Archive for May, 2012 | Monthly archive page

The things that frighten us most.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

the old dark houseIt has been a long time dream of mine to sing for other people.  To be able to learn how to get up on stage and just let the beautiful sounds out.  Unfortunately when I get attempt to do that, up to this point in my life, I have completely choked.  Understand that I have regularly done public speaking and hosted events from a stage.  When I was a teenager I did quite a bit of acting, but if it came to a singing part it was all over.  I just freeze up.  The strange thing is, I know I have a good voice.  I just seem incapable of using it in front of other people; even if I just suspect someone might hear me I clam up.

For the last two months I’ve been taking singing lessons with a lovely woman.  Her talent as a songstress is unquestionable and on top of that she’s super-nice.  The process of learning how to sing from her has been cathartic in so many ways.  I realized that one of my problems was that I was raised in a family where I was constantly being told to be quiet.  Making excessive noise was tantamount to farting in someones face.  My sister didn’t help as she wanted to sing as well and would discourage me from “competing” with her.  So I would lay in bed at night or hide in the basement and sing to myself very softly.  The most important thing was that no one could hear me.  I’m sure you can see how that relates to my current predicament.   When I grew up I lived with musicians and became part of that world.  Primarily my insecurities wouldn’t let me participate in the making of music.  The music community can also be quite cruel.  When I did get up the courage to want to sing I was  shot down over and over again; whether because of snobbery or because they couldn’t handle the competition depended on who it was I was dealing with.  I still see that elitism within my musical circles these days. At a certain point I had to decide not to let that stop me any longer.

Irrational fear is never something that should hold you back.  I have spent much of my adult walking straight into my biggest fears and this is probably the largest of them all.  Learning to trust my ears and know myself has been coming slowly but steadily.  I am getting louder.  I am understanding my vocal power better.  I’m opening up and letting it out.

We often hear people say that life is too short for regrets.  It’s said a lot because it’s true.  Living with regret is not something I plan on doing.  Here’s hoping you reach the same understanding

I Want!

Monday, May 21st, 2012

schwinn-240This is the Schwinn 240 recumbent exercise bike and I love it.  Well I guess I don’t know if I actually love it because I haven’t actually tried it; but whatever, I want one.

I have read many reviews on this particular bike and compared it to similar exercise bikes both cheaper and more expensive.  Schwinn is a reliable name in bikes and they offer a decent warranty on the parts.  Most commonly the reviews say it’s quiet and comfortable.  It is also said to be stable but with a narrow enough base that it’s not too difficult to store.  The down side seems to be the display angle including the tilt of the book rest;  people who have purchased this model are saying it’s awkward to see the display properly.  I could also care less about the convenient magazine rack.

Some of the features are:

  • 16 resistance levels
  • 20-pound flywheel
  • Eddy Current Brake (ECB) resistance system
  • Adjustable handlebars and console
  • Walk-through frame
  • Water bottle holder
  • Reading rack
  • Magazine storage rack under the seat
  • Transport wheels
  • Switchable from miles to kilometers (KM)
  • Maximum user weight: 275 pounds

The flywheel design is a little old school compared to the more modern magnetic resistance design but as long as it’s quiet I don’t care.  I also  like that I can store my workout progress and it has built in wheels to get it out of the way if necessary.

There are cheaper models made by Schwinn.  They seem less sturdy though.  I am the type of person who will gladly pay a little more to know that I’m getting a decent product.  There are certainly far more expensive machines out there that don’t appear to offer anything more except that they weight more and have fancier looking doodads. The price varies from $299.00 to $399.00 (in Canada) depending on where you buy it.  So far I’ve seen it at Sears and on Amazon.  A few more local companies sell it as well.

Maybe there’s a different bike out there for you but for my life and budget this looks to be about as good as it gets.

Why do people do that?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Coquilles-Saint-JacquesThe guy that I live with had an accident and broke both his legs.  Horrible.  His mother has come to stay with us, which is perfectly understandable.  There is a small problem for  me in all this however.  Mother is a french chef.  Meaning there is a lot of butter and cheese and cream and sugar being made into food that I am expected to eat.

My house-mate is lucky.  He has skinny genes.  He’s one of those people who drops weight rapidly rather than gaining it.  His mother is also a slender woman for having been a french chef for the last 20 or so years.  Yeah for them, boo for me.

The difficult part is that I’m trying to say to her that I can’t eat the food she’s making and maintain my current healthy eating patterns.  Mostly She rolls her eyes at me as if that was the most ludicrous thing she’s ever heard.  Then she gets offended when I tell her I won’t be eating with them and go on to make my own meals (yes I am trying to be polite about it).  She seems incapable of figuring out that when I say I have health issues that stop me from wanting to eat rich foods,  I really mean it.  The consequences of eating heavy french food for me are pain, discomfort and a long climb back out of the bad food pit.  What I don’t need is someone completely ignoring my dietary requirements.  I don’t want to be offensive, but seriously just because you don’t understand having weight issues doesn’t mean you can ignore my pleas for more healthful food.   Feed yourself and your son whatever you like you can afford to eat all the meat and cheese you want; I need to stick to more vegetable based meals.  Thanks and please be a little more compassionate.

PS – She’s a lovely lady and I am happy and grateful that she is here to help.  We would have had more difficulty getting through this recovery without her.