It’s been about a month or so since I last posted my weight to this blog. I am happy to report that today at least, I weighed in at below 180. I believe this has to do not so much with my frequent running around Albany but instead the addition of weight training into my repertoire. I’ve never quite had too much success with weights in the past because I believe I pushed it too hard to quickly and at the same neglected to watch what I was eating.

Anyway, I found a very basic set of

instructions in August’s edition of Mens Health magazine which lays out three sets of exercises that can be done. I don’t have it in front of me right now, but I’ll share it with you later (if anyone is reading this).

This time around, I’ve really liked doing weight training. It’s exhilirating, particularly when the form is the right way. That and various reasonable abdominal exercises have really helped a lot.


My apartment is somewhat tenament like

Back in December I took a day trip with my mother down to the Lower East Side to visit the Tenement Museum. It was an interesting trip. Although I thought that the tour of one of New York City’s last standing tenement buildings- the last families vacated in the 1930’s – was a little too short, it was very much interesting to think that hundreds of families occupied the building over the span of decades in the growing city of immigrants.

The tour was rushed and so my memories of the cramped quarters aren’t too clear, but the one thing that will always stick in my mind was the condition of the walls and ceilings – which have been preserved so that the public can know the hard conditions in which these families lived. The apartments, which housed many families at a time, were covered with dozens of layers of wall paper over the years. Unfortunately, they were glued to the walls with flour paste, which attracted rats and pests and increased the overall health risks of the buildings. It was one thing to have tight spaces, tainted milk and no egress in the case of fire, it was another thing altogether to be put in harm’s way due to the decorative coverings on their walls. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for these families to live in those conditions.

I’ve lived in some shitty places, apartments with roaches and mice and drooping ceilings, but still, I really have little to complain about. I’ve been protected from the elements. Still, I’ve been at this apartment here in Albany for nearly three-and-a-half years and since I’ve lived her I haven’t complained about much. I know that $800 for a three bedroom place with two porches and hardwood floors isn’t a bad deal and that it could be worse. I could be living in Gabon, starving with only a tin roof over my head. Still, everytime I go into my bathroom and I look up and see the awful mold on the walls and ceilings, I’m reminded a bit of what the working class Germans, Irish, Italians and Slavs must have had to live through in those awfully tight tenements.

My landlord’s known about it for years and yet the mold has continued to grow to the point where it simply can’t be good to breathe in. Finally last week he sent over his small Englishman maintenance guy to install a ventilation unit in our john. I’m just starting now to understand how gross it really is.

Accepting emotions

I went out of my office in late afternoon to have a cup of coffee and sit in the park near our building. I brought with me a copy of Mark Bowden’s Killing Pablo. Everything about the setting was beneficial to anyone seeking calm and perhaps serenity. The sun was was out and a medium blue sky was above. Trees shaded the walkways and the benches lined along them. Sitting down and reading was a bit tough, though. I wanted to enjoy the setting and read maybe 10 pages or so, but my mind kept drifting inward to something strange, but hard to identify. It was a few minutes before I realized what it was that seemed to be percolating and that was unguarded emotion, something that I have been used to putting out of its misery like a wounded dog for many years with food and sometimes booze or prescriptions they give you that are easy to mistakenly take the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.

The emotions that I felt were of lonesomeness, fear and warriness. It’s been a while since I stared them in the face and didn’t blink. It’s strange how emotions are supposed to help us to navigate life and for the most part serve a purpose and yet we also can’t help but avoid some while embracing others.

Maybe it’s alright to feel a bit lonely at times. It doesn’t need to be ignored, denied, buried or obscured. Perhaps anger at loved ones, friends and even ones self are reasonable responses towards certain situations. It could be that self-doubt is something that can bring forth greater faith in one’s own life.

When we’re left to face the potency of our emotions without flinching, it’s kinda scary. Next year I turn 30, which is one of those milestones in life. It is my hope that a decade from now – or sooner – I’ll have a better grasp over my emotions and be more accepting of them rather than trying to push them away. Today felt like a good step in that direction. I got up from the bench, went back to my desk and focused on some of what I was feeling, inviting it to stick around in my mind’s eye for a while without judging or encouraging it. For some reason, it made me feel more alive, though frightened. Strange how things work.

Noticing anger

It was strange how I was just able to obsrve within myself how a little anger can impact and influence my thinking patterns. It’s interesting that I was able to sit in the impartial observer seat for a little while, noticing how frustration over something was causing me to think very negatively.

