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Now with charts!

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What? It is so still Sunday. I have a whole half hour before it’s not Sunday anymore, so my update is right on time 😛

This week was a good start. Not ideal, but still good with exercise on four out of seven days. Ideally, my Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday workouts will be combined into a three day cycle without the need for any recovery days in between. This week, a recovery day on Saturday (and today too) was much needed. I absolutely suck at yoga!…. Which is why it’s so important I add it to my routine. I need flexibility as well as strength and cardiovascular fitness. My goal is to get good enough at the basics in the next six months to be able to take a class without totally embarrassing myself. Right now, I’m working out to a yoga DVD in the privacy of my cave… I mean room…. but come summer, I want to start getting out and socializing with other human beings more.

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Yep, but right now, we’re in stage one, which involves building up my self confidence as well as my muscles, so let’s focus on that. As you can see by the charts, this week was almost five hours of workout time with 3313 calories burned and a distance of 13.6 miles. Unfortunately, my new body fat scale has yet to arrive, so those statistics will have to wait.

My goal for next week: At least five workout days,  six and a half hours of exercise completed, and 5000 calories burned.


Ok, I’m back. I’m healthy. My energy level is much improved and I’m feeling feisty. Of course, it helps that I’m just coming off a 30 minute workout on the punching bag. That really gets the testosterone flowing. That’s right, I’m bagk into my workout routine again. I let myself slide way too much while I was working 3rd shift and I’ve been sporadic about exercising since I got off of nights, but no more! I’m back on my three day cycle and feeling good about it. I’ve also ordered myself a new body fat scale (since the old one died) to keep track of my progress and keep myself motivated. I’ll also be resuming my Sunday Fitness Update so I can bore y’all with my weekly workout statistics.

Let’s see, what else? It’s been a pretty uneventful couple of weeks. I came down with a major cold last week, so all I did was work and sleep. That was no fun. I worked until 10:00 on New Year’s Eve then came home and fell into bed, didn’t even see the ball drop.  Exciting, eh? As far as resolutions go, mine are to get back on the workout train and to start exercising my creative side again. I’ve barely touched my camera in the past six months and that has to change. I have to use my days off to do more than sleep and play video games. Hell, I just generally need to do more with my life, so I’m hatching a game plan for that as well.

So, that’s about it. Good intentions abound, I just have to set some concrete goals as to what I want to do. Oh yeah, and I really should blog more, shouldn’t I? 😉

Well, I’m feeling muuuuuch better now. My butt was dragging all last night and I slept another ten hours today, but I woke up feeling relatively normal. I had some seriously intense and freaky dreams, but nothing that really stuck with me into the waking world. I do recall little snippets and there were a lot of people from my past in there, people that I haven’t even thought of in years, much less had any interaction with. Seems like the past has been on my mind a lot lately, so maybe my brain is trying to work through something. If so, I’m sure it’ll clue me in when it’s ready.

Other than that… Well, let’s see. The “meeting” on Monday turned out to be more of a social barbecue to thank the crew for having one of the best and smoothest store opening ever…. according to the District Manager anyway. Free food is always good and I appreciate the gesture, but if I had known it was just a party, I may not have bothered getting up and schlepping out there in the middle of the day. Still, it’s good to participate in that sort of thing, I suppose, don’t want to be seen as anti-social. I also got a chance to talk to the district manager about the company’s tuition reimbursement policy. I may have to be with them a year before I can take advantage of it, but that’s fine. If all goes well, I’ll be able to go  back to school part time starting next fall or maybe as early as summer. Hmmmm, summer heat and college girls…. sounds promising. *ahem* Sorry (not really)

I also had a good talk with my manager. She said her only real concern with me is that she felt I’d leave if I found a better paying job. I was honest with her and told her that in the beginning, I felt that this job was extremely temporary (ok, I didn’t quite say extremely) until I found a better one, but since I’d gotten to know the company better and discovered I enjoyed the work much more than expected, I was thinking long term. I assured her that I wasn’t actively looking for another job and unless something fantastic dropped in my lap (which is pretty much as likely as winning the lottery), I’d be staying with the company a long time. So, it was good to clear the air on that, as well.

I’ve also now moved up to the “green book” training manual, which is supposed to prepare me for more responsibility. Once I complete that, I’ll be eligible for another promotion, which would be a good thing.

So, all in all, things are good. Here’s hoping they continue that way

(Oct 23 – Nov 21
You may feel as if one portion of your life is passing away — and you aren’t entirely sad to see it go. If you have been floating along this summer, waiting for what’s next, here it comes. It’s like expecting visitors, yet you don’t know who they are or when they will arrive. Still, there is much to do before the party begins, so get busy.

