Typical Random Friday Stuff

A Friday Haiku

I ran this morning

First morning run since July

Damned dog wanted out

(Damned is just one syllable, right?)

Don’t let failure define you

Face it, we all have setbacks. Just when we think we have this fitness thing figured out — we understand to lose weight we must expend more calories than we take in, we’ve made our exercise routine a daily habit, we’re reaching our goals — something happens and we find ourselves finding reasons why we can’t exercise today and a day becomes a week and that ice cream looks damned tasty and suddenly we’re 7 pounds heavier. (Wasn’t that sentence cringe-worthy?)

Well, my friends, there is no point in beating yourself up over it. Acknowledge it happened and get back on that horse that threw you and pick up where you left off.

(Speaking of horses, I’ve only actually ever been on a real horse once or twice in my life, not including pony rides as a kid. Do they even still have pony rides and are today’s kids as excited as our generation was to ride one or are they too busy SnapChatting?)

Anyway, I fell off that horse, um, the metaphorical one, not a real one, and my running schedule had become erratic of late.

Once it was an every day morning ritual in June, but as the days grew shorter and the mornings became darker, I stopped the morning runs and told myself I’d run after work. That worked for a short time, but other areas of life started intruding and my runs became less frequent and the pounds I was so proud of losing found their way back.

Now I could just mope around and eat another pound and a half bag of Mrs. Fisher’s potato chips (did you hear they will have to reformulate the recipe because of the ban on partially hydrogenated oils? Nooooooo!) or I could get back on that horse (the metaphorical one, of course. After all, it’s been 40 years since I rode that real one and it’s probably long dead by now) and pick up where I left off.

Thus, I ran this morning. As the Friday haiku says, first morning run since July. Granted, I didn’t get up on my own. I had sone unwanted help from a little dog who needed to go outside, yet despite that I still did it. I could have just as easily let him out and returned to bed, but instead I carried my gear down, changed, and jumped on the treadmill.

It’s a start. And that’s all we can do — start and hope it becomes a habit again.

Accept each setback as just another challenge to be overcome. Failure is a bully and it feeds on your disappointment. Don’t let failure win; kick it’s ass and then laugh in its face.

Congratulations

I forgot to congratulate my niece, who ran her first half-marathon, the Minnesota Monster Dash Half Marathon on October 28th. I didn’t even know she was a runner!

Way to go, Erin!

Weigh-In Friday

My results here are all screwed up. I haven’t officially recorded my weight since it started rising. And I was so proud I had finally dropped below 200.

As I hinted at above, I had gained a bit, but this week I lost. I’m down 4 pounds from the peak weight a few weeks ago.

I’ll start posting real numbers once I drop below 200 again. Until then, let’s just pretend this never happened. OK?

Cold weather detailing

Now that the temperatures are dropping, I haven’t been detailing my cars every day or so like I was in the summer.

Each morning, or evening, I took some detail spray and a microfiber cloth to each car until it was clean and shiney, free of all the everyday dust and gunk that accumulates on them as they sit outside all day exposed to the elements.

My wife’s Jetta always came home with these long, thin brown nodules (around 1-1/2 centimeters in length and about 1 or 2 millimeters wide) that I’d have to loosen gently with my thumb nail before the detail spray could clean the area. She said they were from the trees around her parking lot and can’t be avoided. (Maybe in the dark of night some time I’ll go cut them all down.)

At least the cold weather has eliminated the problem of tree sap, but it brings another: How to keep the paint shining when it’s too cold to use detail spray? Or even handwash?

This is my first winter since I’ve become detailing knowledgable and I seriously don’t know.

I did put in some Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze to help protect the finish, but that doesn’t solve the desire to have the cars shine.

Do I bite the bullet and run the cars through a machine wash once a week? Or do I live with road salt and slush spray until it becomes warm enough to handwash again?

We ran the Jetta through a car wash last week. I didn’t realize until we were in line with no turning back that it used brushes. Oy. I still cringe thinking about it and the paint swirls it might have introduced.

How do you keep your cars shining in winter?

That’s all folks!

