Monday, November 25 – Wednesday, November 27

Turned out fine

Monday started my week off from work.  Not something I really wanted, but that’s the way it is.  Monday and Tuesday were fairly boring days, though I did some last-minute shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, which we had on Wednesday due to scheduling issues.  I was going to be adventurous and make French brioche bread, having had some from Whole Foods that was out of this world, but after reviewing a couple of recipes I decided it would be a bit beyond my skills. Baking is fun, but I know my limits.  In any event, dinner on Wednesday turned out just fine; we had turkey of course, with stuffing, homemade macaroni and cheese, yams with marshmallows, and homemade cranberry sauce.  Everything came out fine. I bought the wine, a bottle of Moscato and one of Prosecco.

I went to the gym on both Monday and Tuesday, continuing with my stationary cycle theme.  On Monday I did 35 minutes at a fast pace, on a rather grueling “hill” course.  Tuesday was a bit easier, 25 minutes on a flatter course.  Wednesday’s usually my hot yoga night, but of course I wasn’t able to go this week because of dinner.

Published in: on November 29, 2013 at 11:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 23 – Sunday, November 24

A very quiet weekend, one which also marked the start of a long weekend, as I’m off next week.  How I’ll manage to occupy myself, I haven’t a clue.  Okay, preparations for Thanksgiving dinner (which we’ll be having on Wednesday due to work schedules) will take up some time, but still.  One thing I’m doing is reading a new book on my phone’s Kindle app, Decoding the Heavens.  It’s about the Antikythera Mechanism, a geared clock-like mechanism found in a Mediterranean shipwreck.  What is most perplexing is that the Mechanism is 2,000 years old, and nothing else approaching its mechanical sophistication appeared for another thousand-plus years.  So far it’s a pretty good story.

I didn’t go to the gym on Saturday, but on Sunday I had another weight-loss session, this time doing 30 minutes on the stationary cycle at a fast pace.  Some of the cycles in the gym have  a TV screen on which you can see a roadway unfolding ahead of you like on a real bicycle.  Unfortunately, those cycles also have very small, hard seats on which it’s sheer misery to sit.  I’ll stick with an ordinary TV monitor, thank you very much.  Later on Sunday I braved the cold to go to a Buddhist meditation session.

Published in: on November 28, 2013 at 3:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, November 20 – Friday, November 22

Return to hot yoga

After missing last week’s session due to being sick I was eager to get back to hot yoga on Wednesday. While I didn’t think that missing one week would result in any significant setback, nonetheless I had a bit of concern.  Both the studio owner and the instructor had noticed my absence last week and tut-tutted appropriately when I told them I’d been sick.  Hey, that was a nice ego boost, what can I say?
As for the session itself, it went quite well if not perfectly.  My flexibility wasn’t quite where it had been last time, but if my balance had suffered I didn’t notice it.  One thing I did notice was that the heat seemed a bit more oppressive than usual.  While that could be attributable to my having missed a week, a more likely explanation is that my T-shirt was thicker than the ones I usually wear.  Have to watch that next time.

I had other things to do on Thursday evening, but on Friday I finally made it to the gym.  First time in 12 days, believe it or not.  What I decided is that for the next few weeks I’m going to concentrate on aerobic exercises rather than weights.  This doesn’t mean I won’t do weights at all, just that they won’t be my emphasis for a while.  Accordingly, I did 12 minutes on the rowing machine, followed by 15 minutes on the stationary cycle.  I kept up a good pace on both of them and had the cycle at a mid-range resistance level.

Work on Wednesday and Thursday was pretty easy.  It’s part and parcel of the year-end slowdown, before things get much busier after the first of the year.  Wednesday’s location was 15 miles to the east, so no traffic issues, and while Thursday’s site was off of Exit 57 on the Expressway the morning traffic flow was generally quite light.  That I can’t explain.

Published in: on November 25, 2013 at 3:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 18 – Tuesday, November 19

Normal is nice

It was a very great pleasure to be back to something approaching normal.  Note the use of the word “approaching.”  On Monday, I’d say that I was about 80% my usual self, rising to 85% to 90% on Tuesday.  Had these been busy and/or long workdays it would have been a bit of a struggle, especially on Monday, fortunately things were fairly light.

That’s actually going to be the case until after the beginning of next year. My job has an element of seasonality, with things getting quiet in November and December, only to pick up significantly after New Year’s Day.  I will be off completely next week, the week of Thanksgiving, go back for two weeks, and then have three whole weeks off.  Fortunately, I have enough outside work secured that the financial hit shouldn’t be too bad.  It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s something I knew about before going into this line of work.  And hey, it’s vastly superior to peddling life insurance on straight commission (which isn’t saying much).

Going to the gym on Monday wasn’t really an option.  I could have maybe had a very light session, but nothing worthwhile.  As I was closer to normal on Tuesday I did ponder the gym issue before deciding to wait a bit longer.  My main concern was that I really wanted to go to hot yoga on Wednesday, and did not want to risk wearing myself out at the gym.  When I do return I’m debating trying a completely different sort of routine for a while, just to mix things up and avoid staleness.

