Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pre and Post 2010 Thanksgiving Dinner Workouts

Click me and see me trot

While a lot of people started their Thanksgiving Day doing 5 or 10K Turkey Trots in different venues, I, being a wimpy turkey trying to avoid the colder than usual temperature, opted out and did my own trot on the treadmill instead. Not that I wasn’t about to go out and run on the streets, but the late newspaper delivery (9:00 a.m.!!!) sealed my decision to make a run to nowhere, at the same time saving time and reading the newspaper. An hour plus an extra five minutes for the extra spoonful that I may eat during Thanksgiving dinner (unfortunately I lost control and ate more spoonfuls than I needed). What I noticed was that when I increased the pace towards the end of the run, I bounced lesser and was actually able to read the paper better. If only I could run that smoothly all the time.

After visiting a couple of stores on Black Friday (I’ll touch on that in another post), my day after Thanksgiving workout consisted of Spinning. No, I didn’t go to a gym and sign up for a class. However, I downloaded a free Spinning video and tried that workout for the first time. With the warm up and cool down, it was supposed to last an hour but the actual pedaling itself lasted only 50 minutes, but a tough 50 minutes it was. I added another 10 minutes to round it up to an hour. There was a lot of hill climbing and jumps in between seated pedaling using variable tension adjustments. It was a darn good workout leaving my calves slightly sore afterwards. It helped burn up a bit of my cousin’s good cooking from dinner the previous night.
It’s cold enough running outside at 9:00 A.M. so why would I want to wake up at 5:00 to run at 7:00? After all, I wimped out and ran on the treadmill on Thanksgiving morning. Well, after procrastinating the last few weeks whether to join the AREC winter group, I finally did on Saturday morning, without even knowing how far they were planning on running.  It was so darn cold that my face felt numb and to add to the discomfort, I forgot to bring my gloves, but I showed up and introduced myself to Gisele who organized it. She gave me a printout of the directions. The shorter run was supposed to be 7 miles and the longer, 13 miles. I haven’t run 7 miles much less 13 miles in months. My longest run was 6.75 miles earlier in the week and that was a run/walk. We started out and I found myself running alone because I couldn’t find someone with the same pace. After climbing the hill at the 4 mile mark, I saw Rosie and Tina, whom I ran 16 miles with last year, and joined them. We ran together for about 3 miles and I want to thank them for letting me pace with them because I didn’t want to run alone. That’s the reason why I woke up early to run there in the first place, so I can run with others. It turned out the shorter run was actually 8 miles instead of 7, which was not a problem for me on this particular day because running with Rosie and Tina helped a lot. My solo runs in recent months have taken a lot of effort to finish, even the ones which I run for 4 minutes and walk for 1 minute. Having company on Saturday morning plus not trying to push the pace made for a more comfortable run even with the extra mile or so. My ankles weren’t even hurting as much afterwards. If that’s the case, I may even return next week! Just remind me to bring my gloves and maybe even a ski mask.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Great Turkey Roasting Experiment

HAPPY THANKSGIVING Everyone! Did I tell you I bought a countertop roaster last week? It was on Sale at Target for 27 bucks. Of course a few days later, Walmart came up with one for 19 dollars. I didn’t want to repack the one I had and return it to get the one at Walmart, so I left well enough alone. It turns out Walmart had a limited supply anyway and my coworker had to buy the one left on the display shelf without a user’s manual (I had to download it for her). Well, I bought a frozen turkey a few days later and thawed it in the fridge. The great turkey roasting experiment would commence a couple of days later. Why was it an experiment? Because I’ve never roasted a turkey before other than observing an ex gf do it a long time ago.
When I got home from work Monday morning, I got my crockpot, which was the biggest container I had in which the 10 pound or so turkey would fit, mixed up some salt in water to make brine and soaked the turkey in it overnight. I didn’t know anything about the proportions of salt to water so I just dumped it in there until I thought it tasted salty enough.
The next day, the experiment started. I took the turkey out of the brine, patted dry the outside and the inside of the bird, peppered it, then as a shortcut, instead of rubbing the outside with butter, I just sprayed it with butter flavored cooking spray. I know, I know, it was a few days early but I already had an invitation from my cousin for Thanksgiving Day dinner. So 10 pounds x 15 to 17 minutes at 350 degrees would be between 2 ½ to 3 hours. I checked my watch, it was 8:00 a.m., so I set 11:00 as my target finishing time. I went out for a run then lifted some weights while waiting for the turkey to finish cooking. After about 2 hours and 40 minutes I detected a smoky smell so I checked the bird. It appeared well done so I turned off the roaster. I took it out of the pan and let the bird breath while I took a shower. When I finished, it was time for lunch and to taste the result of my experiment. Well, other than the slightly dried edges of the legs and wings, I was pleasantly surprised that the bird tasted quite good, although a little salty. The skin was crispy and the flesh was tender overall. The hard part was washing the roasting pan afterwards because it was so big that it didn’t fit in my sink. Otherwise, I deemed the experiment a success!
By the way, these roasters appear to have been made in the same factory in China because the instructions are the same between the Rival, Sunbeam, or Oster brands. Very much like treadmills and other exercise machines, they just attach a different brand name on them.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Follow Up On My Index Finger Injury

