webcowgirl: (Jizo)
I went to the doctor to get a physio referral today - my ankle ligament has been "catching" more regularly - it happened twice yesterday - and that's clearly worse than it was. Hurts like hell, too. Now I get to wait and see when they've got time to see me at St. George's Medical center.

Also checked my blood pressure - 150/92 - am hoping it was high due to stress about being at the doctor's office but expect it was high in general as my weight's up and I haven't been doing cardio at the gym (cue "ankle"). Boo.
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
Two front teeth are fine, thanks! Went into the doctor this morning and had my blood pressure measured. 145/82 , diastolic looking really good. Not having tea beforehand helped but realizing I had five minutes to make it up the street to my appointment did NOT! However, overall I am looking much better than I have the many years prior to this, clearly I am making progress in reducing my life-stress and getting to a healthier physical state.

In a sudden change of events, I am now home and hosting a Christmas dinner for 3 at my place. I'm pretty happy about this, really. The weather has meant bad news for many in regards to their Christmas plans, but my biggest worry was spending it by myself. I knew I had that covered, but as it turns out I'll now be helping someone else not to spend Christmas by themselves, and that pleases the person in me who loves to be a hostess and help people out. I am also sure now to be in London in time to play nurse for [livejournal.com profile] wechsler post-operation (starting December 30th). I'm really sorry about not getting to enjoy a snowy, lovely visit with [livejournal.com profile] noirem, but I know I'll be seeing her again before too long - Inverness is now a place I feel very warmly about, even if it's actually quite cold there! To make it all even better, I am now snowed under (as it were) with further invites to people's houses, on the 23rd, the 26th, and the 27th. And of course there's Pancake Day in December here on the 28th ... hope you can make it!

Yesterday was interesting as I had a major fustercluck trying to get out and see a show. I was heading south to London Bridge from Angel at 6:45 ... and the Northern Line just stopped running, flat out, after I'd been waiting for 15 minutes wondering what was going on. I wound up on a bus, then on a taxi, desperately trying to get to Tower Bridge in time for a 7:30 start time ... then wound up, at 7:40, realizing the theater had sent me two receipts with two different addresses, and the one I was at was not where the show was taking place. Bad job, Theater Delicatessen. This may be the year without a Christmas Carol for me and I am not pleased. However, I had a lovely pint with Sophie that well made up for it all, and I think, given that earlier I'd had dinner with [livejournal.com profile] exedore, that in fact it was a jolly evening full of Christmas cheer. So there!

Anyway, today is work from home day, and I need to get back on it ... the awesomeness, though, is that the meetings I MUST MUST MAKE SURE I ATTEND OR SOMEONE COVERS! have almost all been cancelled. Woo!
webcowgirl: (Default)
So I've been really trying to focus on reducing the amount of stress in my life.

Today I feel like I got a result: my blood pressure was 120/80. This is _normal_. It's also the lowest my blood pressure has been since I moved here, and I think before I moved here, too.

I think I should write a book. I'll call it "The Red Wine and Pilates Guide to Good Heart Health." It sounds much better than the "simple secrets to a flat belly," which I've just discovered involves special tea and enemas.
webcowgirl: (Default)
I went to the doctor to get a prescription refilled today, and LO! My blood pressure was at 120/80. Seriously, I think maybe she wasn't getting a good reading, but I've barely managed to get the low number under 90 for the last three years, so this is good. I'll have to stop back in for a checkup in a month or so and see if it's holding. Still, the fact that I was up at 5 AM with my brain going ticka-tick and me unable to sleep means all is not well in the cowgirl brain, but thanks to the doctor's appointment, when I did finally get back to sleep I was able to keep snoozing on until a good hour past my normal time.

Also, last night J and I got together to see Disconnect at the Royal Court (my review here). I enjoyed seeing the lives of call center flunkies depicted on stage, but for some reason I felt like Annex could have done it with more pizazz. Ah, well, it was only 90 minutes long and £15, so a good deal overall.

