Friday, December 29, 2006

A Week At the Gym

...a story many of my readers, I'm sure, can relate to - whether they go to the gym or not... enjoy!

Dear Diary,

For my fortieth birthday this year, my wife (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since playing on my college football team 25 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservation with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swimwear. My wife seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started!

The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress…

Started my day at 6 AM. Tough to get out of bed, but it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She was something of a Greek goddess – with blonde hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!!!! She took my pulse after five minutes on the treadmill. She was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attributed it to standing next to her in her Lycra aerobics outfit. I enjoyed watching the skilful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring. Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around.

This is going to be a fantastic week!

I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air, and then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made a full mile. Belinda’s rewarding smile made it all worthwhile.

I feel GREAT!! It’s a whole new life for me.

The only way I can brush my teeth is by lying on the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was okay as long as I didn’t try to steer or stop. Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered the other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when she scolds she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators?

Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too.

Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn’t help being a half hour late; it took me that long to tie my shoes. Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the men’s room.

She sent Lars to find me, then, as punishment, put me on the rowing machine – which I promptly sank.


I hate that bitch Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anaemic little cheerleading bitch. If there were a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it. Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don’t have any triceps! And of you don’t want dents in the floor, don’t hand me the *&%# barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher.

Why couldn’t it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner.

However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.


I’m having the church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over.

I will also pray that next year my wife (the other bitch), will choose a gift for me that is fun – like a root canal or a vasectomy, (without the anaesthetic).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh yah... there's this small matter of a birthday...

On the fly... have to service a client in Okotoks this morning - long stroy, will update later, but before I forget, today is my company's birthday. Monarch Music turns 20 today.

Some accomplishment, eh?

Just thought I'd share that... no fancy fanfare, horns, streamers...

Maybe I'll have a rum and coke. Why? This too, I must update you on.

Right now, it's time to be good to a loyal client.

I needed that!

To address my short, but rather cryptic previous post on what "S" might stand for, let me say it has everything to do with visiting the chiropractor.

For the last number of weeks I just haven't felt "right".

I started feeling like I did when I took up chiropractic about 10 years ago. Back then I was working a multitude of jobs including cleaning a dental office after hours. One night I limped out of the office because I was so crippled up I could hardly stand. After several visits to the chiropractor (who was, at that time right next door to the dental office) and a podiatrist, orthodics and regular chiropractic adjustments made me "right" with the world again.

About a year ago I was feeling so fantastic, I stopped visiting the chiropractor and massage therapist. About a month ago I regreted it. In the last two weeks I returned to both a massage therapy school and a new chiropractor.

When I called the chiropractor, on referral from... "S", I asked the receptionist if the doctor was accepting new patients. The answer was yes, and the next question was "How did you hear about us?".

Only after a number of questons did she say,

"Oh, I should get your name..."

I told her.

Brief pause...



"You have no idea who you're talking to, do you?"

"Um... no, you're right, I don't!"

"It's T-L Y."

Brief pause...
(this time from me!)

"You're kidding!"

If you look on my sidebar, you'll notice a link to Eggnog Open House. My high school friend R. holds this party every year for film industry folks and other people he knows.

T-L is R.'s sister.

I've known her for ages, but rarely speak with her, so I didn't clue in on the telephone!

R. & T-L making egg nog for the party

I remember when I was about five years old, going shopping at the mall on Friday nights with my family. My parents would always come home yammering on about all the poeple they'd met that evening. I remember spouting,

"Mom, Dad, I never meet ANYONE I know at the mall!",

to which they replied,

"Just wait until you're our age, dear."

Moms and Dads are so smart!

So, as a result of my first and second consultations which included reviewing a set of x rays, I am now on a six-month programme to correct all the subluxations and weirdnesses in my neck and back.

$1600.00 sounds like a lot of money, but really, I've spent more on things far less important than my body. The urge to sign up for another job is there simply because this new financial commitment seems to be just one more thing to have to pay! Having said that, I think I've found the money simply by revamping the budget. There are always things we spend money on that we don't notice or need.

