Pumping Iron

Happy Thanksgiving! For any non Canadian readers out there, we celebrate our turkey day in October. I'm not exactly sure why, and I'm far to lazy right now to google it, but there you go. 

I was able to have two thanksgiving dinners in the last two days, so I've basically got turkey coming out of my ears. Yesterday, Sunday evening, I went to visit a friend who was back in town visiting for the holidays. As much of a solitary person as I am, it's always nice to be able to see your friends in person when you don't get the opportunity to all that often. So we had an amazing dinner, courtesy of his mother, with moist turkey, spiced potatoes, and some surprisingly good brussels sprouts, especially when I poured vinegar all over them. Don't judge, I thought it was weird too, but it worked. 

After dinner we settled down to watch the American presidential debate. It was a little bit funny to me to eat Canadian Thanksgiving and then sit down for the reality TV show that is the current congressional race in our southern neighbour (sorry, American readers, but it is a little bit true). Once the debate was over we got to catch the tail end of the baseball game as the Jays knocked Texas out of the post-season. So all in all, it was a really nice night. 

Then this morning I didn't have to go to work, so that was nice. While I of course want to go to work and make money and go back to school, every day I don't have to go always feels like a little mini-vacation. It's truly a double edged sword, because I both hate working and not working. I think I've gone over in the past though about how it's really the idea of working and thinking about having to give up my time to just go sit in a truck that's worse than the actual work itself, but I don't really want to get back into that right now. I spend enough time on this blog complaining about work, let's be a little more positive today in honour of Thanksgiving. I'm thankful I didn't have to work today. 

So I went with my Dad into town to his sisters for a second turkey dinner. I didn't eat any breakfast in preparation, and I sitll feel like I way overate. The buttery bread smothered in gravy is too good to pass up though. When you add the turkey and the mashed potatoes to that, it's truly amazing that everyone in the world isn't extremely obese when food like this exists. They made this really amazing turkey too. It was a bit unsettling to eat though, as it was pink, but it was cooked all the way through and tasted absolutely spectacular. It was something to do with the way it was smoked first, giving it the pink colouring, but whatever it was also made it taste truly heavenly. I tore into some fresh baked buns, put a little butter on it, stuck a piece of tender turkey on top, layered on some mashed potatoes, and finally dipped the whole stack into some creamy brown gravy. Mmmmmm. Yum. 

Both before and after lunch we enjoyed some pretty cool games, most of which I hadn't played before. We started off with this kind of mix between connect four and yahtzee. You rolled 5 dice and tried to match the numbers up to squares on this large wooden board. When you matched a picture of the dice, you put down a poker chip. The first team to connect 5 chips in a straight or diagonal row won. It was really queer, but insanely fun to play. We followed that up with this extremely fast paced game based on coins and moving left or right. Everyone started with 3 quarters, and there were 3 custom dice with the letters "C, R, L" on them as well as 3 dots. When it was your turn you would roll the dice, and whatever came up determined what you would do with your quarters. A "C" meant you put it in the center, and there was no way of anyone retrieving it. This was what determined the end of the game, when only one person had quarters left and everyone else's were in the center. An "R" meant that you passed a coin to the right, and an "L" meant you passed it to the left, obviously. A dot meant that you did nothing, you just got to keep the coin. Extremely simple in both theory and practice, but very fast paced and very fun to get into it. 

After that game we ate lunch then played a shuffleboard type game that for the life of me I can not remember the name of. I tried googling a little bit to no avail, so I'll just describe it, and anyone who knows what I'm on about can chime in in the comments. There was an octagonal shaped board with an circular trench in the inside. It was about an inch thick, and on the other side of the trench into the middle of the board was a flat surface with rings drawn (or in this case, etched) onto the wood. They got smaller as you got closer to the center and had point values assigned to each space. Each player or team had these small wooden hockey puck like discs that you put on the edge of the circle, then either flicked or hit with your fingers to send them toward the middle. There was a small depression in the middle, almost exactly the same size as the disks, which you were trying to hit. If your disk fell in it was worth 20 points. Players alternated turns, and if your opponent had a piece on the board your piece had to make contact with that piece or it was removed from play. It sounds complicated when I write it out, but it's very easy to pick up, but hard to master. It was lot's of fun though. We finished the night up with a game of Settlers of Catan. I need to find at least 2 other people I can play this game with on a regular basis, because I love it so much. It really is one of the best board games ever created, and it deserves all the praise it gets. 

