Friday, May 20, 2011

Getting Back In

I have a little notepad in which I write whatever. Little jots about what is on sale where or what am I need to pick up or names I want to remember. I write down ideas that come into my mind, thoughts for projects to do or posts to write. I write all kinds of things in it.

I was running out of pages in the notepad so for a few weeks now, I have been looking for a replacement- a new notebook for new ideas and new sale price notes. It is not a very life-important thing. In actuality I could use a post-it pad or a napkin. I could get any old notepad. But I choose to be particular about my notepads. I have to like it. I have to want to write in it. I have to want to carry it around with me.

Wednesday I entertained two notepads. One was a square little thing with an okay cover design and was on sale. The other was a little bigger and had graph lines; it was also on sale but would be $2 more. I finally decided on the bigger one.

And I am happy with my choice. It is a Piccadilly notebook, hardcover, smells and feels like real leather, has an enclosure band, a place mark ribbon and a pocket. I can keep coupons in the pocket and the enclosure band will help keep them from falling out- which means I will have my coupons with me ready to be used!

I can be happy about a notebook- is that not great? I think I might go back to the store and pick up a couple more for later because there were not many left as it is. If I miss out on more, oh well.

Getting into the main topic of this post- I have renewed my gym membership and have already gone 3 times this week!

I had to kick my butt on Monday because of a rough morning. I was upset-crying over a situation and then became so frustrated with myself that I said, “That’s it! You need to change something.” Well, I didn’t change the situation I was upset with but rather I walked out of the house and into the gym by noon. That is the process in my mind and in the style of Apple- it makes sense to me and that’s what matters.

I have missed seeing the gym in a few months. I got on the elliptical. I always input 60 minutes to the program in case I can get myself through an hour but at the least I will do half an hour. I did half an hour that day. 2 miles, over 200 calories by the machine’s count, and I was done. I wasn’t sure if my toe would be okay but it was fine. The toe hurt a little but wasn’t aggravated at all.

Tuesday night, I went again. I did the same thing- 2 miles, 200 calories. I’m starting to feel my powerful thigh muscles wake up. At this point, I’m not sure if they’re happy or grouchy at being brought out of hibernation.

And last night, I went very late at night. The parking lot had spaces to choose from and inside were not many people- how I prefer it. Again I set the elliptical to 60 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, I was feeling okay still. I put in my mind images of the contestants on The Biggest Loser running miles on the treadmill, running at inclines, running bursts of top speeds, pushing, striving, driving. I upped the resistance while I ran.

I don’t have any exercise playlists ready to go. I just have my ipod and put it to shuffle. I walk for a song, then run for a song, depending on how my body’s feeling and responding. In this manner, I got through all 60 minutes. 4.25 miles for about 425 calories. Not bad.

I usually finish and walk out but last night I was feeling glad for doing the whole 60 minutes that I stopped off in the locker room. I washed my hands, splashed a little water on my face and neck. They’ve remodeled the lockers and it looks good, put in a couple screens as well.

They used to have some kind of fancy scale before- I can’t say anything more about it because I never used it. I was glad to see a regular scale in the locker room now, the kind that the nurse at the doctor’s office uses. I hopped on. 153 pounds, 3 pounds more than I thought I was but that’s one of the things I came to the gym to change. That is 28 pounds above my comfortable weight.

Still feeling good, I let my hair down. I walked back into the main room and towards the main doors. I saw a couple people by the class schedule board so I diverted that way to see the board too. I wanted to see what was on the morning schedule for today.

I started back for the main door but the attendant caught my attention and beckoned me to the desk. For a moment I thought, “Is something wrong with my membership...?” He took a paper from the page holder and handed it to me. He noticed that I had looked at the board so he gave me a printout of the class schedule.

How nice of him! I mean, it’s part of his job, sure, but he was not slacking off and I appreciate that. He had been talking to someone at the other end of the counter, I don’t know if they were another member or a friend or both, but the attendant took note of me in another area and helped me out with the printout. Cool.

So I walked out the main door, looking at the schedule. I had to pass by the half-court where some guys were shooting around. I heard something, I didn’t know if it was towards me or not but I turned to look. I saw a guy smiling at me with his hand up like in greeting. I just smiled back as I kept walking.

I got home without major incident but having the guy smile at me makes me think it would be smart if I could find a friend to go to the gym with me. In the least, I should add more to my skill and knowledge of self-defense techniques.

And it’s not that I’m suspicious of guys or strangers really. I do this thing where I walk around on my own with the mindset that I’m going to be okay; this is the thing that had me walking around Oakland by myself many times. No one can really bother or mess with me. No one is going to deter me from going where I need to go in order to do what I want to do. It’s just not going to happen.