Please forgive the grossness factor but I forgot to mention in the original post that the nurse had to cut off a piece of skin from the finger. The skin was imbedded into the flesh until it was pulled out when my finger was released from the garage door hinge. No, it didn’t hurt because my finger was too numb to feel anything.
When I returned home from work Sunday morning, I had a hard time sleeping and only managed about 2 ½ hours, because my mind was still replaying the events that occurred the previous day. In the middle of the 12 hour night shift Sunday night, I was already running on fumes and had to battle hard to stay awake. Thankfully, I made it through the night and looked forward to being off the next day to catch up on my sleep.
On Monday, I noticed that there was a small blood blister on the outside of my pinkie. I was too engrossed by how my index finger looked that I hadn’t noticed the blister before. Regarding the numbness of the index finger, well, it hasn’t gotten better, so I’m beginning suspect that there may be some nerve damage. The circulation is good but I could hardly feel anything and lost most tactile sense below the last joint on that finger. However, if it doesn’t get any better or at least not get worst, I still consider myself very lucky for only ending up with the condition I have now.
Addendum: 5 days after the garage door spring broke, plus a visit to the emergency room with a 100 dollar co-pay, plus 25 dollars for my handyman neighbor to replace the spring which took all of 2 minutes but with 2 people, I finally reclaimed my garage on Wednesday morning. Hurray!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Workouts in the Past Week (before the accident)

I ran in an unfamiliar part of a street (Long Beach Boulevard) last Tuesday afternoon. I usually head north up to Market Street then turn around. This time I went farther until I reached the intersection of the 91 Freeway. I was always hesitant to run in that area because it didn’t have a good reputation for safety, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t as bad as what you read in the newspapers sometimes. Of course it could be because you only read about it when something bad happens. Other than kids coming out of school on their way home, hardly anything impeded the run. Both my ankles were hurting afterwards but it was interesting to explore another part of my neighborhood.
After my ankles hurt badly from Tuesday’s run, I opted for the recumbent stationary bike on Wednesday and the elliptical machine on Thursday. For the first time ever, I completed an hour on the elliptical. No use beating my head against the wall and hurting myself further while running when I can do something else to heal first.
Then on Friday morning, I did an hour and forty minute walk and oh, my shoulders sure hurt! Say that again? Shoulders?!  Not only that, but my lower back was hurting the next day too. Please allow me to explain. This walk consisted of carrying a backpack loaded with 15 pounds of weights (from my barbell/dumbbell collection). After about half an hour, my right calf started to tighten up so I thought I might have to turn around and head back home, but it worked itself out, so I was able to continue with my goal to walk for an hour and a half, plus an additional 10 minutes. Not used to carrying that type of load made my shoulders and back hurt, but I didn’t even feel any aerobic satisfaction from that workout.
I wasn’t planning on running Saturday morning specially after the backpack with weights walk the day before and because of the forecast of rain, but after my body warmed up from going to Home Depot and Fresh and Easy market, and nary a drop of water from the sky in my part of town, I went out and ran anyway. The short and sweet 45 minute slow run felt so much better than the longer walk the previous day. And then the accident happened … (A Trip To The Emergency Room or How I Almost Lost My Fingers).

