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Comfort and Stupor April 9, 2014

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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There wasn’t anything wrong with my TV. I mean, it worked fine. We bought it in 1999, after we moved into this house. It was the first new TV we ever bought: a huge 27 inches, big and heavy, right before the introduction of the flat screen.

It served us well for 15 years. I had a VCR hooked up to it. I’d take those taped TV shows up to the workout room, push them into the little TV/VCR combo set I’d inherited from my sister, and not be a couch potato while I caught up with my addictions.

Some friends made fun of us, of course, and certainly no one would deign to watch TV at our place if there was any other choice.

Because there was nothing wrong with my TV and because I hate wasting things and couldn’t imagine trying to get rid of something still perfectly serviceable—and because I figured investing in a TV would tempt/cause me to watch more TV—I did not buy a TV.

Also, I get so tired of how complicated systems have become. (Yes, I’m a cranky old lady.)

I began to think about getting a flat-screen TV for my birthday this year. I began to think of it more when Fat Red Ant sold me her TiVo at the beginning of February. That month I did my homework: read Consumer Reports, queried friends with nice TVs who had opinions.

The day before my birthday, Tim and I went shopping. We purchased a 51-inch plasma and a smoky glass stand on which to perch it. We brought the stand home and assembled it. The TV would have to be delivered.

It was, the next Wednesday. We had to temporarily set it up in Martini Lounge. Comcast wouldn’t show up until the next week, and we still had our addictions.

The TV sat there, big and black and skinny, looking for all the world like some sort of technological god.

Meanwhile, after reading on Facebook my announcement that I had gotten a 51-inch TV for Lent, a neighbor contacted me to ask if I needed to get rid of my old TV.

Did I!?! I couldn’t believe my luck. No one can get rid of these TVs anymore. I had heartbreaking visions of taking it to the dump the next week. Of course he could have it—just as soon as I got my new TV set up and had learned how to use it.

The next Tuesday, Comcast arrived.

Another reason I hadn’t gotten a TV yet is because although people tell me how easy something is to set up, I don’t believe them. Something always goes wrong. Always.

Comcast was at my house for 4½ hours.

Granted, a lot of their time had to do with trying to get my phones to work. To get a more reasonable cable rate, I finally caved and bundled. They had trouble getting noise off my lines, and my wireless connection kept disappearing. The cable guy kept acting like this was somehow my fault. Eventually, near the end of the day, Comcast figured out that it was their fault—enough technicians had called in with the same problem. That day, though, completely sucked.

The TV/TiVo learning curve was a little frustrating, but not insurmountable. The remote that goes with the new (required) Blu-ray is still a bit of a pain in the ass.

The picture is beautiful.

Three days post-Comcast, my neighbor came and took my old TV away. He is happy to have it. I am happy to have him have it.

I have discovered the joys of on-demand watching and Netflix streaming.

We began by binge watching True Detective. I—lover of comedy, admirer of comedians—naturally followed this up with the first seasons of Maron and Inside Amy Schumer. Tim is watching Orange Is the New Black for the first time (I’m watching it for a second time to both see it on the big screen and prep for season 2). Game of Thrones started Sunday, and this weekend holds the season premieres of Mad Men and Orphan Black.

I am in so much trouble.

 

 

 

Joke April 2, 2014

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Had I managed to successfully stay on the 5-minute plank schedule, yesterday, April 1, would have been day 30, the day of my crowning achievement. This date is appropriate given that the possibility of me ever holding a 5-minute plank seemed from the outset a joke, and perhaps I was a fool to glance at the pace of the buildup and think “Well, maybe…”

The good news is that since day 18 I have managed to continue with the 1-minute plank. It’s not really getting any easier. But it’s not really getting any harder, either.

It’s the longest 60 seconds of my day. And watching the stopwatch rack up tenths of seconds, I begin to understand those Olympic millisecond-difference finishes as real time.

 

3BY1: Quarterly Report April 2, 2014

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American goldfinch, mourning dove, dark-eyed junco, black-capped chickadee, northern cardinal, American tree sparrow, white-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, blue jay, American crow, rock dove/pigeon, red-tailed hawk, European starling, Canada goose, belted kingfisher, northern mockingbird, great blue heron, downy woodpecker, common raven, mallard, hairy woodpecker, purple finch, house sparrow, American robin, Carolina wren, horned lark, barred owl, eastern bluebird, snowy owl, northern harrier, pileated woodpecker, house finch, bald eagle, red-bellied woodpecker, wild turkey, red-winged blackbird, American kestrel, common grackle, turkey vulture, herring gull. (40. 2012: 40. 2013: 53.)