While my paid gig is floundering horribly (I'm guessing maybe they don't entirely have their act together), I am now an editor (ooh baby) at a new reviews consolidator site called Up The West End, which is being run by the fellow I call Andrew Whinger of the West End Whingers. If you like theater, it's worth a poke.
webcowgirl: (Default)
I'm changing to this icon until the ice melts outside, or March, whichever suits.

The good news: I went to the doctor to have my blood pressure read, and it was 130/90 on the first try, much better.

The bad news: I slipped on the ice and fell _on my tailbone_ on the way out of the clinic. Bending over hurts now. Leaning forward hurts now.

Thankfully, I'd already planned on working at home for the rest of the day - I'm glad not to have to go out and deal with this any more. If only people would shovel their sidewalks as a matter of routine, we wouldn't get four inches of ice built up. But I don't have a snow shovel, and they don't sell them anywhere that I've seen, and so no one does it, and so people get hurt.

Now I'm going to put some cornbread in the oven to go with my home made soup lunch and get ready for being intelligent at 12:30. I think doing some more laundry (the trousers I've worn for the last five days can probably walk in on their own, and the tall socks are also needing replenishing) is also in the cards.
webcowgirl: (potato mountain)
At the doctor's this AM for my first checkup at the new office. Blood pressure is 145/95 - too high. And I've put on 7 pounds in a month. I'd suspect 3 of them was just from the steak last night. It's nice having a grill again.

I realized that all of my friends here have attached spiderweb-thin lines to my heart, and when I think of leaving London, I can feel them tugging on me. I'm pinned like Gulliver, each thread helping the other. I want to bike by the Duwamish again, spend the Fourth at [livejournal.com profile] kingrat's watching fireworks over Lake Union, kayak along the rich waters of the sound, but when I think of leaving, of leaving these people behind, it hurts.
webcowgirl: (London Biker)
Wow, six minutes a week is as good for building muscle as these ridiculous hours and hours most people associate with gym work? I may need to rethink my routine.

(I like articles like this because I feel like a lot of people don't like to exercise because they think it takes to much time. It's really encouraging to think that it could be easy and I want to encourage these thoughts to spread!)
webcowgirl: (London Biker)
I'm back at the gym. This is a REALLY good thing for me as 1) it should keep me from dying prematurely due to high blood pressure and 2) it makes me get out of the office so that I feel like I'm getting my "value" out of my membership, and getting away from the office is a Good Thing as it also helps reduce my blood pressure. Conceptually, though, I just joined due to a tremendous vanity and wanting to look good in the [livejournal.com profile] tonyawinter dress I'm planning on wearing in September. I mean, hey, whatever works, right? But I also miss my ability to run up stairs as quickly as I did in the fall and to hold myself up in plank position (by my arms a la "pushups") in Pilates, so all and all it seemed like it was time to go back, now that I'm not utterly and completely broke like I was for most of the winter.

Today was my second trip back (the goal being twice a week). As I expected, it's actually very easy for me to get my heart up to my target rate (above 150), since I'm all out of practice with getting exercise. My legs and arms are feeling good about getting worked out - a little tired and rubbery, but "hey! I'm alive!" which I like. I managed 40 kilos on tricep curls and about 15 or 20 with the rhomboid machine I use to try to work the knots out of my back, and I can keep up a good rate on the base level on both the step and the bike machines. To top it off, I found a Charles Stross short story in the SF compendium ("The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 14") I brought with me, so I was feeling fairly well entertained (important as boredom is my number one reason not to go to the gym).

My goal these days is just to go twice a week, not three times, and try to manage a round of Pilates during the week. That way I can still do the Holborn Walks on Fridays (tomorrow: Fantastic Buildings, starts at 1 PM from Holborn Station) and elementary school French tutoring on alternate Wednesdays and not feel like my week is so painfully crushed for time that I can't meet a random friend for lunch. And I think the effects will still make it worth the time. A heart monitor watch would be good for me, though - shoulda got one ages back.