And that wraps up another Friday blog. For the sake of my own blood pressure, I avoided politics. Not that there isn’t anything to say, I mean, that ignorant orange turd provides plenty of fodder for commentary; as well as the House GOP passing a tax bill that lines the pockets of giant corporations and millionaires, including the orange turd himself, at the expense of the poor and middle class; not to mention that Alabama voters are going to show the entire world just how fucked up their priorities are by voting in a child molester just because they don’t want a liberal; and of course, after years of warning the public about how bad the XL Pipeline would be, fighting to prevent it from being built, the damned thing proved us right by causing a 210,000 gallon spill in South Dakota!

But all that shit would require dozens of column inches to properly castigate and instead I think I’d rather wish everyone a pleasant weekend.

We’re expecting some snow, but with luck, not enough to prevent me from putting up my outside Christmas decorations.

And so, I’ll leave you with a song to get the weekend started. Not a Christmas song, Hell no, it’s too freaking early for that. Just a fun, enjoy the weekend kind of song.

Stay warm. Eat right. Exercise. And don’t forget to punch a Nazi.

-30-

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Forgot to title this

A Friday Haiku

The weather is nice
73 degrees out
Is this October?

My viewing habits

I don’t know why I have cable, except for baseball and basketball seasons. I enjoy watching the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks and unfortunately, they aren’t shown on over-the-air TV any more. Not like the good old days when Channel 18 had broadcast rights. We can only see them on Fox Sports Wisconsin on Spectrum. Which means, we have to have cable.

(I’ll refrain from a rant on how tje greed within professional sports has pushed the common man out so they can’t even watch it for free any longer.)

Outside of baseball and basketball, there isn’t much on cable that interests me. Nothing new, that is.

I pretty much enjoy mostly old classic reruns from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. And those programs all appear on all those over-the-air channels that cropped up when television went digital and more bandwidth meant say, Channel 6 could now also have a Channel 6.1 and 6.2 and so on. My cable provider hides them all up in the 980s.

Channels like Decades TV, Heroes and Icons, Laff, Comet TV, Grit, MeTV and so on, which feature some of my favorite old shows and allow me to discover new old shows I hadn’t seen before.

Favorites like Combat! which is a great WWII drama which aired from 1962 to 1967. It is a realistic portrayal of the grim reality of war as experienced by a squad of Americans in France after D-Day. Most of the cast were actual veterans.

Vic Marrow as Sgt. Saunders

Combat! is one of the best war series ever produced. Sadly, Heroes & Icons only shows it once a week.

Another WWII show H&I airs is Rat Patrol, which is silly in concept and execution. It follows the adventures of the Rat Patrol, four soldiers (three American, one British), who drive two jeeps around the Sahara Desert harassing the Germans.

Coming over a dune machine-guns ablaze

Its silly because you have these two standard jeeps armed with mounted machine guns battling entire convoys of Germans including halftracks, armoured cars, and the occasional panzer tank and winning! They often leave the convoy vehicles in smoking ruin while they come away nearly unscathed despite all bullets and artillary shells the Germans fire at them. We are to believe, no matter how implausible, the jeeps are just too fast and agile.

In fact, only one Rat Patrol member was ever killed and that was in the first episode, which brought in the Brit soldier as his replacement.

Yet, despite, or because of, the silliness, it is my guilty pleasure show.

H&I also features the entire lineup of Star Trek shows every night except Saturday. They also air Tarzan with Ron Ely, Batman with Adam West, the Adventure of Superman with the greatest Superman of all, George Reeves, and several classic westerns, such as Have Gun, Will Travel, Cheyenne, Rawhide, Wagon Train, the Cisco Kid and many others.

Without cable, H&I alone would be enough to satisfy my entertainment needa, but I need my Brewers.

Weigh-In Friday

OK. Now I’m pissed. I gained 2.1 pounds this week.

I’m going back to tracking calories. I stopped that because 1) it’s a pain in the ass, and 2) I figured I eat pretty much the same thing every day except for dinner, so what was the point. My calorie consumption doesn’t vary the significantly.

Bit I snack at night. It’s my one weakness. Salty chips. Sometimes ice cream. And I don’t paynattention, but I need to. Using a calorie tracker like MyFitnessPal (which now syncs with my Misfit–it didn’t used to), forces me to be aware of what I’m consuming.

Obviously, I can’t be trusted on my own.

