small advances

January 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Last week was a bad week at the bowling league for me. Had a nightmare game where I only scored 91 and I think my high game was a 128. It seemed to be impossible to roll the ball over my targets. But while I was frustrated, I tried to keep my eyes and ears open, keep observing what I could from the surroundings. And I overheard something, something by one of the better bowlers in the league giving advice to a member of his team. He said that one being advised was not synched up, his left foot was arriving way too soon and his right arm was swinging through way too late. I thought about how my own approach and swing felt, and I realized that it was happening with me. That my left foot would slide and plant, and then my right arm would be swinging forward late. I heard that early in my 3rd game of the night, and I began trying to adjust and closed out strong enough to roll that week’s high game of 128.

So last night I thought about all of that again. I struggled with the new rhythm during the warmup. The old habit of how my body went through the sequence would try to assert itself, sometimes even causing me to step forward first with my right foot rather than the left as I’ve always done. But around the 5th frame of the 1st game I finally got my mind keyed right to get the sequence going and feel a sense of rhythm and a sort of magic to how it ought to feel. I rolled 128 in the first game.

The second game was one of the nicer games I’ve ever rolled. It wasn’t my best score ever, but it was my best bowled in a sense. I began to feel good and confident, and I had only 2 open frames. Just one strike, but I was really good on picking up the spares. The two spares I missed were because of one bad roll and the other because of a 4-6 split from when my first ball just hit that headpin nearly dead on.

The third game, I was a bit less consistent, but got a 155. It was the 6th, 7th and 9th frames where I lost focus and missed spares I ought to have made. But anyhow, I rolled a 443 series, my best series so far in league. If I can keep up with what I figured out over the last 2 weeks, I think I should be able to start rolling above a 150 average. When I have the approach right and in rhythm, it is so much easier to hit the target, or be close to it. The arm swings correctly, and there’s no sense of it being pulled across the body because the left foot planted early.

—-

I definitely like seeing the sunsets coming later and later. The sun still sets too early, but it’s a bit of a relief now to look out a window at a quarter after 5 and it’s not dark dark. Sometimes I wonder how I survive those days of early sunsets. The darkness is suffocating, I feel trapped and nearly hopeless, not that I’m ever really all that hopeful, but sometimes it feels like that darkness of winter is so wholly destructive.

It’s no wonder then that the sun and light are often used in writing imagery for tales and poems about love. From personal experience, I can remember how there were a couple of winters when the darkness wasn’t so oppressive, it was as though there was a light from her and a light that burned inside of me, and that filled me with light, it filled my lungs with warm smooth air, that if one could breathe silk, that’s what it was. Silk that burned with a gentle fire. I had a poem which had a line, “lit the sky like silk on fire,” and I’ve always loved those words which just took fire in my head the first moment they whispered through my lips. It was an otherwise melancholy poem, imagined from an old person’s perspective talking to a longtime friend and how he has become old, but how he remembers a time when there was a moon that lit the sky like silk on fire.

But there’s no silk in my world, and there’s no silk in me. Now I feel that all I have left to me is hard, sharp, and broken. So maybe that’s the comfort now I find in the idea of strengthening my muscles. Maybe I’ll still be broken, but I’ll be a strong broken, whatever iron there is in me will become steel. I wrote a line in a poem once about becoming steel. I thought it was about what love could build in me. But love is probably never so direct, it’s a sly one and maybe prefers to break some people in order to remake them. I don’t know.

Who was that person I was 3 years ago? Was he real? Was it illusion? One thing to always remember is that unreliable narrators aren’t just unreliable to the others they tell stories to, they are often unreliable to their own selves. It’s a hell of thing about the human story making capacity. It’s just a hell of a thing. Truth is very slender and thin, and only shows through the tiny cracks, cracks which you might only see out of the corner of the eye.

Oh well.

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warm up

January 8, 2013 Leave a comment

We had a little stretch of colder weather, although really it was just about seasonable averages, and nothing super frigid. Now the forecast for the next 10 days is calling for temperatures some 6 to 15 degrees above average, so it’s going to be a bit of a mild run. Maybe I’ll be able to golf this weekend, the course was still shut down last weekend because things had frozen up enough and even though it had grown milder over the weekend, there was a think skin of muck on top of the frozen layer underneath.

—-

The deadlifts on Saturday went well. I went in to the last working set expecting maybe 8 or 9 reps if I was feeling right and pulling well. I pulled 10 and probably had 1 or 2 reps left in me still. If one-rep max calculators are right, I could maybe pull a 300-lb max single rep now. Not a bad improvement over when I got started again last November and my max might have been around 230 to 235 lbs. I’ve also added in a new wrinkle. After resting up some from the last heavy working set, I drop the weight down and then do a set of 20 reps with that lighter weight. It seems to work and feel good, so I’m going with it.