It wasn’t the first time a guy has sought my attention and it probably won’t be the last so if I’m going to insist on going to the gym when I want to regardless of being with a friend or not, at whatever hour I want to, then it would be good to have some skills I could use just in case someone tries to force an incident with me.

These are the things that run around in my mind.

I didn’t go to a class this morning. I had a hard time falling asleep last night because of noises mostly.

I got out my brand new notebook and broke it in with my workout notes from this week so far! Yes, I’m bringing it back full-circle to the notebook!

At the store, there had been a couple notebooks that were ruled pages, not graph pages. I chose the graph pages because why not?

And now those graph lines are coming in handy because the workout numbers are now neatly lined up. I used to just scribble the numbers wherever there was space, in whatever order I could remember and such. In this new notebook, everything looks neat so far and easily read. It’s so good. I’ll still be using the notebook for any- and everything I need to take quick notes on but at least it looks like my notes will be clearer, maybe. We shall see.

I’m excited! At this moment I am thinking that with this new notebook to carry with me everywhere, I will be motivated to write down what I have eaten in a day. I can be a mindless eater, though lately I’ve been getting more into thinking about what I’m putting into my body- at least, more than I used to think about it. The oatmeal and finding out the approximation of calories in the spinach salad that I cook are part of this new mindful eating. Ugh- I got back into drinking sodas though- but I am also drinking more water. I will have to cut the sodas again.

So that’s it, just me heading back towards a healthier outlook. I get into these phases yet one of these days it’s going to be the lifestyle. *wink* I'm not so discouraged from falling out of something because each time that I get back in it, I'm determined to do it better than before!

Thank you for reading and drop a note if you have tips for me or something!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tested Positive for Strong Will

Cynthia Tobias was on Focus on the Family today talking about the strong-willed child, coming from the experience of being the strong-willed child-and-now-adult. Very interesting talk so far- the second part of the talk will be aired tomorrow.

Even if you are not a parent blessed with raising one of these precious kids or you do not have kids at all, keep reading. This is very good stuff.

During her speech, Tobias gave a list of 12 traits. She then gave a loose assessment by how many times one said, “yes, that’s me!” to those traits. Here they are [SWC= strong-willed child]:

1. SWC almost never accepts words like “impossible” or phrases like “it can’t be done.”

2. SWC can move with lightning speed from being a warm, loving presence to being a cold, immovable force.

3. SWC may argue the point into the ground sometimes just to see how far into the ground the point will go.

4. SWC, when bored, has been known to create a crisis rather than have a day go by without incident.

5. SWC considers rules to be more like guidelines- as long as you’re abiding by the spirit of the law, why are you being so picky?

6. SWC shows great creativity and resourcefulness- seems to always find a way to accomplish the goal.

7. SWC can turn what seems to be the smallest issue into a grand crusade or a raging controversy.

8. SWC doesn’t do things just because you’re supposed to- has to matter personally.

9. SWC refuses to obey unconditionally- seems to always have a few terms of negotiation before complying.

10. SWC is not afraid to try the unknown- conquer the unfamiliar.

11. SWC can take what was meant to be the simplest request and interpret it as an offensive ultimatum.

12. SWC may not actually say the words to apologize but almost always makes things right.

0-3: very nice people- easy to get along with- has strong will but doesn’t use it much.
4-7: uses strong will when need to but not on a daily basis.
8-10: starting into troublemaker category.
11-12: these
are the troublemakers- do not leave home without strong will – almost impossible not to use it.

I knew it- I scored an 11. It is confirmed; I am a troublemaker. Care to guess which one isn’t me?

My mom- bless her heart- can attest to my strong will. Well, both of my parents and my brother can attest to it but Mom certainly caught/catches the hard side of it. Our personalities clash very well and yet I believe that God gave me to the perfect mother to raise me up. Even in our clashing, there have been moments when Mom’s personality led her to do the exact thing I needed in order to be set in the right direction.

I remember being 8 years old, at the park across the street with Mom and Bro. I did not want to learn to ride a bike without training wheels and Mom refused to put the trainers back on. I refused to get on the bike. Finally, Mom had enough and walked back to the house, leaving Bro standing there with a crying stubborn little sis and a bike.

Bro had an opening to be my soft spot to land on and took it. He gave me a few moments to compose myself. Then he gently urged me back on the bike, held the seat until I found my balance, and I learned how to ride on my own power.

