Monday, March 30, 2009

Primates in the Locker Room

Men who are strangers don't talk to each other in the locker room. But that doesn't mean we don't communicate.

Our wordless language consists of various sighing, gasping, grunting noises.

We announce our entrance with a long drawn out "Pfffeeewwwwuuuuhgh." We mark our territory when we choose our locker. We drop the gym bag and sit with a short "ughhhh," usually emitted through the nose.

Reaching down to pull on our socks or shoes will require a sort of breathy grunt. We punctuate our presence with snorts or clearing of the throat, lest a competitor forget that we're there.

The more important we think we are, the louder and more frequent the noises. Long, dramatic yawns and burps come from those who would lead the tribe.

I wonder what the ladies do? Hum? Sigh? Or are they belching and grunting in a parallel universe? Might be a good question for an installment of Petra's He Blogs She Blogs.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090325

I gave in to more Girl Scout cookies. This time it was the sugar-free chocolate chip variety. Then on the weekend I was obliged to eat the rest of my wife's double chocolate brownie sundae. I'd ordered for myself a single scoop vanilla frozen yogurt with walnut topping. It was a good thing we didn't go to Ben & Jerry's.

Fortunately, I'm not gaining weight or girth.

Waist = 37.25"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

American Pain Foundation

Paraphrasing their website: The American Pain Foundation aims to serve people in pain through information, advocacy, and support. Their mission is to raise public awareness, provide practical information, promote research, and advocate to remove barriers and increase access to effective pain management.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blah Blah

My wife has this habit, this annoying habit, of getting me to answer the phone for her when she's expecting a call from someone she doesn't want to speak with at the moment.

The caller is usually "AM," who likes to call my wife on her cellphone during her morning commute. Ending a conversation with her is like being trapped in a crushed automobile -- you keep hoping the jaws of life will arrive in the form of some major distraction, like a package delivery that needs a signature, or a vomiting dog, or a refreshing bit of burst plumbing spewing water all over the place.

And I perfectly understand my wife for not wanting to take the phone call. So I'll answer the phone and tell AM that my wife's not at home or that she's in the shower and then quickly say good-bye and hang up. That's not the annoying part.

Here's the annoying part. My wife then questions me about the phone call, even if she was standing there listening to my side of it, which consisted merely of, "Hello?... Oh hi, AM! ... Sorry, she's not at home now, but I'll tell her that you called have a great day bye." My wife wants a play-by-play. "What did she say? What did you tell her?"

First all all, when I talk on the phone and then hang up, I instantly forget the entire conversation. It's as if the act of placing the handset back on the hook flips over my mental Etch-a-Sketch.

So I tell my wife, "I said 'hello' and I said 'good-bye'. I probably exchanged some pleasantries in between, I imagine." Which must really annoy her. She has no idea about my mental Etch-a-Sketch. I can't even remember what I said, never mind about what the caller said.

But then my wife will want to know how AM seemed, as in her emotional state. "Was she upset? Did she seem tense? Tired? Frustrated?" For a 5 second phone call? Look, on us guys on Mars don't even speak that language.

So anyway, what got me thinking about this is Cheerful Monk's Whatever... post. I used to try to explain to my wife that I wasn't being rude to her but that I really couldn't recite the conversation back to her. But now I do the equivalent of answering "Noodle," which on some days is, "If you wanted to know what she said, you should've talked to her yourself." On other days it's just "Blah blah."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090318

Well, I gave in to the Girl Scout cookies. Do-si-dos if you must know. Also, I was reading quietly Monday evening when my wife threw several sugared snack nuts at me one-at-a-time. So I ate those, even the ones on the floor, like a chimp in a cage.

I don't consider a huge slab of prime rib an indulgence, so I won't mention that.

I've heard about The Gabriel Method from a couple of sources. So I'll be checking that out when I get a chance.

Waist = 37.25"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lying Parents

Petra posted the following parenting tip last week: "LIE TO YOUR CHILDREN."1

The post reminded me of a mega lie my wife made up when our daughter was little. My wife invented a story about an evil witch that kidnaps misbehaving children. "The Pocketbook Woman," as we called her, sneaks around the neighborhood looking for misbehaving children because they taste better than nice sweet children. She was called "The Pocketbook Woman" because one day my wife was cleaning out a hall closet and came across an old black pocketbook that she didn't want. So she set it on the kitchen table as a reminder to toss it out. But our daughter happened to see it and for some reason became terrified of it. I guess our daughter hadn't been behaving very well that day; otherwise when our daughter asked about it, my wife probably would'nt've told her that "it belongs to the pocketbook woman who stopped by looking for you. She wanted to take you home with her. She really likes children that don't listen to their mommies."