A few hours ago, I returned to my apartment from a nice fulfilling run in which I felt myself right in the moment most of the way, not thinking about work or money or anything else that my mind tends to want to drift off towards. My roommate and I had a minor argument about something and although I acknowledged he was right, I still felt a well of anger inside of me. The conflict was resolved, it didn’t involve shouting or anything, but for some reason, I felt mad. Mad at constructive and relavent criticism coming from this person. I went and took a shower and did some energy exercises and yet I still felt this negativity peppering the way I felt. As I drove to get a cup of coffee, everyone on the street, everything around me seemed to irritate me. At first I was mad at myself for feeling angry, but then I understood that I was in a beneficial situation. I was actually watching my mood change, observing a cause and effect relationship between my thoughts and my mood. Suddenly, it felt alright to be a bit angry, to acknowledge it, not judge it or try to bury it, but to see how it works.

Its alright to be angry, so long as you dont punch holes in the wall!

It's alright to be angry, so long as you don't punch holes in the wall! (that's not me right there)

I was angy because of the perfect shit storm of things coming at once; returning to work tomorrow after a few days off, something my roommate had said during our disagreement, and the fact that some of my days off were spent making repairs to something that was not my responsibility. All of these factors are reasonable in contributing to feeling anger. It’s alright to feel angry sometimes.

That said, I’m choosing to do somethign alright with it; to accept it as a lesson and to appreciate being able to witness how anger works without beating up on myself. Since sitting there with my  coffee, noticing my negative thoughts and accepting them without standing in judgment of myself, the anger has lost some of its punch and I actually feel quit better. Strange how these things work.

183.0 – No change

Well, at least I didn’t gain anything over the last day but maybe if I clipped my nasty toenails I’d realize some more weight loss success!

Today is my last day off for a few weeks. I work for one of the houses of the state legislature and the summer is generally speaking a quiet time. Unfortunately, due to circumstances in the last month, things were very busy. It felt good to get out for a few days and also to be blessed with some good weather. I only need to pull the tape off of the walls in my bedroom and I’m all set.

Not too much to report today. The weather is great and I wish I were down in Washington Park reading or just laying in the grass.  Instead I’m here readying myself for the task of pulling off the the rest of the blue tape that I used to guard the trim amd mouldings. There’s still a lot to be done. All that tape – perhaps a 500 feet worth of it – has to be picked off of the ground. One of my true pet peeves is in the weeks after you paint and still find that sticky blue tape everywhere. The worst is when it sticks to bottom of your shoes, pants or to the bristles of the broom you’re using to remove it. That’s why even if I have to make my back even more sore than it is by getting down on my hands and knees to pick it all up, I’ll do that. That’s how much I hate that stuff. Another pet peeve is something that really makes me feel like trash, which is paint cans. You know you’ve reached adulthood when you have tons of paint cans – empty or partially full – around your apartment. Over the last two years we’ve collected far too many. I just missed the city’s hazardous waste pick up day for the month, but early in August, I have an opportunity to get rid of the many cans of spent paint that litter my front and pack porches and make me feel like I’m living in a tragic trailer court. Well, time to take care of the tape.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Why does AMC edit from Bachelor Party the donkey snorting cocaine yet leaves in the shot of it eating qualudes and speed? I’d say I’d write a letter asking them, but really now, I hardly have the motivation or the sense of irony to do that.

183 on the dot

I’m like Delta Burke or worse, Kirstie Alley. One day I’m down some weight, the next day I’ve ballooned all the way back up. Holy Ho-Hos, I’m up to 183 from 182.6 just yesterday. Must have been that late night slice of bread. I’m such a fat piece of shit. I should torment myself for the rest of the day eating nothing but ice cubes and the dust bunnies I’m finding around the apartment. I’m monster.

182.6 (but the scale may be lying)

I photoshopped in some contrast and excessive lighting to cover up for the the fact that my toenails are disgusting. I’d better do something about that. On another blog that I have – which I’m pretty much done writing on – I have written about my weight loss journey. When I started, I was somewhere upwards of 220 lbs. Now I’m down significantly from there, without the help of weight loss aids. It’s involved more than anything just being more disciplined about what I eat and how much exercise I get.

Nevermind the toenails, just look at the number

At noontime, when I woke up, I went out for a run. It was about 4 miles. I’m good and sweaty now and have a few errands to run before going to a BBQ in which I’m supposed to bring something non-meat for my friend to cook up.

I’ve been telling myself that I want to get down to 175 for sometime. Last spring, when I was at about 188, I was telling myself I’d do it by mid summer. Fast forward to mid-summer right now and I’m still not there. A few weeks ago I was up around 189 (and no, it wasn’t the toenails), and I’ve brought it down a bit. Really, I’d like to Biggest Loser myself down to 175, but without the ridiculously unrealistic workout standards; just watching what I eat and how I feel.

The scale recorded a few weights today – one before and after I used the rest room. Then it didn’t seem to add any weight for the camera I was carrying around my neck. I made sure to put it on the most level part of my floor and then reweighed myself. It then recorded the previous low weight of 182.6 and I remembered, the scale has a memory function that it suppoed to account for being shuffled around on the floor. So, it seems that the weight is probably accurate, given a half a pound or so.

By this time next month, I’d like to be down to 175. Only time will tell.