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yoga requirements.

February 6, 2014

On any normal week, I try to go to a yoga class on Fridays. It’s my day off, so I can go during work hours and classes aren’t usually packed. My work offers a nice fitness reimbursement that can cover the cost. And it helps mix things up for my body so it doesn’t just get used to boring hotel workouts. I’m all about keeping things interesting so my body doesn’t adjust to just one kind of exercise. And yoga adds in the stretching and strength training that I’m sorely missing when I work out on my own.

For the past year I’ve been really lucky. I found a studio close to my house. They offer classes during work hours for $10, which is awesome. The class I like to attend on Fridays is a Vinyasa class for all levels. It was always really small (usually less than 10 people). My teacher was really good at instructions and modifications. And the studio has rope walls, which I’d never used before but are pretty awesome.

Then, over the holidays, the studio had a fire. And it unfortunately seems like they will not be reopening any time soon. Which means I’ve been on the market for a new class. And let me tell you – it is hard to find. It was just dumb luck that I stumbled upon my previous studio and it was awesome. But because yoga practice can vary so much, it actually takes a lot of effort to find one you like.

My requirements? No chanting, no music, no philosophy, no meditation. No fashion, no lifestyle, no crunchiness. I’m not into hot yoga. I’m not into slow yoga. I’m not into yoga that’s $20 a class. Class has to be on Fridays, ideally in the morning. Also ideally, near my house. After writing it all down, I realize that’s a lot of restrictions. No wonder it’s so hard. But I am looking for yoga to be a workout, not a way of life. The newest place I’ve found is close to home, on Fridays and has just a little bit of philosophy thrown in. But it’ll do for class once a week.

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diet update 1.

February 4, 2014

I’m counting this as the end of the first month of my no dairy/no white grain diet. This kind of cheating (since I didn’t really start at the beginning of January) is pretty much the theme of my whole month – you’ll see. I have lots of thoughts.

In a nutshell: it totally sucks.

Here’s the thing – it’s hard to change eating habits. And it’s hard in an unimaginable, un-talked about way. I’m pretty sure everyone can imagine the difficulty of running X miles or trying a crossfit class or exercising an hour every day. That physical effort and preparation is something people get without actually doing it.

But eating? Even for me, and I eat pretty healthy to start. It’s hard to imagine how much time you suddenly have to spend determining what you can eat. How much you should eat. When you should eat. What to do when you go out to eat. And that’s just logistics of getting food without too much disruption to your normal life. Then there are tons of small parts that pop up – how do you get the same satisfaction from eating? How do you kick any food habits and traditions? What do you do when you realize all the times you mindlessly snack?

Essentially,  I cheated probably every day. Morning coffee with milk. A piece of chocolate in the afternoon. A salad that had cheese in it. French fries because I love potatoes. Ramen because I got sick.  Pizza because it was the Superbowl. But besides all that, I have been eating a lot more vegetables. And quinoa. And I did give up my morning latte for regular coffee (or soy lattes, but it’s not the same).

Results: unmeasured.

I didn’t do before pictures or measurements. The number on the scale hasn’t changed. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m eating more sugar in a way to compensate for what I feel like I’m missing. The amount of effort I’m spending when traveling to find things to eat is ridiculous. My portion control is getting better which has led to fewer energy level spikes and crashes. However, I have to be more conscious of when and how much I eat in order to keep energy levels at a regular level.

All this could be partially due to the fact that I’ve also been working out like crazy. So it’s a bit unclear what are diet effects and what are exercise effects.

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flu.

January 17, 2014

There seems to be a lot of news about how the flu season this year has been pretty bad. Good thing I got my flu shot!

Thing is, the only reason I got a shot was because the hospital made me (under threat of termination). Then they made it really easy by sending people to the office to give us flu shots. But with this approach, they vaccinated 99% of their 15,000 employees. That’s incredibly awesome. I wish all large companies did this.