The prize, of course, is the snowy owl. We went up to Dead Creek looking for one on February 22, and Tim found it! The scope we set up attracted lots of other birders. I may never see another. It was a great day.

About Eight Years March 31, 2014

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That’s what I’ve been saying. When I told people that my friend Sewa Yoleme (Craig) was getting married in Toronto on Wednesday, that then he and Bruce were coming to see us on their drive back to Florida, I said I hadn’t seen Craig in about eight years.

However, it’s clear that my sense of time is off.

Take, for example, my reaction when, at the end of February, I received a letter from Subaru congratulating me on six years of owning my car. I seriously thought, “That’s ridiculous. I just bought that car in 2008.”

Duh. And sigh.

Tim and I prepped a superlocalish foodie dinner in celebration of the marriage. It’s ugly here right now, but we wanted to make a decent impression on Bruce, despite the outdoor dreariness. We wanted to celebrate the wedding.

And then Craig and Bruce got stopped at the border.

If you’re a Facebook friend of Craig’s, you already know this. They were having the best vacation. They got to meet Deloney and Mlle Vague, for crying out loud! They had filled out plenty of paperwork, but when they announced at the border that they had gotten married, they discovered that they had been misinformed. And Bruce was not allowed to leave the country.

Pout. Pout. Pout.

Tim and I made the best of it. Suddenly we were able to go to our friends’ brewery/tap room opening after all. We invited neighbors to share the yummy meal. We all toasted the happy (temporarily stranded) couple.

But I am so sad to have missed them, and I hope all goes well for them as they begin to negotiate these complications.

Now back to my perception of time: Because Craig and I are in such regular contact, it doesn’t feel like a lot of time has passed since we’ve seen each other. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I can find no record of our having been together about eight years ago. In fact, the last evidence of togetherness I can put my hands on is September 2003, which is—wait for it—ten and a half years ago. More than a decade!

Could this be right?

Tim and I visited Craig in Florida in April 2002. Tim left, and I stayed to do a five-day Disney tour with Craig.

Craig came to visit us in September 2003.

We promised that once a year, one someone would visit the other someone.

I made some attempts, I know, at trying to get to Florida, but by then Marguerite had gotten frail enough that having guests, even ones she loved, put a lot of stress on her. So I stayed away. I know Craig and I haven’t seen each other since she died in 2008.

So did we see each other between 2003 and 2008? Craig, can you help me out here? “About eight years” sounded like such a long time, and now I think that’s optimistic.

And why does it seem harder and harder to make things happen?

 

Zero to Sixty in 60 March 25, 2014

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Recent tasking is taking its physical/emotional toll, as is the weather, so why not write about something that doesn’t matter?: the 5-minute plank.

You may recall that I wasn’t sure that a 5-minute plank could be achieved in 30 days, at least not by someone who does cardio every day but has a relatively weak core.

I successfully managed 3 days of 90 seconds. I even made it through one round of 2 minutes, although I was bellowing during the last 30 seconds of that one. And on day 17, which would have been day 2 of the 2-minute plank, I failed.

Not just failed a little. My hypermobile back, cracking away, couldn’t take me past 65 seconds. Or my brain couldn’t. Anyway, I failed. No 2 minutes, even though I’d somehow managed the day before.

I’m disappointed. I’d wondered what I’d do when I failed. Would I change up the training time? How long do I think it would take for me to be able to do a 5-minute plank?

Perhaps more importantly: Do I need to? Do I want to?

What’s my goal anyway?

My chiropractor would argue that my goal is to strengthen my core.

And that I can do, I figure, by continuing at 1 minute a day.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Since day 18, I have been holding 1-minute planks. Just today, just now, it was a tiny bit easier than yesterday.

Maybe someday I’ll push all the way to 75 seconds.

 

 

Grip March 17, 2014

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Hold on. It’s got to be over soon, right? Christine reported red-winged blackbirds two days ago. I’ve seen no signs of them. (Starling until proven blackbird.) But it has to be soon. Temperatures are plunging again tonight. Everyone, it seems, has been somewhere warm this winter, somewhere tropical, but not me. I’m starting to lose it, a little. I try to envision warmth again, but it’s hard—it’s more memory than forward-thinking/believing. I am agnostic about everything: spring, blackbirds, my ability to hold a plank for multiple minutes. Nothing good seems likely, only perhapsish. Do things happen again because they’ve happened before? Do peepers exist, or are they mythical? How much longer can fingers keep curled around metal in this dead hang?