Tonight we're going to see Peer Gynt at the Barbican ... I just need to get out of here on time!
webcowgirl: (Morpheus)
Okay, I think this is GREAT NEWS and have to share it.

"There is no cure for the common cold, but in an experiment that deliberately infected volunteers with a virus, researchers have shown that getting less sleep can substantially increase the risk of catching one."

I have often felt that the amount of sleep I get is directly related to my ability to ward off infection, and since I started, er, drinking red wine to stave off the effects of aging (per another article) and generally getting 8 hours a night (I think these things are related), I have managed to fight off cold after cold. I firmly believe that eating well and getting enough sleep and regular hand washing (and not getting colds) is the best way to avoid getting colds ... and I am right in one of these things! I have felt one after another hit this winter but I've just had a runny nose that was gone the next day - a huge improvement over last year. I've also been trying to adjust my schedule so that I'm not getting home after 10:30 so I have enough time to wind down before bed, and I feel like this has been paying off.

(The "don't get a cold to keep you from getting a cold" sounds redundant but I need something to explain the fact that when you get one you tend to get a million in a row due to your immune system being overtaxed or something like that.)

Also, some further advice about avoiding heart attacks: get tested for C-reactive protein, Mediterranean diet (the Sicilian cooking will serve me well), take care of your teeth, avoid chronic stress (like I had all of the last five months of this year), get enough sleep, and a bit of cardio. Time to add in a bit more cardio - brisk walking will work and I note it's sunny outside. :-)
webcowgirl: (Mano Poderosa)
I'm weak and emotional today - the after-effects of the food poisoning and not enough food are surely having their way with me. But the trip to the heart doctor went well. The official verdict is that I'm healthy in all of the ways I need to be AND I've done good work getting my blood pressure _and weight_ down. (Nothing like being praised for weight loss the day after I've lost 4 pounds through a "radical dehydralizing diet," but he didn't seem to care.) I've been discharged from the heart clinic and I am to continue going to the gym and need to lose 10 more pounds. But my blood pressure was 125/86, an improvement even from the visit of April 16th, when I was 136/89, so really, what I was getting today was some very positive feedback - no need for me to go on heart medication at all!

Good news, really. But still, my plan for the next three months is to let my gym membership expire and go to two days of Pilates and hopefully one day of water aerobics (in Streatham, if [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady is amenable). I think I need to reduce stress in my life more than I need to get a cardio workout, and doing these things should help. At any rate, I think they will, and I'll measure my BP at the end of January and see if I was right.
webcowgirl: (Proust quote)
Proust: I'm at page 204 of Time Regained. He's been on a long rant about the value of art, which I think will ultimately lead to him beginning to write his novel. Last night I was reading a bit that, I'm pretty sure, said if you didn't try to express the impressions of the art you've seen/heard/watched, you hadn't actually accomplished anything by experiencing it. I liked that.

Heart: 163/92 this morning, horrid, horrid. I expect the stress at work yesterday kicked it up. (Really, I don't just avoid unpleasant people and situations because I'm a wimp; it seems to negatively affect my health.)
webcowgirl: (Morning cuppa)
My heart's just not in it today and I'm so grateful it's 5 PM now and I'm free to leave. I'm a bit physically worn out from yesterday, to boot, and I'd like nothing better than to take a nap right now. Of course, what I've got to look foward to is going to [livejournal.com profile] trishpiglet and [livejournal.com profile] babysimon's, which is great and should cheer me up.

Believe it or not, despite feeling like this most of the day, I went to the gym for lunch - figure it would help work out some of the soreness. This is in spite of the fact that gymming is as boring as watching paint dry for me. I did make some headway on Saratoga Swimmer, however, which was far more real to me than any of the information on the machines about my speed and my heart rate. Someday I'll do an update about how my tricep and rhomboid workouts are going (I think I'm doing 30 kilos on the triceps and 25 on the rhomboids, but not sure), but what I really ought to do is go to the doctor and have my blood pressure checked again - and get a referral to go back to the specialist, since I am kicked out of the specialist until I get another letter, I need to get off of my duff and ask.

