Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mama Said There'd Be Weeks Like This...

Hi everyone,

As you've already noticed, my blog entry is quite late this week. In fact, this is the latest I've ever posted my weekly entry. In my defense, it has been a week of overscheduling and unexpected obstacles. On top of temping 40 hours a week, I've been taking the long train ride to Chicago several times to rehearse with my improv classmates. I gave myself just enough time to write something... and than a Category 1 tornado hit Downers Grove on Tuesday night and my neighborhood was without power for over 24 hours. I even had a specific topic in mind, one that required a bit of research, but it can wait a few weeks. I was very tempted to the call this week a wash and sit it out --the first time I would've done so in 5 1/2 years-- but at heart I didn't want to let you all down. I had to type out something.

Between improv and data entry, I've also been working out. In late April I bought a gym membership, and once or twice a week I meet with a trainer. I'd been looking to lose some weight, and though I've been careful about meal portions and my sugar intake, progress had stalled. You see, I was pretty skinny in high school --about 5'8" and 130 lbs.-- but I had a high metabolism and paid minimal attention to dietary needs. Nearly five years later, I was a half-inch taller and 45 pounds heavier. That's not obese by any means, but I was increasingly lethargic and feeling more self-conscious. Rather than buy a new wardrobe to accommodate my weight gain, I made a series of changes to my diet: no large extra value meals (smalls and mediums were my breaking point), more water, and less snacking. By late 2008 I was down to 165 pounds, and that's where I hovered around until two months ago. Now I'm just over 155, which was my approximate weight in mid-2005. Once I clear that hurdle, the question now is how I'll keep that weight off in the long run.

One last thing: upon hearing of the passing of Clarence Clemons, I took a breather from my "Wonderful Year" research and listened to Greetings From Asbury Park, The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, and Born To Run back-to-back-to-back. I arrived at two conclusions that had been lodged somewhere in my subconscious for years. First of all, Clarence was the heart of the E Street Band; it makes perfect sense that he was the first official member of Bruce's backing band (nearly 43 years!) and The Boss' unofficial lieutanant. Secondly, he was one helluva saxophonist. I sincerely regret that I never got to see the E Street Band play live when I had the opportunity, if only to see and hear Clemons' immaculate solo on "Jungleland." You will be dearly missed, Big Man.

Next week: the year in music, 2006.


  1. So how close to you was the tornado? I stood outside and watched the storm for a good 20 minutes, and it was just relentless. Haven't seen a storm or gust (60? 70mph??) that strong in years. They only turned on the sirens for a few seconds here.

    Good luck on your purification diet. My tips to you? Smaller portions, 1 can of soda a day max, no desserts like cake, pie, candy or ice cream, cut out hot dogs, sausage, ribs, whole milk, full fat mayonnaise, cream cheese & sour cream, beer, limit breakfast to eggs, yogurt, toast, non-sugar cereal, granola, fruit & black coffee or tea, avoid buttering all bread & cooking with butter, and drink water when you feel like snacking (and I'd cut out the salty snacks).

    Do these simple things (or any combo of them) and the pounds should start melting off. Notice I didn't say "stop eating pizza, beefs or cheeseburgers and start eating salads". Looking at some of my old blog files, I too was overweight in 2005 - in fact 38 pounds heavier apparently. Tho in those days I used to have midnight snacks of two hot dogs with American cheese & used to eat a box of Hot Pockets for lunch. Dying slow!

    Extra value meals? Really? I don't do those & just rely on a sandwich and a half (save the rest for later), water or my own soda & chips. Fries & fast food soda is such a rip-off & they water it down a lot.

    Btw those new Wendy's Natural Cut Fries suck!

  2. Glad you ask, Mark. The center of the tornado was about three-quarters of a mile southwest of my house, off Maple Avenue. One week later and the cleaning crews are still picking up all the branches and debris. The winds were strong enough to destroy two 100-year-old trees on our front lawn; there was no property damage, they both landed in the street. What remained standing was chopped down by the village.

    I like that word, "purification." I was already following some of those tips before going to a trainer, and she took this a step further: no white bread (wheat, whole-grain, or multi-oat only), more protein, more water, and maybe one can of soda a week. I'm not a diabetes risk, but she was concerned with my sugar intake, so by and large I'm laying off the sweets.

  3. Very cool that you were within 1 mile - at least to my inner storm chaser. My records are still 4 1/2 miles from the Plainfield Tornado, and at least 1 mile at the very closest (there apparently was a tornado in a old sod field just west of me in 1980, but that's all the info I have). Damn, so with those trees gone, it really opens up the front lawn a lot? I've had bad storm tree damage to trees only 25 years old.

    Purification Diet is a total Seinfeld reference :P I'd worry about your blood sugar level getting too low, and our bodies do still need some fat. One thing that I learned is there is no logical reason to splurge on holiday meals and say "oh I'll make it for it later", because that indulgence is unnecessary & stuffing yourself stupid serves no purpose. In fact, Thanksgiving is just as good with 1 serving as opposed to 3 or 4 in a sitting. Ask yourself, "what would I rather do? Eat a piece of pie or spend an hour working out?" It's just totally easier to push the plate away. I'm lazy like that :P And I even do little things, like tearing off excess flour tortilla on burritos to save for another day which I'll crisp up pieces in the oven & use them for salsa. Blot off pizza grease with napkins or paper towels, and if you eat out, don't be afraid to take leftovers home & fridge them for a day or two. The freezer is your friend. Right now I got all kinds of leftovers included pizza, Arby's curly fries, rough dough & cold cuts sitting in the freezer.