Thursday, 31 January 2008

Busy Week

Well.. I know the week isn't over but so far it has been a busy week. I'm off work today and have to work this weekend. Thankfully. Usually working weekends is very boring due to low staffing but fortunately my busy week has translated into lots of work I can do when noone is around.

Monday started with my information session and interview with the Northwest Company. The weather blessed us with sheets of slush and ice on the roads but fortunately we were only travelling a few city blocks to get to the session. The session and interview was a fantastic experience. We learned a lot about the company and the type of environments that are available. The interview was very comfortable and I felt that it went very well. My references have reported back that they have already been contacted. They promised a communication by this coming Monday. It's all very exciting.

At work, I've been taking on extra projects that are right up my alley. I've been troubleshooting a reporting system for another client. That sounds really boring to most but it's something that I really enjoy. I also recieved client funding to increase the size of my current project so I am collecting applications this week and I should be able to start the selection process next week.

This weekend I have to finalize the January results for our front line employees. This should keep me off the streets for the whole weekend.

In the middle of a professionally busy week, I feel like I should be preparing to move away but without knowing if I have the offer, making changes to my home environment seems to be jumping the gun. So I pace around a lot looking at how much stuff I will need to get rid of and trying to distract myself with the best time waster in the world.... video games.

Hopefully all this work this weekend will make the time fly...

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

My Favorite Thing on the Internet

There is a video created by a friend, Pat Sears, on the Internet that I return to every few months. I find it the most inspirational video I have ever encountered. The character in the video is the world champion log roller, Darren Hudson as he talks about a day on the Barrington River here in Nova Scotia. His enthusiasm and joy with his life is absolutely infectious.

Sometimes the video makes me weepy, sometimes it makes me laugh and sometimes it makes me envious but at the end, I always feel like it is possible to follow your dreams.

I hope you find something you were looking for in it... The Log-Roller

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Old Mother West Wind

I grew up on Old Mother West Wind books. Only in the past year or so have I discovered that noone in my age group knows about Old Mother West Wind. Old Mother West Wind books were written by Thorton Burgess with the first book coming out in 1910.

This is also the year my late grandmother was born. When I used to visit her, part of the visit was a bedtime story from one of her many Old Mother West Wind books. I loved these stories...

Almost every story began with Old Mother West Wind coming down from the purples mountains with her Merry Little Breezes. She would let the Merry Little Breezes play in the great meadow while she worked filling the sails for the men working in the boats. The stories surround the animals in the great green meadow... characters like Danny Meadow Mouse, Reddy Fox, Great Grandfather Toad, Johnny Woodchuck and Peter Rabbit (not Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit) and so many more.

When my grandmother left her home to enter into assisted living, I had hoped to have her books but she had already given the books away. Last year, I mentioned the stories to Cory and found out that he had never heard of them. I ordered a new edition from Amazon but it wasn't the same. I liked the black and white drawings from the old books, the smaller format... so I went to ebay...

I found three different books. A 1912 edition of Mother West Wind's Animal Friends, 1911 Mother West Wind's Children and 1915 Mother West Wind "Why" Stories. I bid my little heart out and voila, I had three books. I think when they arrived, I briefly looked them over and put them away, just happy to have a piece of my past back.

Last night, I finished another vampire book and decided I needed something different. I grabbed my Mother West Wind's Animal Friends and was surprized to find the inscription on the inside cover...

It said... "When I started teaching in 1918, this book was in my room library (2nd grade) & was the newest book they had in childrens books and they loved it." I have to admit it is an amazing feeling to hold a book that was read to children who are now, most likely, in their late 90's. I have to say, I'm a little humbled by my book.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Nutrition 101

I'm a numbers person. Math is very logical to me... When you work with numbers there is always a logical answer. I'm not a math geek or anything but it is something that just works for me.

Nutrition was a bit of a mystery to me until I broke down the numbers. I thought I'd share the mystery...

