21 February 2009

What I was (probably) doing in 1984

What were you doing in 1984?

A good friend of mine recently asked me this question as part of our church's 25th anniversary. It was founded in February of 1984, and most of the people who he asked that question of had to dig a little bit, but had good answers for him.

I, on the other hand, was two years old, and have little to no memory of 1984. So I cheated. Starting with the assumption that I was a typical two-year-old (which is a fairly safe one, I like to think), I came up with the following description of my activities:
In February of 1984, I was a little more than two years old. I can't really remember very much of what I was doing at that point, so I have enlisted the aid of a child development chart to determine what I would be likely to have done at the age of two. I imagine that most of my energies were probably invested in:

  • Running around (my mother says I could run long before I ever learned to walk; conservation of momentum came much more naturally to me than balance did)
  • Beginning to throw, kick, and catch balls (like a girl even then, no doubt)
  • Standing momentarily on one foot (having been around a lot of two-year-olds, I can say it is a triumph to get them to momentarily stand still on any number of feet, so this is quite the prodigious feat. No pun intended. Really.)
  • Climbing on playground structures (Some of my earliest memories are of going to the park and getting my fingers crushed on one of those slides that have the rollers on them)
  • Possibly jumping awkwardly (as if I have ever jumped any other way)
  • Developing right-handedness (how does one do that, exactly? Are there classes or something? I can't remember.)
  • Turning doorknobs and opening lids (I bet a lot of parents wish this ability was developed a little bit later. :-) )
  • Turning pages in a book, one at a time (which I have found is the best way to do it, unless the book is exceptionally dull and/or required for a class, in which case it is acceptable to turn multiple pages at a time)
  • Growing teeth -- all teeth appear by three years old (and then the right upper central incisor is knocked out when your friend Zachary knocks you down and you slam your mouth against a concrete front porch and your mom freaks out and you are without that tooth until the age of eight or nine)
  • Having a reduced appetite; weight gain tapers down to about 5 lbs. during this year (I was very skinny as a young child, my mother tells me. That sure didn't last long.)
  • Beginning to have bladder and bowel control; sleeping as much as 10 or 12 hours per night (a couple of the few bright spots during the Terrible Twos)
And I imagine that's about it. A two-year-old's life is simple and easily confined within a bulleted list. What the list doesn't -- and can't -- contain is the amount of affection that a parent has for her two-year-old, nor the joy she receives every day as he continues to learn new things and become more and more unique. She doesn't mind that he runs around screaming like a banshee all the time (well, doesn't mind that much) because, if she's wise, she knows it will be over all too soon.

The list also can't contain the wonder of a two-year-old who, as soon as he learns how to syntactically form questions, is asking them. The world is a wondrous place full of mysteries and things to be discovered. It's a magical time, both for children and parents, even if they don't know it.

So what were you doing in 1984, if applicable, dear reader?

13 February 2009

Adventures in Weight Loss, Or How to Get a Head Full of Crazy in One Simple Step

It's been a while since I've posted, and I apologize for that. Basically, I have been dumping most of my disposable free time into church, friends, and exercise (though not necessarily in that order).

I now weigh about 195, which is 40 pounds lighter than I did on Halloween. So that's nice, except it is causing some clothing-fit problems. This morning, as I was jogging on the treadmill, I almost lost my shorts, which fit me fine a couple of months ago. Ah, well.

I will have more to post in the next few weeks, hopefully, on dieting, exercising, gyms, and losing weight. Maybe even some work-related things, such as a new Turing Test for artificial intelligence that a caller to our Service Center ingeniously developed. It's all been marinading in my head, so I am planning to dish it out once it is thoroughly cooked and the juices run clear.

But I digress. The reason I am writing this is because of something horrifying that happened to me the other day...

As near as I can tell, one of the main downsides of the gym is that they play classic rock there. Don't get me wrong; it's fine for working out, and more than once, songs like "We Are the Champions" have helped me to finish my set on the bench press.

The problem is when I get the songs stuck in my head. The other day, for example, I found myself drumming incessantly on my desk at work and humming "Sweeeeeeeeet Emoooooooooooootioooooon" to myself all day long. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? And I think my co-workers noticed, even though I kept catching myself and reducing my volume, because a couple of them asked if the fan on my computer was OK.

But the worst part is when I get a song stuck in my head and then I am reading a recipe that seems yummy, but then I get to this part:
In a blender, combine the pistachios with the basil, mint, lime juice, vinegar, mustard, cayenne and olive oil. Blend at low speed until pureed. Add the ice cubes and blend at high speed until the sauce is very smooth. Scrape the basil emulsion into a small bowl and season with salt and black pepper.
and all of a sudden the song in my head changes to "Sweeeeeeeeeet Emuuuuuuuuulllllllsioooooon," and the world suddenly tilts all wrong on its axis, sending me plummeting into an abyss of craziness from whence there is no escape.

Ah, well -- I guess it could be worse.