Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Aromatic Aerobics

This would seem to be 'sound' evidence against exercise, specifically after a meal of beans and brussel sprouts.

Which reminds me, I put in a 90 minute cardio work out this morning, 30 on the TreadClimber followed by 60 on the elliptical machine. Free of sound effects or any other sensory unpleasantness. I've been increasing my cardio time in recent days because while I'm getting stronger and more toned, I'm not getting lighter and leaner. This is no mystery. I like food. I like to eat food. This isn't to imply I'm pigging out. I eat three meals a day consisting of fruit, protein and veggies. No sugar. No alcohol. No fast food. Minimal flour, fats or processed foods. I don't stuff myself with food but it would be fair to say I have a hearty appetite and have developed the uncanny ability in the course of each day to consume precisely the number of calories equaling the calories burned that day resulting in no gain, no loss, no harm, no foul. Let's put a positive spin on this. I'm an expert at maintaining my weight, a skill that a lot of other people seem to lack and this would all be a wonderful thing were I actually at a weight I wanted to maintain. And so to make some headway, I've developed a two stage strategy plan.

  1. Increase my time at the gym in strength-training and cardio workouts which will burn additional calories and then,
  2. Convince myself through self-deception that instead of having been to the gym I've actually been laying on the couch all day long. Thus with the false belief securely in place I'll automatically regulate my intake of calories to equal calories burned on a lazybutt day and not a sweat-n-grunt day.
Madness or genius? Only time and the bathroom scales will tell.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Athens Anticipation

Our trip to Greece is still a couple months away and I'm already in full-obsession mode. I've done quite a bit of traveling out of the country: Israel (6 times), Greece (2 times), Italy (2 times), El Salvador (2 times) and 1 visit each to Jordan, London, Denmark, and Sweden, but all these trips were years ago, long before the internet. For me, half the fun of any trip is in the planning and getting ready, so here are some of the sites that are eating into my blog time.

A Travel Guide to Greece
This is the most amazingly helpful, fun, extensive, and anticipation-building resource on Greece you'll ever find, especially when it comes to what to see and do in Athens. Dana and I will have a couple days to ourselves in the Big City and so I've been feasting on his photos and suggestions for day adventures. I know there's been big changes to Athens since I was there last in the 1980's so I'm excited to discover it all over again! Rick Steve's Europe Through the Back Door is another good travel site though it provides more general information like how to pack. I guess there are secrets to packing beyond "open suitcase, put in clothes, close suitcase." Who knew?

When it comes to shopping for travel-friendly-throw-in-a-bag-and-go clothes head over to TravelSmith, Ex Officio, or ever faithful REI, and for those who'd like to provide comic relief to Athenians young and old, try learning just enough of their language at I Learn Greek to humiliate yourself while leaving them snorkeling ouzo out their noses! Remember, they'll be laughing with you, not at you.

Yep, two months before we jump a plane for Greece and did I happen to mention my carry-on bag is already packed and ready to go?

Friday, April 06, 2007

April 6, 2002

Seven years ago
We met.
I adored you from the start.
I was crazy in love with you in a week.
By the end of the month I couldn't remember what life was like before you.

Six years ago
I asked you to spend the rest of your life with me.
Impatient, controlling, stubborn, overly-opinionated, emotional me.
I'm still in awe and over the top grateful you said yes.

Five years ago today
We were married.
A gift of God in every moment.
Grace upon grace.

Four minutes ago
I looked at cute you on the other side of the couch...
Three minutes ago
I listened to your familiar warm laugh...
Two minutes ago
I held your hand in mine...
And in this very minute
I'm whispering another thank you to God who brought you into my life because it only gets sweeter and better and deeper and truer with every passing day...minute by minute by minute.

Silly corny lovestruck words from silly corny lovestruck me to beautiful, sweet, brilliant, kind-hearted, forgiving, gentle-spirited, hysterically funny, adorable you.

Happy anniversary Honey.
You and you only.
Forever and forever.

The song, "Forever with Me" was written and performed by Nedra Johnson.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Eyes and Thighs

I've been losing weight slowly. I've been getting stronger slowly. And apparently while all these wonderful signs of physical health are progressing along, I'm on a collision course with the reality of getting older.

Evidence for the court's consideration.

When I use to get a stiff back or sore muscles years ago it was for a real reason. I'd unloaded a six-month supply of snacks for the early childhood department at my church from the back of my car. I'd mowed the lawn, pulled out a couple dead shrubs and spread out 15 bags of top soil into the flower beds. I'd hauled food supplies upstairs from the camp cellar and then spent 16 hours prepping and cooking on a hard tile kitchen floor to feed 200 campers. I'd singlehandedly hauled an antique kitchen cabinet, complete with a porcelain table top down a flight of stairs. All valid reasons for some muscular discomfort.

Nowadays reaching the wrong way for a bar of soap in the shower can have me wincing and gnawing on anti-inflammatories. Turn in bed? Proceed with caution. Reach down to get a book off the bottom shelf? Surely there's a book on the top shelf that could satisfy my literary interests. Drop the TV remote on the floor and find myself considering reaching down to get it? Hey, this info-merical isn't all that bad. An hour with D_wn my personal trainer and the next morning even if I don't feel any pain when I first wake up I end up limping down the stairs to get my coffee just in case something decides to go out on me willy-nilly. This is all up for me because more than a week ago I went on a cleaning spree in our house and my hip and legs are still a little achy. Whether it was the dusting or polishing that put me over the age, I really can't say but I intend to avoid them both in the future as a safety precaution.

If I hadn't been doing core-training for the past several months who knows...the vacuuming might have left me in traction.


Oh yes, and I just returned from the optometrist. No, I take that back. I don't have an optometrist. I have an opthalmologist which is another indication that I'm getting older. I've come to the conclusion that given the realities of aging and the increasing odds that when something finally goes wrong it will require a major overall rather than a minor tuneup, I just head directly to the big guns these days...the opthalmologists, the pariodontists, and any and all medical professionals who have given their entire lives to train in a miniscule and confined area of expertise in hopes that they will just so happen to be skilled in treating the precise bit of real estate on my body that ultimately decides to go out of whack. [As a point of reality, I enjoy excellent health and am extremely grateful for it...this is nothing more than silly nonsense, which is in actuality my particular area of expertise. As if I need to tell you.]

I was talking about my appointment at the opthalmologist. It seems I need stronger glasses. Computer glasses; formerly known as reading glasses, yet another clear indication Bob Dylan knew what he was talking about when he sang "the times, they are a' changing." With glasses designed for a specific task, the doctor mentioned it was important to know as near to the exact distance that the computer would be from my eyes to create the best prescription and without hesitating I crossed one leg over the other knee, placing my hands on the invisible keyboard across my bent leg and confidently said "Right here" and so I'm happy to report that in 10 days I'll have a pair of glasses perfectly set for viewing my laptop 24 inches away...e-x-a-c-t-l-y.