Then I did farmer’s walks after the deadlifts. Sunday I did chin ups, dumbbell swings, and barbell glute bridges.

Last night, in spite of it being a recovery day, I got bored some and did some sets of kroc rows. They should be a good upper body pulling and grip exercise for me to do.

Getting really close to finally closing the Captains of Crush #2 with the right hand. Also getting close to finally closing the #1 with the left hand. My left hand has always been weaker and clumsier. The disparity with the right is exacerbated some by the ring finger on my left hand — 5 years or so back, when I first tried training grip some, I overdid the number of reps with the left hand and it caused a trigger finger to develop in the ring finger. Over time, the swelling that the tendon sheath would catch on has gone down and the finger doesn’t catch anymore, but obviously, I want to be careful that I don’t create that again, plus I can feel a sense of the finger wanting to catch when I do close the hand and ring finger, just a slight feeling like there is still a tiny swelling in there — and that swelling does keep my left hand from closing with completely full strength.

—-

I had a bad dream last night where I dreamed I was being pulled apart on some sort of factory assembly line. The dream had this overwhelming feeling and theme of an idea how since the industrial revolution and the development of replacement and interchangeable parts, we human beings have come to view others around us an interchangeable, as replaceable. Maybe that’s even true. But even if it is true, it feels sad to me.

Pezaĵlevo

January 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Lastnokte, mi levis pezaĵojn. Faris mi tri arojn da kaŭroj kaj kelkajn da farmist-promenoj kaj tri arojn da surdorsekuŝ-premoj. Ŝajnas ke mi bezonis krei vortojn por pezaĵlevo? Muskultrejnado? Muskultrejnado estus pli generala ol la levo de pezaĵoj. Do mi pensis ke pezaĵlevo estas la plej bona. Eble. Eble mi malpravas. Sed pezaĵlevo ŝajnas okej por mi kaj miaj oreloj. Tamen, se iu esperantisto scias plibonajn vortojn, bonvolu lasi komenton kun viaj sugestoj.

Fakte, mi bonvolas ĉiujn sugestojn kaj korektadon(?), korektecon(?).

Esperanto iĝas pli multe faciliĝa por mi, sed mi ankoraŭ estas komencanto-parolanto de ĝi. Komprenas mi pli bone ol parolas mi.

Redakto por aldoni: Mi iĝas inteligenta kaj serĉis la esperanto-vikipedio por la Olimpikoj. En la artikolo pri la Olimpikoj, mi trovis la vorton, halterlevo, kaj haltero aperas esti la vorto kiu priskribas la anglan vorton, barbell. Pensas mi ke haltero estas de greka origino.

Ankoraŭ, mi pensas ke pezaĵlevo estas ankaŭ bona vorto. Eble tiel bona kiel halterlevo. Ankaŭ muskultrejnado estas bona. En multe da lingvo, estas multe da vortoj kiujn povas uzi, kaj Esperanto estas alia lingvo. Do ĝi ankaŭ povas havi multajn vortojn por uzi pri la samaj aferoj.
—-

It’s interesting. This morning I’ve had about as much spontaneous thinking in Esperanto as I’ve ever had. I’ve certainly had times before when I’ve been thinking in Esperanto, especially when I’ve gotten deeply into some reading, but I’ve still lacked the ability to generate thoughts and series of thoughts in Esperanto. But maybe now I’m taking some first steps (unuajn paŝojn!) to a higher level of skill with the language.

So, to mark that, I worked on writing the first part of this blog post in Esperanto.

I did 3 sets of squats last night, some farmer’s walks, and 3 sets of bench presses. With the bench presses, I am using a thick book on my chest to keep the bar from dropping too far and causing stress and discomfort in the left shoulder. Eventually, as the shoulder continues to thaw out, I should be able to return to presses where the bar goes down completely to the sternum. But I’m in no hurry with that, I think I should still be doing good things for my upper body pressing strength with the book on my chest.

split pea

January 2, 2013 Leave a comment

I began craving split pea soup on New Year’s Eve, so yesterday morning I went to the market and bought some ham and dried green peas. The soup cooked up quite nicely. Along with the ham and peas, I also used carrots, a potato, some milk and butter, Canadian maple syrup, tabasco, salt, pepper, and paprika. The tabasco, pepper and paprika gave the soup a nice little zip to the flavor against the slight sweetness from the ham and syrup that I had used. It made for a good lunch and dinner on a chilly first day of 2013, and the remainder has been packed into containers for lunches at work for the rest of the week.

