Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Terror and Intrigue

A few years ago I signed up for an improv class.  The prospect was terrifying and intriguing.

I thought it would be good to do something that scared me a little bit.  And I was feeling clumsy at the time.  By clumsy I really mean I wasn't feeling like I was good at anything.  

I thought I might be good at improv.  I can be quick to make remarks.  Sometimes these remarks are funny.  Perhaps there was something more I could do with my quips.  I attended many improv shows and often had my own ideas about where I would have taken the situation if I was on-stage (I realized coming up with ideas here and there from the safe environment of the audience wouldn't translate to brilliance on-stage). 

The first class made me uncomfortable.  I know, I know that's the point. 
The second class I was on stage acting like a vulture ordering a smoothie.  
I felt like an asshole.
I was not able to attend the third class due to work.
The week after that, work was an excuse not to attend.
The week after that missing two straight weeks was an excuse to drop the class.

I quit.  I bailed.  I was a wussy.  I never felt quite right about it and often thought I should take the class in order to conquer the things that led me to bail.  In part because those things (anxiety, self consciousness, not liking be out of control) are my Achilles heel.

Last week I attended Part One of storytelling workshop.  It was led by the guy who started The Monti.  

The leader made some remarks and then asked who wanted to start.


I finished my wine like I was doing a shot.
I stood up.
Told my story.
I was happy with it but knew I could improve based on the feedback from the audience and my own self-assessment.  

A week later, Part Two.  And this times there's a mic with the option to record.  Several folks had yet to share so I hadn't planned on telling another story. Until everyone had gone with much time left in the session.  I chugged my wine and during the short walk between the couch and the mic (5 feet) I thought of a story and told it.

There's something intriguing and terrifying about telling a personal story in front of a live audience. 

Of course after listening to it I've thought of a several things to change and improve.  That said I was happy with my (relatively) slower pace and (relatively) less anxiety in my voice.  

And, how much and how little I've changed since high school. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

There are .6 grams of carbs in one strand of spaghetti

One week into the "Look Better Naked Challenge."

My weekly total was about the same as most people's daily totals.

When I sent in my points I wrote "Yes, that's my weekly total, not my daily average."

The nutrition bit is killing me (literally).  

For all the fish oil and water drinking and workout out and sleeping I've done (positive points) "cheat meals" are negative points.  Cheat meals makes it sound like I had ice cream for breakfast.  I have.  Some of my meals have been almost "Zoned" but not quite.  I prefer to think of those as noncompliant.  But they're one and the same for this challenge.

I love spaghetti.  I cheat with spaghetti.  I'm trying to make an honest meal of spaghetti.   

There are .6 grams of carbs in one strand of spaghetti.  
That allows me 45 strands per meal.
That's almost as sad as weighing spaghetti.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You know you've been in North Carolina too long

Cashier:  What are you packing?
Jamie (thinking):  Do I look like I carry a gun?  
Jamie looks down and realizes the question is in reference to her purchase.
Jamie (says):  A Smith & Wesson
Cashier laughs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Someone woke up the dragon. Happy Chinese New Year.

Christians should celebrate with takeout and trip to the movie theater.  
A spin on a Jewish Christmas.  Christian Chinese New Year.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Drinking (and tracking) 64 ounces of water a day (+ visits to the rest room) is kind of a hassle.

Until I found this:

The minimalist in me loves the multi-purposeness of it.
I actually want to bake for the sole purpose of using the glass to measure an ingredient and then having a shot.  

And, the associated trips to the restroom might become more entertaining.   
I think I just found a birthday gift for Diane.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Who was the hero? Dance.

I agreed to see "The Artist" not realizing it was a silent film.
I gave directions not be woken when I fell asleep.

I stand (wide awake) corrected.
The movie was delightful.  Especially delightful to screen at the lovely Carolina Theater.

What is President Walken doing in Hollywood in 1929?  I've decided I'm just happier living in a world where Sam Seaborn, er, I mean "The West Wing" is real.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pre-Challenge Benchmarks

Huh?  What challenge?  This one.

BMI:  18.6

Body Fat:  17.1%

Blood Pressure: 120/97

Heart Rate:  92 
Heart rate is a bit high.  The coach advised me to relax and took it again.  It went up to 97.

Triglycerides: 213 (this is a measurement from a November 2011 Dr. appointment)

Christine: 14 minutes 25 seconds, not Rx
Who is Christine?
It's the name of a workout that consists of three rounds of the following:
Row 500m
Dead-lifts 12 reps, Rx weight is your bodyweight.  I lifted a little bit more than half of me.
Box Jumps, 21 reps on a 21 inch box.  I did more stepping than jumping in the last round.  

Before Pics:  Taken.  I'm not modest but I'm also not stupid enough to post these on the internet. 

I'll be hyperlinking to this page in about ten weeks. 

Why I Might Not Be A Good Social Scientist: Reason #3

I think a personal conversation is, well, personal.

I was talking to my boss about philosophical and moral issues.  In the context of what we do it's tricky to separate a professional conversation from a personal conversation but this one was definitely more along the lines of the latter.

I posed a question that intrigued my boss.  At the close of the conversation I joked "Let's do a study."  Many conversations end with "Let's do a study" that don't actually materialize in one.  Like the equivalent of saying "I'll call you" at the end of a date when you know you don't want another.