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Trip To The Emergency Room (or how I almost lost my fingers)

What a series of unfortunate events happening to me on Friday and Saturday. Friday afternoon, as I was closing my garage door, the left side spring supporting it snapped. This spring helps keep the door open when you raise the door up. Without it, you need a sturdy piece of lumber or a stepladder to prop it open. I immediately went to OSH Hardware Store to buy the spring but noticed that they were having a 15% off sale the next day. So I decided to wait. In the meantime I had to park my car on the street overnight which was a risk by itself because of the neighborhood I live in and it is a Honda Civic, the No. 1 most stolen car in the U.S. The next morning, I was relieved to see that my car was still there, then drove to Home Depot to see if they were selling the garage door spring for lesser. They did indeed beat OSH’s price by 50%.
Later in the day after my run and lunch, I took my tools and the new spring to the garage and proceeded to try to replace the broken spring (but not before I read the instructions on how to do it on the internet). I propped the garage door open with a piece of lumber, then I was able to attach the new spring but it was not as taut as needed because even though it was easier to raise the door, it would not stay up. So I tried using a wrench as a lever to stretch the spring so I can hook it into one more link on the chain. As I pulled on the wrench, the door rose slightly and the piece of lumber fell away, thus making the door close on top of me. Well, my left index and middle fingers were caught in the hinges of the garage door! I became horrified and scared because I couldn’t lift the garage door and the hinges were crushing my fingers. All I could do was cry out for help in an alley usually bereft of people. I don’t know how many seconds passed by but it felt like forever, when a teenage boy came and lifted up the garage door enabling me to free my fingers. There was no blood but my index finger looked like a mangled mess. It appeared as if the bone had been crushed to a pulp because of the deep indentation that the door hinges caused and that the skin was the only thing holding the finger together. I thanked the boy, showed him my fingers, told him I have to go to the emergency room quickly, and hurriedly closed and locked the garage door. I splinted the index and middle finger together before I left, then drove myself to the hospital. When I got there, the E.R. parking lot was full so I had to drive slightly farther to the parking structure then walk back to the E.R. Imagine to my surprise, there was only one other patient in the waiting room who was registering already, and in less than a minute, I was registering myself. After about 10 minutes, the triage nurse took me in to assess my condition. By that time, blood started to circulate back to the crushed finger. The pain wasn’t too bad, it was more of a numb feeling. When the nurse asked my pain level, I told her, probably 4 out of 10. I went back to the waiting area until a bed became available, which happened maybe 30 minutes later. While in the waiting room, I was finally able to wash the injured area with soap and water. When I was finally escorted to an empty bed, there were a few more minutes of waiting until a nurse checked on me, then another several minutes before a nurse practitioner came to assess my injury. By that time the index finger was perfusing well and with good capillary refill, meaning there was good circulation in the area. The nurse practitioner said there was probably no fracture but they were going to do some x-rays anyway. I told her that the finger looked much worse earlier. So x-rays were taken in 4 positions. It was a relief to learn later that the results were negative for fractures. The only treatment they gave me was soap and warm water wash and a band aid, then I was sent packing home. But not before I had to use my credit card to pay for my $100.00 insurance co-pay. Yikes! It would have been cheaper for me to hire a handyman to do the garage job! Nevertheless, I was so gratified and relieved that I haven’t maimed myself permanently. I could have lost at least one, if not two fingers if that angel of a teenager hadn’t shown up when he did. I didn’t even get his name. Whoever you are, thanks again from the bottom of my heart, buddy.
This incident effectively ends my attempts at do-it-yourself jobs that I know nothing about. Pay someone lesser now rather than pay the E.R. more later when things don’t work out (and still have to pay someone to complete the job because I couldn’t finish it). Oh, my!
Thoughts that came to mind when my fingers were being crushed by the weight of the garage door: my charge nurse who lost the phalange of his right index finger years ago because a patient slammed the door on it, and the movie 127 Hours where a hiker had to amputate his own arm to save himself. Believe me, I did not exaggerate about the fear I felt while I was trapped momentarily underneath that garage door then seeing my fingers afterwards thinking I had done permanent damage to myself. Surviving this experience is one thing that I can be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
This incident is enough to give me PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) symptoms for the next few weeks. Trip to the Emergency Room + 3 hours + 100 dollars = peace of mind that nothing was broken or needed to be amputated. I went to work afterwards thinking that there is indeed divine intervention.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