Three adjustments in and two massage therapy sessions later, I have far more mobility and range of motion. I'm far from "cured", but there is forward motion, and that pleases me!

So with respect to "S" and the chirpractor, let me just say thank you. I needed that!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

S is for...


. Shape.

. Subluxations.

. Sixteen Hundred.

.Second Job.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A word of recognition

Every so often someone sends you a thank-you, a word of recognition and appreciation. This email arrived today from the Millarville Ride for STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society). It's a fund-raising event held every year in support of Calgary's air-ambulance service. These words brightened my otherwise very average afternoon:

Hi Dave:

Seems a long time since that VERY warm day in September when we had the STARS Ride, right?? And I have been VERY slow in writing to thank you once again for your help and contribution to the cause. I don’t know if you heard or not, but we ended up grossing $74,000, which is a record for us. I was so pleased with those results. It makes me believe that we will indeed be able to reach our target of $1 million accumulated proceeds by the time we have our 20th anniversary in 2012.

I have truly appreciated your involvement over the years. It just definitely would not be the same if we couldn’t count on you. Even the one year you sent your associate, it was great, but not terrific!! So thanks so much from me on a personal note for coming out year after year to provide the music and the sound system. It is absolutely a critical part of our delivery.

I wish you a very enjoyable and meaningful holiday season and the best in the new year...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm #1, and that isn't arrogant, but it's a great feeling!

I woke up this morning feeling rotten. I had inadvertently conducted a dietary test over the last couple days. For the most part, I eat pretty well, and I tend not to pack on the pounds - as is the case with lots of people - but rather, I have quite the opposite problem.

I don't consume ENOUGH calories.

Now before anyone says,

"Gee, Dave, I'd love to have YOUR problem!"

let me ask you this: Do you "power out" part way though the day? I do. Unless I keep my calorie intake up over the course of the day, I'm sunk. I might bulldoze through, but don't think I won't pay for it later.

This week two things happened to me causing a big "heads up!"

1 - For some reason I've been snaking on sugary things lately, and in the later evening, shortly before bed. This has translated to a disrupted sleep pattern: awake around 5AM or, a power-sleep of 11 hours or so.

2 - My body hurts. I'm feeling like I used to years ago when all I did was "go-go-go". I then started going to a chiropractor (I think I was about 26 at the time) and over the course of time really started feeling better. As of late I haven't been to a chiropractor nor a massage therapist: both I prefer over popping a pain killer.

I called a massage therapy school today to see if I could get in for some relief. To my surprise they did in fact have an opening, and this afternoon no less! This worked out great as their latest slot on Thursday is 5:15PM. Pottery starts at 7:00, and wouldn't you know it, the school is on the way! Sign me up!

Boy, was I a mess. My student-therapist took one look at my back and said,

"I can SEE how tight you are, I don't even have to touch you!"

We addressed all of my concerns and covered most bases fairly thoroughly. I was given some stretching exercises to do at home - my biggest problem being my right shoulder. It's dropped and forward. I've also strained a muscle group right above my right elbow. If I sleep on my right side, I tend to wake up with numbness in my third and fourth fingers.

This is bad.

I appear to have signed up on the "long-term" massage therapy plan. I could almost feel the excitement in the office between my student-therapist and the supervising teacher.

"Look, Igor!! We're going to have fun with this one!"

I return next Thursday for my second treatment.

On Monday I'll seek out a chiropractor.

All of this, as I see it, is part of what's making up my year of self-awareness. I'm feeling really good about all these things because for the first time in a very long time I'm actively doing good things for myself and my being. I remember years ago - shortly out of high school - working like a mad-man just to earn money. My very personal well-being wasn't of great concern. I remember feeling burnt out, run down, unhealthy and not really, truly happy. I remember believing a massage was a luxury, not a necessity. I remember believing chiropractic treatment was reserved for those who had experienced a trauma of some sort. I didn't think of it as regular maintenance for a generally healthy body.

A sports-guy and gym-freak I will never be - mostly because I'm not out to become "Mr. Jock". I must say, however that paying more attention to my body's well-being is translating into success and happiness in many other areas of life.