Speaking of fat heads

Everyday, I get more and more outraged over another lie or other act of ignorance perpetrated by that big orange turd in the White House.

As a veteran, a lot of it has to do with his sheer stupidity involving military protocol. There’s a video, easily Googled, of TheRump being interviewed by Sean Hannity on military base and when Retreat is sounded (the solemn lowering if the flag at dusk), TheRump is heard saying, “Are they playing that for you or for me? [To the crowd] They’re playing that in honor of his ratings, did you see how good is ratings? He’s beating everybody!” Yes, they’re playing Retreat for you, dumbass.

OK, I get that he’s inside a hanger so he didn’t have to follow protocol, but I doubt he even knew what the protocol was! He certainly had no clue what the bugle was playing or what it meant. He has no respect for anything but money and himself.

He has no empathy or compassion. It took him 12 days to make any public acknowledgement of the fallen soldiers who died in the October 4, 2017 Tongo Tongo ambush in Niger. And then, only because he was oressed by a reporter. When he called the widow of Sgt. La David Jobnson, he said, “he knew what he signed up for.”

When his lack of tact was revealed by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (who was a mentor to the Sergeant and happened to be in Mrs. Johnson’s car at the time of the call), TheRump, had he any sort of compassion (or intelligence), could have simple admitted he misspoke, apologize for the error, reiterate that Johnson had served his country with pride and dignity, and moved on.

Instead, in typical TheRump fashion, he attacked the Congresswoman, attacked the “fake news,” essentially called Mrs. Johnson a liar, dragged General Kelly and his late son into the whole mess, and had another twitter meltdown.

TheRump is a dangerous, unstable little man-child, who has a complete lack of understanding about government, the military, politics, society, international affairs, and and pretty much everything a President has to deal with on a daily basis.

He needs to be removed from office as quickly as possible.

That’s all for now

Enjoy the weekend. Punch a Nazi, if you can.

Resist.

I usually leave you with a song, but today I’ll leave you with a Public Service Announcement called, “How to Punch a Nazi.”

-30-

Wrap a wrap a wrap

A Friday Haiku

Another week gone

Where do they go? I don’t know

To join dryer socks?

Exercises come and go

If you’re anything like me (and if you are, I apologize), you tend to hate certain exercises and quickly get bored with others.

Running, I’m good to go, even if I sometimes take more days off between runs than I should; I still look forward to my runs and enjoy them (well, except for those first several minutes where you question your own sanity and wonder why you torture yourself so until the endorphins hit, the sun comes out, and the birds sing).

But other exercises I’ve always hated.

Stretching has always been my ultimate nemesis. I could neven touch my toes in grade school (and still can’t). So any stretching regimen I start ends quickly in pain and frustration. I don’t need such negativity in my life. I get it, I’m a failure at flexibility.

Push-ups are another. Loathe them. I don’t know what it is about them, but I really have to force myself to do them. Bench presses, on the other hand, I don’t mind and in fact, when I can feel the burn in my chest, shoulders, and triceps, I become motivated to do extra reps. But push-ups, I just collapse on the floor and give up.

Sit-ups and crunches I hate as well, and not because they sometimes hurt my back. I always need something to hook my feet under or I just sort of thrash away like a turtle on its back. In high school gym it was very embarrassing.

And that must be the reason for my dislike of certain exercises, there is some sort of psychological association with high school gym where all the other boys were towering over me, muscles rippling (think The Crusher from Bugs Bunny), and they could pound out dozens of push-ups, sit-ups, as well as the dreaded chin-up, and throw in an iron cross for good measure, while I’d struggle with my skinny spaghetti limbs trembling and flailing around, never accomplishing anything.

Now that I think about it, high school gym class was exactly like that for me.

Anyway, I meant to talk about how I start doing some exercises, but then quickly forget to do them, but I got off on a tangent on why I skipped gym all the time.

I was noticing a pain or weakness in my hamstrings and buttock the last few weeks when I step up onto something, like curbs or stairs.

Running was causing a strength imbalance and the stretches I attempted weren’t helping.

I realized I had gotten away from doing hamstring curls on my Weider Crossbow and doing rows on my CardioFit. I call them rows, but the machine is like the Tony Little Healthrider (see below).