UnGreen Medical Records and Other Work Stuff

At work, we have to assemble admission packs consisting of papers that need to be in a patient’s chart. There are two packs that we make. The first one goes in a binder and the other goes in a folder. The patients have to sign the papers in the folder when they get admitted, and the staff has to witness their signatures. The rest of the papers in the binder are where the nurses, doctors, recreational therapists, and caseworkers do their documentation. After the patients sign the papers, they are filed in the aforementioned binder.
Here is the problem: in a world where people are attempting to be more “green” and try to conserve natural resources, the psych unit in our hospital has the most paperwork I’ve ever seen ever since I started working in the psych field (even after a couple of forms have been eliminated). Case in point: the first chart pack consists of 30 different forms (some with multiple pages), some are NCR (no carbon required) paper with 1 or 2 duplicates, and the others are single sheets. Out of those 30, 5 forms need to be doubled, meaning we have to put 2 of those forms in the chart, so that makes 35 altogether. The other pack consists of 18 different forms and most of them are NCR. That makes a total of 53 forms to make one chart! That’s before the face sheets, insurance info, emergency room documents, and whatnot are added. The charts are so heavy that you can use them for weight training, and if you are not careful, you can throw a joint out!
The hospital is planning on switching to electronic medical records but I haven’t heard of a target date on when that’s going to start. I hope it eliminates most of the 53 forms that we use now. So much for weight training. I might have to lift the computer monitor instead.
A brief anecdote about what happened last Tuesday morning in the frontlines. The phlebotomist came to draw blood from some of our patients. I asked one very anxious and agitated female who was admitted the previous day, if we can draw her blood. This was her response – “You’re not going to draw s… from my a..! That was so unexpected that staff and other patients in the immediate area erupted in laughter. Who says you can't find humor during a tense situation?!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Shape of Things

I am currently in terrible running shape because I couldn’t run as much as I want to or even just do maximum of three runs a week. When or if I can depends on how my ankles feel that day. I have to experiment wearing different orthotic and shoe combinations to find out what works best and more comfortably on any given running day. Since running nowadays has been a struggle, I’m out of breath faster and am unable to go far. You probably won’t believe how I can derive joy and pleasure in such small successes like the 45 minute slow treadmill run I did last week. It was enough to trigger the pleasure zones in my brain.
When my ankles won’t allow me to run, I have to rely on other, less satisfying workouts. Here is an example: My watch band broke last Sunday night so instead of running the next morning, I walked to Walmart to buy a replacement. It took 45 minutes to get there at about 16 minutes per mile (I didn’t use the GPS and I’m just guesstimating) so it would have been an hour and a half round trip, but I did an extra half hour. The last time I walked that long was about 4 months ago. Just as my chronograph hit two hours my mp3 player battery died. Perfect timing!
In a related topic, there’s this website called which I mentioned in a couple of posts before, where I log my workouts. When I logged Monday’s 2 hour walk at a pace of 4 MPH, the calorie calculator said I burned approximately 530 calories. For the previous days’ 1 hour bike ride at a pace of 16 MPH, the calorie expenditure was the same. I was more exhausted after the 1 hour ride than the 2 hour walk. I do what I can to stay in shape.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Visiting And Running Around The Old Neighborhood

I had a chance to visit and run around the City of Bellflower last Saturday when I stopped by a grocery store there.  This city is where I had my first apartment in 1981, months after I arrived in the U.S. and ran on its streets for several years. Starting from Stater Brothers Store on Lakewood Boulevard and Artesia Blvd., I headed east then turned left on Clark Avenue. When I reached Alondra, I saw the recently burned down abandoned bowling alley which I read about in the news about two weeks prior. From there I proceeded east again and noticed a relatively new bike/jogging path where railroad tracks used to be. When I reached Woodruff Avenue, I turned right and down that street was the bike shop where I purchased my bike over the summer. Turning right on Flower Street, I saw the other end of the bike/jogging path, then city hall, the post office, and on the opposite side of the street, my former eye doctor’s clinic was still in the same location. A block further, there was the Circle K convenience store where a van crashed through a week back during a vehicular accident. The front of the building had already been repaired. Down the same street was the first apartment I lived in for a couple of years, so I ran through the parking lot trying to identify it. Unfortunately I don’t remember the unit number any more. By this time my breathing was getting labored and my legs were feeling heavy but I still have to get back to Stater Brothers a mile away. Near that street, I know of a previously famous chicken pie restaurant which closed a few years back called Moffett’s Chicken Pies. That also reminded me of the also gone hotdog and taco stand called the Pup and Taco, near the same location. Although the run only lasted 5 miles, it showed me some of the changes the city had undergone in the past 3 decades. One thing that hasn’t changed is that after all those years, I’m still running despite the pounding my body has taken, albeit at a much slower pace now. It was a nice experience nonetheless, being able to take a short jaunt around the old neighborhood. By the way, that Stater Brothers store used to be Lucky’s Grocery when I lived there.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