First thing that I needed to learn was who the players were...

A Calorie is a unit of energy. One calorie is the amount of energy required to heat one gram of water one degree. In general, your body burns approximately 1200 calories a day just completing normal metabolic things like breathing, beating and digesting. A patient in a coma will require 1200 calories to maintain body mass. This can vary based on metabolic rates, but I'll use it as a ball park.

Ingesting less than 1200 calories per day will trigger a starvation protection in your body causing your metabolism to slow down. Your body will start to store fat to protect itself and start burning muscle mass. Remembering that the heart is muscle mass, this explains just the beginning of health hazards of anorexia.

Food is broken down into 3 components... protein, carbohydrates and fat. One gram of protein contains 4 calories, one gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories and one gram of fat contains 9 calories. Protein should make up 10-35% of your diet, Carbohydrates 45-65% and Fats 20-35%.

Protein is needed for building tissuing and repairing tissue. It produces enzymes, hormones, and other substances the body uses. It regulates body processes, such as water balancing, transporting nutrients, and making muscles contract. Protein keeps the body healthy by resisting diseases that are common to malnourished people. Prevents one from becoming easily fatigued by producing stamina and energy.

The daily recommended amount of protein is 0.8 grams per 1 kg of body weight. Even in my metric world, I don't know my weight in kilograms so I need to convert my weight from pounds to kg by dividing my weight by 2.2. I should be ingesting 60-ish grams of protein a day... at 4 calories a gram, this makes up 240 calories that I should be ingesting each day. Too much protein will be stored as fat.

Carbohydrates are fuel, it enters our bodies ready to provide energy. There are 4 kinds of carbohydrates... sugars, starches, fibers and gum. Carbohydrates are produced by plants. Sugars are... well anything that makes something sweet. Starches are just long chains of sugars. Our bodies can't digest fibers but it slows the speed our bodies absorb nutritents keeping the grumbly belly quiet longer. And gum is well, food filler than just passes through our digestive systems untouched.

Carbohydrates are extremely important as the gas to our internal engines. The problem is when we over-indulge in sweet treats, soda pop and other processed sugars. Unburned energy is converted into storage. Our bodies store energy as fat.

Fats have a bad rap. They have an important role in the make up of our bodies. If there is no fat in your diet, you will starve to death regardless of the other food you put into your body. This is called Rabbit Starvation.

There are good fats and bad fats. My best description of a bad fat is one that is solid at room temperature but that barely scratches the surface. Fats are a big subject so I'll just provide a link.

I know all that was pretty dry and to make it drier... here's the math.

Based on metabolic rates and activities level, I need approximately 2200 calories a day to maintain my current weight. 1 Pound is 454 grams. If I want to lose 1 pound, I need to burn off 454 grams of fat at 9 calories a gram which is 4086 calories. Clearly this can't be done in one day. To lose 1 pound in a week, I need to restrict my diet to 1600 calories per day for the week. I need to remove 600 calories each day for for one pound per week without dropping below 1200 calories. If I restricted myself to a 1200 calories per day diet, I would lose 7 lbs in one month.

Now to put this into real-life terms...

A Big Mac Combo... Big Mac, Medium Fries and a Medium Cola is 1000 calories.

A Whopper... no fries or cola... 670 calories.

A Subway wrap... not a sandwich, just the wrap all by itself is 310 calories before you even put on the good stuff.

One Boston Cream donut at Tim Hortons is 250 calories.

One plain 5.3 oz potato has 100 calories.

On a 1200 calorie a day diet, I could have a Big Mac Combo and most of a donut and NOTHING else for the entire day or I could eat 12 plain potatoes. It's a little boring but I wonder which one would keep the grumbly belly quiet longer?

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Still Makes Me Laugh

Way back when my sister-in-law Trish came to live with us with her 2 cats (we only had 4 cats at the time so this was a forerunner of things to come).

