Sunday, June 23, 2013

T Minus One Week and Counting

So yeah, we're down to one week from go-live on the Big Project. The whole team is working full days this weekend and next, but it will be so worth it to be done and be successful. And at this point, I have no reason to not think it will be successful Will there be bumps after we go live? Absolutely - there always are. But we've done a ton of good work in preparation, and it is already paying dividends in the last few days before the cutover.

In other news, I finished P90X yesterday - I graduated! Now, I go into basic maintenance for a couple of months as I finish up the Big Project and settle into my new job. My hope is that by the October time frame, I will be able to start a new round of P90X. And that I won't have lost any of the muscle conditioning that I have as of right now. I'm actually going to be researching what workouts would do the job, but until I find something, I will just go back to Tae-bo for now. It may be that Tae-bo itself will work fine - time (and research) will tell.

Finally, I just want to say I am SO looking forward to getting back to the story. I could try to do some writing today, but to be honest (with myself, if no one else) I already have a full day of project work ahead of me, and I really don't think that any novel writing I might do would worth the effort. For me, it's better to come back to the story in another couple of weeks, after I've had a chance to let my mind and body rest. I'll take the time to re-read what I had last written, and get caught up on the story once again since it's not as firmly in my memory as it was when I was writing steadily every week.

Until then, cheers!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

T minus Two Weeks and Counting...

It's amazing how quickly one's expectations of the future can change, as events unfold before one's eyes. I sincerely hope to stay on target and complete the rough draft of this novel by the end of September. Two months ago, I would have said I was going to be done early. One month ago, I would still have said the same, although maybe not quite as early as previously expected. And now, I'm just hoping to stay on my previous target.

We have two more weeks to the go-live on our big project at my company. I don't think I've mentioned before what this project is, or even what I do. I'm an IT manager for one global business unit of a Fortune-500 company. Even though it would be child's play to go out on the 'Net and figure out who I work for (LinkedIn, anyone?), and from there, discover my job role and maybe even the project I'm working on, I'm not at liberty to disclose anything more than what I have just said.

What I can say is, there are only two more weeks to go, plus post-implementation support for a couple of weeks. After that, I dive headlong into my new role where I'm already getting my feet (and ankles, knees, thighs and hips) wet. I'll be doing some business-related travel, visiting new (to me) offices and plants, meeting my new team members as well as other individuals within the business that I've not met before. It's going to be a whirlwind couple of months, and once again, writing may be a challenge. Only time will tell, but I am still optimistic that I can get this draft done in September.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different

I'm not a health nut. I'm not really into exercise. But I know what's good for me, and unfortunately exercise is one of those things.

A few years ago, in early 2010, I had hit 260 pounds and had such high blood pressure that my doctor warned me to NOT exercise as it might cause me to have a heart attack or something like it. I walked out of that appointment with a resolve to lose weight and improve my overall health - including exercise, even if it might kill me.

The first thing I did was start a very simple calorie-counting plan, in which I allowed myself 1600 calories per day - and I could eat anything I wanted as long as I kept it down to 1600. I did that for about a year, and lost 25 pounds. Around the end of that year, I decided I wanted to do something more proactively healthy, and so my wife and I started the South Beach diet. Nine months later, I had lost another 20 pounds, and was hovering around 215. I was also the thinnest I had been in about 10 years, and I looked pretty good. But I was still not exercising, and my muscles were weak. I also had no aerobic capacity, so that while I could manage a nice casual walk, I couldn't do more than a few levels of stairs before I was out of breath.

So, I started doing Tae-bo. I started at the Introductory workout, moved through the Basic workout and into Advanced, all over the course of about a year. I also gained 20 pounds back, and unfortunately it wasn't all muscle. My flabby gut had returned with a vengeance, to no small frustration on my part. And it seemed like no matter what I did, I was still gaining weight. Not only that, but I had hit a plateau where I just couldn't seem to improve my performance any further, and I was barely able to get through the Advance workout.

The weight gain started late in 2012, right around the start of the holidays, and continued into 2013 for a few months. After researching a few other exercise and diet plans, I decided at the advice of a friend to give P90X a try. I already knew it was an intense, 90-day program that would require me to workout 7 days a week, for an hour at a time. I knew it was going to be a big commitment. But I figured that I had nothing to lose but that extra weight I'd gotten back, and I might even get past the exercise plateau I'd hit with Tae-bo.

So, in mid-March, I started P90X. I am now starting week twelve, out of a total of thirteen weeks (91 days). The P90X program includes a nutrition plan that you're supposed to stick to, if you want to get the most benefit out of it. So far, I have managed to stick to both the 7-day exercise plan as well as the diet, with about a 95% success rate. I cheat about one or two meals per week, typically on my Friday evening "date night" with my wife when we go to a restaurant, and then maybe one other random time during the week. I never cheat on the exercises. And after eleven solid weeks, I feel great, and I look a lot better than I did at the start. My gut isn't entirely gone, but it has noticeably shrunk. My weight hasn't dropped much, but I have exchanged muscle for fat, and it shows.

I'm currently hovering around 235 pounds, only down 5 pounds from when I started in March. But like I said, I look and feel so much better than I did just three months ago, it's amazing to me. The program really does work. I'm not trying to sell anybody anything, just giving my testimony that it works.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Still Alive...

Yep, I'm still here. Still working crazy hours on the job with no personal time. Until today anyway - I took the day off. But I won't be doing any writing, as I have already planned to spend the day with Geekwif. I do think I'll get around to some writing this weekend, but not sure how much. Next week, it's back to crazy work hours and no free time again.

Just three more weeks to the end of this project. Can't wait to have my life back once again. Of course, I'm also transitioning into a new role at my company, meaning that I have new responsibilities, new team members to meet (scattered around the globe - that will require a bit of travel), and lots of new work to take on. Guess we'll see how things work out.