectively. In an effort to make it more of a habit, I made note of some classes at my gym that might keep me interested in fitness, and my goal through the summer is to get to the gym and participate in a class at least twice a week, if not more. By the end of the summer, if working out has not become a habit, I’ll re-evaluate.

Since I’ve gained back a lot of weight and am not in as good a shape as I was, most of my choices have focused on water exercise. Last Saturday morning I went to a half-hour class called “Aqua Tone” that promised a good resistance workout with water weights, and that was pretty enjoyable (I’ve only been to that one once, me being a lazy ass prevented me from going again this last weekend). Then last Monday I tried something called “Water Walking,” which turns out is an unstructured free hour in the exercise pool where people 30-40 years older than me walk laps in the pool. The night I showed up for that “class” I’d only brought my swimming suit, so I made the most of it and actually got a pretty decent workout (couldn’t go tonight because of my chiropractic appointment). Tuesday was regular water aerobics, which I’ve been to before. It was a new instructor, and she was great! I’m really looking forward to going again tomorrow night. Then last Thursday was a class called “Core Bodyworks,” which is basically exactly how it sounds: 30 minutes — non-stop — working all the abdominal muscles. I wasn’t even remotely able to keep up with the instructor but, while I didn’t do the moves exactly as she did, I did some sort of ab work for the entire 30 minutes (pats self on back). However, I think I tore every single abdominal muscle I have and until yesterday wasn’t able to sit up from a laying position or stand up straight without wanting to cry out in pain.

I won’t be going back to that class for awhile.

So I think for now I’ll stick with the water classes, and supplement that with either walking, or doing my pyramid weight routine at the gym.

Someone on another, more private, blog I have asked me if I had considered lap band surgery. I told them that I didn’t think I was overweight enough for that, but according to a friend of mine who has had the surgery, I am. I don’t think I could ever do that, though. I’m not so overweight that I can’t get around and live a normal life. And I also feel like I’d be taking the easy way out — while I know that many people have tried everything they possibly can to lose weight and have failed, which is what brought them to the surgery, I don’t think I have tried everything. I’m ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Though I must admit, a small part of me is thinking about looking into the weight loss drug alli. If there is anyone still out there that reads this blog, please comment and let me know if you have experience with it or know someone who has. I’d love to get feedback of real-world use, not just basing my decision on what their marketing materials say. :p

Okay, I’ve written enough here for one night. I’ll try to be better about posting on here, I swear!

My Hometown’s Contribution to March Madness

22 Mar

The Wisconsin and Marquette men’s basketball teams may be out of the hunt for the NCAA championship, but a Milwaukee influence still remains.

Click on the link to see what I mean, and to watch a really cool video.

10-Point Lunch Challenge: Panera Bread

1 Mar

When I first joined Weight Watchers, a co-worker and I would challenge ourselves to find places (and menu items) that could give us a lunch for 10 points or lower. For various reasons, this has gone by the wayside.

Now that I’m struggling in my weight loss efforts, now seems the perfect time to reinstate this challenge. I didn’t really feel like eating the frozen meal I brought with me today, so I took myself and a book to one of my favorite haunts, Panera Bread. (This is not a paid endorsement — unfortunately!)

I like Panera for two reasons: the food is good, and they are very fast. And really, shouldn’t that be the goal of any sit-down fast-food restaurant. I particularly like their “You Pick Two” menu, which offers smaller portions of their salads, soups and sandwiches, so you can get a taste of a couple things without the calories (and cost!) you’d incur buying a full serving of each item. Their Web site is also great, as they have a separate microsite offering full nutritional information on each of their menu items, so it’s easy to plan what you want to have before you get there.

So here’s my submission for the 10-point challenge, from the “You Pick Two” menu:

  • Broccoli cheddar soup – 4 WW points
  • Baguette (comes with the soup, or you can choose chips or an apple I think — I just have a love affair with bread) – 3 WW points
  • Classic salad, no onion – 0 WW points
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing, on the side – 1 WW point
    • I probably didn’t even eat one point’s worth of dressing just by dipping my fork in it, but I’d rather overestimate than underestimate
  • Total: 8 WW points

Unfortunately I’m not always this “good” when I go to Panera. Those cherry danishes behind the display glass just kill me, and those are 10 points. But today — and at this point I’m taking it one day at a time, if not one meal at a time — I was strong and didn’t indulge.

Do you have any yummy, healthy ideas for eating out at lunch? If so, share!

Failure, Thy Name is Fat

25 Feb

I need to accept that I’m failing in my weight loss efforts because I’m concentrating on the scale, not on changing the way I eat.

Lifestyle change is where it’s at.

I need to get into that mentality.

Let the Great Fridge Cleanout of 2010 begin.

50 Book Challenge, 5/50: The Nanny Diaries

6 Feb

The Nanny Diaries Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Amazon.com Description
The Nanny Diaries is an absolutely addictive peek into the utterly weird world of child rearing in the upper reaches of Manhattan’s social strata. Cowritten by two former nannies, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, the novel follows the adventures of the aptly named Nan as she negotiates the Byzantine byways of working for Mrs. X, a Park Avenue mommy. Nan’s four-year-old charge, the hilariously named Grayer (his pals include Josephina, Christabelle, Brandford and Darwin) is a genuinely good sort. He can’t help it if his Mom has scheduled him for every activity known to the Upper East Side, including ice skating, French lessons, and a Mommy and Me group largely attended by nannies. What makes the book so impossible to put down is the suspense of finding out what  the unbelievably inconsiderate Mrs. X will demand of Nan next. One pictures the two authors having the last laugh on their former employers.

My Review
This was a quick re-read for me. I started to read the sequel to this book, Nanny Returns, and quickly realized I had completely forgotten what had happened in The Nanny Diaries.

I know the X’s are supposedly not based on real people — the first time I read this, it shocked me that the X’s were even a composite of many of the families the authors had nannied for over the years. However, through my friendship with someone who nannies (not for the ultra rich like Nan in the book, but the people she’s worked for over the years definitely aren’t hurting financially), nothing in this book shocked me on the second read. It made me angry, the way the X’s treated Grayer and Nanny, but not surprised. Unfortunately there are very rich people in the world who have children and don’t spend a lick of time alone with them (my ex-friend’s most current position is this way — they have three people who combine for a 24-hour shift — yes, even when the children are sleeping, someone is there). It’s very sad.

Anyway, this isn’t my comment on society, it’s supposed to be a review of the book. I enjoyed it the second time around as much as I did the first. I can tell I liked it because of how much the characters infuriated me — to me that says they were well-written.

I’ve read mixed reviews about Nanny Returns, however. I’m starting that tonight, so I’ll let you know.


5 / 50 books. 10% done!

 

 


1446 / 15000 pages. 10% done!

 

Back in the Saddle Again

4 Feb

My weigh-in made me very happy today, I was down 2.2 pounds. I have a long way to go, but I’m celebrating small victories this time around.

I had a very nutritious dinner tonight and a not-so-nutritious dessert. However, as opposed to the past where I would pretend I never ate those points, they will be counted.

As soon as I get my WW book — left carelessly at the office — when I go to work tomorrow morning.

I also worked out for 30 minutes with My Fitness Coach on my Wii. I did the flexibility exercises tonight.

Man, those yoga poses are hard!