i'm getting old. i'm only 45, but my body is not aging politely. i can't get away with the lazy habits i had when i was 20.
so, being me, i'm embracing technology to help me replace some of those not-so-healthy habits with some healthier ones. so far, they're working pretty well.
the first habit i wanted to build was working out. as i blogged recently, i hired a trainer and have been working with her three days per week. we do 30 minutes of strength and resistance work, and then i spend 30 minutes on the treadmill doing a couch-to-5k interval workout. i use this c25k app to coach me for those 30 minutes and track my progress. i like a lot of things about it:
i choose my own music while i use it. music is HUGELY motivating and energizing for me in most things in life, but especially for working out. more on that in a bit.
the app tells me when to walk and when to run, when i'm halfway through, and when my last run is coming up.
it keeps track of which week and day i'm on (the workouts get progressively more difficult as the weeks pass).
when i was using facebook and twitter more, i'd use those apps straight from the c25k app to share my little achievement of completing the workout.
if i were doing workouts outside instead of on a treadmill, it would have distance and pace information logged, too. that might work if i were using nike+, but i haven't set that up yet.
another habit i haven't had most of my life but that doctors and other health-related professionals (e.g., my massage therapist) have told me i really need to have is staying hydrated. it's ridiculous, but i really don't enjoy water and just don't think to drink much. but i feel SO much better when i do. you'd think that that would be enough, but somehow it's not. so i use an app called waterlogged that reminds me to drink. i have it set to remind me every hour and a half. when i drink anything (smoothies make up a good portion of my liquid intake every day), i log it in waterlogged. it helped me calculate that i need 72 ounces daily, based on my age and activity level, and it keeps track of my progress in reaching that goal every day. when i reach that goal, the app gives me an adorably worded little message--something like, "i am successful! now share your success with somebody." and links to facebook or something. i don't feel the need to share on facebook the fact that i drank 80 ounces of water, but it's cute anyway.
the third habit that, like staying hydrated, has been recommended to me for decades but fell on deaf ears, is getting up and moving periodically during the day. my job is SUPERsedentary, especially since i work from home and don't even have to move enough to commute, and it was not unusual for me to literally sit in one spot for 14 hours or more in a day, maybe getting up to pee or get a snack once or twice a day. when i set up my office, with an actual desk in a different room from the living room where we spend our evenings, things got a *little* better--i might sit at the desk for 8 or 10 hours, but at least i'd get up and move into the living room for the evening. but that's still pretty awful for my body. not surprisingly, i have MAJOR lower-back pain (better today after having gotten an intense massage and acupuncture yesterday, but still pretty bad). so i use a web app called awareness, and it is really good. totally simple: just chimes a nice little chime every hour that i'm on the computer, as a reminder to get up and move. it can tell when the computer is inactive and counts that as a break. i try to obey it.
and the last bit of technology makes me really happy: pacedj. brilliant. i lovelovelove to keep pace with the beat of music while i'm working out. i downloaded it to my iphone, and it analyzed all the songs in my library. (yes, i had to do a little finagling because one song locked the app up, so i just created a playlist that had everything in my itunes library *except* that song and some standup comedy, then had the app use that playlist instead of the whole library. after that, it worked great.) it uses a third-party website's library to determine the beats per minute (bpm) for each song. then, when i open the app, i tell it what kind of workout i want to do (walking, running, cycling, or other), and that gives it a default number of beats per minute. it then plays songs that fall within your chosen range of beats per minute (e.g., walking is 130 bpm by default, and it plays songs that are 130±5 bpm). when it plays a song, i can give it a thumbs up or thumbs down, which it will remember for future sessions. if a song isn't really in the right bpm range, i can tell it that i want to modify that, right in the app--it gives me a little drum i can tap along with the beat, and it remembers the new bpm level for that song. so i'm totally jazzed about this little app. it was just $0.99; the price goes up a few bucks after this month, i think, but even then it'll be totally worth it. and i did have a question for customer service (when that one song was locking the app up), and they responded within hours--both on facebook and in email. this one's a keeper.
