Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 7

July 18, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 18, 2017

I’ve already told the story of how, during the week or so I spent dog-sitting for friends in Northern Virginia, I went to play pinball on Tuesday night and headed back to the house earlier than expected because I was disappointed by the games on offer.

What I haven’t yet explained is why I didn’t go to (as I call it) Massive Marvin’s on Monday evening, when I’d originally intended to visit. There were two reasons: A self-induced fiasco of an early-afternoon walk and a mild panic following an early-evening outing.

The dog and I headed out at 10 minutes to 1 p.m. The day before, workers had cleared away a bunch of vegetation on the property where I’d encountered the possible poison ivy vine on Saturday, so I wasn’t concerned about exacerbating my rash. Nor was I worried about losing something vital — at least, not at first…

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Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 6

July 11, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 11, 2017

After lunch on Saturday, the dog and I began walking along the street away from the W&OD trail. Soon after leaving the O—s’ house, we were on a narrow sidewalk abutting some overgrown bushes. I noticed R— approaching a suspicious-looking tendril protruding from the greenery, but before I could do anything, the dog brushed against it. I hope that’s not poison ivy, I thought to myself.

It may or may not have been poison ivy, but something I touched was. When I woke up Sunday morning, I had two itchy red patches. One was on the inside of my left elbow; the other was on the inside of my right wrist. To be specific, the latter patch was just below the meaty part of my hand that contains a bunch of the muscles that seem to help me move my thumb and make a fist.

These areas would bubble up over the ensuing week. Despite my touching the inflamed skin minimally, the rashes opened and began weeping. The poison ivy rashes expanded around their original territory, albeit slowly. Fortunately, aside from a few very small red patches that appeared near the bottom of my rib cage around Wednesday, the rash stayed confined to those two initial areas.

Still, the urge to scratch was powerful, especially over the early part of the week. I applied some cortisone cream and took regular naps in order to distract myself. I also regularly self-medicated with samples from the O—s’ container of Breyers chocolate truffle ice cream. (When they returned, I told them I was checking their desserts for quality-control purposes.)

To be concluded continued

Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 5

July 10, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 10, 2017

With this, my fifth post about the eight or so days I spent dog-sitting for the Os, I will now begin to discuss what I actually did with the dog in question.

My ward was a very cute, sweet-natured six-month-old pup named R—. Her human adults departed around 10 in the morning of Friday, June 23, after which I spent most of the day lolling around the house fiddling with my computer. I let the dog out on her run a few times as appropriate, but otherwise we engaged in minimal physical activity.

On Friday evening, I stopped entertaining the notion that I was going to shower and dress and spend any time around other people. Instead, shortly before 7:30 p.m., R— and I headed out of the house for a stroll on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

The W&OD, a 45-mile-long paved former railroad line, stretches from a spot roughly two miles west of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just outside of the District of Columbia to a point near Monk’s BBQ, a restaurant in the rural community of Purcellvile, Va. Part of the trail runs near Mr. and Mrs. O—’s home.

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Psst! Want to read a brilliant, scintillating anecdote? In that case, this isn’t the best blog post for you to check out

October 31, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 31, 2016

On the most recent episode of MEMwrites.wordpress.com:

Hurricane Matthew was sweeping along the coast of the Carolinas; the Triangle got some rain — at times heavy rain — along with some flooding and a bit of wind. But otherwise, little weather-related drama took place in my part of the Old North State.

I arrived at the coffee shop without incident and settled in for some hot tea, a snack and a bit of computing.

When the shop closed, I reapplied all my clothing, packed up my computer and headed south toward Ninth Street. Night had more or less fallen, but the wind seemed to have died down a bit, and the rain was unremarkable.

It’s at this point, by the way, that something interesting — but not too interesting — happened. I’ll describe it in a separate post.

And now: The interesting-but-not-too-interesting thing that happened!

By way of context, Joe Van Gogh in Durham, N.C., is located on what I think of as being the ground level of a two-story building on Broad Street. As one moves west toward Broad Street, the earth rises and crests. The upshot of this is that the building’s other level is lower — that is, a basement space. The exterior wall of the lower level is exposed to open air on the east side but effectively buried beneath the sidewalk on the west side.

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Weathering the storm: Rain and wind and walking and football

October 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 27, 2016

As I mentioned briefly during my writeup of the Stanford-Notre Dame game, the Fighting Irish’s 10-3 loss to North Carolina State in Raleigh on Oct. 8 took place in waterlogged conditions. That day, Hurricane Matthew was sweeping along the coast of the Carolinas; the Triangle got some rain — at times heavy rain — along with some flooding and a bit of wind. But otherwise, little weather-related drama took place in my part of the Old North State.