That was my Horoscope for today. It seems very appropriate since I do feel like a new chapter is starting in my life and I’m certainly not sad to see the last chapter end. The newness of the job is settling into more of a routine now and, for once, that feeling isn’t making me crazy. I’ve got a budget set, which is tight, but I can stick to it and I’m considering my long term options. I don’t want to make any concrete plans until I’m fully vested with the company, but that’s in October, so not too far off. I’ve started back on my exercise program as well, so that feels good, I gave myself a few weeks off to adjust to the physical demands of the job. After being unemployed for a full year, working nine or ten hours a day is certainly a big switch. Strangely, I’m less sore at the end of the day now that I’m working out again. That’s encouraging. I’m also eating much healthier now that I’m paying for my own food again.
All in all, I feel like I’m in a really good place. I’m happy (mostly). I have goals to work toward and it all seems to be coming together….
…. Why does that make me so nervous to say out loud?

….. See what happens? I get a new job and my updates go right down the crapper.

The new job continues to go well. Starting next week, I’m going to get further training so I can actually be left in charge of the store all by my little lonesome. More responsibility will, hopefully, translate into more money as well. I’m still actually enjoying the work, some parts not so much, but for the most part, I’m busy and happy. The store itself is doing great. We’ve exceeded the expectations of the main office and even outsold the busiest store in the district (so far). This all with a new crew of mostly new hires. It’s been chaotic at times, but I thrive in chaos.

Yep, at this point, I really have no complaints. Kinda scary, isn’t it? If I keep my motivation high and keep doing the kind of job I’ve been doing, I can work my way up in this company fairly quickly. There’s already been mention of Assistant Manager possibilities in the near future, which is really encouraging. I think I may be able to attain that within six months.

The real trick is keeping my motivation high. I know I can DO the work. I just can’t let myself get bored and start slacking off. So far, bored hasn’t been a problem, but I’ve been working here less than a month. I’m really working at changing my usual patterns though. Day by day, I will succeed.

Ok. Well, where to start? I am feeling totally friggin’ psyched at the moment. The new job is going very well. As in, I’ve been there less than a week and they’re already going to promote me! The new store had it’s grand opening last night and my name is posted as Shift Leader for all to see. Hopefully, that will translate into my paycheck as well, but I might have to actually finish my training before it’s official. Still, it feels really good to know my hard work is appreciated.

I went into this thinking that it was absolutely going to suck. I didn’t want to stay in retail and I certainly didn’t want to work in a convenience store, but I needed a job, any job. So, when I got this one, I decided I had two choices; I could whine and complain that it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing and do the bare minimum I needed to do to get by, or I could be a professional about it, do my best and see where that got me. I decided to do my best and, so far, it’s really paid off. I’ve been getting positive feedback from everyone I’ve been working with, both management and my co-workers. Samples of compliments I’ve been getting are:

It’s fun to train you because you’re interested and really want to learn

You know what I love about you? You’re always so optimistic and upbeat

(From the grand opening) “This is a guy to watch. He’s been circulating through the crowd and getting pictures of everyone and everything

Hell, the head of the human resources department wants copies of everything I took and he might put them into the company newsletter. Heh, I’m really hoping that my pictures are comparable to the ones the professional photographer that was hired for the event took. The company is opening a bunch of new stores in the near future, so who knows where it could lead.

Part of the reason I’m so enthusiastic is that it appears that I’ve fallen in with a really good company, one that actually cares about it’s employees and doesn’t just give lip service to the whole “We consider ourselves a family” line you always hear. For one, I’ll be getting a great benefit package once I’ve been there for a hundred twenty days, but it really shows in some of the little things they do. Like, they send secret shoppers into each store three times a quarter. If your store gets over ninety points on their little checklist, the whole store team (not just the crew that’s working) gets a fifty dollar bonus. I’ve never heard of a company that rewards everyone like that. Also, everything they told me when they first hired me has been followed up on. I can’t tell you how refreshing that is after the bundle of lies I was fed at Cartridge World.

As for the work itself, I actually enjoyed working the register and at the coffee stations, but working in the deli is definitely not one of my favorite things. The stores are very busy and a bit hectic, but I’d rather be active and challenged than bored. Boredom has always been my worst enemy. I know part of my enthusiasm is due to that fact that I haven’t worked in a year and the bloom will go off the rose eventually, but I’m working very hard at maintaining a positive attitude and doing things the right way.

All in all, I truly feel like I’ve hit a turning point and, if I keep my end up, I can really go places with this company. Time will tell.