These machines were all the rage back in the 80s, so I picked mine up at Sears after our stairstepper died (and Sears wouldn’t do anything so I wrote the CEO, then got a whiny letter from the store manager. “Why didn’t you contact me first?” Because I wanted you to squirm). The Healthrider seems more aerobic, with little resistance. My CardioFit has an adjustable piston to increase the resistence, making it more anerobic, although I’ve rarely dialed it past 2 (it goes up to a muscle- and joint-punishing 9).

Sorry, I did it again. The point is, after a week of this cross-training, my hamstrings feel much better.

And I apologize for taking forever to make that point.

Writing and editing and sex

I’d say I’m about 80 to 85% done with my first round of edits for my urban fantasy fairy tale.

This is the first time I’ve read it through. Strangely, I’m still very excited about it. That must mean it’s horrible.

Right now I’m editing for flow and continuity. I see where I called one character Bill, when his name is Benton. That’s what happens when you grab scenes from a trunk novel and don’t do a thorough read to catch things like that.

I’m back to a concern I mentioned several weeks or months ago about the relationship between two of the characters. They’ve known each other for less than a week and they’ve already fallen in love. Yes, I know such things happen in real life, if infrequently. And yes, I’ve read some urban fantasy romances and it seems the characters are jumping in the sack almost immediately. And therefore, I shouldn’t be that worried, but I am.

I’ve never written anything romantic before. I’ve never been concerned with the love lives of my characters. But beyond this being my first attempt at romance, its also my first attempt at writing a sex scene. To be honest, I haven’t even read very many sex scenes.

And this one has two so far. Scenes that, lacking any literary experience in the matter, I don’t know if they come off as hokie, or cliched, or downright boring.

I wonder if I should pass it to some beta readers to get outside reactions?

Weigh-In Friday

Despite only running on Monday, although I did do some weight training, and eating more than my fair share of my wife’s Dairy Queen ice cream birthday cake, my weight is down below 200 pounds at 199.7. Woot!

Designated Driver

For you couples out there, when you go somewhere together, who drives? The man or the woman?

I grew up in a time when men were the drivers and women were passengers.

Lately, I’ve been noticing more women driving with men as passengers and it still looks out of place to me.

Not for any sexist reasons; I certainly don’t believe gender innately makes someone a better or worse driver. Nor do I believe men are somehow ordained to rule over or control women.

In my case, I drive because for one thing, I get carsick as a passenger. For another, I drive my wife crazy because I don’t know what to do with myself as a passenger. I can’t read or play on my phone because of the motion sickness. So, I fidget, tap my feet, or drum my fingers, play with all the dials and switches, and constantly change the radio station. Being a passenger magnifies my ADHD.

So, very early in our relationship, my wife realized it was better for everyone all around if she let me drive.

Then she could read and play on her phone and ignore the fact that I wait until the very last second before applying the brakes.

Finally nearing the end

Since I spent most of this blog going off on attention deficit fueled tangents, I’ll spare you any political rants for the week.

TheRump is still an orange turd though. Never forget. Never normalize his hatred, bigotry, or incivility. Resist.

Enjoy your weekend. Here’s a song to send you off with:

-30-

Friday roundup

A Friday Haiku

It’s time to party

But we can’t since hackers stole

All of our info!

Equifax fux us over

By now, you’ve heard that back in July Equifax, one of three national credit bureaus that contain all our information, was hacked.

Approximately 143 million people could be affected. Information such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, and driver’s license number could now be in the hands of unscrupulous cybercrimals.

In addition, 209,000 people could have had their credit card numbers exposed.

This is a data breach disaster of epic proportions. This makes hacks of Target, Wendy’s, Starbucks, TJ Maxx, Sony Playstation Network seem like peanuts.

Hacks like this beg the question, why do these credit bureaus exist? I mean other than to make our lives miserable when we try to buy a car. Why are they allowed to have access to, no, have control of all our information?

Didn’t anyone think it was a bad idea to have one company, or even three companies, in control of every person’s personal identifying information?

And why was this info stored where Internet hackers can access it? Shouldn’t it be on a stand alone system inaccessible to any outside snoopers?

And where is the outrage from Congress? Had this been the IRS that was hacked exposing 143 million Americans, the Republicans would have been all over them like flies on shit.