When the game of Catan was over we finally headed for home. We had intended to only stay a couple hours but by the time we were heading out the door it had been closer to 7. Oh well, it was a really fun day, and lunch was really delicious. On the way home we stopped in at my Grandmas and she very quickly made me a poncho! Now, this wasn't just spur of the moment or anything, we had talked about it previously and I had already picked up the materials for her to use, she still managed to get it done super quickly. I guess a poncho is basically just a hold cut in a blanket, but we put a hood on mine, and it turned out marvellously. You can see a picture of it off to the right. The blanket is something like 70% wool, which is amazing because I can wear it when it rains and it'll keep me warm even when it gets wet. I've been on a bit of a wool frenzy lately, I got some wool socks, and the shirts I bought for travelling around Europe are  60% merino wool. It's a truly amazing material. I'll wear anything that has wool in it. 

After a bit more visiting and the extremely fast construction of my poncho, we were on our way home. We got back to the house slightly before 9pm. This was a bit unfortunate, as I wanted to work out tonight. It was 9pm though, and I know that working out gets my heart rate up and would keep me up for several hours after I was done. So... instead of allowing myself to make those excuses, I nutted up and worked out anyway. 

Too many times I get away with just making excuses for myself about why I'm not doing something that is beneficial to me. Two days ago I lifted weights for the first time in months, and it felt great. I wanted to keep that feeling going, and I knew that if I let myself lapse and just make an excuse for not doing it tonight, it would be the start of a slippery slope that lead down the path of never working out again for months and months, until I finally got around to doing it one day, realized how great it felt, and then the cycle repeats itself. So now it's almost 11 o'clock and I'm writing my blog post for the day because I decided to workout at 9 and get myself all pumped up for the next few hours. I'll probably hate myself for it in the morning, but for now it feels pretty good. 

I gained weight since I've been back from Europe. I'm back up to about 255 lbs. It's depressing, but I know that I've lost it before, so I can do it again. I just need to get back to counting calories and working out and running regularly. The running is the big one I think, because when I get up early and manage to go for a run, the entire rest of my day is set up for success at that point. I'm having a really hard time waking myself up in the mornings. This isn't just some "oh, try harder to get out of bed then" thing either. I really despise that attitude. If your solution to any problem is "just try harder", keep it to yourself, because that is shit advice. If I could change my life by just "trying harder' I would be a fit, rich writer by now. It's not that simple. When I wake up in the morning my brain just does things on it's own without any conscious thoughts from me. It just decides to stay in bed and hit the snooze button, and by the time I get control back again and realize that I actually need to force myself to make the decision to get up, it's too late, I've slept in. 

All I can do is tackle these problems one at a time though, and trust that with enough time and discipline I'll eventually reach my health and career goals. It's not going to be an easy road, but I'll get there eventually. This makes 3 days in a row of blogging. I'll try not to put the cart before the horse here, but if I hit a week straight I think that's reason enough to celebrate. That's my goal for right now. Start small, work your way bigger. It's how you train with weights, by adding a little at a time so that your muscles can adjust and lift the new weight. It's how I'm going to change my shit habits into great ones that make me healthier and happier. 

This got really introspective and cheesy pretty quickly. I'll leave it at that. If you're Canadian, tell me how your Thanksgiving dinner(s) went. Leave a comment below and let me know what your tips are for getting up in the morning. I'll take anything at this point.