—-

When I woke up yesterday, there only remained a faint tickle which could make me cough lightly and a tiny sliver of nasal drip. Strength wise, I felt a bit off, but mostly recovered. So I decided to do the deadlifts and farmer’s walks yesterday. The decision I made was to start the 2-week plan I had begun last week over again. Somehow it made sense. Just start from there again.

The first thing is that I don’t think I was entirely full strength yesterday. One weird effect of that was the first rep of each of the 3 working sets of deadlifts felt strangely heavy. I could almost feel the aches of the flu back on Saturday in those initial reps. But the rest of the reps would tend to feel almost progressively better. And the final result was that in the last set where I would do as many reps as possible, I did one rep more than when I had used that weight the prior week. That was the clearest sign to me that I was nearly fully recovered, and that felt good, felt good to know that I was fairly healthy again and that I could get back to work on getting stronger.

It was after the deadlifts that I got the soup cooking for lunch and dinner.

In the afternoon, I took a short walk to help me get back to the goal of taking 10,000 steps every day. The effects of the flu had kept me from that for 4 days, a stretch where the pedometer only counted 17558 steps. Then late in the afternoon I did a series of farmer’s walks and in the evening I foam-rolled and stretched.

And I woke up feeling pretty nearly flu-effect free this morning. I still have a slight sensation that I can’t take a full deep breath into my lungs without the risk of coughing, but the nasal drip is completely gone. Strength wise I feel pretty good. So I guess the flu is very much behind me now and I am glad about that.

—-

On Saturday, when I was at my most ill, I watched Forrest Gump again. I saw it once before back in the 1990s and liked it then okay enough, although I got annoyed a great deal by the cultural tide it created where people would often say some of the Forrest Gumpisms. Saturday when I watched it I was even less impressed with it. Some of that disenchantment was due to what I’ve learned about physical effort and well-being. One of the famous sorts of scenes from the movie are the ones where Forrest is being picked upon by bullies and his childhood friend Jenny yells at him, “Run, Forrest, run!” Yeah, I’m sure all those kids back when they used to put so many of them into leg braces will tell you about the time they were able to begin running like the wind after being stuck in braces, that they were able to run themselves right out of their braces.

Yes, I realize that Forrest Gump is fictional, but even fiction has its limits. That sort of disparity with the laws of reality in Gump’s fictional universe is unbelievable to me. It very much damages the narrative.

But later I began thinking about it more. What if? I think that many times people watch Forrest Gump and get suckered into thinking to take Forrest at his word. He is just a simple man, talking plainly about things he’s seen and done. What if that’s not so? What if Forrest is an unreliable narrator? What if the movie is a tale of things that he’s imagined, that he’s fantasized, that he’s made up and lied about?

Suddenly, if you start thinking about it that way, it’s not just a somewhat melancholy tale of a simple man who achieved a lot and loved a woman, a woman who eventually came to appreciate his devotion and married him before she passed away. Maybe instead Forrest and Jenny were childhood friends, but eventually with her growing up and growing older, she left him behind, a combination of wanting to escape the location of her abusive childhood and once gone, she never wrote back to Forrest, because she found his devotion/obsession a bit too threatening and weird. So Forrest Gump is no longer a hero. He is instead just a sort of strange tragedy, someone who not because of any really conscious fault of his own, is just not well-suited to the world. One who has not achieved any measure of greatness, but has only imagined himself doing great things — playing football for Alabama, winning a Congressional Medal of Honor, running back and forth across America 3 or 4 times, has imagined himself flawlessly loving, protecting and honoring Jenny as best he can, having had a son who is just like him but finally smart. What if the last scene of the movie was completely imagined? There was no Forrest junior. It was just Forrest returning to where his bus stop was when he was a kid, and imagining that he now is sending a son of his own off to school, a son that he and Jenny had?

Now, if Forrest Gump exists as a great movie, it is not one that sees Forrest Gump as telling a straight and truthful tale, it is one where he is seen as somewhat deluded and lying, and trying to see how many of us he can con into believing he was some simple paragon of virtue out of America’s turbulent past.

recuperate

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

The worst of the flu was on Saturday. All day long, when I was awake, the muscles and joints ached. But mostly I slept. Fortunately when I woke up yesterday, the aches had largely disappeared. I still had some cough remnants and a sometimes drippy nose, but I was able to move around, and put out a couple of small efforts, including doing laundry and shoveling the couple inches of snow that had fallen on Saturday.

Saturday, I didn’t eat except for a tiny bit of soup for dinner. Yesterday, I had some more soup for lunch and dinner, as I finally had some appetite again.