There would be Congressional hearings and investigations. Shouts of outrage at the IRS’s incompetence safeguarding American’s data. They’d grill the IRS Commissioner for weeks. They’d subpoena agency emails and records. Conservatives would be screaming for heads to roll and that the agency should be done away with once and for all.

Instead … silence. Why? Because Equifax is one of their buddy corporations who help the rich get richer by denying the poor and downtrodden credit.

This is our identities that were stolen and no one seems to give a damn. Everyone treats it like this is the new normal and we shouldn’t be surprised.

Well, I’m not just surprised by their lackadaisical attitude about guarding this information, I’m mad as Hell they had access to it in the first place.

Who wants to bet the Koch brothers info wasn’t affected by the hack? They probably keep the 1-percenters’ info secure on a separate gilded server accessible only to servants wearing tuxedos and white gloves with snooty attitudes.

Once again, a giant corporation fucks us over and no one cares.

Update: It looks like several Equifax executives sold their stock in Equifax before the hacking was made public. Scumbag bastards!

To find out if you were affected by the hack

Go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the Potential Impact box at the bottom.

If you were affected, then they’ll give you a date when you can come back to sign up for a free year of credit monitoring.

Good luck.

Amwriting

Yes. I’m still dilgently at work editing the first draft of my urban fantasy fairy tale novel. And yes, I’m still finding it enjoyable.

As I read through it this first time, I’m getting excited because I still think it’s really quite good. Which is a strange reaction for me. Usually, I’m my own worst critic and I’m usually judgemental to the point that I start questioning the story’s worth and my own self-worth as a writer.

That isn’t happening this time. Should I be worried?

Why I still treadmill

For a while there, June and July, I was running outside. I’d get up early, greet the sun, and go for my run.

But now, darkness greets me, so I don’t morning run, I run as soon as I get home from work.

And I run on my treadmill. But why, you ask. Didn’t you tell us a while back that you found running outside more interesting than running on a treadmill? That the treadmill runs seemed to drag on forever?

Yes. Yes, I did. But running on the treadmill is so much more convenient and the weather is always the same. I don’t have to worry about the cold or the heat or rain or eventually, the snow.

Plus, and this will seem a little anal or OCD, I don’t like getting my running shoes dirty.

There. I said it. Running on the treadmill keeps my shoes looking pristine, as if I had just bought them. And I like that.

Running outside, my shoes would pick up mud, dirt, bug guts, and all sorts of icky god knows what kind of gunk. Yuck.

No thanks. I can deal with that on my everyday walkers, but not my running shoes.

Weird, right? But there it is.

Running and rowing

Anyway, I’m back to running a little over a mile a day (I admit I had a few bad weeks there trying to adjust my schedule and remotivate myself), except for the occasional rest day. Instead of increasing my distance, I’m gradually increasing the incline. I’m up to 5%, which doesn’t sound like much, but I can feel it in my hammies and glutes.

Then, after I run the mile, I immediately jump on my Cardiofit and row for several more minutes.

This keeps my heartrate up while working different muscle groups.

We’ll see if it makes a difference.

Weigh-In Friday

I made a decision on my diuretic. Last Friday, I weighed 204 pounds. Up from the previous Friday, but down from that Wednesday.

Well, on Saturday, I weighed myself and I had ballooned up to 208!

C’mon! It had taken me nearly two years to drop 30 pounds. I wasn’t about to put up with my weight going up and down like a yo-yo because of how much water I was retaining depending on how much salt I consumed.

My scale shouldn’t be like a roulette wheel where I wonder what weight it will stop on each time I step on it.

Therefore, I went back on the diuretic.

Today my weight is down to 200.7 pounds. Nearly what it was before I started monkeying around with my hypertension meds.

I’m back on track with my weight loss goal. No more experiments.

A Haiku about TheRump

He thinks he’s our king,

And we’re his loving subjects;

Fuck you, you orange turd.

And In Closing

For those in the path of Irma, stay safe. You’re in our thoughts. As are the people in Texas still trying to recover from Harvey.

For the rest of you, I hope ya’ll have a great weekend, even if some pimply-faced teenager in Russia is maxing out your credit thanks to Equifax.

Here’s a song to leave you with:

Enjoy.