I probably would not be riding any bike at all today if Mom’s strong will had not kicked in at the ripe moment. I would say that Mom would probably score between a 5-8/8.5 on the earlier trait assessment scale. If she did not have a strong will of her own and used it often herself, on me, I would have thrown more tantrums [but she nipped that in the bud early on], I would have continually broken curfew [if she had given me one to break], I would be doing who-knows-what today.

Tobias said something significant, that I very much relate to, about SWCs and authority. She said that the SWC is not about rebellion. SWCs recognize authority; authority is not the problem. How that authority is communicated is where one will run into problems with the SWC.

Things might have been so much easier for Mom if she could have known this some 30 years ago. I completely agree with Tobias’ assessment because I respect that there is authority. I support there being someone or some agency in authority. How one works the position in authority is a different thing.

And another thing to pique one’s curiosity about Tobias’ speech is how she explains that the strong will is an asset, not a liability. Having a strong will is not a negative trait.

Even if you do not have children, if you are single, unless you are living on a farm somewhere with just your chickens and cows, you should listen to Tobias’ broadcast or read her book. It is not just about raising a child; it will be informational for you to have an idea of how the strong-willed employee/friend/ parent/ fill-in-the-blank thinks and what would be the best response or attitude towards the strong-willed person.

Well, if you would like to get somewhere with the strong-willed person that is. You are welcome to continue butting heads with them instead. Maybe you are a strong-willed person as well. Hmmm?

Thank you for reading and tune in to Focus on the Family’s broadcast of Cynthia Tobias.

Monday, May 9, 2011

In Another Reality

For the first time, I looked up the recorded music for the current season of American Idol because of how well James Durbin sings. I looked at the album of AI tops or whatever and listened to the samples. I recognized one of the songs as having been played on Air1 Radio, a Christian station. I had no idea that Kris Allen was an AI winner.

Moving on to… Dancing With the Stars… I should’ve written a little more along the way ‘cuz some of the excitement has gone down for me, since one of my faves has been voted off the show and recently so.

And that was… WWE star and musician Chris Jericho! I’d been excited to see him dance each week ever since he came out on week 2 with a huge improvement from week 1. Like a lot of other athletes who’ve come on to compete, Jericho looks stocky and stiff but he worked hard each week. He’s very entertaining and witty, talks quite fast yet he also took the chance to show his more private side and personality in Personal Story Week [3], dancing as Chris Irvin [Jericho is his stage name] a very tender Rumba in remembrance of his mother.

What I liked about Jericho, besides his good personality, is that he made no excuses for why he couldn’t learn to dance well. Most celebrities at some point, especially the athletes, will make an excuse about why they can’t get their shoulders back for proper posture or whatever. In the clips from his practices with his partner Cheryl Burke, Jericho is not complaining. What little frustration he’s shown has been towards himself. He just came prepared to work hard and did so.

And he was becoming quite a good dancer. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him in Week 5 American/ Patriotism Week dancing the Viennese Waltz to “America the Beautiful.” He finally got a score higher than 7 from head judge Len. He looked graceful and leading man dashingly strong on the floor. Sadly [for me at least], Jericho was eliminated in Week 6.

Check out Jericho’s Quickstep from week 2... [I don’t always understand the comments he makes, like the Viking one in this clip but he makes it sound like it should make sense! Lol]

Hines Ward [wide receiver for Pittsburgh Steelers] has also been enjoyable to watch. Like Jericho, he’s muscular and yet can still glide on the dance floor, and doesn’t give his partner Kym any excuse for why he can’t. He’s still in the competition so I guess I’d better start voting to keep him on! I’d like him to win but Romeo is also looking good and will be a tough competitor.

To see Ward’s fun samba from week 3:

Moving on to The Biggest Loser… This has been a pretty interesting season. They added two new trainers and held their identities secret for the first few weeks. They’ve competed as two teams, as pairs, as 4 teams, and for one week all players were as one team.

I really liked Courtney’s story- she lost weight BEFORE coming on the show and reached 100 pound total loss [both before and on the show] while on the ranch. Each week she would stand on the scale looking relaxed because it was about the hard work she put in rather than playing the game. Unfortunately her body started stalling the weight loss and she was sent home.

One of the most interesting things about this season for me has been the competitive and strong females. For a few weeks, the black team had been dominantly females and still won the weigh ins- in the seasons that I’ve watched, that hasn’t really happened like it did this season- against a male-dominated team.

