Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More is Sometimes Just, More

I've been counting my calories - kind of, sort of - and attempting to eat green over white. I'm actually an enormous lover of yams and squash and root vegetables and chard and kale and beets greens and spinach, et al.  So this is actually pretty tasty.

I'm paying attention to portion size.

I was going to give up alcohol altogether, but who am I kidding?   I am having a glass instead of a bottle, however.  And have even abstained entirely on two days.

And I'm forcing my gargantuan ass out into the rain and snow and slush of Vancouver.

I wore my Polar Heart rate Monitor for the first time in months and I'm keeping myself solidly in the fat-burning zone, trying as best I can to ease back into activity without hurting myself too badly.

I went out for 102 minutes on Sunday morning, or until I had burned what I thought were a thousand calories according to the Polar.  Afterwards I realized that my programmed body weight in the watch had been left at a svelte 196!   So the simple physics of moving my massive girth through time and space at 225 pounds meant that I had burned at least 10% more calories.

I have been working out with these stretchy little rubber cables, thinking that, as I haven't lifted a free weight in at least three years,  I should ease my old bones back into resistance training with care and consideration.

True confessions - I ache all over.  As in Advil ache.

I am trying to figure out how I have somehow managed to screw up my right shoulder -although I have torn my right rotator cuff a few times over the years - so that it feels like I have been shot in the shoulder.  This from what are essentially giant elastic bands!?

It's a freaking tragedy.   My body feels like an abandoned building or an East Vancouver fixer-upper.

I wish all I had to do was splash on a fresh coat of paint and a little stucco, but it feels like my foundation is cracked!  

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Numbers and the New Moon.

As usual, I am going to go at this ass backwards.  First the moon, then the numbers.

I have been fixated with taking photos of the moon lately and this morning I noticed on my calendar that December 27 is the start of a New Moon.

Having spent more than the last decade researching tattoos, and the last five or six of those years doing research into the symbolism behind specific tattoo designs I was more than a little familiar with the symbolism of a new moon. My favorite is the Blood Moon or the Hunter's Moon but those are tales for another day.  As usual, I digress.

The new moon occurs when the sun and moon are in conjunction, or in simpler terms, occupying the same part of the sky from where you are standing on the earth. During this time the rays of the sun are not reflected off the surface of the moon and can not therefore be seen by us mere mortals on the ground - except during a solar eclipse.  Or, to paraphrase Pink Floyd, the dark side of the moon is facing us here on earth.

In many ancient cultures, especially those that worshipped the Earth and had a belief that all living things had a spirit, the start or phase of a new moon is the time of new beginnings.  For those who believed that the Earth was a feminine being, a Goddess, the new moon was the Maiden, virginal and pure, and 
season of Spring and new beginnings. The appearance of the new crescent moon was celebrated as a return of the moon from the dead. (A Full Moon represented the Goddess as a ripe, fertile symbol of Motherhood, and the Waning Moon represented the Crone, no longer fertile, but filled with a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge that was a vital force)

Symbolically, the New Moon is a time of gathering energy, rejuvenation and growth, renewal and hope.  The New Moon was considered an auspicious time to make changes in your life, such as ending bad habits or relationships.

Well, folks, the December New Moon hit me between the eyes like a four foot length of two-by-four lumber administered by Paul Bunyan.  

I have reacquired some serious bad habits and I need to end them before they start killing me.

And this is where the numbers come in.  And to quote a good friend who is like a brother to me, "Vince, the numbers do not lie!". 

This morning I got on the scales and I weighed two hundred and twenty-seven pounds.  Naked.

This is the most I have weighed in more than ten years.  I am on the edge of being morbidly obese.  I have gained nearly thirty pounds in a couple of months.  And I know better.  I know all about living a healthy lifestyle and nutrition and exercise and balance.  And despite knowing it, and knowing it deep in my bones, I haven't done it.

I won't make excuses, but I think I understand how it happened.  2008 has been a roller-coaster of a year, with many challenges, starting with the death of my Father, writing a book and going back to school as I tried to find something to pick up my spirits.

