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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Boot Camp 101

Boot camp.  Do you do it?  Have you gone?  Are you sore?

My friend Matthew is just completely convinced that it is the cat's meow.  That is it THE thing to turn us into creatures of bathing beauty status by next spring.  If you haven't gone yet, it is probably one of the highest intensity workouts that you'll participate in.  A variety of workout stations set up around the room.  All sorts of barbells, dumbbells, and stepping risers at each stations.  Probably half of the room for upper body workout.  The other half for lower body.  It's a quick minute or two of warm up jumping jacks or push ups or some other pussified thing and then we're off!  To about 50 or so minutes of fast-paced, race car-speed-induced stations of exercises designed to raise your heart rate, keep it raised, and push your limits.  I would actually concur that it is beyond my limits and the limits of all but one, maybe two, people out of the 30 or so in my class.  There are no breaks, no periods of rest, other than the 10 seconds racing from one station to the next when straight Asian bodybuilder boy Sam who thinks that he's all of that with the chicks yells "Switch!"  But along with about 90% of our class, I found myself finding my own few seconds of rest.  My legs wouldn't even work.  I couldn't even raise one leg up to the riser to step up onto it.  And the squats?  Really?  Man oh man, I am sooorrreeee today.  Probably the most sore I've been in many, many years.  And that's good...right?

I have made a dedicated effort to get myself to the gym.  And keep myself there.  Let's just say that consistency is not my middle name.  I was going to yoga quite often but have eased up on it a bit....there are actually a few yoga poses that worsen my lower back pain rather than help it and I need to get that all figured out.  I've been doing dumbell and barbell curls, flying arm sorts of deals designed to work the forearms, shoulders and shoulders, tricep pull downs, chest pull downs, sit ups and other core benders until my middle-aged flab doesn't know which end is up.  And then upstairs to the treadmill.  Thirty minutes of racewalking interspersed with intervals of running -- all the while adjusting the incline up and down, the pace up and down.  That burns fat, you know.....the intervals.....not letting your body's metabolism settle in to one pace.  And I don't have a lot of fat to burn.  Just a drop or six around my midsection.  I'm not sure if you call it a jelly roll or a muffin top.  But clearly, it is some sort of pastry that doesn't need to be sitting on my store shelf.

I've been eating much better at home.  And in restaurants.  Better choices.  Better decisions.  Tons of delicious salads filled with fruits and vegetables like apples, watermelon, asparagus, carrots, peppers and grapes.   It has really been a nice change.  And I feel much better.  It seems like when I start doing one thing that is good for me, that it makes it a little easier to do others.  But getting started, and staying the course, is a challenge for many of us.  My weight was 128 pounds from 8th grade all of the way into my mid-20s.  Then it inched up to around 140 pounds where it stayed for years.  And then I burgeoned up past the 150's up to 162 pounds when I said that was enough.  No way this is going to happen.  That's when this whole gym thing started.  I had been paying the monthly membership for four years now.  But I'd been famously NOT at the gym which is complete silliness.  Not going and still paying for it is asinine.  I'm now down to 154 pounds.  It needs to stay there.  The pastry shelf in the middle is still there but looks much better.  And a little tiny baby buddha belly is cute, right?  And feels better.  And I'm happy with that.  I'll be excited to see what my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers look like next week at my semi-annual blood work checkup. 

So, whether I go back to Boot Camp or not, I'm not sure.  I wouldn't call it fun.  I didn't really "enjoy" it.  I am so not the guy that pushes himself beyond his limits.  I just don't have that competitive spirit or edge about me.  But when personal trainer turned drill sergeant yells at me that "You don't want to go home saying to yourself that you could have worked out harder!"  what am I supposed to do?  Clearly, he doesn't know me. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Testing of Peace

Isn't peace always being tested?  Mine is.  I have this stainless steel peace necklace around my neck.  It's a reminder.  Constantly.  Of my humanity and frailty. 

But I think it is time to take it off.  I feel less peaceful today than in a very long time.  And the peace symbol seems to be quite ironic.  It almost mocks me.  I have one on the tattooed on the back of my calf too.  I always said that I would always work toward peace.  But today, I'm not so sure. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

My CEO Supports Same-Sex Marriage

In case you hadn't heard, there continues to be a big old fight among our nation's lawmakers and citizens regarding whether the gays and lesbians of the nation should have the same marriage rights as everyone else or not.  Yes sir, I'm surprised too.  I looked at the calendar.  And it says 2012.  And it says that we've elected a black guy to be our President.  But it doesn't say anything about same-sex marriage.  You'd think we're back in Birmingham in 1955, quite frankly.

But there continues to be a growing sentiment among those who are rich and famous putting forth their voice of support for those of us who yet have to achieve the same rights as everyone else.  And corporations!  Yes, corporate support is on the rise too.  Plenty of companies have discovered the value of honesty and equality -- and they've put their money where their mouth is and made a full-fledged support for same-sex marriage.

In the state of Washington (I can see it from my window.....so there, Sarah Palin.....), Referendum 74 is on the November ballot.  The citizens -- the commoners! -- of the state will decide whether same-sex marriage in Washington state gets to move forward or not.  Can you imagine your neighbors and people you live around actually being permitted to decide the case of equal rights?  Only here in the greatest nation on earth.  R74 needs to be APPROVED.  If you "approve" of same-sex marriage, you need to "approve" R74.  That's their slogan.

And I couldn't be more proud of the company I work for.  My CEO and good friend Brad has stepped up to the plate with a few others and put their names behind the referendum.  They want it to pass.  They believe in the inherent value of equality for their customers and employees.  Brad gets it.  Clearly.  I admire him, I look up to not only his leadership skills but his human being skills.  He's a great man.  And I told him so just the other day.  I couldn't be more happy to be working where I do.  Check out the above link and article. Here's the verbiage: 

Senior leadership at Alaska Air Group and Alaska Airlines have announced their support for Washington United for Marriage and the campaign to Approve Referendum 74, joining a growing number of corporate leaders and businesses who understand the fundamental fairness of the bipartisan marriage law.
For Alaska Air Group and Alaska Airlines president Brad Tilden (pictured left in article link above) and his wife, Danielle, it comes down to doing the right thing. “Marriage equality is the right and fair thing to do in and for our state,” said Tilden, “From a business perspective, we risk losing qualified employees and applicants to other states which have adopted marriage equality statutes. Danielle and I are proud to support this initiative and are hopeful it will take our state to a new and more equitable place.”

Joining Tilden and his wife, is Glenn Johnson (pictured right in the article link above) and his partner Mike, who have been together for 15 years. Johnson, a 30-year Alaska Group veteran and president of Horizon Air, said, “[My partner] Mike and I have been in a committed relationship for 15 years; we take our responsibilities as a married couple to each other, to our community and to our workplace very seriously. Approving marriage equality is simply about creating strong families, like ours who live, work and love side by side with
every other family in America.”

Joining the two senior leaders in supporting the effort is Keith Loveless, general counsel of Alaska Airlines and Alaska Air Group. “I’m proud to live in a state where the legislature and governor have acted to legalize same-sex marriage,” said Loveless. “Passage of R 74 is important for customers and employees of Alaska Airlines. And it’s important to me.”