Really, what I'd like is to see no results and then ditch this stupid exercise program, which is the most unexciting way to waste three hours a week ever, but I'd also like to see my blood pressure go down. Sure, I'd lose some muscle tone, but ... hey, who cares, right?
webcowgirl: (ActionFigure)
At the gym today, I tried a machine that looks like the bottom part of the cross-country/elliptical thing - little pads for each feet that move in a semi-circular, almost rocking motion. This machine is the one I use for doing my heart monitoring on - its BPM measurement is easy to trigger, so I run up to it from doing other exercises, grab ahold of the handles, and wait to see what I register. When I realized that this machine is basically the elliptical without the arms, I thought I could probably try it, too. In fact, with all of the workouts I am getting, I figure I am probably now strong enough to handle something this much like running, at least for short periods of time.

In fact, I did quite well. I think partially it's because I was near the door, so instead of being stupidly overheated like I get in the back of the gym, I stayed pretty cool. My heart got up to 150 after 3 or 4 minutes, and, hey, I was actually having fun, so I stayed on until 7 minutes had gone by then switched to the bike.

On the bike, I was not doing so well at even getting my heart up to 140, if the monitor on the bike was correct. I don't know what I was doing wrong - maybe reading makes me too relaxed (though I do love my silly mysteries). I hit about 12 minutes, then instead of going to the elliptical (all full!) I went back to the first machine. As it turned out, I _was_ getting over 160 the last minutes of my workout - just as the heart monitor on the elliptical had said and I'd refused to believe. Now, the doctor said 160 was fine, and I think even 165, but it's a little creepy to look at the red light blinking next to the BPM display, so I slowed down a bit.

At any rate, and if you didn't guess, this was the highlight of my day. With luck I will get my build tomorrow and the day will pass more quickly.
webcowgirl: (London Biker)
Well, I made it to the gym today - along with [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy, our first co-workout, yay! The 25 minute routine seems to have settled in pretty well - 4 minutes rowing, 14 on the bike, then 7 minutes on the elliptical thingie. I went for a different distance to the pedals on the bike today and my heart got up to about 150 in three minutes or so, which is good as I've been having a hard time getting even to 145. The elliptical's heart reader said I was at 165 after about two or three minutes, which I think means it's not working correctly. I took a nice shower afterwards, including washing my hair, and for the record I think the L'Occitaine shea butter shampoo is fairly useless - I'll stick with Tigi, and L'Occitaine should stick with moisturizers and body washes.

Afterwards I had the quiche I brought back from York, though I had to wait for 15 minutes to use the microwave. Do we really only have one on this entire floor? And, you know, I really need a heart monitor thingie so I don't have to rely on the equipment at the gym.

So, now that I biffed my appointment with the heart doctor (really, I thought I was going to get a letter telling me when the appointment was), should I call my primary care physician and get re-referred? I'm certainly curious to see if my blood pressure has gone down at all since I've been doing this exercise as it's really quite boring and I'd just as soon not bother. I have had no luck on the 20 pounds of weight loss he requested and God only knows I have no idea what's up with "sodium in my food," as I'm convinced there's not usually much in it anyways, only now that he brought it up I've been finding myself obsessed with salting things!
webcowgirl: (Morning cuppa)
Gym: left just as it started raining and was TOO WARM inside (too warm for me to cool off properly). Did 10 back-stretching things, 4 minutes rowing, 14 minutes biking, and 7 minutes elliptical, though I was ready to stop after the second minute. While on it my heart reading came up as 172 beats per minute, which I think is a sure sign the meter is messed up. I was hitting 150/153 on the bike, which is good news, and my Charlie Bradshaw mystery has finally got to an interesting bit.