November 2010 Randomness

Why do I blog? I thought of this question and I couldn’t come up with a reasonable answer (yet). First of all, I don’t fancy myself as a writer nor ever aspired to be one. I don’t even have a clue as to what writing guidelines are. I have enough trouble whether to write it’s or its, to mention one problem. Journaling was never my thing either. If ever there was something I put on paper, it was in my running logbooks, and even that wasn’t a detailed description of the workouts I did. My previous forays at writing was an article on fitness in a company newsletter in the Philippines way back when, and running experiences for the AREC club newsletter here in Long Beach (which I stopped contributing to since I started blogging).
For some people exercising is a chore that has to be done even if they don’t like doing it. They may do it to lose weight or maybe a minimum amount to keep their heart healthy. Although some days, it can feel like a chore for me, finishing a workout still feels better than not doing one (of course I don’t know how that feels because I do it every day).
Pull ups (no, not the diapers) with weights. I have a pull up/chin up bar in one of my doorways at home and I use it for my upper back workout. Since I’m latissimus dorsi challenged, I don’t have a well developed back so to increase the effort and reduce the repetitions, I found an old backpack, inserted 15 pounds of free weights it, then did the pull up exercise. I used to run a belt in the hole of the weight then tie the belt around my waist but the felt too uncomfortable. My other upper back exercise is the bent over row. I alternate between the two exercises for variety.
I’m contemplating on using the above backpack with weights for walking workouts. Did you know that they sell weight vests nowadays? Up to 10 pounds for women and up to 20 pounds for men. My home made contraption should work as well and I could add more weight if needed – more than the store bought 20 pound limit.
                Our health insurance premiums from work are increasing by $30.00 a month, in large part due to the health care reform law that was passed last year. Other companies have to do the same thing. Darn! No raises for the last three years and lesser income to boot.
                A strange thing happened to my Windows Media Center DVR. It recorded two shows what it indicated was Do You Think You Can Dance, which usually occurs during the summer. When I played the recordings, they were Spanish language shows instead. The switch to standard time must have messed something up.
                I found the original 1987 Wall Street because I wanted to watch it again after watching the recent Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps. Charlie Sheen, who was one of the main characters in the first installment, had a cameo in the second one. He couldn’t act in the former, and still couldn’t act in the latter.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Replacing The High With Another

My left ankle had been hurting since my last run last Saturday morning but it felt good when I woke up for my next scheduled run on Tuesday morning. After changing into running clothes, putting my shoes on, and warming up, I started feeling the pain again. Should I go out to run and see if it would feel better as I warmed up, or should I just get on the spinning bike? After several shoe and orthotic combination changes, the discomfort didn’t get any better so I changed to cycling clothes and did the spinning bike instead. That would give me another couple of days of resting the ankles before I try running on them again. I was just getting concerned because the good left ankle which is now turning bad, has been hurting more lately than the permanently damaged right ankle. Working thirteen hours last Saturday night then wrestling with a patient the next night certainly didn’t help.  Better to be conservative and take several extra days off than not being able to run for a longer term.
In other running news, I ran to my doctor’s office last week to get my tetanus/pertussis shot due to the dog scratch I got (Rabies Anyone?), and while in the waiting room, a woman noticed my running clothes and mentioned that her husband runs and is also addicted to it. He runs in any kind of weather and did so in the middle of the day during Wednesday’s 98 to 100 degree heat. We talked for a couple of minutes until I was called into the clinic. I actually took a chance when I ran to my doctor without knowing if they received a fresh supply of the vaccine. Fortunately they had it and I was able to hit two birds with one stone – running and getting the shot. The round trip was supposed to be six miles but I extended it on the way out and ended up with about seven miles.
So, I continue to chase the high that I get from running, but nowadays, when I’m hurting, I try to be more prudent by taking extra days off to heal a bit. When I want to feel the same type of exertion I get from running, I get on the spinning bike and do a lot of stand ups. Whatever it takes to stay fit, get my fix, and get high.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Falling Back and Setting a Record in the Twilight Zone