Week 9 was Sarah’s week, in my opinion. The contestants had gone home for two weeks to diet and exercise of their own will. When they came back, they had an individual challenge of running a 5k- the order that they finished in would be the order in which they could choose their trainers- either Bob & Jillian or Brett & Cara. The end came down to Sarah and Arthur. Up until now, Sarah had been willing to sit in the back and let the competition happen to her rather than fight for what she wanted or having to make a choice. She was about to let Arthur finish ahead of her even though she could have finished a while ago- her teammates sensed it and coached her on to finish ahead of Arthur, meaning Arthur definitely wouldn’t have a choice of teams.

The time came to choose teams. One by one, it was no surprise- everyone was choosing the trainers they had started with in week 1. The teams were even… and then came Sarah’s choice. She had started the show with Brett & Cara. Surprisingly, she chose Bob & Jillian. And I think she had the best reason why- she decided for herself that it was time that she stepped out of her comfort zone. It would have been easy and comfortable for her to go with Brett & Cara. She chose the tough thing of going with the black team. Sarah was timid no more- she became a fighter and contender. I love seeing positive changes like that happen in people.

And still, though Sarah’s decision to stick up for something difficult but what she wanted ultimately sent Arthur home, Arthur who was the biggest contestant ever on TBL and had over 100 lbs more to lose, she didn’t regret her decision. Sure, she felt poorly for her decision’s part in making Arthur vulnerable to elimination, but she stood up for herself and didn’t look back. [Basically Arthur was sent home, even having lost 16 lbs that week, because he was the only former black team member now on the red team and he was 2 lbs shy of having immunity, so the red team voted for him to go home.]

Oh, and then the adventure weeks they had in New Zealand was amazing! I want to go rock-climbing and bridge jumping over there! Who’s with me?!

This past week had been Makeover week, always fun to watch. This season’s one was great ‘cuz we got to hear more from Tim Gunn about how honored he is to be a part of this week and he talked to each contestant individually. Also [SPOILER] …

They went through the weigh in like usual. There are 5 people left and two of them are sisters- at this point of the competition, it’s rare for a pair to both still be in it, and least likely when they’re both females but like I said, the ladies have been fighting hard this season. Olivia [of the sisters] was last to weigh in. It was between her and her sister Hannah to be below the yellow line and up for elimination with Jay. Also, Olivia was one pound away from losing a total of 100 on the ranch. She’s an opera singer and promised to sing when she loses that 100.

Well, Olivia lost a good 4 pounds that week. It sent her sister Hannah below the yellow line. And then… Tim Gunn appeared and the theme for makeover week had been A Fairy Tale, with Gunn granting them 3 presents- the makeover, having one of their family members visit, and… NO ELIMINATION!

So, fully-relieved Olivia sang and it was worth waiting to hear her!

My choices to win the season is Olivia, and if not her then Irene.

That’s it, that’s my reality show wrap up. Let me say it’s wonderful yet distracting to be able to watch these shows online. I tend to forget what show is on which night and what time so for a while I was checking in online to find out I’d missed 2 episodes. Ah well, at least I used the show watching time to also clean up my room or whatever else instead of just sitting and watching and doing nothing else.

Summary- my picks for winners, and in order- James Durbin [American Idol]- Gary & Mallory or Flight Time & Big Easy Globetrotters [Amazing Race]- Hines Ward [Dancing with the Stars]- and Olivia or Irene [The Biggest Loser].

Okay bye.

*Shoot, Gary & Mallory came in third- they had a hiccup with getting a good cab. :/ The Globetrotters came in second.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reality Bits

This has been a pretty interesting season of reality TV. Mind this- that I do not have a favorable opinion of “reality” TV in general. Even the of two shows I really enjoy- Dancing with the Stars and The Biggest Loser- I have not watched every season’s episode.

This season, I’ve been tracking the two mentioned, as well as The Amazing Race and American Idol.

I’ll start with AI- I love music and I love singing but had a difficult time watching previous seasons because shortly I could not stand the kindergarten remarks from Ryan Seacrest to Simon Cowell. I thought Seacrest was a good radio DJ back when I listened to the radio while living in L.A. but as a show host, I’m not a fan at all. There’s a difference, subtle though it may be, between comments by Seacrest and those by Tom Bergeron as hosts.

I had no serious objections to Cowell’s critiques though I was interested in seeing how Jennifer Lopez and the fascinating Steven Tyler [I’m an Aerosmith fan] would do as judges. So I tuned in. I caught very few of the auditions and Hollywood week- they are still my least favorite part to watch- I’m just not very interested in weirdness-just-to-seek-some-kind-of-fame.