Work: don't have much to do today as I got ahead of myself yesterday, so will run paperwork down to lawyer re: visa this afternoon and catch up on reviewing other people's stuff. I also need to do a write up of the two hour meeting from this morning, so I'm suspecting that 5 PM will be here before I know it.
webcowgirl: (London Biker)
Well, I made it back in to the gym - got stuck on the bike for 21 minutes as the elliptical was being hogged up during my normal transition time. I did manage to get my heart rate up to 151 bpm, just barely over the line, but only when I was about 17 minutes in. I wonder if it's in better "shape" now and that's why it's harder for me to get to the levels I need to? I read the Amulet of Samarkand while I was biking, which was fun, though the workout as a whole was dull and sucked massively in comparison to swimming with [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady yesterday.

In "hell freezing over" news, I actually wore a MATCHING top and shorts to the gym today. This is because [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy brought me back piles of cheap things from the states - workout clothes from Sierra Trading Post (Moving Comfort, very good stuff); great gobs of Estee Lauder to replenish my diminishing supply (mostly moisturizer and base, the office air here dries my face out); neat vintage glassware (with poodles on them) and bowls (Fireking "Gay Fad" Peach blossom bowls to replace the one the housecleaner ruined) bought of Ebay; and piles of gifties I never expected - kitchen gadgets (a rotary cheese grater for parmesan), pear vodka (*drool*), the new David Sedaris book ... it was like Christmas in June! He even found me the new shade of lipstick I got when I was in Orlando and fell in love with. It was really fun. We'll just ignore the fact the shorts are, by my standards, TOO SHORT - I bought 'em and I'm stuck with them now.

Work is dull. That is all. And back to it ...
webcowgirl: (YellowLeaves)
I'm excited, tonight we're going to see the first third of the Peony Pavillion tonight at Sadler's Wells with [livejournal.com profile] robot_mel! Beforehand I think we'll be trying New Culture Revolution to kind of get in the moodn (and the menu _does_ look good). It won't be as pleasant as actually being served dim sum and tea while we're watching the show like we had at Slippery Mountain but I think the artistry will be much higher ... and we'll have good seats since I managed to rebook us for the £15 floor seats that I saw on offer.

I was good and went to the gym today and even almost made it to 25 minutes. I did 3 minutes of rowing, 14 minutes of biking (while reading the very first Stephen Dobyns Saratoga mystery, though I didn't get very far in), and then ... well, it was going to be 8 minutes on the ski machine, but I got really worn out around five and just barely made it to seven. Gah, so tired. Then it was test test test this afternoon and be a good little monkey. I've been exercising enough that I've needed to buy a few new clothes, so when [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy returns from his trip to America I'll have some new gear well suited to all of the rather unladylike sweating I've been doing.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Tonight I had [livejournal.com profile] booklectic over for dinner and made her penne alla Norma. It seemed to go over fairly well and I'm feeling pleased at my cooking fu. It was the first time I'd had company at my house in about two months (I think) and was really nice. We finished off my last bottle of Ecusson and I introduced her to plum wine (yummy). We also checked out this month's Hotel Chocolat selection. Red Alert was yummy; Chambord Indulgence seemed a bit dry. I think she liked the Butterscotch Crumble but I'm not sure. We had a really good visit. She said I seemed to be settling down here to stay and I thought the indications were that I was, as I've only thought about leaving twice, when I was pretty down (even though I've thought of my house and life in Seattle a lot, I haven't much thought about it being time to go, although listening to Magnetic Fields tonight was making me miss some folks). As she was packing up, a fireworks display went off over Fulham or Chelsea, somewhere that was perfectly visible through the right-most window of the living room. It was really lovely. I've promised to come over and cook for her, and teach her how if she's interested. Yum, food.

The ultrasound today went well. I have great blood flow in my liver; my kidneys are full of fine, meaty tissue (surrounding a fatty interior, as expected) and both are a perfect size (my kidney is not the size of a peanut, so there [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy). The doctor said a main problem with kidneys for adults is due to childhood urinary tract infections - isn't that surprising? Anyway, I had no build up and no sign of any disease whatsoever - a textbook "important organs in fine working order" scan. I'm sure the doctor was happy about it - I sure was. Afterwards I went home and took a nap, and all things told, I was pretty happy about that, too, as I was up way too late last night. Let's see if I can improve on this tonight ...
webcowgirl: (London Biker)
Getting bored at the gym - it's kept me in classes of various sorts for most of my gym-going career. But these days I'm trying to keep my goals low (20 minutes at a time, three days a week, which means no one-hour classes) so that I can improve my attendance and get ultimately better results for my heart. But oh, the boredom!