Day 11 Skepticism March 13, 2014

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I am three days beyond where I was in the plank challenge last time, before I was ordered to stop. For those three days, I have held a plank for 60 seconds. But it’s been a tough road. All that resting I did? I was weaker than ever when I started up again. It is a very shaky 60 seconds, and tomorrow I am supposed to do 90—the beginning, apparently, of 30-second additions til the end. Before now, the schedule has never demanded more than 15 more seconds.

If you could see me shaking at 60 seconds, you too would seriously doubt the likelihood of my making it to 300 seconds on April 1. In fact, I bet you’d be with me in wondering if I can make 90 seconds tomorrow.

A Seasonal Limerick March 5, 2014

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(for Sewa Yoleme)

 
There once was a woman from Kent
Who gave up the sex act for Lent.
Although she kept feigning
She liked the abstaining,
She was eager to come when Lent went.

 

True Believer March 4, 2014

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I’m happy to report that yesterday at the gym, I asked my friend Andrew to turn a birthday cartwheel with me, and he did, and I did, and there we were, the fifty-something set turning cartwheels. It freaked the owners out a little, but when they heard it was a birthday ritual, they arranged a serenade.

I have never lost faith in my ability to turn a cartwheel, but I’m old enough to know that someday I may not be able to, or there may be surprise (and possibly immediate) repercussions, and that I really should have a friend in the vicinity just in case, even though I KNOW I can do one. When it comes to my cartwheel, I am a true believer.

Not so with a more recent endeavor: the plank (not to be confused with planking). When I was having so many back issues in January, I discovered the 5-minute plank challenge on the Internet: You are given daily goals for 30 days, starting with 20 seconds, until, on day 30, you hold a plank for 5 minutes. I am not sure I believe this is possible.

(Not my image—swiped from Internet)

(Not my image—swiped from Internet)

I think if I were to hold a plank for as long as I can, I’d fail at 60 seconds or so. But I’ve never tested this.

I talked with my chiropractor. She believes that I need to work on my core strength, and this challenge looked OK. And so I began.

This was nearing the end of my horrendous 3-week cold, during which I had to sleep propped up if I had any hopes of being able to breathe. I noticed an odd pain between my shoulder blades that I figured was related to this propping up. I mentioned it to the chiropractor during the plank-talk visit, but we were so busy working on lower-back stuff, and my explanation for its existence was so reasonable, that we didn’t spend time on it.

I followed the schedule for 8 days. The pain got worse, and odd. I called the chiropractor, who told me to stop immediately. Holding a plank probably wasn’t causing it, but it might be keeping me from getting better.

I was better the next day, although several things had happened at once: (1) I was sleeping flat again; (2) I had set up a standing desk; (3) I began to take Aleve; (4) my massage therapist had given me rose quartz to open my heart chakra; and (5) I had stopped the plank program. So—confounding factors.

Still, I decided to wait a little before starting again, just to be sure. Yesterday was Day 1. Here is the schedule:

30-Day-Plank-Challenge-1

Last time I stopped the day before the full minute. This time I’ll make it that far and more. However, I am not yet a true believer when it comes to the 5-minute plank. The incremental addition of seconds makes it look reasonable. But, still. You try it.

Life on Mars? March 2, 2014

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Today is my birthday, and after spending yesterday shopping for a flat-screen TV (Welcome to the 21st century!, messaged a friend) and going out for a pricey dinner, I haven’t quite decided what to do today, but it should definitely involve next to no money. A birthday cartwheel should happen somewhere this week, if not today—I need a safe space (room, no ice) and a witness (just in case my mind makes a promise that my body can’t fill).

Earlier last week, Laura, mother of my BFF Gigi, mentioned that Gigi was totally into the song “Life on Mars?,” especially the line “Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow.” Laura showed her the video, and Gigi, viewing the Bowie visual for the first time, said something to the effect of “She’s pretty.” Laura explained that Bowie is a man, that sometimes men look like this, and that it was the seventies. “Oh,” Gigi said. “It was the seventies.”

Last night I received a video of Gigi singing “Life on Mars?” This may be one of my favorite presents ever. I have procured permission to share this with you, my few, but let’s just please keep it between us.

Have I mentioned how much I love this kid? (I’m rather fond of her parents, too, for the record.)

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