I started watching from the top 24. Surprisingly, the judges saved an odd number of 3 contestants to make a top 13 [rather than the usual top 12 I think?]. Then early on in the eliminations, they used their unanimous save to keep Casey on. And the United States have voted more to keep the guys, sending home Ashthon, Karen, [Casey would’ve gone home next and been the first male contestant to leave but was saved by the judges] Thia, Naima, and Pia home in a row [and yes, I had to look that up- I did not pay an attention that detailed]. And so Lauren and Haley have been the two females left in the competition with the guys- I have to say they are the best females to be remaining in my opinion.

Pia- great singer but in my opinion, she had the chance to show her range in personality [appeals to audience connecting with performer] and growing stage command and she didn’t do it. So great singer that she is, I was okay with her being voted off.

The reasons I’m still watching is for James and the two remaining females Lauren and Haley. Though Haley has sung more songs by artists I personally enjoy, I like Lauren a very slight bit more of the two, just very slight. I’m not much for country music but if Lauren makes an album and it’s country, I might buy it- there’s that special something in her voice that catches me and I like the fighting spunk she has when she comes out to perform though herself admitting to feeling inadequate compared to the talents of the others. I like Haley’s unique voice and the past few weeks, when her song selections were announced I thought, “yeah, that makes sense [with her voice and personality], good choice.”

Yet James is my top favorite and has been since the semifinals. I did catch his audition [though still didn’t watch any of H-week] and… I mean… he sang Aerosmith to Steven Tyler and did not mess it up one iota! Every week he’s delivered an outstanding performance so that his most recent singing of “Without You” having been flat for the first half and ended strong, full of passion, could be forgiven the imperfections and was still amazing. When he’s performed so far, I’ve thought I was watching an actual concert. I’m a sucker for rockers anyway but I can’t figure out what song James canNOT sing.

Amazing Race: Unfinished Business- I watched the previous season only because YouTube great KevJumba ran the race with his dad. Also in that race was father/daughter Gary and Mallory. I enjoyed Gary and Mallory so much that I am watching this season because the pair made a return! I enjoy their interaction as father and daughter, I like seeing a father being good to his children, and Mallory’s outlook on life and her experiences is just uplifting. Every time Mallory hops on the mat at the pit stop, I can’t help but laugh and it seems show host Phil enjoys seeing her arrive as well. Besides, she wears a lot of yellow, my favorite color.

I have a difficult time watching when contestants are being rude to each other or to the local people of the places they race through. Though they had bickered with each other and gotten down on themselves here and there, I had been okay with the Kent and Vixen. I thought Vixen [For a while, I had a difficult time reading her name as she spells it so I’m spelling it as it sounds] was quite sweet.

Then came India- during a challenge, Kent offered that he and Gary help each other finish, saying that he won’t leave Gary behind… and then he did the opposite. As soon as Kent got his clue he ran off, and Gary was on his own to find the last part. To Gary’s credit, he did not get upset about it or hold a grudge- at least not by anything revealed on the show. Okay, forgive Kent because we’ve all been deceivers at one time or another.

I think it was the same episode, nearer to the end of the leg when Kent and Vixen THREW OUT AN INDIAN COUPLE FROM THEIR CAB SO THEY COULD GET IN and take the cab towards the finish. It wasn’t like they were fighting to get the cab- the local not-in-a-race couple were already seated and riding in the cab when the racing couple pushed them out in a very rude manner. After that, things added to my disliking of the couple.

I like the Globetrotters- I mean, who isn’t entertained by them? Recently I noticed that they are hard-working even while having fun and entertaining others. It’s not that I thought they were lazy, it was just a revelation of their work ethic- of course you can’t just mess around if you wanna be a Globetrotter! In India, they chose to deliver hay bales in the challenge. Next in Austria, they chose to deliver a psychoanalysis couch instead of the easier sounding detour. When next came Switzerland and the choice between finishing a pot of fondue and delivering luggage, I thought the Globetrotters would choose to deliver- and they did.

The finale is coming up this week [on Mother’s Day] and the four teams left are the Globetrotters, the sisters, Gary and Mallory, and best friends Zev and Justin. My personal favorites to win… well, it isn’t a secret in this entry… Gary and Mallory! They’ve helped others when they could, they’ve been respectful of the other teams, of each other, and of the local people, they’ve enjoyed and made the most of their experiences, taking note also of the cultural lessons around them, they’ve had good attitudes when facing frustrations…. Seeing them puts a smile on my face so why not hope that they win?
Okay, I’m gonna post this already because another AI elimination night is about to air in half an hour. I guess I’ll write and post about Dancing and Loser later- hopefully tomorrow.

Go James Durbin!