This is Church when he was a kitten. While playing with photoshop, I came up with this... it made me laugh so I kept it... came across it again today and it still makes me laugh. I think it's the complete look of indignation on his face.


So late last night I thought I had an eyelash in my eye... actually both eyes. After several attempts to remove the eyelash, I gave up, closed my eyes and went to sleep. Soon as I woke up I recognised the gummy feeling of my eyelids... Pink Eye.

Yesterday was the first time I had ventured out of the house in many days and I managed to find myself a nice dose of Pink Eye. I did an apartment search for what is probably an expired container of polysporin eye drops to no avail. Apparently, the old container was deemed expired and tossed out or a cat found it and thought it was a toy. So it's either in the landfill or under the oven. So now I need to make a trek to the drug store with my itchy, gummy, watery eyes to find some relief. Sucks!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Personal Accomplishment

Several months ago I discovered that I had a problem. My collection of mostly empty bottles of shampoo and conditioners would no longer fit in the hiding spot. Honestly, I didn't even realize that I had a mostly empty bottle of shampoo and conditioners collection. Cory is a very tidy man and things just disappear under the guise of "put away".

Anyhoo, this collection of mostly empty bottles seemed to indicate my inability to follow something through to completion sooooo we embarked on an adventure of mis-matched scents and body/volume control.

Today, after 4 long months, I heard the last bottle fart! With my clean hair (combo scent of Pantene, Outrageous and Dove), I get to buy new shampoo and conditioner. I can't wait to hit the shampoo aisle and start the smelling... I'm going to have matching bottles and scents. Very exciting.

New Favorite Hobby

I don't know if I can actually pass this off as a hobby or not but... Online Shopping is my new hobby. For those up north online shopping this isn't a hobby but a life requirement, but I live in a city with a billion shopping options just a few minutes away. Online shopping always seemed like a luxury and shipping and handling made it non-economical.

A few weeks ago I needed to replace the filter on my bag less vacuum cleaner. I could drive 5 minutes over to Wal-Mart and pay 18.97 for this filter but I like to avoid giving Wal-Mart my money whenever possible. Besides, if I go in for an 18.97 filter I will spend another $50 on crap. Plus Wal-Mart had been out of stock on my filter for over a month.

For curiosity only, I pulled up Google product search and searched for my filter. Well, including shipping and handling, I got my vacuum filter for $11.

Today I went searching for a mini DV Cassette for my Camcorder... I found one for $3.50 including shipping and handling. The Best Buy down the street is advertising the sale price of $10.99 for the same one.

This is just feeding the frenzy. Today the Canadian dollar is 0.9943, its payday and I need some stuff!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Writers Strike - Old is now New Again!

Well, this writer's strike has gone on long enough. Only thing left new on television is the news (how depressing) and The Apprentice - Celebrity Edition (*SOB*). I have found myself looking forward to the reruns of "Hogans knows best" (It's all new to me). I thank god for the BBC for providing me with programing that I have never seen, check out the show "Extras", very entertaining in a dry, OMG-I-Can't-Believe-They-Said-That way.

The highlight of my writers strike has been my trip down memory lane with a series that ran in 1990-91. "Twin Peaks", for those that were not yet self-aware in 1990, is the story about a very small town just 3 miles south of the Canadian border in Washington State. The first episode starts with the discovery of a body of a local girl named Laura Palmer. Through two seasons we follow the story of who killed Laura Palmer in what on the surface seems like an idealistic little town.

Honestly, Twin Peaks is not a "mainstream" television series. David Lynch and Mark Frost take us on a twisty turny adventure into a small town full of big secrets.

In 1990, "Who killed Laura Palmer" was on everyone's lips (even more than, "save the cheerleader, save the world" in 2007). If you find yourself watching "Hogans know best", take a look around for seasons 1 & 2 of Twin Peaks and find out the answer to the question.... I'm not giving any hints.