Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Tell Mike I said 'Hi'."

It's been four years since my summer romance with the boy next door, and I saw his dad Max today for the first time in maybe two years. I'd almost forgotten what Mike looks like, but when I looked at Max it was a little blow in the gut when I remembered how much they look alike. We spent a few minutes catching up: Max was hit by the flood and I showed him my motorcycle. I asked about Mike and he's doing the same: still a little lost. It made me sad to hear that, because when he left he had something to prove to himself, and I was hoping the job would help him do that. I had hoped he would find a little happiness for himself. I still hope that.

A part of me still misses him. So when I hugged Max goodbye and said "Tell Mike I said 'Hi'", "hi" is the great understatement. He may only ever hear "hi", but it means "I'm sorry we didn't have enough time to figure out whether we were right for each other. I wish we had kept in touch, but I understand why you didn't want to. I will always care about you and wish the best for you."

Someday I hope I'll see him again. If just to tell him "hi".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Warning: TMI

Today’s topic is menstruation and feminine hygiene products. If you weren’t warned by the blatant “Warning” notice above, then hopefully that will do it for you. If you aren’t fazed or just can’t help yourself, read on:

Sometime during high school, maybe when I was a sophomore, I took the leap from pads to tampons, and it was the best thing since sliced bread. Sliced bread in the clichéd sense, not sliced bread as a feminine hygiene product, although I’ve been told bread makes an effective moisture barrier when soldering plumbing. It was just so damned inconvenient to be so wet a third of the month (short cycles and long periods – where did this three days a month myth come from? I feel cheated), especially at night when I had to wear that pad that was like two feet long and was more like a diaper than a pad. Tampons were fantastic. All the blood stayed in until I was ready to take it out. Sure there were leaks sometimes, but wearing a panty liner was nothing compared to pads. Plus, less mess. Ah, those blissful, absorbent-free years between potty-training and puberty. How I failed to appreciate you!

Pads to tampons was a huge stride in minimizing the inconvenience of “being a woman”. And now, I believe I have taken the next step in feminine hygiene products. This was my first month with the Diva Cup, and so far, it’s the best thing since tampons. (I’m thinking “tampons” is going to replace “sliced bread” in my cliché inventory. Nothing like making people uncomfortable in everyday conversation!) I was especially pleased with the longevity of each use: I could leave it alone the recommended limit of 12 hours for all but my most heavy flow. It took some getting used to to be able to create the seal and if you don’t create the seal, you get some leakage. There was also some getting used to getting it out. One, I had to root around in there to get a good hold on the end in order to be able to turn it to break the vacuum, and two, if the thing was really full, there was a bit of mess when the seal broke. It may just take a little practice: I dropped the thing in the toilet the first time, and by the last time I was way defter. I think once I figure out how much time it takes to fill up half an ounce during each of the flow stages of my period, it’ll be easy. The thing holds a full ounce, but I wouldn’t want to let it get that full before emptying to help avoid spilling during removal. And actually writing all this down, it almost seems like I need the Army Corp of Engineers to help regulate the dam outflow to prevent flooding downstream. [rolleyes]

Even with the learning curve, there was way less leakage/residual mess with the Diva Cup compared to tampons. Add that to only having to change it a couple times a day as opposed to every few hours, and I thought about my period less than I ever have in my entire life, aside from my first overnight with it, when my subconscious was so worried about leakage that I was dreaming about puddles of blood (unfounded). No more making sure I have enough plugs with me for the day, less worry about leakage, AND! less garbage, so I’m greener too! And it’s cost effective. I think they recommend replacing the cup once a year, and I bought it online at Organic Pharmacy for about $30 including shipping and cleaning supplies, and I know I spend at least that much in plugs per year.

I think that if you’re comfortable with tampons and appreciate the improvement in control they give over pads, then you will probably like the Diva Cup. It’s obviously not for everyone: if you’re someone who panics when you lose the string on the tampon, then you probably won’t like it, because the mechanics of the Cup is very similar to a tampon without a string. That’s it for my product recommendation. I had never heard of anything like this until someone mentioned it on Ravelry’s martial arts forum. I’m glad I tried it – as I was counting ahead, I noticed I’ll be ragging during my trip to California, and this will make that a lot less inconvenient.

