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(c) 2012 Trina Lambert

(c) 2012 Trina Lambert

From the “it’s always something” department, my computer keeps warning me of the imminent demise of the hard drive. And, so I have been pushing hard to finalize any spreadsheets required in order to help the accountant prepare our taxes. Luckily this is the year he started using a portal for our documents so even if the drive—and the back-ups—were to fail, those documents are in his capable hands.

Now that I’ve finished that work, we’ll re-do the backups one more time and take the computer down tonight.

But, since this is my second hard drive with problems, I have to ask why this keeps happening. I hardly transport my laptop further than from the living room to the family room downstairs and back again—and more often it stays in one location.

Someone gave me a possible answer that I really don’t like: maybe our 1940s electricity is the bigger problem. And, this starts to sound more plausible when I realize that my son had trouble with both his desktop and his laptop—and sometimes his tablet acts up. Although I don’t think we’re ready to re-do our electric yet, we really do need to invest in better surge protectors and back-up systems to protect those new hard drives.

Ugh. So bear with my continuing absences while we get everything working properly again. I’ve already been gone too long while focusing on the numbers—for the business books and taxes, my new financial software, and the personal taxes—and I really don’t want to stay away any longer. When I let the words start building too long in my head, they start demanding to be released.

If I’m not careful, I’ll explode. Just might be time to write with a pen—or, gasp—learn how to start using that not-so-new smart(er than me)phone more.

Gotta’ go—don’t want to tax my terminal hard drive any more than necessary after taxing it with all that tax prep!


(c) Christiana Lambert 2010

(c) Christiana Lambert 2010

What I’d really like is to hear from someone who started out hating using a heart rate monitor watch, stuck with it, and found out that he or she did improve over time by following the program. Everyone I speak with—of a certain age, of course—seems either to disagree with what information the watch gives out or not want to pursue what it suggests. My biggest question is whether or not the data really says what it purports to say. In other words, if I slow down as it tells me to do now, over time will I be able to speed up again?

A fitness instructor yesterday told me she tried hers for a couple months, but didn’t like having to think so much while running. She says she goes running to let her mind be free, not to be told constantly to run at a much slower pace. I hear her on that.

But what if jump-starting my heart rate so quickly really is a sign it’s not ready for the pace I want to run? Might a heart build its endurance quicker by not facing the stress caused by extreme intensity?

I’m new to all this, but can tell that the fitness community is divided by the validity of the whys behind this kind of self-monitoring and whether or not it helps—in the long run and/or the short run.

So often I feel personally affronted that this watch—a watch for goodness’ sake—is telling me how fast I should go. Yesterday I was reading the ending of some running book where the author described a runner he observed and concluded that she was just starting out. That person could have been me right now and I’ve been doing this off and on for over thirty-five years! I still want to put a sign on my back that reads, “I can run faster but the watch won’t let me!”

Then I take a deep breath—which usually reduces my heart rate, right?—and celebrate the small victories. I thought that small computer brain came up with the threshold heart rate between fat-burning and fitness-burning based upon my age, weight, and height only and that it would remain static if those numbers remained constant. Turns out somehow it “knows” how well I’m doing and has decided to move up the threshold by 4 beats. Ha!

And back to the results in yoga that I mentioned in an earlier post. My heart rate is often lower in yoga—while moving—than it is just sitting here thinking and typing. It drops to 57 and 58 several times during class. I realize that to verify that the results show a statistically normal distribution (i.e. the traditional bell curve), one has to get to N=30, but my early results are suggesting to me that my mindfulness and breathing have a lot of power over my heart and however much it ticks.

Which also tells me that if I just stop fighting this thing, then maybe it will do for me exactly what it should—which is improve my endurance safely over time so that I can improve my performance and speed.

Which could bring me full circle back to how I have run when I was in shape for running.

Over time I tend to develop an internal clock based on how I feel. I was that person in track who usually hit the interval targets, not overshooting or undershooting them, even when we did as many as 20 200 meter runs. I’m also the person who once won a contest based upon guessing my finishing time against several women who timed everything they did to the last second—without their watches they were lost, but I just ran as I always did.

By giving into the (artificially-intelligent) wisdom of the watch now, I hope that down the road (with all those miles to go before I sleep) I will have re-developed the accuracy of my inner watch so that it runs in sync with the monitor and vice versa. This seemingly rigid tool I have been fighting really does have the potential to set both my body and mind free—if I just let it do so.

(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

You know that expression, “A mother is only as happy as her least happy child”? Well, true as that feeling may be, that’s not the healthiest way to approach parenting. And as much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we can’t make someone else feel exactly what we want him or her to feel, whether such a feeling is happy or anything else.

In the end you can only be in charge of your own happiness—and even that isn’t necessarily easy.

Some days (years?) you have to find your own happiness, one moment at a time. You have to string together the happy moments—small as they may be—to cover up a lot of the bigger holes in your heart, life, etc.

You can provide examples, opportunities, mental health providers, medications, puppies, outings, new things, chocolate, or whatever but you cannot make someone else feel happy or even decide to try to be happy.

If your children are reasonably happy—hey, no one said every minute of life is a riot of joy—then you can feel you’ve done a good job. But if they’re not, is it because you’ve done a bad job? Or is happiness much more complicated than that?

At what point do you realize that you’re going to have to hand over that happiness job to them and let them choose whether to pursue it or not?

And, then, how do you go about the very tough business of grabbing your own happiness when you in fact do have an unhappy child?

It is incredibly heartbreaking to watch your children struggle. Though it’s in our parental DNA to do everything we can to help them move through those struggles, they are in fact their struggles.

As it is, if you aren’t careful, you can let their approaches to life and unhappiness permeate your own approaches.

Earlier, when discussing a problem encountered by one of my children, a professional had asked me if I had read the book Learned Optimism. Yes, while breastfeeding them, in fact! But I couldn’t/can’t make them drink it into their own belief systems.

Meanwhile, the more negativity I encounter, the less capable I find myself of choosing optimism. But it really is a choice, no matter what my circumstances. So for now I will continue to take little sips of my own optimism and happiness, even if I can’t quite gulp them down just yet.

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