Saturday night to Sunday morning was the return from daylight saving time to standard time, and I was dreading having to work 13 hours that night. In the past several years, I haven’t had to work on this particular weekend and had the benefit of an extra hour of sleep. The calendar finally caught up with me this year. The moment me and my coworkers walked in the door and started our shift at 7 P.M. we got our first patient admission and it kept on going the rest of the night until we had a total of 8 admits by the time we left at 7:30 A.M. the next day.  There were pros and cons of this situation. The main pro was that it made the night go faster than normal. Another was that I was able to make productive use of the extra hour. The con was that the nurses were awfully busy evaluating and documenting the 8 admissions. The mental health workers like me (there were 3 of us) lucked out because most if not all of those patients brought few belongings. Our main responsibilities in admitting a patient are checking vital signs, having them sign admission papers, and inventorying their belongings (clothes, jewelry, money, medications, etc.). The last one is the most tedious if a patient brings all their possessions except the kitchen sink, and only because they don’t usually have a kitchen sink if they’re homeless. The medication nurses have their own set of responsibilities and that is to transcribe new medication orders by hand. On this night, since we started with a very low patient count, there were only two medication nurses working instead of the usual three. Around midnight, in between my own admissions, I was able to fill the extra hour by being productive, making 50 admission chart packets (actually it took about 2 hours). With those 8 admissions, I think we might have set a new record for the night shift because I don’t remember getting more than 5 since I started working in this hospital 8 years ago.
A strange thing happened when we were supposed to move the clock back an hour at 2 A.M. Some of the staff’s cell phones did it automatically but some didn’t. On one of the analog clocks in the nurses’ station, the minute hand started sweeping across the face faster which made the hour hand move faster too. The time kept going forward until it reached 1 A.M. In short, the clock adjusted itself. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be one of those atomic clocks that synchronizes its time automatically with the official U.S. time in Colorado. But wait, there’s more, or in this case, less. The other atomic clocks in the same nurses’ station and the rest of the building didn’t adjust at all. The one that did was closer to a patio with an open view of the sky, while the other didn’t. Did that have anything to do with it? The first thought I had when I saw the first clock moving faster was that we had entered the twilight zone. Here is a video I found on Youtube:
An old joke I remembered from the Philippines – a guy tells his friend that the time is being switched from DST (daylight saving time) to DOT. The friend asks “what the hell is DOT? Don’t you mean back to standard time?” The first guy says no, it’s DOT – Dating Oras, Tanga! (translation: former time, you idiot!). Well, English speakers may not get it but it works better in the Filipino language.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Odds and Ends

My apologies for having no blog posts for almost a week until my rabies story a couple of days back and I’m trying to make up for it.
No more exercise machine purchases! That will be my rallying cry for the foreseeable future. Can you believe that in the past year, I had bought three new exercise machines? First there was the treadmill, then the elliptical machine, and just recently, the spinning bike. That’s what happens when you can barely run and have to find endorphin producing substitutes. Please, no mas! Maybe I can save some money now.
Trying to purge some clutter from my tiny closet, I finally moved all of the old cotton marathon and half marathon t-shirts to the storage cabinet in the garage and retained only the 2 technical ones. A few years ago, I disposed of the old 5K, 10K, 10 Mile shirts. Or maybe they are still in the deep recesses of the garage storage cabinet.
I woke up early last Friday morning at 6 o’clock (that’s early for me) and started updating Microsoft Money financial software to track my bottom line. It was something which I should have done at the end of last quarter but I kept procrastinating.  Well the bottom line didn’t get too far up from the bottom. Earnings have been paltry compared to the stock market boom a decade ago. I didn’t finish updating until 9:30 and started working out late on the spinning bike. The exercise helped the fight against the inflation of my bottom.
The other week, there was a sale on adult technical compression long sleeved, mock turtle neck shirts at Target for $16. They were the store brand of Target named Champion. Comparatively speaking, if you were to buy a major label like Under Armour, it would have cost more than double for similar fabric and quality. Then last week, Target had another sale but in the children’s section. Same Champion brand but this time a mid-layer microfleece long sleeved shirt with a quarter zip at the neck. I tried on the large and extra large children’s sizes and they fit me perfectly. The price: $9.00. This is one time that being a person of small stature has its advantages. Besides, it’s nice to be able to wear these form-fitting shirts without showing unnecessary bulges where you don’t want them.
            Is it possible to exercise more than necessary that your weight goes too low and it borders on being unhealthy? That’s what happened last Saturday. After running for an hour and fifteen minutes and shedding so much sweat, my weight as an adult reached an astounding all-time low of 112.8 pounds. As much as I like to keep my weight down, that was way too low for me. I immediately consumed about 4 pounds of fluids in the next couple of hours. By Sunday, I was back to my acceptable weight and made it up even more at the Halloween party later.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Scary Halloween Experience

