Quality of life for me has been noticeably lower this year. Injuries, aches, pains have increased in both frequency and duration. Currently, I'm dealing with some lower back pain. I firmly believe this increase in morbidities are due to my morbid obesity--the demon I've never been able to shake.
At any rate, the net result is something of a vicious cycle: I don't feel like exercising because x body part hurts, so I don't exercise even when I feel I could get my butt down to the gym. Instead, I turn to my old pal, food, for a little pop in my brain that makes me forget/feel comforted, even if only for less than a minute. The irony is that exercise, while I hate the boredom of it, actually produces longer lasting and higher quality euphoria.
I have looked into weight loss surgery, and in the end will probably choose to go through with it as a weight loss tool. It is the only thing I've observed in my life that actually has data that shows the weight stays off--and for me, nothing else really matters.
About 7 years ago I lost over 100 lbs using the Weight Watchers method. Of course it worked, but the key for me was tracking the number of calories, fat and fiber you eat everyday. Obviously, very few people sustain that kind of pedantic record-keeping for the long haul, even if you have easy access to the information. (If someone knows differently, please comment.)
Since that 100lb loss, I have gained all of it back and more. There are some psychological drivers at work here that I'm working on with a therapist, but I strongly doubt that talking to a head shrink will result in a permanent shrinkage of my waistline. (Bad pun. Sorry.) Something's gotta give. I'm 38 years old, but feel like I'm 83.
I frequently feel that if "I could only lose the weight," then I'd have fewer problems. This might be one of the issues I should explore with my therapist. It doesn't make sense. But I do think that I'd have more energy. I'd be less afraid to do something that requires sustained physical activity, like spending all day on my feet at an amusement park.
We made our trip back to the heartland this fall. Grandma Lilly turned 80 and we had a great turnout at her birthday bash. It coincided nicely with Thanksgiving. Shown above are the Hasch grandkids. More photos like this are available on the web.
I love my iPod. I love being able to carry around my entire music collection in my pocket. Being a long-time iTunes user, it's a shame I didn't discover podcasts before the iPod. But the real killer: audiobooks. They took me totally by surprise and I am enamored. Audiobooks from iTunes are expensive, but there are other sources. The problem is, when you rip audiobook CDs, you can get them into iTunes/iPod with no problems, but navigation is a Sisyphean chore.
Sure, iPod and iTunes remember where you left off, but a single inadvertent wheel click can undo that "bookmark." What's worse, my crazy entertainment-center-with-iPod-dock likes to spontaneously start the iPod playing when you turn the system off. No, I want the real thing when it comes to audiobooks. I want a single file or small number of files; I want them to show up in my audiobooks group thingy. There are guides on the web to get you thru these issues. (short version: create a single AAC encoded file and rename to .m4b, then import to iTunes) But the Holy Grail has been chapter breaks. I can remember "Chapter 12" better than 04:23:08. And I want them where the author intended, not necessarily at the unfortunate boundaries imposed by the CD medium.
Slideshow adapter to the rescue! Props to ejsjrnc over at iLounge for finding it and documenting it for the rest of us. It's a geek tool. But if you want what I want, you're probably a geek, too.
Since I've begun to crew for a balloon-pilot colleague, I've become interested in this sport. I've been doing a little research. So, having grown up in southeast Nebraska, about 10 miles from Bruning, I was surprised to learn of a significant event that occurred there in 1960. The equipment used in modern hot air ballooning was first demonstrated outside Bruning by Ed Yost (who coincidentally died just a few weeks ago [No! Not in a balloon wreck!].) He was the first to use an airborne heater to keep the balloon aloft.
Of course, hot air ballooning had been around for almost 200 years at that point. The advent of a portable mechanism to keep the air hot allowed the pilot to maneuver in the vertical plane, and the sport received a shot in the arm. Currently there are, according to My Favorite Site in the World, 7500 balloons in the US.
I found it somewhat ironic that Southeast Nebraska would be involved in the revival of a sport which, as far as I know, has almost no participation in that part of the world. I don't recall ever seeing a hot air balloon as a kid. Someone, please correct me if I'm wrong about the dearth of ballooning in SE Nebr.
Ahh...Bruning. I have fond memories of Pastor Thomas Damrow, who shepherded the flock Trinity Lutheran Church in Bruning during my childhood there. God bless you, if you're out there, Pastor.