-30-

Talkin bout Friday

A Friday Haiku

Nothin’ you could say

Could make me not love Friday

Talkin bout Friday!

(My apologies to Mary Wells)

Friday!

WIP wrapup

I finally finished the first draft on the novel I’ve been working on since January. I just typed “the end.” Well, actually, I typed “-30-” the same way I end my blogs and how I’ve ended all my stories forever.

The weird thing was, I could have sworn that I had written down several variations of the ending in my notebook, but I feverishly paged through it and nothing. Nada. Not one word on the ending.

Did I write them all in my head? They seemed so real. So I ended up writing a new ending.

Now I’m debating if I should do the “put it away and forget about it for a while” technique or if I should just jump right in and start editing it.

Most likely, I’ll jump right in. With my poor short term memory, I probably can’t recall much of the story anyway, so there’s no point in trying to distance myself from it.

Besides, I’ve sort of been editing it as I’ve gone along.

Finding the ideal run time

Because I’ve stopped my morning runs, I’ve been looking for a good alternate time to run.

So far, the best time is as soon as I get home before I start preparing dinner.

It’s a somewhat good time because it’s early enough in the evening that my body won’t have all that addrenaline running through it when it’s bedtime.

It doesn’t always work however, if I have to stop at the store for a needed something for whatever meal we’re planning.

Which means, we have to prepare menus ahead of time so we know what needs to be defrosted or what ingredients we don’t have on hand.

Adulting is hard.

Weigh-in Friday

Despite my doctor’s scale reading 204 pounds (it’s one of those old-fashioned ones where they still slide the weights to find a balance point and guess your weight, my home scale thus morning read 199.6 pounds. A slight uptick from my low of 198, but down from a more recent 202 because I had a bad weekend a while back going to Wisconsin State Fair and eating things on a stick and their world famous cream puffs.

WordPress complaint

I write these blogposts on my smartphone and usually I have no issues, except when it comes to creating the headings.

For some reason, they just don’t take. The first one does, but each subsequent heading doesn’t change. While highlighted it shows the heading, “H4” or whatever, but when I unhighlight it, the text is normal. So I’m forced to bold and italicize the headings so you know they’re there until I can edit it at home on my computer. It’s a little frustrating.

Does anyone else have that issue?

US Cellular rebate update

After all the rigamarole we went through, and after waiting all this time (we joined them on June 11th), our rebate cards finally came. As I’ve said before, the entire process of leaving Verizon, joining US Cellular, getting new phones, cost over $2000, which is why people don’t switch cellphone service providers all that often. And after all was said and done, we got $350 in US Cellular cash. That’s better than the $40 they originally were going to give us.

Still, it is basically fake money. They aren’t Mastercard or Visa gift cards. They’re US Cellular cards good only at US Cellular locations. I’ll use it to pay one month’s bill.

And after all that, our bill isn’t any better than it was with Verizon.

I do, however, get reception downtown, which is something I never got with Verizon. So I’ll count my blessings and leave it at that.

Have a Happy weekend!

And that, my friends, is that. I’ll spare you any rants about the orange turd in the Oval Office, although he did give us plenty of ammunition this week to ridicule him with. It’s like he does and says outrageous shit on purpose just to get a reaction or to see how far along he can string his idiotic followers until they finally say, “Uncle. Even we can’t excuse that.” But so far, they’ve bought it all. Sad!

And on that note, let’s get the weekend started with some Little Feat, “Fatman in the Bathtub.”

Enjoy!

-30-

What’s up, Doc?

TMI Warning: The following concerns men’s health issues, specifically mine. If words like urine, prostate, and Trump is an asshole disturb you, then read no further.

Addendum to TMI Warning: My apologies, it seems the words Trump is an asshole only appear in the above warning. My bad.

Went in for my annual physical exam today. Unlike the stereotypical male, who never goes to the doctor except in an ambulance, who takes better premaintenance care of his cars than their own bodies, I do get regular checkups and do go in when I’m not feeling at my best.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If something feels “off,” I go in. I don’t want to put it off as “nothing,” or think it can wait, because many maladies don’t wait.

What might seem like a passing discomfort could turn out to be something serious and now untreatable. If only you hadn’t ignored it.

