Coming Back or I’m Glad I Am Wrong

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This morning (3/31/2018) I ran in the Challenge 5K race in Irvine, CA. I didn’t feel my best and I didn’t have the coordination nor the speed I am accustomed to running. I even got tired during the race and that rarely happens in a 5K race for me.

It was about 10 months ago that I had an operation to remove a cancer mass. And had some minor complications and chemotherapy. The body (my body in fact!) lost some of its strength, endurance, and coordination as the body had to readjust itself.

I did run two 5K races last year but I know it was by sheer will that I completed both and I needed a long nap afterwards.

So I didn’t run for about 3 months. I figured it was enough for the body (my body!) to recover sufficiently to run a 5K without any heavy side effects.

I was wrong. Since I hadn’t done any running my body was not in it’s best shape. It was struggle, and I knew (or at least I thought) my pace was slow.

What surprised me was my time was 23:08, which might be slow to all you speed demons on the racecourse. But for me – it is good news.

Even better news is that I placed 1st (!) in my age group. YEAH! I didn’t think I was anywhere close. I’m glad I was wrong!

Here is a photo that speaks over 1000 words.

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Rob with two medals. One for finishing the race, the second is for coming in first in the 50-54 age category.

 

Now I’ve always been a little on the skinny side. I can’t break the habit or change my metabolism,

After the race, my sister and my niece went shopping. For those who don’t know, JC Penny’s is going out of business and have having sales 80% to 90% off most clothing.

So we went to find some deals. I was surprised. But I don’t mean about the discounts.
I may not know too much about the American waistlines, but everything seemed large and wide to me. For me, it seemed all the men’s shirts, shorts, and pants came in only two sizes, way too big and way too wide. I might have a thin waist, but does everything have fit wide on me?

 

Don’t we have enough skinny, slender, or thin Americans to make it worthwhile to department stores to carry the narrower sizes? Are we American really this obese? Are the majority couch potatoes? Is it true that so many people cannot touch, and some not even see, their own toes? If true, then we Americans are in trouble.

 

I hope I am wrong.

SPRING

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spring-01

 

Every now and then I like to look up the definition of words, some common, some quite new, some foreign and sometimes even long words (I’m a bit of a sesquipedalian).

 

But the following is a common, monosyllabic word in English, which I found to be especially appropriate today. 😉

 

SPRING 1 (+S) [n. (1) The season after winter (and representing the end of cold winters in many places) and before summer, (2) A place where water wells up from an underground source, (3) A device, typically a helical coil, esp. one made out of metal, that can be pressed or pulled but returns to its former shape when released, (4) An elastic or bouncing quality]

 

SPRING 2 (+IER, +IEST) [adj. (1) Of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or suitable for the season of Spring, (2) Elastic]

 

SPRING 3 (SPRANG, +ING, +S) (2) [v. (1) To move, esp. by jumping, suddenly upward or forward, (2) To originate or arise from, (3) To pay for someone, esp. as an unexpected treat]

 

The days are going to get warmer, longer and stronger.

Enjoy them.

 

 

Poetic Donut

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I’m not much of a poet

everyone knows it. 

So here is a donut

to speak out

on a special day.

 

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A donut,
a torus,
nothing between us.

 

 

 

Look further,
look inside,
there is PI

(A=4 × π² × R × r)
(V=2 × π² × R × r²)

 

Figure-1-Torus-Courtesy-of-Wikipedia

 

Happy National PI day!

 

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A Donut Party

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My beautiful picture

 

Two weekends ago my niece had her 12th birthday party. The theme, very appropriate for her age, was “DONUTS”.

 
So we had inner tube racing (they look like donuts), throwing basketballs through hoops (because they look the holes in donuts), and of course, lots and lots of donuts. They were on the cake, on the tables, in boxes, and everywhere else. One could say there were a tribble of donuts (a reference, a homage, and a nod to the various tribble epidemic episodes of Star Trek).

 

I helped with Jenga, ran the musical chairs game, and presented the donut trivia quiz. See below if you want to play but remember, this quiz is geared for 12 year olds.

 

Donut_Trivia

 

What I brought back (other than the various foods like pizza, chocolate, but nary a donut) was a sense of nostalgia. A missing of carefree days.

 

When I was twelve I was into running, swimming, staying up at night, didn’t need to shower (but I did, if only because I enjoyed the water), reading my fantasy and sci-fi books, and freely enjoying hamburgers, cherry cokes, and ice cream.

 

I was skinny, agile, and somewhat shy, esp. with girls.

 

Where did those days go?

 

Life demands a hefty and high price for maturity.

 

The Pursuit of Excellence and Making the Palate Happy

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When I was younger, say about 10 years old, I loved donuts. But the best ones were those with a chocolate frosting and nuts on the top. And because of my fast metabolism, even back then, I didn’t stop at just one. 😉 Usually I could eat two, or three if no one was watching.

 

And when I joined the Boy Scouts (pre-teen years), they had a donut for sale one Sunday a month after each Mass. Of course, I volunteered for such wonderful, sweet (literally!) opportunity.