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 2:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, November 15 – Sunday, November 17

Slowly, ever so slowly, I crept back to life.  Or at least a state of semi-decent health.  Whatever bug I caught may have come very suddenly, but took its own sweet time leaving.  Friday I laid low for most of the day, though in the mid-afternoon I had to venture out for a couple of hours for a work-related task.  Saturday was a much more active day.  In the morning I had a rare (for a weekend) work session.  While there’s no way I could have managed a normal workday, my duties on Saturday were very close-by and lasted only about four hours.  Later on Saturday afternoon I went out to the supermarket and made it through that okay.  While I didn’t do much on Sunday, I got steadily better as the day went on.

Going to the gym was completely out of the question on Friday and pretty much the same on Saturday.  On Sunday afternoon I briefly considered going in for a short, light session, but decided that waiting another day would be a more prudent approach.

Published in: on November 18, 2013 at 4:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 9 – Thursday, November 14

Lack of updates

I haven’t made recent updates because for the last few days I’ve been laid low with the flu.  While I’ve barely had enough energy to drag myself into work each day, that has taken all more energy stores and left me unable to do anything else.  Obviously the gym and hot yoga have been completely out of the question.  It’s now Thursday evening, and I’m improving enough that regular posting should resume tomorrow.  Not sure about the gym, however.

Published in: on November 15, 2013 at 3:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, November 7 – Friday, November 8

It was fixed, but I wasn’t

Thursday’s worksite was the one located several miles to the north of Exit 57.  I’m more likely to encounter the heaviest traffic getting to it, out of all the seven sites on my current rotation.  Today I was fairly lucky, as traffic wasn’t particularly bad.  Getting through the workday was a bit of a challenge, however, as for some reason the bottom of my left foot was painful.  It had started during the day on Wednesday and probably got exacerbated by the evening’s yoga.  If I had a desk job it wouldn’t be much of an issue, but I’m on my feet all day.  Still, I made it through the day more or less okay, though I encountered some rather nasty traffic on the way home. It was raining by then, which never helps.

When I went to the gym on Thursday evening I saw that the rowing machine had been repaired.  Unfortunately, with my sore foot it would have been way too painful to use it.  I still managed to have a decent upper-body session.  Dips: 5 x 10 x bodyweight.  Machine flies: 4 x8 at resistance level 9 of 18.  I also did my medicine ball exercise, 5 x 10 with the 20-pound ball, and tried to keep up a faster pace than usual.  One thing I’ll say about the machine flies, indeed about flies in general, is that they are among the toughest of the isolation exercises, at least in my experience.  They can be downright painful.

Friday I thought that a work assignment would become available, but that didn’t happen.  I ended up doing some errands, including getting a new battery in my car key transponder .  Pep Boys didn’t have the right size in stock so I went to the Subaru dealer.  The man at the parts counter pried open the two halves of the transponder and looked surprised.  He asked me if I had a dog.  It turned out that the inside was clotted with cat hair.  Don’t ask me how it could have gotten in there, especially since I always keep the keys in my pocket.  All  I could think about was all the cat hair I must be inhaling.

I went to the gym late on Friday for some back work.  I did one-arm dumbbell rows, 4 x 8 x 105/105.  For some reason my grip was not as strong as it should have been, especially with my left hand, but I made it through all the sets.  I finished by doing some rows on the moveable-seat machine I had used a couple of months ago, 2 x 8 at the maximum resistance level.

Published in: on November 9, 2013 at 5:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 4 – Wednesday, November 6

Just suck it up

Monday was quite the change of pace for me.  I headed off to the county seat in Riverhead for jury service, having already postponed my appearance once as the law allows.  There was a bit of confusion, as for some reason I thought I was supposed to report at the criminal court building at the main county office complex.  Indeed, there were many – at least a couple hundred – people trooping into the juror’s entrance.  I found soon enough that I was in the wrong place.  All these people had been reporting for grand jury service.  I had to go to the old courthouse in downtown Riverhead, which I didn’t even realize was still in use.  It turned out there was a newer annex to the rear of the old, scaffolding-covered main building.

There weren’t anywhere near as many people in this jury room.  We got to watch a video explaining jury service, or should I say listen to the video as there was no picture on the monitor.  Once that was done I settled in for what could possibly be a long wait. As there was free WiFi service I decided to do some web surfing on my phone.  Surprisingly, when I went a completely innocuous site (Hit Coffee, on my blogroll) I got a message that it was being blocked as an “improper” site.   Of course I immediately had the idea of going to as many bad websites as I could think of and seeing which ones were blocked.  Suffice to say that the blocking software is rather inconsistent.

