Monthly Archives: January 2011

Update: I can now touch my toes!

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This makes me very happy (^^).  I can finally reach my toes, as long as they are not straight in front of me. But this is great progress for me! I can almost reach them after doing the cardio and by standing and reaching for the floor. I can’t get anywhere close when sitting. In related news, I have finally reached 20 minutes for cardio.  I know that sounds weak, but I started from a very couch-potato lifestyle. I sit at home, I sit at work, my idea of exercise before taking gym workouts seriously was climbing the escalator on my way to the office!  When I can finally return to civilization, I’m going hiking in the woods!!  So getting used to exerting myself for 20 minutes early in the day, and breaking the habit I have of hiding at home on my day off, and SWEATING, with no makeup in front of people…  yeah this is pretty cool.

Gushing over mediocrity. In an effort to absolve myself, I am going to tell you this:  I’m going to continue for my toes and the floor itself for as long as it takes, but I’ll try to have that down by the end of February. And also in February, I am going to camp out at 20 minutes for cardio, until it feels easy. I think one month is enough time for that, then I’ll start climbing to double it by the end of March. The next thing after that, is the actual treadmill. Give my bones something to think about once my muscles are taken care of. If I can avoid shin-splints for that long, then I suppose more impact won’t hurt.

One of my favorite recipes from when I was in high school was taking a pack of ranch dressing, mixing it with some olive oil and red wine vinegar, and marinading a chicken breast in it. Guess whats for dinner?  Yeah!

 

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Mansfield Park

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I’ve been reading a lot recently, since my coworker got a Kindle eReader for Christmas and was so attached to the idea of having an iPad instead that he offered to sell the Kindle to me for much less it is worth to Amazon. I’ve never been happier with a purchase! The screen is really paper-like, it doesn’t strain my eyes any more than a traditional book would. And the first thing I did was found as many free ebooks as I was interested in to download (also a free and fast process). I got about 35 classics and have gotten through 3 in the last week.

A few years ago, I really liked the movie for Pride and Prejudice, and bought an annotated copy of the book with side notes on the social context to help me understand more fully what was happening. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a complete set of Jane Austen’s works leather-bound, but being heavy I have been patient about enjoying them- they are in Utah and I am in Japan.  With this Kindle, I was able to download all of these books free! So I read Sense and Sensibility first. Jane Austen had a real sarcastic, facetious streak to her!  S&S is laced with it.  But it was the next story I chose, and just finished, Mansfield Park, that I really want to mention today.

It’s not so famous as the two I already read, but I was all giddy smiles when I finished it. I think, at least today and yesterday and probably for a while after, its my favorite of her novels. I don’t want to talk about it or write a book report or anything, but I do want to say I think it’s not as appreciated as it should be and I think more people should read it. If I ever have female (or even male) spawn, they should read it. It’s excellent for an introduction into character study, just like Winnie the Pooh is.  And I don’t mean just for writing, but as a primer in how to read real people, I think Jane Austen was really good at illustrating a person’s character, and even explaining the difference between “character” and “personality” in a way as could be applied practically even 200 years later.  All of these lessons aside, I simply liked the story and got so absorbed in it that I got angry at the main character and actually felt sorry for many of the people- my poor Kindle got a good shaking at least twice! But the end~  the end is immortal!

Today is Thursday, and Yo is home. We are going for the gym soon, my SECOND first attempt this year. I only got to go once this year I think before getting shat on with the flu.  I keep trying to build up my cardio stamina; I’m at a whopping 14 minutes!!! or was, last Tuesday.  I hope I can build up to at least 20 by the end of this month. I really want to reach 40 minutes for stamina, then work on speed.  I don’t know why I need a stamina of 40 minutes or any improvement in speed, unless I were to go camping and got chased by a bear, or finally meet my stalker here in Japan (statistically I could very well have one and not know it!). But its nice to know I could run for as long as that. I suppose eventually I will have to move off the elliptical and bike and over to the treadmill and start getting used to the impact. I have shin-splints from Army training over 10 years ago, and I am afraid of aggravating them again, but maybe if I am careful I can keep the injury to a minimum and build up to regular running without pain.  Nyaaaaaa~~~  off I go.

Happy Frakkin’ New Year

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I can’t help it, I like that word.

And right now I’m quite miserable with a sore throat, brought on by my faulty sinuses, further complicated by pestilence. I need to get them fixed. This happens every winter but usually I can fight it off until about March. This time, my Japanese co-workers- lovely young ladies all, bless their souls- have been fighting something… and bringing the fight to work. Its one of the most maddening aspects of Japanese office culture. If you come to work, even when you are sick, you expect the boss to think highly of you; or the inverse- if you don’t come to work because you are sick, your coworkers and boss will be angry, or worse think you are lazy- your back log tossed into your face mercilessly.

Guys, I love you but not that much. Sick days and call-in procedures are in place in my office for Japanese staff as well as instructors and foreign staff. Its a basic human right and just good manners to keep your pestilence at home. There is a time to put your health (and the health of your beloved coworkers) ahead of their opinion of you. Each of us has to make that call and here, it takes guts to make that call. Just mostly Japanese people don’t realize they have the guts until they have emptied them into the toilet (Oh! There they are… guess I can call in sick now!) and even THEN, many of them miss the hint.

I think I have said it before but I’ll end this complaint by saying it once here: Japan is a great place to visit, but living here is a joke.

On to other things.

I started some classes online a couple of days ago, fortunately the first week’s workload is light. I didn’t get around to procuring my textbooks until the first day of class. I got a couple online versions where available, ordered one text from Amazon USA, due next Wednesday, and the other 3 from Amazon Japan, due on the 30th! For SHAME Amazon Japan!! What kind of class am I taking? Well, I’d rather not say here… maybe I mentioned it on a previous post, but… its related to writing. Thing is, I’m not a very creative or careful writer. Which is fine for what I am doing, really, but I wouldn’t want anyone doubting my abilities based on a blog I keep for fun.

My cat is in a grouchy, cuddly mood right now- you should see all the scratches she’s blessed me with.

I have other things to say, I know I do. But sinus headaches and issues actually have an effect on a person’s ability to think. And I can’t think. Awesome if you read through all this!