Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Choices and Consequences

More exercise. That’s the prescription for today and the rest of the week.

To my mind, the only uses for exercise are to make sleep possible, better or more, and to lose weight. Oh yeah, and that cardiac health thing, too. Since we don’t really know why my mother died unexpectedly and suddenly at age 47 (electrical malfunction of the heart is the best guess of doctors who have reviewed the autopsy report), and my aspiration is to grow old and be present through as much of the lives of our daughters as possible, some cardiac insurance seems desirable. (The fact that I'm even thinking about this in March is an indicator of my level of stress.) But alone, that big-picture imperative doesn’t get me moving in the small-pictureness of every day. Not sleeping does. In general, since weight loss--I'm still mourning the ephemeral effects of the brain surgery diet here--has reached the top of my list these days, I’ve been pretty good about sticking to an exercise regime. Now, though, there’s a need to shift into a higher gear, as the sleeping part is not going well at all.

This has brought me face to face with yet another “rule” lurking in my warped little soul: no video during the day. I’m with the comment by Big Sis (not mine, by the way) that exercise is just too boring without something else going on, like someone to talk with or another diversion. To get through 30 minutes on the treadmill, I’ve been watching episodes of the Daily Show or Bones. Watching something has become necessary because just as I cannot follow an extended narrative reading right now, listening to one isn’t working either. That’s vexing. The more so since I seem incapable of watching video during the day when it’s “supposed” to be work time. Evidently, the rules make it fine at night (after 6 p.m., though 7 seems to be better) but not during the day, even during Spring Break. I’ve always known that I had a “thing” about not watching movies during the day—doing so with Shea over Christmas break was a holiday thing, it was clear. I had no idea it was such a firm rule. The obvious thing is to exercise during the day right now as the evenings have been pretty full. That runs right into the brick wall of the The Rule. It’s not even remotely rational, so I’m going to try again today.

Otherwise, memorial service stuff is for the moment sufficiently under control that my aspiration is to dedicate the day to grading, letters of recommendation (these do pile up), making sure the entire rest of the semester is in good order, keeping some projects going, and, I hope, an hour on my new writing plan. The reviews are in on the chapter on which I labored on so hard. They’re mixed: encouraging that it’s on the right track, but… constructive suggestions for the next steps I hope to start on today. Tomorrow brings more med school teaching and the imminence of the memorial service and arrivals. Today is an oasis for work. And, we all hope, some exercise that will produce better (and more) sleep. My new plan is 45 minutes a day of exercise for a while.

On another front, a software/technology report: I’ve been experimenting with Apple’s office suite and while the learning curve is steep and painful for any new applications, I really like both Numbers and Pages. The sharing it with others thing isn’t completely solved, but the power available (when I can figure out how to use it) is nice. Yesterday, I ran into limitations that, after consultation with “Apple Experts,” emerged as “features,” not bugs or operator error. I would have been happier with either of the latter two, myself. I also got a cool application for my phone that is the best solution for food and exercise (calorie) logging that I’ve yet encountered and I’m hopeful that sticking with it will be feasible: it’s easy to use and visual. We’ll know more next week.

Spring is bursting out all around us: crocuses, daffodils, the red buds and the magnolia in our parkway. The weekend will have some pretty spring color.

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