For some reason, and I'm not sure why, somewhere along the way I lost my passion for running.  I haven't really run since the Long Beach Marathon in October.  I have no idea where the spark went.

And food for me has always been a coping mechanism, almost a reflex reaction to depression and despair and heart-ache.  When I am stressed out - I eat and I drink. And when I say I eat and drink, I mean I eat and I drink like a Highlander at a Clan Gathering or a Viking at a Feast.

Working at home has it's own special dangers because you can eat and drink any time you get the urge.  And I can assure you, I was taught to clean everything off my plate because there were children in the world who were starving.  And as an adult I don't believe I have ever stuck a cork BACK into a bottle that I have opened.

What's worse, is that my life had become so chaotic in the past few months as I dealt with what seemed like dozens of irons in lots of different fires, that my home had begun to resemble a storage locker, or a documentary film about hoarders.  I couldn't even get into my kitchen for a six week period.  It, and I was, insane.

I ate out every single meal.  And washed down every mouthful with a guzzle of beer or a swig of wine.  And I ate every greasy, fatty comfort food I could think of.

This is literally what killed my Father.  Caused numerous heart attacks and by-pass surgery, diabetes and any other number of complications, and a horrible lingering death that haunts me still and causes me nightmares.

And I myself feel terrible.  I have endless heart burn and an aching back and every old injury I have ever suffered is screaming at me, "What in God's good name are you doing to yourself?!"  I have been living on Zantac and antacids by the bucketful, and because of my schedule, working seven days a week and on four or five hours of sleep a night.

So what am I going to do?  Now that I can smell the coffee?

Another Marathon Clinic starts on January 6.   I'll be there.

I bought myself a one-year gym membership.

I went to the doctor this week and was astonished that my blood-work was okay, my resting heart rate was 58 and that my blood pressure was only 118/80. 

So now I will bow my head in the direction of the New Moon and break some bad habits.

227 pounds.  No, really two hundred and twenty-seven pounds.

The young Santa Claus.

Damn!  That is one UGLY white whale off the portly bow....

Sweet Jesus, in God's good name what have I done to myself......

Friday, December 19, 2008

Vancouver in December

 I did this before 8:00 am, on the way to the Doctor's Office - in minus -15 degree Celsius weather I might add!

This morning was magic. A happy accident.

Like most art and many things in life and love.

I now think of taking photographs like training for a marathon or ultra-marathon. 

You simply HAVE to set aside time to go out with 
your camera.

It's a date with yourself to replenish your heart and feed all the better aspects of your spirit and soul.

The time you set aside to be creative is an investment in your happiness.

Your camera is not a burden. 

It is an instrument to set your imagination free on flights of fancy.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Running Genes - Calling all Sigurd Clan Members

As mentioned in the previous post, I am descended from the Sigurd Clan in my Father's Patrilineal contributions to my DnNA

Running Genes - Calling all Uta Clan Members

I've been working away, getting fat and sassy, (happy is a work in progress).  But I did get my DNA tested from www.OxfordAncestors.com about six weeks ago which was rather a fascinating exercise.

Now I'm looking for distance cousins - especially on my Mother's side as Mom's hit a bit of a snag in the old family Matrilineal Line.    Seems I have a Great-Great Grandmother with a wonderfully mysterious past...

Delicious stuff!

 The old girl was born in Calcutta in 1814 and wouldn't it be great if she was the daughter of a local Indian woman who married an officer - my Great-Great Grandfather - who was in the Honorable East India Company!

Turns out my Mother belongs to the Clan of Uta, according to Dr. Bryan Sykes at Oxford University and Oxford Ancestors, a very rare Clan in the United Kingdom where my mother's family originates.  Uta, you see, originates they think, in Central and Southern Asia!  Perhaps India really is the Mother country and I am 1/64th Indian.  But, and this is a big but, if you are descended from Uta and reside in England, you probably got your Uta DNA from a Norse Viking.  Either or, two great stories.

On my Father's side, my Patrilineal DNA makes me part of the Sigurd Clan, or northernmost Vikings.  Who would have guessed?