The dramatic improvement in behavior would've even impressed John Rosemond.  We've invoked "The Pocketbook Woman" occasionally when nothing else would get through to her.  Now that she's eleven years old, however, our daughter is likely to take us up on the offer to live with that woman.

What lies did you (or do you) tell?  What lies did your parents tell you?

1The Wise Young Mommy Speaks--Parenting Tip # 1: Lying to Your Children is Good for Them

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Next Pet Is Not a Cat

This is a continuation of My First Pet and My Second Pet...

One lovely fall day, my wife and daughter and I went hiking. We had been without Twinkie for only a short time, a few weeks, perhaps. A woman was approaching with her two daughters and dog. My wife was attracted to their dog, a calm, friendly Golden Retriever. So we stopped and talked to the woman and asked about her dog. She told us that the dog came from a nearby breeder who just happened to have another litter available. She gave us her number, and then we called to get the name and number of the breeder.

The breeder had only one dog left from a litter of eight. We visited and found a huge puppy with enormous paws. He felt heavy in my arms, and he shivered. His breath stank of skunk. We decided to make a home for him, our first dog.

He grew very quickly, like a real-life Clifford. At first, he couldn't walk the entire neighborhood circuit, so I'd pick him up and carry him after 2/3 of the way. He upset my wife a few times, once knocking over a potted plant and ripping it out of the dirt, another time eating some wild creature's poop and vomiting on the floor, plus all the chewed up chair legs. He'd pee on the floor when visitors came over.

But he settled down as he continued to get bigger. He started to have problems with his left front leg. Then one day he couldn't get up without help from us. We managed to lift him into the car and get him to the vet who diagnosed Lyme disease. He got better quickly with the antibiotic.

A pack animal, he always wanted to sleep in our room. But my wife started to have breathing problems. She visited an allergist for the first time. He tested her and set her up with asthma medicines and a nebulizer. He said she was allergic to dog dander. The best thing to do was to give up the dog. We actually contacted one of our neighbors who recently lost one of her Goldens. But we never went through with it.

After my wife's hospitalization for Myelitis, she started to go to a naturopathic doctor who put her on supplements to support the thyroid and adrenal glands. Her allergy symptoms vanished. Imagine giving up the dog when a simple remedy solved the problem!

One day in May the dog really hurt himself, charging at something at the bottom of a hill. He hurt himself so bad he couldn't put weight on that paw. He hyperflexed the carpus joint and damaged the tendon. He needed a splint and a diet. He got both. Plus acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, glucosmine and Prolotherapy.

He's seven years old, now. He lost about 25 pounds. He still walks with a slight limp, and he wears a bandage to support the joint. Some gray is starting to show around the muzzle. He can't go for long walks without the limp becoming pronounced. But he will not hesitate to charge at invaders to our property. Crows, deer, bunnies -- no matter how fierce, he will go after it. But he's meek with our cats.

And those cats are the subject of another post.

Dream: Frisky Squirrels

I'm in the basement. A squirrel is running loose. There is a "woodchuck" that has chomped onto the squirrel. This "woodchuck" looks very strange. It looks more like a large dog paw because there are no eyes or nose.

The squirrel has gotten loose again. Now there are two squirrels climbing on a large bush, like an ancient rhododendron. They are chasing one another. The one in the lead is climbing vertically, spiraling around the main step of the bush. The other is in more direct pursuit. I figure this is some sort of mating dance, and sure enough, the pursuing squirrel starts boinking the other.

My daughter is sitting right next to the bush on a lounge chair, and she's almost directly underneath the squirrels. I'm getting concerned, but it's not because I'm afraid she's seeing something sex-related. Rather it's because the squirrels have worked up a frenzy of activity. They might fall out of the branch on top of her, or some "fluids" might spray on her.

Now the squirrel notices her. He grabs his little pistol in his paw and aims it at her tauntingly. I can't believe what I'm seeing. My daughter thinks it's funny. She gets a crazy idea to lean forward and offer her open her mouth as a target. "No!," I think. "No!," I shout. But it's too late. The squirrel shoots a drop into her mouth.

My daughter is a bit stunned. She walks over to me asking me what to do. "You didn't swallow it?" She shakes her head. "Then spit it out," I say.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090311

Still haven't had a Girl Scout cookie or a sip of coffee!

When I cut out caffeine completely, I'm not very hungry. But even a cup of green tea in the morning can make me start foraging in my belongings for a protein bar at about 10:30am.

I skipped my usual Monday evening workout for a good reason -- we went to adopt another cat!

Waist = 37.25"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recommended Reading From "The Renaissance Soul..."