The next morning my boss had already initiated a collaboration between me and a professor at another university to further explore the topic.

This reason (and others) are more remarks about the nature of the work I'm doing through the lens of my previous experience, current inexperience, cynicism and naiveté.  I have plenty of reasons to think I'm a great social scientist but it's just more fun to think about falling flat on my face.

And, they'll be good fodder for my book tour.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sleep, not Soda

A few days after I resolved to be more of a bad ass at Cross Fit and Eat better I read about the "Look Better Naked Challenge" on the Cross Fit Durham website.

My first thought was "I already look great naked."

But I read on and decided that if I was serious about my resolutions there were reasons to sign up for this besides looking even better naked (I have my issues folks.  Body image just isn't one of them.  Nor is modesty).

The challenge gives points for things like eating balanced meals, post work out meals, fish oil intake, drinking 64 ounces of water  a day, going to Cross Fit (duh) and here's my absolute favorite:  Getting 8 hours of sleep.  Points are deducted for things like not taking a rest day, soda, booze, anything that tastes good.

There are two meal plan options.  Whole30 and the Zone.

I only had to read the first page of the Whole30 plan to decide it was not an option.  First of all, the first page was one of like 20 pages.  The first page outlined what you cannot eat.  That continued onto the second page.  After one page I was at a loss for what other foods existed, consumable or not.

The Zone is complicated in it's own way but is far less restrictive and in line with my philosophy that all meals should include a mix of carbs, protein and fat (that philosophy is unrealized but having one is a step away from grocery shopping at the vending machine).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dr Dog

My dad finds great joy in golf.  I feel joy knowing he has this.

My Dad grew up in Queens across the street from a golf course.  So, he golfed often.  Very often.

Dad is golf.

A few summers ago I joined my dad on the course.  There was a bit of commotion and his golf partner felt it was affecting his game to which my father responded "It shouldn't."

My dad explained the level of concentration required by the game from the golfer should be such where your mind is with your body, swing and ball.  Nothing else.  It was in that moment I realized part of the joy of the game is escape and I further understood what time on the course brought to my dad (for one thing, my dad and I are both afflicted with the propensity to focus on what's next instead of the moment).

So, I took great pause in a phone call I had with my Dad (on Christmas Day, 2010) when he indicated his joy for the game was diminishing.  Dad is golf.  It's about being with your body, swing and ball.

What could possibly affect that?

A friend, a golf partner, and wonderful person who went by "Dr. Dog"  had pancreatic cancer.   He would not be a survivor.   This disease was going to kill him.  My dad was going to lose his best friend.   And without the joy of their camaraderie on and off the course the game changed.  My dad changed.  Because it's about so much more than your body, swing and the ball.

Dr. Dog was blessed with much more time than expected.  He got a few more tee times.  His life was celebrated with a roast.  He lived his final months as he did his life.  Joking and laughing and embracing commotion.

Dr. Dog died on January 7th, 2012.

I am deeply sad for my dad.  I know him well enough to have some idea how he will deal with and experience this loss.  His faith will provide some comfort.

In the spirit of the joy golf brought to both Dr. Dog and my father I went to driving range on the day of his memorial and whacked away thinking not about the ball or the swing but wishing joy to my dad and Dr. Dog in whatever form it might take.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Hi 2012. Here are some thoughts about the next 357 days we'll be spending together.

Not all of this needs to happen.  2012 (like 2011, 2010, 2090 and so on) will present me with new challenges to face, resolve or fail.   

Be more of a bad ass at Cross Fit 
I've got more in me than I give.
I'm mindful of things like pacing and avoiding injury but I need to push myself harder.
My mind is full of will, feistiness and strength that I need to demand from my body.

Cross Fit an extremely conducive environment (some might say too conducive) for this and I've had moments where I've channeled my determination (or a Coach just screams at me) and have truly given it everything I've got.  I want to do this consistently, not momentarily.

Play to a strength:  Swimming
I'm a really good swimmer.  I spent 13 summers in a lake in New Hampshire participating in and eventually running a swim program with a focus on form.  Years later I learned that speed that can come with an efficient stroke and strong body.  I've got both and they're starting to sync up.

My swim goals for 2012 are to
-steadily improve 100m pace for 250m swim
-do a 2 mile swim and don't drown.  Goodbye Little Uno, Hello Big Deuce.

I want to make something.  And I want it to have an audience and impact.
This could manifest itself in a number of ways.  At present, my hope is that I achieve this through my work.  In academia, getting published seems to be the golden goose. That's not necessarily what I'm after but the sentiment is similar.  Ask a good question, explore it, express it, share.  Something like that.  Or maybe just get pregnant and reproduce.

I've spent a great deal of time in the past year and half in my head or on the road.  There was good reason to spend time in both destinations but it has left me feeling a bit disconnected from places, people and possibilities.

Eat Better 
I'm really bad about preparing and planning meals and sometimes I don't have hunger as a prompt.  My last blood test revealed high triglycerides.  Considering all the things I do that prevent high triglycerides (I don't smoke, drink that much and I exercise a lot) my diet must be pretty bad for something to show through.

Park Better 
I have a small car.  I don't always park straight but I'm always in the lines and I've maintained that's all that matters.  Until I saw this.  There's just something obnoxious and stupid looking about it.