I spent much of the morning and early afternoon sleeping in, as that was when the rain seemed to be heaviest. But after a while, I got cabin fever, and since the rain seemed to have diminished, I stuffed my laptop into my backpack and donned weather-resistant clothing and headed out.

With one caveat: I’d intended to put on my water-resistant boots but forgot to do so, lacing up my regular sneakers instead. By the time I realized my mistake, I was all set to go, so I just decided to let things ride.

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Step and pivot: Musings on sleep, weightlessness and the exercise machine of my dreams

July 19, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 19, 2016

People often say that dreams of flying give them a wonderful sensation of being weightless. I too occasionally dream about moving through the air, but I have a slightly different association between sleep and weightlessness.

Sometimes when I’m falling asleep, I feel as though I’m drifting in space. It’s a seductive feeling, and often the moment I become aware of the sensation overlaps with the moment unconsciousness overtakes me.

At other times, when I’m struggling to fall asleep, I try to simulate the sense of weightlessness. I do this by imagining what it feels like to be floating in water or suspended in microgravity. On some occasions, I’ll think about being on a bicycle that’s effortlessly rolling downhill; on others, I’ll think about how it feels to ride in a car or airplane, or what it might look like if I were somehow traveling with my eyes alongside the wheel of a moving bicycle or car.

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More (mostly minor) ups and downs of life with an activity tracker

June 24, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 24, 2016

Since I wrote about walking last month, I’ve had two informal walking competitions with my niece and my Parental Unit. One was a Workweek Hustle challenge, conducted at the beginning of June, while the other was a Goal Day challenge, which we did for the first and so far only time in mid-June.

The hustle covers five work days; we had ours over the first full week of June, which coincided with my June 2016 Pokerpalooza. If you haven’t spent much time in a casino, well, as long as you’re not glued to a handful of tables, there are plenty of opportunities to get in many, many steps. However, on the Thursday of that week, I spent most of my time in the car. In part because of that, I finished the challenge with 73,054 steps, about 7,000 steps behind my parent but roughly 8,000 ahead of my niece. Happily, I surpassed my daily goal of 10,000 steps (about which more shortly!) on each of the five days.

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A tiny bit more gloating, and about that hourly activity tracker…

May 28, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 28, 2016

Author’s note: I updated a paragraph in this post on May 30, 2016. As usual, additions are marked with boldface text; deletions, with a strikethrough lineMEM 

On Tuesday evening, a few hours after publishing my previous blog post, I received a message from my niece, through her mother:

“[A—] says she just synched her Fitbit — in your face!!”

I checked the appropriate smartphone app and found that the youngster had indeed risen above me in the standings. But only by a little bit.

“Eh, maybe I’ll get her tomorrow!” I replied.

And for much of the ensuing week, I have. As I wrote on Tuesday, I’ll try to enjoy this brief moment of glory while it lasts.

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More walking notes (in which I get in some gloating while I still can)

May 24, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 24, 2016

As regular readers know, I’ve had a few informal walking competitions this year with my Parental Unit and my niece. But, using the theory that life is a competition, there has been an ongoing contest amongst us ever since my niece acquired her Fitbit. And currently, I’m pleased to announce, I am in first place.

The reason for this is simple, and wholly unsurprising: It turns out that caring for an energetic dog entails a whole bunch of walking.

As noted in my previous post, my parent recently flew west to visit my niece and her family, and I am dog-sitting. On Wednesday, the day of P.U.’s departure, when I didn’t handle the morning walk, I got in 11,080 steps. The following day my motion tracker counted 12,839 steps. I topped 15,000 on each of the following two days before falling just shy of that mark on both Sunday and Monday.

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Must hustle, can’t slow: Chronicle of a second-place finisher

April 20, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 20, 2016

I did a bunch of walking last week, thanks in no small part to wearable technology.

My niece, A—, issued a Workweek Hustle challenge through Fitbit, marking the second time she, my Parental Unit and I had engaged in a competition since my niece got a Fitbit this year. Once again, the metric was simple: The winner would be the person who got the most steps over the course of five days. Because of time-zone issues, the challenge began at 2 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday and ended at 2 a.m. E.T. on Saturday of this past week.

I fell behind both of my rivals relatively early. This was, alas, not terribly surprising. My niece averages about 12,000 steps a day; my parent, 16,000. My own daily step count is much more modest — about 9,000 or 10,000 entering the challenge.

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