It's time to return this book to the library: "The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One," by Margaret Lobenstine. But first I'd like to share some content with you:

Strategies for maintaining momentum:
  • "When frustrated and tempted to give up, think what you'd say to a young child in such a situation."
  • Use laughter to relieve tension.
  • "If a key call makes you too nervous, pretend you're someone else making the call."
  • Use music to either calm or energize yourself.
  • "Think of someone who'd expect you to give up and prove that person wrong."
  • "Create order in some small part of the area in which you are going to be tackling something difficult."
  • "If you work best under pressure, have a movie or other event that begins at a specific time as your 'reward deadline.'"
  • "If ... [you postpone working on a project because] ... you are afraid ... [to make a mistake], remind yourself that the Amish deliberately put a mistake in every quilt to honor the fact that no human is perfect."
On time management:
"Richard Leider and David Shapiro enchanted me with a twist on the popular hourglass analogy in their book Repacking Your Bags. Why, they ask, do we always picture ourselves living in the top half of the hourglass, where time is always running out? Instead, why don't we imagine ourselves in the bottom of the hourglass? There, every minute is followed by another minute that comes pouring in. Every hour is followed by another hour, and every day is just the first of many days to come.... With a bottom-of-the-hourglass perspective ... each event unfolds. We don't have to worry about time being 'spent' or 'lost.'"
Recommended Reading:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Album Cover Meme

I stole this from Petra, the extremely talented and witty author of The Wise (*Young*) Mommy. Here are the instructions:
  1. Go to Wikipedia. Hit "random." The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
  2. Go to Random Quotations. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
  3. Go to Flickr and click on "explore the last seven days." The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Use Photoshop or a similar program (such as the free, open source GIMP) to put it all together.
Here's mine1:

See how Petra's turned out here.

1 Credits: Image by anthonyko. Quote by Bobcat Goldthwaite. Wikipedia page available at Andreas Paolo Perger. It's interesting because Perger is actually a musician.

Grammar Advice for Bloggers

Don't use no double negatives.
Make each pronoun agree with their antecedent.
When dangling, watch your participles.
Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
About those sentence fragments.
Try to not ever split infinitives.
It is important to use apostrophe's correctly.
Always read what you have written to see you any words out.
Correct spelling is esential.

-- Harold Evans

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090304

Number of boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the house since Saturday:

Number of Girl Scout cookies I devoured in a frenzy of sugar deprived mania:
0, actually.


And I partook of no coffee since before February 25.

Waist = 37.5"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Breathing Room

On her Square Peg Reflections blog, Karen Caterson asks us where we could use a little breathing room...
I'd like to invite YOU to wonder something with me. Where could you use a little breathing room - a little psychic space? What could YOU wonder about that would offer you choices? It doesn't have to be big. My "wonder" is pretty small - just giving myself room to maybe skip a weekend of blog posts.
Where indeed, as in where do I begin?

The most obvious change that would give me space is not having to work for a living.  Some days I can barely manage to get myself to work, let alone deal with all its problems for 8 hours once I get there.  I don't think I need to elaborate on this one.

Severing Commitments would give me space, space in which I'd make new commitments, mostly.  I'm not referring to the type of commitments that involve family responsibility.  But my interests in some clubs and organizations that I belong to are wearing thin.

The volunteer work I do for a professional society can be overwhelming.  Running the meetings, writing newsletters, updating the website, recruiting volunteers, responding to members -- if you thought this was leading to a grammatically correct sentence, you're mistaken1.  I long to see others take charge so I can lighten my schedule a bit.

Another big change -- I like to imagine myself quitting the Church choir, along with skipping Church on Sundays.  I get a taste of this every summer.  We don't sing in the summer, so I trade the Church experience for sleeping late on Sundays.  I stay in bed until 9:00am!  That frees up much more than superficial space.  Karen writes about psychic space, and skipping Church would deliver a lot of it.  Image the ensuing decluttering session:
  • monotheism -- clear it out.
  • patriarchism -- it's old, toss it.
  • ascension to heaven or eternal damnation -- free to a good home!!
  • everything happens for a reason -- quaint but useless.
  • sins -- what was I thinking when I got that?!
What might occupy that space instead?

Now it's your turn!

1I did spell check it for you, though.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Real Danger

Sandra Herold considered her pet chimpanzee Travis to be her son.  But on February 16, Travis brutally attacked Sandra's best friend and business partner Charla Nash.

According to an article in The Hartford Courant1, "The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved legislation that would ban private ownership of primates as pets."

That same article observed, "Unopened boxes and bags of Travis' treats — Butterfingers, Fig Newtons, marshmallow Peeps and coffee cakes — are piled on the floor and counters."

Which makes me wonder whether Congress should've instead banned the private ownership of Butterfingers, Fig Newtons, marshmallow Peeps and coffee cakes as pet food snacks.

1"Travis The Chimp's 'Mom' Tells Their [sic] Story," by Alaine Griffin of The Hartford Courant