Well, here we are at the start of a new month. Today is the six month mark in my one year Vow of Temperance and I’m happy to say that I’m still going strong. No alcohol has passed my lips since my fortieth birthday. I’m not even feeling any particular urge to drink at this point. That’s certainly a change from my old habits. Take today, for example. It’s a rainy, cold Saturday. I have the house to myself and no responsibilities to take care of. My default on days like this would be to get a twelve pack of beer and a bottle of something harder, then spend the day watching movies, playing video games and getting schnockered. Not only am I not doing that, but I’m not even fighting the urge. I just have better things to do and I don’t need to wake up tomorrow feeling like crap. It’s kind of a nice change.

In other news, I’m working on getting back on track with my exercise program. My workouts have been too spastic the past few months. I’d spend a couple of days beating the crap out of myself,  miss a week recovering, then feel like I need to make that up and over do it all over again. I need better frequency and more consistency, so my goal for this month is to do less intense workouts more often. I’m going to stick to cardio, no weight training for one month, but an hour of cardio a day for six days a week. I’ll alternate days, so I’ll do Treadmill and Stairmaster one day, then the Rotex and Cardio wave the next. That way I won’t be doing the same thing all the time. I’m also going to start posting my weekly workout results in my blog again to help with motivation.

Sounds like a plan, eh? Now if I could just find a friggin’ job, I’d be set.

In an explosion of originality, I’ll be reviewing my year. Try not to be overwhelmed by my awesomeness.

Well, let’s see…. How about we start with fitness? I worked out on 90 out of the past 365 days, which translates to one day in four being a workout day. Vast room for improvement there. I exercised for a grand total of 143 hours, covering 317 miles, and burning 107,800 calories, which is the equivalent of 30.8 pounds of fat. That’s all good. I’m also proud to say that my body fat percentage is at the lowest it’s ever been since I started keeping track of it. That means the changes I’ve made to my eating (and drinking) habits are working. I just need to strengthen my resolve and be more consistent on my workout schedule.

Financially, I’m totally in the crapper. I lost my job back in June and have yet to find any sort of employment. I have all of seventy dollars in the bank and no income. Finding a job has to be my highest priority at the moment.  On the plus side, I’ve made good progress in improving my photography and set my long term sights on pursuing it as a career. I’ve managed to make it to the finals in one photography contest and had my picture published in their annual. Definitely a good thing there.

Relationship-wise, I’ve made some new friends online and kept good friends offline. I’ve tried to be there for those who’ve needed me, with varying degrees of success, and I’ve managed to avoid doing anything (too) stupid to strain the relationships that truly matter. What mistakes I did make have been addressed and resolved, hopefully to everyones satisfaction. While I have no one in my life romantically, I’m also not feeling all that strong a desire for someone. There’s just too much to fix in my life right now before I’d be comfortable offering myself to someone. I have to be right with myself before I’m right for anyone else.

So, that’s where I’m at right now. All in all, I’m satisfied with the progress I’ve made this year. There’s definitely room for improvement, but I’m confident that I’ll get there. I just have to stay focused, make consistent effort over time, and not try for that magic wand quick fix.

Damn, didn’t that sound all kinds of mature?

Well, I’m feeling pretty damn good about myself at the moment. I just got back from the gym and I had one of the best workout sessions I’ve had in quite a while. For the past few weeks, I’ve been concentrating on cardiovascular exercise exclusively and I have to say that my energy level has been going through the roof. The plan is to take a break from the weight training and push the cardio for overall conditioning until the end of the month when I’ll get back on track with the lifting. So far, it’s been working very well. In the past ten days, I’ve done 11 hours of exercise, burning 8,813 calories and putting in just over 30 miles of distance. Considering that two out of those ten days were rest days, I’m feeling pretty proud of those numbers. The intensity of my workouts has also jumped up up, with my average physical index increasing from an average of 15 to 20 per workout.

All in all, I feel really good. I’ve been in a better mood, more sociable and a way better attitude about everything. I’ve just got to keep this up.

I’ve come to the sad conclusion that, much as I may want to, I won’t be making a living through photography any time in the near future. There’s just too much equipment I don’t have and too much information I don’t know. I need more practice, better technique, and a much broader range of subject matter…. All of which I can acquire, but not before my unemployment benefits run out. Since my freelance cartridge technician idea, as well as every other ‘outside the box’ concept I’ve come up with, has also gone absolutely nowhere, I’m going to have to face facts, bite the bullet, and get a real job. No more squirming, no more dodging, it’s just got to be done. Unemployment doesn’t last forever and I only have a couple months to go, so it’s time to get serious about the job search….. damn it.