But I have to admit that I never go out of my way to get a flu shot every year. If it’s easily available, then sure – why not? If I have to go somewhere to get one – eh, I have a lot of faith in my immune system. I have a very selfish perspective on vaccines. That is terrible thinking. While I might not be prone to getting sick or be in a high risk population, germs find a way of getting around. My vaccination helps protect the other people around me. That’s really why everyone should get their flu shot.

Did you get yours?

 

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book dump.

January 11, 2014

I read too much to go for months without giving recommendations. At any given time, I’m probably reading several books – a nonfiction, a bad mystery or chick lit to read on the treadmill, a good fiction, and probably a sci-fi/fantasy one too. Here’s my list of favorites since my last book post in April.

Complications – must read of my year. Written by Atul Gawande (I think this guy is brilliant), it talks about medicine from the view of a surgical resident. He splits his stories into three sections – Fallibility, Mystery, and Uncertainty. In general I really like healthcare books – ones that show that doctors are human and medicine is hard. Parts are scary and other parts are inspiring.

Second Sons Trilogy – I’d highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fantasy series. The basic plot is the High Priestess is in power over a world with two suns, so it never gets dark. She cemented her power when the Goddess told her a human sacrifice was necessary to end the Age of Shadows (a period of years when the suns disappeared and plunged the world into darkness and chaos). But Dirk, the genius son of a supposed heretic, begins to uncover a different version of history. It kicks off a story of massive political maneuvering.

Wool Books 1 to 5 – I’m not one to read short stories, but Book 1 was rated very highly and was free on Kindle. Get it – even as a stand alone story it was really good. Taking place in the future, society now lives inside a silo, viewing an outside world too toxic to inhabit. The rule-breakers are sent to death – to go outside to clean the view for the people inside. It’s a cool idea. There’s several more stories in the series, but 1-5 comprise the first story arc.

Gone Girl – and Sharp Objects and Dark Places. In order of how I would recommend them. Gillian Flynn writes creepy books with creepy people. Gone Girl was my favorite – murder mystery about a wife who disappears and her husband is the prime suspect. But not a mystery in the Law & Order vein. Think more Hitchcock meets Stephen King (although I’ve never read any King books).

The Dinner – heralded as the European Gone Girl. Two upper class families go to a fancy dinner to discuss their juvenile delinquent sons.

The Cuckoo’s Calling – Started reading before knowing this is JK Rowling. Murder mystery about a PI who investigates a celebrity death that was ruled a suicide.

Friday Night Lights – This book took me a really long time to get through. But I was surprised how much I liked it. A different view of the world.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Hard to describe, but I really liked this book. It’s about a family – Microsoft exec dad, crazy mom Bernadette, and daughter just trying to be normal. When Bernadette disappears the daughter collects emails and other correspondence trying to piece together exactly what happened.

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diet.

January 7, 2014

Instead of doing full year resolutions, I’m going to try smaller 3 month challenges. A friend gave me this idea. The way he put it – 3 months is long enough that by the end you’ll notice some sort of difference but short enough that you can see the end in case you feel trapped. That’s exactly what I need!

See, I’ve always been hesitant to attempt any dieting because I know I’m not committed enough to stick to a new eating plan forever. My habits are very ingrained. Also, I really like food. And I never want to be that person who’s too picky to eat out with. And I don’t want to sit and read ingredient lists forever.

So to kick off the new year – I’m going to try cutting out dairy and white grains. Let me explain.

I personally love dairy. I also believe that most people who think they are lactose intolerant are making things up. Not saying that I don’t recognize lactose intolerance as a thing – it’s real; I get it. But I also recognize that tolerance can be built up. Just because I have one glass of alcohol and feel bad doesn’t mean I’m intolerant of alcohol – it mostly means I’m a lightweight. And likely, if I started having a beer every day, I would start feeling fine after just one drink. I think similarly about dairy; in most cases people just don’t eat dairy all that often. Now that that’s out of the way – I also recognize a lot of people do claim to feel better without dairy. So I’m giving it a go. Also, dairy is the easiest food group to cut out of my diet and to be on the lookout for.

