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Monday, February 24, 2020

Upping the Treadmill

Each week I weigh myself first thing Monday morning.  My weight has not changed in three years.  While discarding some old papers I noted a previous weekly tracking from ten years earlier when it registered three pounds less.  My target weight would be nine pounds under current.  I came close a few years ago with severe pastry restriction.  I don't recall if I felt better or worse, but at the time I was a bit overworked professionally.  Each half year when I set my six month goals, I have included a weight target which never happens.  Short of some involuntary weight loss from illness, it probably won't, so I redirected my health goal at exercise.

For years, I have avoided having my treadmill, a significant investment at the time, from becoming one more flat surface to plant things indefinitely.  In recent years, with particular attention since retirement, I set a schedule which I have done mostly a decent job maintaining, with a few lapses for lower back pain.  When I am consistent with walking, I seem to get through the preset program each session fairly easily, legs more bothersome than breathing or anginal symptoms.  I have increased the intensity randomly over the years, only to scale back following a layoff.  This time I set a six month intensity and duration goal, which I have worked toward with very few missed days.  It came time to increase the time a bit, which I did without much difficulty.  Then increase the speed by 0.1 mph yesterday, which took its toll, more on my breathing than my legs, though I can tell the difference today.  It's a scheduled day off today.  I am still three minutes short of ultimate time goal, which I expect to be able to meet and 0.2 mph short of the speed goal which seems less certain.  However, these are each significantly above the starting levels three months ago.

My weight has not changed.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Library Stabbing

Image result for finkelstein memorial libraryA security guard was fatally stabbed at the Finkelstein Memorial Library, a frequent destination of my youth.  My friend's mother was one of the librarians, and my friend also became a professional educational librarian.  It was a small library as libraries go, though I did not realize that until I started accessing the NYC Public Library System in late high school, then University and large city facilities thereafter.  Now we have networks.  My own local library branch seems about like Finkelstein in capacity but it links to a statewide system that I can access from My Space. 

Wherever I lived or worked, the local library or the University Library has been a refuge.  It provides resources but takes me from the distractions of home to the distractions of magazines that I might not otherwise access or reference books that have entries for people or places that I knew personally.

I never questioned the safety of being there.  Most had door attendants to limit theft of materials and sometimes to make sure that only University affiliates entered.  But mostly they functioned on an honor system.  Look at what you want.  Try to maintain decorum.  Sign out what you want to borrow.  Return things on time.  I doubt if any of the front door attendants was armed.  Nor was the guard, now of blessed memory, at Finkelstein.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Following the Day's Plan

Up on time.  At My Space on time.  Each night, except Friday, at about 7PM I create an outline for the following day.  It is taken indirection from my semi-annual goals with tasks to make them happen.  Then I sleep on it.  The following day, they usually seem reasonable, though I rarely find myself as motivated as I was the evening before when I create the list.

I categorize tasks into Self-Family/Financial/Home Maintenance/Professional, which for me is still things I would do as a doctor.  What I do not do is prioritize within categories.   I look instead, at what can I do quickly now, what can I get rid of so it does not appear on tomorrow's list or even next week's list.  Some things I do not like doing, particularly exercise, but since it is in my enlightened self-interest, that usually gets done.  Tasks that bring me to my semi-annual goals get noted by a highlighter.  It hasn't helped much.  Yet the overriding question always remains, what cna I do right now.  I usually do something.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Library in Suspension

Now that I no longer head off to work each morning, some form of diversion from my house, even from My Space, requires some thought about alternate destinations.  I used to go to stores, not so much because I needed anything as much as they accepted my presence with no obligation on my part.  And there were a lot of them.  Weather permitting, I could go to a park, maybe fish unsuccessfully for a while.  And there is always the library.  It came to my attention recently that libraries are more popular destinations than I would have imagined, even in these days when access to cyberspace offers more to read or listen to than anybody realistically can.  There is something to be said among being amid people, even strangers who keep to themselves.

I've been a library enthusiast since childhood.  I might even still have one of those cards with a metallic insert to run under some carbon paper at checkout.  Card catalogs in big drawers are long gone.  I can access our library's holdings, including branches other than my local one, from my desk but it's not the same as choosing a subject like cooking and looking at the cookbooks on the shelves.