So, at the risk of sounding vain, it really is all about me. Number one on my list is my well-being. Everything else will follow in its place and time.

This is a great feeling!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Where the rubber meets the road (long post... just consider it catchup for weeks of M.I.A.)

It's a balancing act, really; life is a great big balancing act.

This week has presented me with a test… or two, or three.

Front and centre was my mid term exam in English at the U. For as much as I've been yammering on and on about how the "education is more important than the grade", I found myself - for the first time this semester - concerning myself with the eventual outcome of my course... in terms of a letter grade.

What changed?

Why am I all of a sudden concerned with "how well am I going to do... on someone's preconceived scale of good and bad"?

Here's my answer:

It had everything to do with the timed nature of our exam. You see I suffer from test anxiety. I even know where it comes from. School, for as long as I've known it, has determined a student's worth on the academic scale by how well he or she can learn a prescribed amount of material in a given amount of time. If you don't learn the material in x amount of time, or regurgitate it within the allotted time in an exam, you're grade reflects THAT, rather than how well you may do long-term.

As an aside, the example I like to use is typing. I took Typing 10 in grade 10. That same year I broke my arm in phys. ed. As a result, I ended up with a half-semester spare and was required to take the typing course again in grade 11 to meet the prerequisite for the computer courses I wanted to take. Upon completing the course in grade 11, my instructor granted me a "conditional pass". I would receive a 50% grade. The notation on my transcript would then read "not recommended to proceed to next level".

Typing 20 was out.

So much for my career as a receptionist.

Little did they know, I'd show them! Just to spite them, I started my own business and said,

"I'll do my OWN typing, and answer my OWN damn phone! ...and maybe throw in a little DJing to liven things up a bit..."

Over time, my typing has improved. I don't feel the least bit uncomfortable running a keyboard. I'm not all that quick on a number pad, but I can type fairly accurately with all ten fingers, fairly quickly. The skills I posses now are the skills I was expected to posses in grade 11. I got them. Finally. But because I didn't get them "right away", I was deemed "not good enough".

So here I am, a number of days prior to my mid term exam. Things are moving along nicely. Then, it happened. Fear struck. I'm not talking any normal kind of fear. I'm talking paralysing fear to the point I indeed froze. For two days I didn't study. I didn't crack a single book. In the time perfectly suited to reviewing - neither so close to the day to be considered cramming, nor too far away to allow for the damaging effects of forgetfulness - I did nothing. It took several people encouraging me by way of

"take it as it comes",

"do what you can do",

"this is your time to shine"...

to get me back on track. You know who you are, and thank you, all!

As if test anxiety alone isn't enough, Sunday night brought with it some trauma. I won't go into the details, except to say... remember when I broke my arm in grade 10? That was in 1986. Sunday night, as a result of said trauma, I met up with Ken - the man who casted my arm back in grade 10. I KNEW he looked familiar!

So, as ill-prepared as I felt, and shaking like a leaf from head to toe, palms sweaty and mind racing a mile-a-minute, I entered the class. Armed sans-caffeine with a bottle of water, two pens, a pencil and a quarter-ream of paper, I was set.

Second aside: I was joking with a friend earlier who said,

"Hey man, maybe you should just relax about the whole thing. Take a bevy with you to class... hell, take the whole bottle, make some friends!"

The exam consisted of three short-essay questions. We were instructed, "No more than two paragraphs, each essay".

I have a queasy feeling in my gizzard.

It seemed too easy.

I must have missed something.

But... it's done.

All the semester’s assignments have been thrown off-track as a result of our prof. taking medical leave until January. Between now and January 9 I have the rewrite of my first essay to complete. (I see M. on Monday to consult on that.) Essay #2 is also due at that time. This worked out to my benefit in that I receive the consultation on Essay #1 BEFORE having to write Essay #2. Huge benefit to lowly English fledgling!!

So... I suppose in the end I've really accomplished (so far) what I set out to do: get an education, learn something new. Where the rubber meets the road in this case is all about forward motion. Grades be damned, what did I learn, and how will it make me a better person?


About Me

My photo
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.