The white grains – this is a compromise because I won’t go full out gluten free or cut out all my grains. But I will accept that really refined grains – white rice, pasta and bread – aren’t the best. Also, grains are a hard area to portion control (and I’m already the worst at that). And it gives me a chance to branch out and try out some new grains (if anyone has suggestions other than quinoa, I’m open!). That’s how I got to this goal.

We’ll see how it goes.

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subscribe.

September 25, 2013

I attempted to use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save service. One of the nice things about Prime two-day shipping is that I can order normal home stuff when I’m on-site during the week and then my packages arrive by the time I get home. Perfect.

This one time I needed to buy more toilet paper. Usually, I just buy a pretty big pack at the store and it lasts for a while. But Amazon unfortunately only sells in massive packages (I do not need 48 double rolls), that with my already large pack of paper towels – I had no room for. But the small package didn’t have free shipping unless I marked it for subscribe and save. Fine – I guess toilet paper is a pretty regular use item that I’m happy to have just show up at my door.

Fail. It is very hard to judge how fast you use toilet paper. But in fact, I did pretty good. My subscription shipped the week I would be on my last roll. Now – it shipped from West Virginia. That just seems wasteful unless Amazon really doesn’t  have toilet paper on the West Coast anywhere. But also, their estimated delivery date was wrong. And unfortunately, toilet paper is not the kind of commodity that you can just wait an extra day and everything is great. I am disappointed.

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kids and computers.

August 10, 2013

Kids can’t use computers and we should worry. Except that we shouldn’t. This article smacks of the condescension I often see from IT help. Oh, you don’t know what proxy settings are? Oh, you don’t understand how my school’s crazy internet filter works? And you wonder why people roll their eyes and try to ignore them. This article completely glosses over the fact that computers are complicated. It takes experience to fix problems. And just because it’s your job and your expertise, doesn’t mean it should be everyone’s.

Of the seven situations the author describes as “can’t use a computer” – I’m pretty sure these have all happened to me. I would consider myself tech-savvy. I know 0 about hardware. I know 0 about proxy settings. I know very little about how things are working on my computer. I know almost 0 about how the internet gets to my computer. But I know how to read. And I know that very little I do on my computer will ruin it forever.  And I know how to call my IT department. And I have a really good memory about how other people tell me to fix problems. (*Full disclosure: I have taken my basic CS classes, they do not teach you how to fix a computer).

In my opinion, these computer problems are about as complicated as the fact that in a stick-shift car, you need to press the clutch to get it started. Or in a Prius, you need to press the power and the brake. Or if the power goes out, you should go check the breaker. If you’ve never been in this situation, it is pretty damn hard to figure out what to do. I mean really, how many of us have sat with a machine thinking it’s broken when it’s really unplugged? I know it’s happened at least once to everyone. But my car thankfully does not break down very often, while I think of weird computer issues that happen at least once a week. Most of which fix themselves the next day.

Now, is it a problem that kids won’t even bother to read error messages (or instruction manuals)? Yes. Would it be a problem if they run into the same stupid problem like a wi-fi toggle over and over again without remembering how to solve it? Yes. Because that isn’t a computer literacy problem. Is it a little concerning to have lawmakers who don’t understand technology at all? Sure. But from what I’ve seen, there are lawmakers that don’t understand female bodies or pregnancy or homosexuality. So maybe let’s start with the basics. And admitting we don’t know anything about some things. As my customer used to tell me, “You can’t fix stupid”.

Would it be awesome to have a “how to fix broken shit around your house” class? YES! Although I’m pretty sure that class could easily be replaced by “learn to Google search and read some instructions”. Or possibly, look up a professional on Yelp to help you. At least that’s how I’ve gotten by for the years I’ve been away from my parents. We don’t worry that people don’t understand cars, plumbing, electrical work, credit cards, or even our very own complicated bodies (all of which I would say are a little bit more important that if I can check my email or not). We have professionals that do that for us. Or if you’re that kind of parent, you can teach them. Computers are the same. Don’t freak out.