Sorry. Not sorry. Lecture over.

If you want to skip past the rest of this, I got a clean bill of health.

To start with, my pulse was 60. My blood pressure was 100/60. And his lying scale said I’m 204 pounds.

The scale, it seems, measures everyone consistently four pounds more than their home scale, he said. He wasn’t sure why that was. I proposed it was because we were clothed and in my case, had my wallet, keys, a knife, and a fidget spinner in my pocket.

He asked about concerns, I asked if I could go off the diuretic he has me on, in addition to a ACE Inhibitor (yeah, my BP was through the roof). I’ve since lost weight, maybe 30 pounds and I’ve been exercising regularly.

He first was thinking of changing BP meds altogether, but when I mentioned I was having dizzy spells recently, he said we were probably over-treating the BP and yes, I could stop the diuretic; I just have to monitor my BP for a while to see where it goes. He also warned that eliminating the diuretic might increase my fluid retention and thus my weight. But since I’m losing weight, that probably won’t be much of a concern.

Another concern I had was the soles of my feet cramp up really bad sometimes, especially when I first lie down to sleep. He said ending the diuretic should take care of that. The diuretic robs the body of potassium, which would then cause cramps. Here I thought it was from running.

I hated that damned diuretic. It made me feel like I was a six years old again getting a sudden urge to rush to the bathroom, dancing while struggling to get unzipped in time, hoping not to wet myself.

He told me the factors that can cause high blood pressure, and the biggest culprit was sodium. I said I rarely salt my food. He said it’s everywhere and most people unknowingly consume 10,000 milligrams a day. The things to avoid are adding extra salt, fast food lime McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc. Even regular restaurants often have too much sodium. Soups, canned or otherwise, have a lot of sodium. So does ketchup and especially soy sauce, which is fine, I use ketchup sparingly and soy sauce only when a recipe calls for it.

I confessed my love for heavily salted snack chips and he nodded his shame as well.

He said you can’t completely eliminate salt, even if you got down to just 2,000 milligrams a day, your food would taste like cardboard. So, moderation. Eat as bland as possible.

Damn you, salt! Why must you make food so tasty while killing us?

He then went through my risk factors for heart disease and I’m down to one now. Age, which I can’t do much about.

Except I still feel like a teenager. Why is that?

I’ve lost weight. I quit smoking 22 years ago. I exercise regularly. My cholesterol and BP are controlled through medications. I don’t have diabetes. And heart disease doesn’t run in my family.

Then we discussed my prostate. One in five men die of prostate cancer and that risk only increases with age. By 80, it’s down to one in two.

They used to give a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test, but they’ve stopped that screening because the test was virtually useless. Now they only go by a change in symptoms: size increase (my doctor stopped checking mine years ago), more frequent urination, and a weak stream. Symptoms that might seem obvious but being men, we ignore it or waste money by buying something idiotic like Super Beta Prostate.

Also the test would give false positives. Don’t I know it. I had a scare several years back when my numbers started increasing. The “C” word was spoken in hushed whispers. I went in for a biopsy, which, if they tell you it will be painless, they’re lying. It felt like they were stabbing me with this:

Thankfully, the results were negative and they never did figure out why my numbers had risen, which goes back to why the PSA test was useless.

Then we discussed the Shingles vaccine. I had chickenpox, so the virus is dormant in my spine waiting to send out red hot pokers of pain. He wanted to know if I wanted the vaccine, but suggested I consult my insurance because otherwise it would cost me $450 out of pocket. Medicare doesn’t cover it either.

*takes a deep breath* OK, I’ll spare you a rant on the high cost of medicines and health insurance companies.

Then we talked Hepetitis-C, the baby boomer disease. You know why the commercial calls it that? Because they sell the vaccine! Yeah. They’re scaring people into getting something they don’t need. *takes another calming breath*

The only baby boomers who need to worry about having Hep-C are free love hippies and intervenous drug users. You get Hep-C from unprotected sex and/or dirty needles! They never mention that in the commercial, they make it sound like it’s residing in all baby boomers just because.

After all that he said keep doing what you’re doing. I’m his healthiest patient.

Then I had a vein tapped for routine blood tests and I should know the results by tomorrow. “When was the last time you ate?” 6 o’clock. “This morning,” she said, with a note of irritation. No, last night. “Oh, good.”