It came as a disappointment that my branch will effectively close for three weeks for carpet replacement.  Big project, since they have to relocate all the materials to do this.  As I walked on the floors today, peering downward, I did not see any ripped carpet that would risk a fractured hip nor any major soiling.  The commercial carpet seemed to have a reasonable amount of low pile.  The neutral color scheme seemed conducive to reading or typing away on their computers.  Maybe a generous donor offered new carpeting at a great price that couldn't be refused.  Or while the need was not obvious to me but may be apparent to the director.  In any case, functionally off limits for a few  weeks starting in just a few days.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Resuming OLLI


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It's been a great respite, roughly two months long.  Osher Institute follows a University schedule that affords its students a long winter break intended to pursue independent study or work related to study that really cannot be done in the more typical two week winter hiatuses that most university calendars follow.  As post-career students at Osher Institute we generally do not have that future focus, though I'm sure lots of people headed to the warm or traveled to the exotic or made the grandkids rounds across America, something that requires more than two weeks for optimal benefit.   OLLI is unstructured and so am I.  A lot can be done in two months but my own effort was not sustained.  I submitted a few articles, emptied my storage rental unit, visited my daughter, and made some effort to organize my house which could have happened were my effort sustained.

Tomorrow my classes resume, four + Wednesday afternoon Mah Jongg.  None are really participatory classes this time.  Learn about the eye, perhaps understand why I think contemporary Republicanism is an ethical blight, analyze some historical disasters, and go on a weekly scavenger tour of the University of Delaware.  It gives needed structure to the week, which helps when I try to focus better on the twelve semi-annual objectives that I assemble December and June.  Those things need focus.  OLLI helps me get that.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Nominating Myself

Image result for nominate myselfAmerica can live through most any kind of public blight.  We have historically survived our share of crises, some leadership corrected, some leadership generated as we seem to have now.  I never expected the people themselves to reject openness and honesty, though historically that's what it took to have Jim Crow and dysfunctional courts as a lingering Confederate legacy once slavery got out of reach. The writer George Packer of The Atlantic recently offered an address on receiving the prestigious Hitchens Prize for editorial writing.  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/packer-hitchens/605365/

He notes that writers, and many others, have become fearful.  We saw that with the attempt to remove a public blight of a President from Office.  People supported him out of fear of reprisal.  Avoiding reprisal was to them more valuable than Keter Shem Tov, the lofty Crown of a Good Name, which most have already tossed aside.  George spoke about fear:  The fear is more subtle and, in a way, more crippling. It’s the fear of moral judgment, public shaming, social ridicule, and ostracism. It’s the fear of landing on the wrong side of whatever group matters to you. An orthodoxy enforced by social pressure can be more powerful than official ideology, because popular outrage has more weight than the party line.

Ironically this all comes the week of Parsha B'Shalach when the escaping Jewish slaves feel trapped, forcing a decision to forge ahead, fight back, or give up.  It was the one Prince who did not have a reference to God in his name, Nachshon, who stepped into the sea first.  Sometimes you just have to say that honesty and character are gifts from God to be protected.

Delaware allows party members to nominate themselves as convention delegates.  I never expected to ever take a public political stand, but I filled out the forms to become a Bloomberg delegate.  Unlikely that he will get the state party's support over our former VP who lives here, but just once I need to pretend I am on a hiring committee and pick the right one, even at the risk of being voted out.  I emailed my self-nomination.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Push Reset Button

As I did last year, I afforded myself a solo few days away, withing a few hours, for some visiting to an unfamiliar place.  Last year I went to Penn State University during a deep freeze that kept school activities largely cancelled.  It was a pleasant town, though.

This winter I stayed in the Poconos for some snow tubing and some Aquatopia indoor water park, both affiliated with the Camelback Ski Resort.  To my surprise, both attracted a large contingent of the Orthodox community, about 2-3 hours away.  All had velvet kippot.  Most men had visible tzitzit peering over their belts.  Few full beards however.  They had large families but fewer visibly pregnant women than at most similar gatherings.  Learned a little about tzniyut at the waterpark.  Barefoot was fine.  Boys wore t-shirts.  Girls wore either knee length leggings and long t-shirt or shirtdresses, though they had usual teenage swimwear beneath.  And when I tried to introduce myself as a Monsey native, lantzman with a crotcheted kippah, they were not particularly friendly. 

Snow tubing did not result in safety problems but it took just under a half-hour on the conveyor belt and waiting on the lane queue for a one minute thrill downwards.  At Aquatopia, I was by far the oldest patron.  Lovely hot tub that had an indoor and outdoor component where steam rose at the outdoor water-air interface.  I capsized my Lazy River tube repeatedly but once stable I let the current take me around a few times.  Wave pool disappointing.  Did not measure up to the one at Dorney Park let alone the waves at Fenwick Island State Park.  And one run down the smallest of the circular indoor thrill rides which left me just thrilled enough.

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Supper at decent brew pubs each evening.

Did not sleep well.  Sacked out as soon as I got back to the hotel, only to wake at midnight and keep myself up inappropriately by the great transgression of looking at my cell phone's blue emitting hue.

Drove home uneventfully but clearly out of sorts.  Try some formal set sleep times the rest of the week.  Hit Reset Button tomorrow.
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