Sunday, December 23, 2007

awesome game of Scrabble

I am not a Scrabble player. It's not a game I grew up with and I've always had a belief that I'm really not good at it. I don't know the tricks and all the two-letter words possible, etc. I honestly played only the second real game of my adult life tonight and I had crazy luck!

My first set of game tiles were H, H, E, E, U, U, T so my first word down was "teeth" off of "teen." During the course of the game, I managed to draw the Q (triple letter score), X (double word score off two words), Z and both blanks. I also happened to land two triple word scores. My opponents were being nice and letting me look through the dictionary since I'm a new player but I didn't end up using any of the words I found. The long and short of this story though is how I managed to win with an amazing final hand. My last set of tiles included the Z and two blanks along with M, B, O and S. I didn't see it at first but realized I had the potential to put down "zombies" and use all my tiles for an extra 50 points. I also saw a place on the board where I could lay it down with the "s" ending on top of the vertical word "pew" for a second word score with "spew."

As luck would have, when my turn came back around, that spot was still open and I put down my word for a score of 29 points on "zomb[i][e]s" and "spew" then add on the 50 bonus points for using all seven tiles for a round total of 79, the highest of our game! It was amazingly lucky; and I also found out that when you go out first with all your tiles (and no more tiles remaining in the draw bag), you get to add to your score all the points on the other players' remaining tiles (in this case 34) and they have to subtract the number of points on their remaining tiles from their scores. My final score was 253 with the next highest being 181. I'm guessing they won't be letting me read the dictionary the next time we play.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Week 4 Update

Not much progress was made this week. We've stopped doing the "morning exercises" all together. For me at least, it's partly in anticipation of the new exercise routine we'll be starting with the Body-For-LIFE program. Still need to finish reading the book! Just two more chapters left and the rest are appendices (FAQ, exercise breakdowns). I did find the daily journal pages for eating and exercising online and started a notebook to track progress. We're also considering joining the 2008 Challenge.

I have learned all of Choong-Moo and have been going to classes regularly. Tonight was really fun; we did combinations of forward and backward rolls, coming up into kicks. I plan to create and memorize my ho sin sool over the holiday break.

On the mental front, I have yet to start meditation either but have really begun my awareness practice. I can tell I am getting more in touch with separating feelings from learned behavioral responses to them. I even had a dream of being pregnant which I interpret to be my "rebirth" into a more mature and aware person. I've been feeling much more balanced an happy too on a daily basis.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Week 3 Update

I am well into Body for LIFE and will be making some changes to the goals because some aren't really "goals" in the sense that they have measurable results. Anyway, the book presents several questions you have to answer before starting the program:

What are your reasons for making the decision to change?
I've felt the desire to change for years. I want to be a healthy person and I want to turn things around while I am still young. I want to feel good about myself and my well-being. I want to feel more confident and more energetic.

Five goals to achieve within 12 weeks:
  1. Lose 30 pounds of fat.
  2. Gain strength and muscle to where I can do 25 real push-ups.
  3. Gain stamina to where I can actually do 300 jumping jacks in a row.
  4. Have a healthy, defined eating routine that limits eating out to twice a week.
  5. Earn my senior red belt.
Three unauthorized patterns of action:
  1. Eating out all the damn time! Not cooking dinner.
  2. Going to bed too late and then not getting up to do exercise.
  3. Doing negative self-talk instead of having compassion for my feelings.
Three new patterns of action to help me reach my goals:
  1. Get up each day and do a workout.
  2. Establish a regular pattern of sleep - this includes weekends.
  3. Meditate daily to increase self-awareness.
So, I am pretty stoked to get started on this 12 week program. I hope to finish reading the book this week. It recommends reading and reviewing these goals and statements every morning and every evening during the 12 weeks. It also recommends taking a "before" picture and I'm pretty uneasy about doing that; I know it will be bad. But I suppose that's the point.

I did finish up The Depression Book (that's one goal accomplished this month) and am now re-reading it aloud. I am practicing awareness of my feelings to start breaking down some of those automatic behaviors and reactions to them. I want to start recognizing feelings for feelings and not making judgments on them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Week 2 Update

Well, this week was a little better. Still having trouble getting up early and doing the exercises, especially on the weekends. But, I did do them Wednesday, Monday and Tuesday -- even doing all 300 jumping jacks today (in 50 count segments). I also attended every TKD class and went early most of those days to teach/help out beforehand. Yesterday, I finished learning all the moves for my next form, Choong-Moo, which I'll need for my next test. Additionally, I need to start working up a ho sin sool and plan to practice that quite a bit over my 10 day break from work for the holidays.

Over the weekend, I started reading Body-for-LIFE meaning I got through the preface and forward. I am trying to read like four books at once! I'm also about halfway through The Depression Book which is another title from Zen teacher Cheri Huber. I'm really enjoying her approach to depression (What are you depressing?). For a long time I've wanted to practice mindfulness and I find her methods help with that pursuit.

I don't think I've lost any weight yet (I don't have a working scale anyway) but I am feeling stronger and my back problems have lessened quite a bit.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Apheresis PhD Program for 2008

PhD logo "life is in your hands" tagline

Today I made my first eligible platelet donation during the PhD Program at the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas. It's completely unclear in the Center's documentation as to why it's called the PhD program (it merely states that "PhD represents apheresis donation"; but with a little research I believe it's meant to stand for Personal Hemodialysis, which is the type of device used to separate platelets from whole blood.

During the duration of this program, Hands of the Donor members will have their donations tracked and posted in the donation center lobby at 4300 N. Lamar, Austin, Texas, starting in April 2008. Donations for the month of December 2007 will also be counted towards the total so I am on track to give a total of 27 donations for the period; donors are able to give platelets 24 times each year. I don't know that there is a particular prize beyond a little notoriety, but I'm happy to participate and I hope to convince others to donate as well.

If you are interested in donating blood in the Austin area, please visit the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas Web site. The site has lots of information on the various donation programs as well as information on blood and how it's used. You can even schedule an appointment online!