Friday, August 22, 2008

As you may have read in my Twitter updates, I have a new phone. I have gone from technological stone age (or close to it) to the latest thing, and I am absolutely in love. It's kinda like an iPhone, but Microsoft compatible, which I like, because I use Outlook at work, and this will sychronize my Outlook calendar to my phone. I also sprung for internet access.

I spent all evening last night playing with features. I have a PDA! I feel like such a grownup!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I finally got my body composition measured, and I’m 26.8% fat, which for my age puts me in the “average” category. At the low end of the average category, so I’m pretty close to ideal and thus happy to be average. It would have been nice to know what my percentage was back in February when I was 20 pounds heavier, but it’s probably safe to assume what I’ve lost is fat, so I would have been around 35% fat at the beginning of the year.

Although I’m very pleased with efforts and the results, it seems the psychological issues remain and in some cases have gotten worse. The worst problem is binging. I had it under control when I knew what my portion was, and if I ate more than the allotted portion, then I was off my diet. Now that I’m exercising regularly again, I know I need more than the portion I’m given, but I don’t know exactly how much more. So I have more food on hand for snacking, and once I start eating it’s difficult to stop. I’ve also been snacking when I’m not hungry or when I’m bored, and I know that’s bad and I feel guilty after I do it. I know I have an unhealthy relationship with food, and that I need to figure out how to separate eating and my emotions.

You'd think, from my obsession with weight and eating and working out, that I have some sort of goal in mind. I don't. Like the rest of my life, I'm in a "try this and see what happens" mode. Don't know if that's a healthy attitude or not. I can see changes in my body still, more definition, mostly, but not having goals also takes away the satisfaction of achieving goals.

One request: if you comment on this post, encouragement is going to be taken as platitudes, and I hate platitudes. Trainers at my gym are big on the "good job"s, and I want to roll my eyes every time I hear it. So far I've been able to ignore it, but one of these days I'm going to have to ask them to stop before I end up being rude. If my definition of "good job" does not match your definition of "good job", I hear your "good job" as a platitude and it means nothing to me and is in fact annoying.

Which I realize may come across as bitchy and unappreciative. If so, you can chalk it up to me sinking deeper into "ornery old curmudgeon"-hood, or PMS. Whichever you prefer.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

I pull the cage into the garage. "Cage" is motorcycle slang for enclosed motor vehicles, and it certainly felt like one today. Even though I needed the truck to haul things, I still wanted to not be driving it. I followed another biker all the way home, which just compounded the claustrophobia. I watch biker after biker greet the man in front of me, and I feel left out.

I change my clothes and fasten my helmet. I fill up my tank and head out the same way I just came from. It's like I need to cleanse that route of the memory of that drive home. I'm no longer claustrophobic. I'm out on the road, the wind whipping around my body and the engine humming beneath me. It's a beautiful day.

I pass my original destination and turn up another highway I've never driven before. In the cage, I look for the shortest route to get me where I'm going, but today I'm out for the pleasure of being out, and it doesn't matter where I'm headed. There are a lot of bikes out today, and I greet each one. I'm part of the camaraderie of the road again and they greet me in return.

The day cools and it's time to head home. The claustrophobia of the trip earlier in the day is gone, and in it's place is the peace of the road.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

After a bit of trouble finding the place - Calvin took great pleasure in announcing I had driven around in circles, which was true, but in my defense, it was pretty difficult to figure out how to get to that side of the highway - we jumped right the arcade. We spent a ridiculous amount of time in the arcade, to the point where I was wondering why we had just driven an hour and a half just to go play video games.

I finally convinced him to try out the waterpark. He loved it, of course. There were all kinds of neat water tricks on this contraption - pull a rope or twist a handle to get water to spurt or dump. Kids especially liked manning one of these stations to wait for an unsuspecting person to walk beneath them, then dump water on them. He loved trying to figure out how some of them worked; it reminded me of a giant game of Mouse Trap.