But it looks like I’m about 4 or 5 pounds down from where I was before the flu broadsided me. I suppose some of that might be water weight, although I was pretty good about drinking fluids. It feels like I might be able to lift tomorrow although I shouldn’t be surprised if I don’t exactly hit the reps and weights I might be expecting based upon what I was doing before getting sick. I’ll just have to try and see what happens, then consider what adjustments might be appropriate.

Saturday was also day with the lowest number of steps ever since I started carrying the pedometer back in October. It only counted 1502 steps. That’s about as many as I could get. There was just no energy to do anything more than shuffle between the bed, the bathroom, the chair in front to the tv, and the kitchen. Yesterday I was recovered enough to get over 5500.

Metabolism is also reverting back towards normal. Saturday I injected almost as much Novolog as I tend to use during a typical weekday, and all I had on Saturday was about 10g of carbohydrate. Yep, all day long, I would check my blood sugar it would be somewhere up between 160 and 200 and I’d inject another 2 or 3 units, but those units were just enough to keep my blood sugar stable up in that range. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon I finally saw a blood sugar under 100 again.

So hopefully that’ll be my last run-in with the flu for some time to come.

ow

December 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Fuck, the flu has been putting a whomping on me. I am somewhat hopeful that maybe I’ve already hit the turnaround towards improvement point, but I’m not going to bet anything on that. After I got home from work, I very nearly just went straight to bed. I didn’t sleep straight through of course, but the sometimes urge to cough is less now. Overnight I woke up a couple of times and hacked badly, along with the nose dripping. Nose drip has nearly disappeared.

But I got serious aches now. Every muscle in my body hurts. Even the little ones in my fingers. Every muscle that gets used to move any sort of body part says ouch. Fever seems to be mostly gone now though. I woke up around 3 hours ago and it felt like I was on fire almost. Got up and peed, I could smell ketones. I checked my blood sugar but it was fine at 129. My body is just burning a lot of fat right now because I haven’t eaten in over 16 hours. I’m probably burning some muscle too. Oh well. I have no appetite right now.

I farted around on the computer for about 20 minutes in that wakeup around 4:30, then went back to bed. Now one of the reasons I had gotten up then was because I felt overheated in bed. I still felt feverish when I got back in bed, but it took a long time before I felt warm in bed again, in spite of burning with fever. Maybe the fever was breaking then and that led to me feeling a sense of being cold while trying to find the oblivion of sleep.

I’m not going to lift today. The thought of trying to pick up a heavy weight makes my muscles want to cry. It’ll hurt and there’s no way I can go anywhere close to full strength.

Just going to rest and hope that I’ll slowly feel better as the hours pass, and that maybe eventually I’ll have a bit of appetite to eat again.

flu?

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I woke up about 4:30 this morning and have since found myself with a slight tickle and cough, little bit of tickle in the nose too and general sense of blah. There’s supposed to be a lot of flu going around right now and I’ve heard that one of the strains circulating wasn’t in this season’s vaccine. If it is that flu strain I’ve caught, I’ll hope that the vaccine will provide me some boost in immunity against it so it doesn’t lay me out.

It’s disappointing some because I went to bed last night feeling good after a strong workout where I squatted, did some farmer’s walks, and chin ups with isometric holds at various angles. It felt energizing almost, a bit of satisfaction at having done the work to improve strength. And even if it meant some chance that I might wake up a bit sore in places from that workout today, I wouldn’t have minded it.

I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow morning and make a decision then on whether or not to deadlift. It will be a little frustrating if I have to cancel any scheduled workouts. It’s been a small source of rejuvenation for my mood that I can feel myself getting stronger and can see the difference in how my body looks again. Although the legs are still very skinny, but I think now that I’m smarter and more knowledgeable, I will be able to make my legs grow some more. One big part of that, I believe, will be doing plenty of deep and effective squatting, along with the work I’m doing to improve the function of my glutes. Increasing the muscle mass in my legs seems particularly more important in view of how a Danish study found a link between lack of muscle in the thighs and heart attack risk. It occurs in both women and men, so that’s another good reason for women to squat and deadlift. Being strong as you get older not only helps protect you against falls and frailty, but also can help protect the heart and metabolism.

Yuck, as I took a break from working on this, I began to feel the first bits of fever. All I can do now is hope that it doesn’t last too long and I get back to full health soon. Also getting the first sensation of just wanting to crawl into a bed, pull the covers over me and go to sleep. I like to sleep when I get sick, that seems to do more than anything else on helping me recover. Sleep seems to be my body’s way of shutting down things so the immune system can get to work.