After all that, I went to McDonald’s for a steak egg and cheese bagel and hashbrowns.

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Back to thinking mornings suck

As you might remember if you regularly follow my blog, I started running in the morning back in June. I actually was getting up earlier than my normal waking time, by about 45 minutes, so up at 5am, to go for a run.

And considering I have never been a morning person, I was pretty proud of myself for accomplishing that.

Well, guess what? That experiment has failed. “How?” you ask? “By the sun,” I reply.

Yes, the sun. In the longer days of June and July, I’d get up and there was enough predawn light in the bedroom that I could dress without turning on the light and waking my wife. Also, the predawn light acted as a motivator. “Oh, look, Sol is up already. The least I can do is get up as well.”

In other words, dawn was mere minutes away. The sky was turning pretty shades of red, orange, and purple. It was often beautiful.

I did not, however, get up when it was raining.

Why? Because it was dark and gloomy out. I believe I’ve mentioned I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Most people only suffer SAD during the long, overcast days of winter, when there isn’t enough sun.

For me, however, even just one cloudy day can set off my SAD. I’m very sensitive to a lack of sunlight, moreso than most.

Which will explain why as the days grow shorter and the sun rises later, I’ve been struggling the last few weeks to get up.

My alarm goes off, I get up to turn it off, and the darkness beckons me to reset the alarm for 45 minutes later and I get back I to bed. I don’t hit snooze, I actually change the time the alarm goes off.

As it’s gotten darker these last few days in the morning, I’ve just left my alarm set for 5:45 am.

And it will only become an insurmountable obstacle once November 5th gets here and we have to set our clocks back an hour.

Getting up at 4:45 am every morning during the winter will be difficult enough. No way could I set the time for 4 am to get up to run.

I loathe going back to Standard Time.

So, I’m sorry to disappoint all the morning runners, but I’ve returned to evening runs. It was fun while it lasted.

Ok, that’s a lie. Morning running was never fun. I was like an automaton set to autopilot. I ran at one slow, steady speed. Every part of me exceot my legs were still asleep.

I never increased my pace, except for a half-hearted sprint for the last block (60 to 100 yards?). And Inwas only able to increase my distance feom the 1 mile a day in June to about 1.75 miles.

I do not have any gumption in the morning. My brain is asleep, which means my motivation center is as well. I do not have the will needed to say, “Go faster!” even if it’s just to the next tree or to say “Keep going!” once I’ve reached my usual end point.

However, I can do that in the evening. I can force myself to go faster, to run farther.

So my experiment in morning running is over. It was a fail. I never improved as a runner and just barely maintained where I was.

In other words, mornings still suck and I’m glad to be rid of them.

Update rant on US Cellular

We’re still waiting for our rebate for having switched from Verizon to US Cellular. I had to go back to the brick and mortar store to air my displeasure. The rep was understanding, looked everything up, and said he could take care of it, that the previous rep had indeed screwed up. With luck, something I’m lacking, everything is straightened out.

Now we just have to continue to wait even longer for our promised debate and while we waited, I was holding off paying my bill hoping the rebate would come in.

It was due 8 days ago.

This morning, US Cellular cut off our service for lack of payment.

Let me say that again.

I was 8 days late and they cut off my service!

Before someone says, “You didn’t pay your bill and they shut you off and you’re surorised?” consider Verizon never cut off our service. Ever. And there were times where I was several weeks late. In fact, Verizon would accept a “promise to pay” future-dated payment, which sometimes put our lateness as far out as almost a month.

Still, they never shut us off.

In fact, no cellphone company we’ve been with has cut us off after only one week. Not Sprint. Not Cingular. Not AT&T (I think AT&T’s threshold was 15 days).

So I made a payment, with money I don’t have yet, hoping it takes until Friday to reach my bank so I don’t get an insufficient funds penalty.

To add insult to injury, US Cellular added a $25 per line activation fee to turn our service back on, which will appear on our next bill! (I thought their commercials claim they don’t have activation fees?)

I sure hope our rebate comes in before then.

I’m really regretting having made this switch to US Cellular. I’ll give them a few more months bedore I start shopping again.

Cellphone companies suck!

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