After about 90 minutes I was called into a smaller room with about 15 other people to be questioned by the lawyers in a specific case.  There were three of them, representing different parties.  From what they said to the group and from the questions they were asking, I figured out what the case involved: two 11- or 12-year-old boys were horsing around in school, wrestling with each other, and one of them suffered an arm injury.  I asked to speak to the lawyers privately, which they had told us was an option, and explained, politely but firmly, that the whole idea of this lawsuit was ridiculous.  So the kid hurt his arm wrestling with another kid? Suck it up, and learn from the experience.  Suing the other kid and the school district is pathetic and shows why America’s legal system is the laughingstock of the civilized world.

Needless to say, I wasn’t selected for the jury.  I thought I’d have to return to the jury room and wait to be called again, but I was excused from further service.  As it was just about noon, I was able to put in a couple of hours work.  No gym in the evening, as I was just too worn out.

Tuesday was a fairly routine workday, at the site about 15 miles away off the Sunrise Highway.  There was a bit of traffic getting there, but nothing too out of the ordinary.  The particular task that I’ll be doing for the next couple of weeks is actually a bit challenging, which I’m pleased about.  Challenge can be fun.  On Wednesday, I headed back to Riverhead, though the jobsite is a bit of a distance from the courthouses.  This wasn’t a routine day, as some big bosses from the main office in Pennsylvania were doing an inspection tour of worksites.  I had never met any of the three in person before, though I have spoken to one on the telephone a few times.  One thing I learned is that the particular group with which I work is a “farm team” (to use one of the boss’s terms) for people being considered for promotion to management.  I was quite pleased to hear that, as you might guess.  One more immediate thing is that I had a chance to discuss a possible raise, and have reason to believe one may be forthcoming soon.

Wednesday’s hot yoga also went very well.  I made it through the session without needing to rest, and I did better on the balancing poses than I’ve ever done.  My flexibility is still a work in progress, I doubt I’ll ever be as limber as many other people, but that’s to be expected given that I have a fair degree of muscular development.  One thing I’ll say is that the studio was at 98 degrees when I entered, about five or six degrees less than usual, and the difference was immediately apparent.

Published in: on November 8, 2013 at 4:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 2 – Sunday, November 3

For once I actually made it to the gym both days.  On Saturday I did one-arm dumbbell rows, but moved up to the 105’s from the 100’s.  I did 5 x 8 x 105/105, and can’t say that the extra weight required much extra effort.  110’s, coming up.

Before going on Sunday I decided that even though I haven’t quite hit the maximum on the leg press machine, it was time to leave it behind and move on to either squats or trap bar deadlifts.  As I was driving to the gym I still hadn’t decided which one.  It turned out that there wasn’t any choice because someone else was using the trap bar.  So for the first time in too long, I headed off to the squat rack.  As it had been so long I figured it would be better to start light.  I ended up doing a total of 30 reps: 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 6 x 225, 6 x 235, 6 x 245.  Next time I should be able to start at 225.  One nice thing about this gym compared to the old one is that the mirrors in front of the squat racks go all the way down to the floor.  This made it possible for me to check my depth, and make sure that I went low enough.  After the squats I did more medicine ball work, 5 x 10, as always with the 20-pounder.

Published in: on November 4, 2013 at 2:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, October 31 – Friday, November 1

Busy Halloween

Last year’s Halloween wasn’t much.  It was just a few days after Hurricane Sandy, and even though my area hadn’t lost power the storm put a damper on trick-or-treating.  Only a handful came by, mostly older teens.  Today, however, it was a completely different story.  A few showers earlier in the day cleared up by the afternoon and it was notably warmer than usual.  From the time I got home from work around 4:30 until the last stragglers came by around nine, there were 29 trick-or-treaters.  That’s probably a record, though I can’t be certain.  Anyway, it meant that there was no leftover candy to tempt me.

Thursday’s work was pretty easy, though each time I thought I was done something new cropped up.  Nothing to complain about.  One thing that is a bit more bothersome involves the extra work installing the XBox One displays.  I had planned to get a start on Friday, but after looking over the instruction sheets I’m concerned that it may be a bit beyond my technical skills.  I’d probably manage it okay if I had someone there to show me, and to step in if necessary if I ran into trouble, but that won’t be the case.  I’ll be on my own in each store with no one to help.  What I figured was the best approach is wait until next week, when there should be someone available to provide telephone assistance. Not as good as having help right there in the store, but better than nothing.  Chances are good that once I complete the first installation I’ll be fine with the next ones.

I went to the gym on Thursday and did my medicine ball routine, 6 x 10 with the 20-pound ball.  To my considerable disappointment, however, the rowing machine that I’d used earlier in the week was out of service.  Or sort of out of service – the rowing part of it still works, but not the screen that shows time/distance/effort.  I suppose I could still do a timed row, but I prefer being able to track distance and effort.  I’m hoping that it will be fixed soon.  Unique Fitness does seem to do a pretty good job of repairing equipment.

Published in: on November 4, 2013 at 1:53 am  Leave a Comment