i sort of petered out at the end of my 30-day thing. no idea why. but today i'm formatting a document, work that is exactly right for playing music while i do it. i have my ipod on shuffle, and it is presenting me with some awesome songs.
when you're sad, "smile." i really love this version by american idol contestant gina glocksen.
when you're mad at your guy, "strut" by sheena easton:
i know! but there it was in my shuffle.
edited to add another one that's good if you're pissed at your partner (fortunately, this is very rare for me):
when you're mad at work, "bang on the drum all day":
when you're feeling that all-welled-up-with-love-and-affection feeling, whether it's love for your significant other or your dog (or whoever makes you feel that way), "ice cream" by sarah mclachlan:
when this came on, i stopped it shuffling so i could listen to the rest of the album it's on--not sarah's but an album that nobody should be surprised i own, "mad about you (music from and inspired by the television series)." i love everything about this show except that it's no longer on the air. :snif: this album also has some beautiful dialog clips, which is as much of a fix as i get any more.
jamie: "i just don't know why this is all so hard!"
j: "this! everything! marriage! it's supposed to be different than this."
p: "says who?"
p: "well, they're wrong. it's just like this. it's exactly like this."
j: "according to who?"
p: "everybody. i asked around. look: there's always going to be stuff, you know? but that's—i put up with your crap and you put up with my crap."
oh, so many. i have always wished i could play guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, banjo...lots of instruments but especially those.
so. banjo. in honor of the fact that i am missing steve martin's tour date in durham, n.c., tomorrow night (damn you, hard-to-get doctor's appointments!), i'll focus on some of his latest. i wish i could play banjo like he does. check out this bit of mastery.
guitar and blues, too. lordy, i wish i could belt it like susan tedeschi.
and generally, mandolin
THAT is beautiful.
oh! i almost forgot (duh) the ukelele. i kind of developed an instant crush on this jake guy.
holy crap. i don't think there are any songs i can play on an instrument any more. once upon a time, i could play lots of pretty things on a piano, but i haven't touched a piano in YEARS. decades since i played in earnest and practiced.
when i did play, my favorite things to play were bach preludes. like this one
or his minuets, like this one
or airs, like this one
just loved playing bach. i won a bach competition when i was seven or eight years old, and i was completely hooked after that. <3
okay, let's get one thing out of the way: if i'm able to play a song at my funeral, stop the funeral. I AM NOT DEAD YET.
now, then. if we're sure i'm dead, and you do have a funeral for me (i don't particularly want one, but i know that these things are for the survivors and not the deceased), there is one song i want played.
i love this song. jane's addiction did a great cover of it on the "deadicated" album. if you're wondering why i'd want it played at my funeral, here are the lyrics:
if my words did glow with the gold of sunshine and my tunes were played on the harp unstrung, would you hear my voice come through the music? would you hold it near as it were your own?
it's a hand-me-down. the thoughts are broken. perhaps they're better left unsung. i don't know, don't really care. let there be songs to fill the air.
ripple in still water when there is no pebble tossed nor wind to blow.
reach out your hand if your cup be empty. if your cup is full, may it be again. let it be known: there is a fountain that was not made by the hands of men.
there is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night, and, if you go, no one may follow. that path is for your steps alone.
ripple in still water when there is no pebble tossed nor wind to blow.
you who choose to lead must follow, but, if you fall, you fall alone. if you should stand, then who's to guide you? if i knew the way, i would take you home.
well. i'm already married (yay!), so i already had people play the songs i wanted played (double yay!). mark and sharlotte played "simple gifts," as i've already noted during this series, as my processional. i lovedlovedloved it. i think i mentioned that, too.
there was no other music during the wedding, as is typical of an unprogrammed quaker meeting for worship, not until the end. i asked the dj to play "great day" (again with the eddie from ohio) when our convener, jen, gave the signal to end the ceremony. nobody could hear it over all the happy chatter as people rose from their seats, but i knew it was playing in the ballroom as we opened up the french doors from the living room where the ceremony had been. i found an mp3 download of that, too (triple yay!). (warning, the mp3 sample doesn't start in a great place and is therefore a little jarring or startling at first. stick with it.)