He was slightly more hesitant to try the waterslides. The smaller two, he was all right with, but the tall one that you had to climb a couple stories of steps to get to and looped outside scared him a little. I wanted to try it, so I told him to wait while I went by myself. He asked how it was, and I told him it was fun, but it got dark in the middle. He said he would try it if I went with him, so we did. He had to close his eyes, but he had enough fun that we had to do it several more times.

He still liked the arcade the best, though.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This is where Calvin and I are going tomorrow. I am going to go shave.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

As part of my post-friends-moving-away resolution to widen my social circle, I'm kinda trying to get back into doing social activities at church. My involvement was pretty much service and bookkeeping for a while there, which was kinda dumb, because why do only the "boring" stuff and none of the "fun" stuff?

Today's activity was Ba-Ba II: Return of the Goat. Pastor always hosts a barbecue sometime during the summer. Last year, it became something a little more than a barbecue. One of our members is a visiting scholar from Nigeria, and he kinda co-opted the barbecue into a goat roast, as I guess goat is popular in Nigeria. This was the second year for goat, thus the title. Much time was also spent co-opting sequel titles to use for next year, the most popular of which was Ba-Ba III: Die Goat Die.

Goat meat is rather tough, I'll say that for it. It has a distinctive taste, but I think it would be much better slow-cooked in juices. The rest of the meal was potluck. I finally got to try this recipe for Pearl Couscous with Roasted Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Feta that I've been dying to make for forever. It was excellent, if I do say so myself. The only substitute I made was using dried chickpeas instead of canned. There's a lot more time involved preparing them, as you have to soak them for 12 hours, then boil for two (at least that's what I did with them), but I think they have much better flavor that way.

It was like no Lutheran potluck I've ever been to. There were more salads than anything, only a couple people brought dessert, and there was no jello.

Friday, August 08, 2008

So, second Friday in a row I've had to come home and take a nap on a gorgeous Friday afternoon. I'm possibly running a slight fever - 98.1, if my normal 97 degree temperature stands. I'm going to start obsessing over taking my temperature, just to see what my normal fluctuations are. But I feel hot, even after taking a "nap". I don't think I actually slept, because I listened to two discs of HP&THBP and retained most of it, but I felt better when I got up, which is what counts, I guess.

I'm wondering if it has something to do with working out in the mornings. I've been really pleased so far with how well I've done getting up in the morning to go, and I love having my evenings (mostly) free. But it's mostly a matter of not being able to get myself cooled back down, I think. Sleeping is the only thing that seems to help, which is the same solution I needed to use before, except I haven't had a migraine or thrown up since January. At least when I worked out in the evenings (which I'll go back to, partly, when TKD starts up again), I was going to sleep soon anyway.

I don't know. It's just frustrating.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I am so hungry. I'm having such a difficult time getting through late afternoon/evening. I can be hungry in the morning and I can be hungry before I go to bed, but the rest of the time, I need to be full. I know 1200 calories a day (my meal plan) is too little now that I'm exercising, but I don't know how little. I definitely don't want to go into starvation mode, and I don't want to lose weight too fast, especially since stretch marks are starting to go crazy and I want to give them time to compress themselves. Do they, even? So far my skin's been pretty cooperative with shrinking with the rest of me.

Anyway, I like the 500 calorie a day deficit, and I don't know if my hunger pains mean that I'm in starvation mode or it's just a shock to my system. I was this hungry when I first started the meal plan, and then I just got used to less food.

I have my "starting" evaluation at the gym on Friday. They'll attack me with the calipers and see what my body fat percentage is (which I've never had done before, so I'm curious) and take some measurements. I wish I'd had this done back in February when I started, so I'd know how far I've come. All I have are pictures:


Sunday, August 03, 2008

I've not been posty lately. Too many thoughts or not enough. Or too many thoughts about one deeply personal subject that crowd out any more mundane goings-on. Every once in a while, and now, a fear is brought to the forefront that I normally do a pretty good job keeping buried. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I do an excellent job convincing myself it doesn't matter, that I'll be okay either way. But it does matter. It matters more than anything and hope is a double-edged sword.