 

I grew out of donuts sometime in my mid-teen years. Mostly because of health and problems with the sugar content. I was maturing and didn’t want any pimples or stomach ailments to disturb my good looking appearance (forgive my vanity – but that was my thinking way back then! =)

 

I prefer muffins now. And most of my friend know (at least those whom I have told) that my favorite muffin is banana nut. There does seem to be a carry-over from my donut days.

 

Now, the best banana nut muffins are from Knott’s Berry Farm. Not only are they bigger than most varieties, but they have the nuts and banana flavor throughout the muffin, not just on the top as most other muffins in the various donut shops, cafés, and restaurants that sell them.

 

The only drawback is you have to go to Knott’s to purchase these delightful muffins. Which may be one of the reasons I bought a season pass to Knott’s. Hmm, something to think about.

 

I’ve been told I am picky with my food. That is probably true. But I am also looking to improve my taste buds and make my palate happier.

 

To that pursuit, I found a bagel that may even surpass my present favorite muffin. I didn’t even know this new flavor existed. And it’s right here in Huntington Beach.

 

The new bagel has pineapple and coconut and is known as a Hawaiian.

 

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And wow! – it’s a good, fulfilling flavor and texture. More tests are needed.

About Walls

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brick_wall_by_ashzstock

 

Walls have been always been part of the human race ever since we wanted to divide us and them. “Them” being other people with a difference in race, skin color, culture, customs, dress, religion, value systems, ideologies, language, or gender.

Sometimes walls are created to keep “our people” from moving to “them” or adapting their ideologies, behavior, or belief systems. To put simply, we have a tendency to fear people who are different from us.

If the fear is irrational (not based on facts), then it known as xenophobia.

But sometimes there are good reasons. The Great Wall of China is an example. The Mongols were attacking China, which had little natural defences on the steppes. We also have walls to keep the incarcerated in the prisons, primarily to keep ourselves safe from thieves, mountebanks, and others who really want to physically hurt us. Back to walls.

We will also fear losing something if our people willing leave “us”. Maybe we fear our loss of control or pride, maybe it’s because we might have to admit our system is bankrupt, broken, or just simply bad. And that is not easy (it’s common thing with humans).

It’s a lot easier to build a wall than to admit something is wrong with our system and actually fix the deficiencies of our system. That takes courage and getting out of false dichotomy of the “us” versus them proposition.

So who builds walls to keep non-violent, non-criminals, ordinary, happy people behind walls?

Fascisms, dictatorships, and inept or incompetent leaders favor walls. You might not completely believe me but consider the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall was created to keep East Germans from escaping because what lay in West Berlin, and the rest of the Western World, offered them a better life with more financial opportunities and a longer life expectancy.

Back to walls again. Hadrian’s Wall is an example of wall being built because we to prevent “them” from attacking us. But in this case, it was because Rome decided to invade, attack, and then steal the land from the original people who were living there. If the Romans never invaded the England (or Britannia as it was known in Roman times), there would be no need for a Hadrian to build his wall. This wall was unnecessary.
Walls don’t have to be physical. We created our own mental walls, again mostly for protection, a protection that usually does more harm than just being open to new ideas.

 

These walls are built to host our paranoia, our fears, our lack of courage when there is something new and we don’t have enough stones, bricks, wood, or concrete to build our walls. Instead we build them out of our individual units of intolerance, hatred, stupidity, and false ideas.

 

Thor Heyerdahl, the great Norwegian explorer, had this quote; ““Borders I have never seen one. But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.” It hangs in my bedroom, reminding me the only way to grow is to explore.

52 Pokes in Six Months

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Heart Stethoscope

 

As mentioned before, I completed my six months of chemotherapy. It’s a welcomed relief and now I have a less of worry of all my hair falling out. Some has, of course, fallen out. But it’s good to have extra baseball caps. Actually, I’m just kidding, it’s OK and I’m doing just fine.

 

One of the biggest problems about chemo, as you going to be there for about two hours, is the potential for extreme boredom. You need a good book, a set of headphones attached to something (MP3 player, CD player, etc.), and your imagination in case you forgot your book or your batteries have run down.

 

I found myself in just this situation a few weeks ago. No book, no music. Just me and my head and my imagination.

 

So I started to count the number of times they poked me with a needle, just so I could write about it (like now).

 

Here is the break-down:

 

One prick of a finger to get a blood test (OK, this is a prick and not really a poke. But if I was to write “52 Pricks in 6 Months”, it would probably have a negative connotation.)

 

24 Chemo Appointments

 

1 Needle prick per Appointment = 24

 

Now they do have to stick a needle in you to deliver the yucky chemo.

 

1 Needle insertion per Appointment = 24

 

And there were three times in which they had to remove the needle and find a better vein (I do have thin veins)

 

3 Needle insertion Re-dos = 3

 

So we have 24+24+3= 51 needle pokes and pricks.

 

And what about number 52?

 

Well, in three weeks I have to go for a final blood test. Which makes is 51+1=52

 

I’m tired of needles and pricks. But I really can’t complain. The sun is out, it’s warm outside, I got enough sleep last night, and eating a semi-healthy burrito as I type.

 

I’ll be out for this weekend, doing all my favorite things; cycling, walking (at least until I can get my strength back to running), playing board games, and writing.

 

You have fun this weekend!

 

 

Rob