Having grown up in a small faraway town in the Philippines, all I knew about Halloween was what I read about in books. What was celebrated more was All Souls Day on November 1st when we visited dead relatives’ graves at the cemetery. The closest thing that came to kids trick or treating was during the Christmas season when they went door to door singing Christmas carols for candy or money. Other than that, my previous experience with Halloween in the U.S. had been observing kids come to the door saying trick or treat. There have not been too much of this happening in my condo complex since we have a security gate so it’s not accessible to the public. This changed last Sunday night.
With the possibility that my body was infested with rabies, I was prepared to scare the bejeezus out of everyone on Halloween. For extra effect, I hadn’t shaved for almost a week. I went to my cousin’s house for a birthday and Halloween party and afterwards she invited me to walk with the kids while they were trick or treating. At first there was a trickle of kids walking about from house to house in the neighborhood. Then with no warning, it turned into a swarm of scary and fancy costumed children out looting for candy. It was like the night of the living dead out there. We went down different streets and saw all sorts of decorations, some elaborate and others simple. What they had in common were the homeowners passing out candy from huge tubs. I can’t believe how much candy was being given away. That, and the decorations that some of the homes had, it was almost as if there was no recession. I’m glad I joined them because it would have been scarier driving home at that time with all the spooks, ghosts, and goblins swarming the streets. I was more afraid about getting lost walking in the dark amongst the costumed kids and not find my way back to my cousin’s house. Oh, I almost forgot. My slightly less than a year old niece Noelani had her first Halloween J Here she is with her grandpa and grandma:  

What I found most scary was this: on my way home, a van which was stopped at an intersection didn’t move when the traffic light turned green. It took several seconds before the driver noticed the green light. It happened again at the next traffic light and I finally had to honk my horn to alert the driver. When I caught up and was beside the van a few blocks farther, what do you think the driver was doing? Texting. Now that’s scary!

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Rabies, Anyone?

Well, I got nicked by my neighbor’s dog last Wednesday afternoon when I tried to get its water bowl to fill it up, because she and her newborn puppy looked thirsty and were licking moisture from the cement. Just minutes prior, I was petting them but when I went to get the water bowl from inside the fence, the dog tried to bite me and as I mentioned above, I got nicked on my left shin. I rushed back up to my place and washed the scratches with soap and water. There were two slightly bloody marks, more like abrasions, but no puncture wounds. Still concerned about rabies I looked it up on the internet. I knew for sure that my neighbor rescued the dog from a CVS Pharmacy parking lot and it was already pregnant. The baby was born in my neighbor’s yard later. But I didn’t know if the dog had its anti rabies shots and my neighbor wasn’t home. Two days later I still hadn’t seen my neighbor so I finally called my doctor to consult with him. The medical assistant asked me if the dog was a stray and I told her what I knew about it. She gave me an appointment the same day. About half an hour before I went to see the doctor, I saw my neighbor and she told me she found out from animal control that the dog was registered and had its shots. Whew! What a relief! But I went to see my doctor anyway to have the wound checked. All he recommended was for me to get a tetanus shot. Unfortunately, they ran out, so this week, I have to call them back to find out if they have a new supply. In the meantime, I’m monitoring the dog every day to see if its behavior has radically changed (info on the web said to monitor for 10 days). If any of you see me drooling and snarling, or acting more strangely than I already am, please call 911 because I may be infected and about to bite you.
On a different note, also last Wednesday, I turned on my back up laptop computer and what do I see but almost all of the right side of the screen displayed horizontal, vertical, and squiggly lines, much like visual static, if there is such a thing. I rebooted but it didn’t correct the problem. When I connected it to an external monitor the whole desktop was visible, so the LCD monitor itself is damaged. Darn! First the dog bite, now the computer! Why me??? Oh, well, that’s life… At least the computer still works in spite of the screen, and I haven’t bitten anybody yet either.

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