I'm supposed to work up to thirty minutes and right now I'm trying to make it feasible through adding on more biking - er, once I get over this bit of being bored silly, which has me shuffling around my workout. The goal is a heart rate over 150, so any exercise or combination thereof is acceptable - I just need to get through the time without giving up, then add five minutes, then another five. I'm aiming for next week for the 25 minute workout - I expect I'll get to 30 some time in June.

I did all biking on either Thursday or Friday of last week, but it was a bit of a failure as my heart rate only got up to 142. Today I did five minutes of rowing (32 strokes per minute, split in 2:25 so quite a bit faster than my time for ten minutes), which got my heart rate up to 160, then got onto a stationary bicycle (as opposed to the stationery bicycle, which isn't strong enough to support a human being and melts when sweated upon). This one actually had a working heart rate monitor, so I could see that I was perking along at 150-153 beats per minute once I got warmed up. That was quite acceptable, I think. God only knows the sweat was trickling down my forehead and arms, so I did feel like I was working.

Lunch now is cold pasta and a salad - pretty tasty, really, and cheap to boot. This gym thing, it sure is keeping my lunch bills down. And I got a look at my thighs this morning and man, I am putting on the muscle (even though I still have lots of fat to ward off the cold, I can see the sleek, powerful stuff beneath it and it is impressive).
webcowgirl: (Mano Poderosa)
My phone's been "pulling a whitey" regularly for about a week now. It's like the blue screen of death but it's white. [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and I were calling it "IWS syndrome," for Irritating White Screen. What would happen is that the display would slowly fade to white and all of the touch controls would die, so you'd be in the middle of sending a text and suddenly the whole thing would turn into the Cheshire Cat, disappearing in front of your eyes. Aargh.

I took it into the Orange store and, seriously, I was the Unwanted Customer of Doom. Not buying a cell phone? We don't want your business. I mean, as it is, you can't get a bit of service there unless they know your cell phone number, which is _on my cell phone_ (sorry, I just have a hard time memorizing number). The girl said I can't upgrade for another seven months (which I think will be free) but meanwhile I could buy a new phone for a mere £150 - or, oh yeah, I could pay £15 to get my phone fixed ... _if_ I had the original receipt. "And what would I keep that for?" I asked her. "So you can use it when you get rid of your phone." "But I want to fix it, not get rid of it. Come on, I bought the phone _at this store_, surely you have a record of the purchase." Then she played her trump card: "Yeah, so, that would work only if you know the day you bought the phone." And, well, you know, I pretty well had that in hand because I'd looked it up to figure out whether or not I'd crossed the one year line. To her extreme irritation, she was even able to find me on their system. So now I am out of a phone for a week, and I don't really have a backup right now. I'm trying to use W's old phone, but ... I just can't figure out how to, or if it's working, or where my contacts list is, or if I even had it on my sim card or not. I'd try to use my old Motorola phone, but the charger, er, has exposed wires and has been thrown out. So right now I have no cell phone, but since I don't get a lot of calls or texts I don't think this is really going to rock anyone's world. Contact via email - it's the best! And in a week and a half I should have my old phone back, or something.

Anyway, the echocardiogram/graph (before the trip to the phone store) was pretty cool. At one point I could see the little ventricle thingies in my heart opening and closing like pinball flippers on the screen. The technician said my heart looked good, no build up or anything, but the exercise and stuff was definitely a good idea. Next visit (Wednesday): how is my liver looking?

And now I'm going to take a nap and then move the cat back from W's to my place. I sure lead an exciting life, don't I?

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