Thursday, March 28, 2019

Walking to Costco

Yes, I got my bespoke orthotic insoles. Yes, I got not one but TWO new pairs of New Balance walking shoes, with the removable insoles and the untwistable heelcups (unless you're a serious weightlifter or something and not an "average" joe, like I am). Yes, my Achilles Tendonitis has officially healed, and I'm back to walking at least 5,000 steps a day, at a fairly quick pace (3 - 3.5 mph, if I'm alone).

Way back when, when we used to live in Burbank, I would occasionally (to somewhat frequently?) decide to walk to my nearby Costco Warehouse. It wasn't a huge great distance, but it was far enough that if I were going to shop (and not just attend my #WalkingSamplingLunch), I would plan to buy one thing at most, since I'd have to carry it home in my arms. So, ya know, a box of granola bars or maybe a coupla loaves of bread). Once we moved back to North Hollywood, that Costco Warehouse became a driving destination.

One day a week or more ago, I had no events or obligations on my day, and I discovered that the Costco Business Center is within walking distance (~5k steps in each direction). I knew that my favorite cases of V-8 that I used to get at the Burbank Costco Warehouse was supposedly still available at the Business Center, but I'd never looked into it, #BecauseLazy. But on this particular day, I figured I'd check it out, and get some steps in, besides. I did not know before setting out exactly how far away it was, and if I couldn't visibly see it by the time I hit 4500 steps, I had every intention of just turning around and going home. #BecauseLazy

So I walked up the one major street to the other major street, having to walk down a hill and then up again because of a railroad "tunnel"... deciding to choose a different route home due to that downhill/uphill dealio (#BecauseLazy)... and when I hit 4500 steps, I opened the Waze app in my phone, which told me I was .2 miles away, even though I couldn't yet see the warehouse. I continued on that coupla blocks, and found wonder and joy inside.

* I know that there are plenty of people for whom Costco shopping is an anxiety trigger. I am not one of those people, as you probably understand if you've read me much. I love shopping at Costco. At the Warehouse, I always do one lap of #WalkingSamplingLunch before I even bother getting a shopping cart! So I really didn't know what to expect at the Business Center. It did not disappoint. *

I came home that day to inform Stephen that we really needed to start shopping at both the Business Center and the Warehouse. The Warehouse has a Pharmacy, and Optical center, a Tire Center and gas station, and things that people need or want for themselves, like dog beds and cat trees, pillows and mattresses, clothing and books, jewelry and furniture, seafood and booze, and a #WalkingSamplingLunch. The Business Center is like a GIANT OfficeAndRestaurant Supply store. Yes, stuff is in bulk, or at least LARGER. Like, I own an immersion blender. It's a stick that fits into a cup. The immersion blender they sell at the Business Center is the size of a jackhammer. It fits into a cauldron. This is one example of the equipment they carry.

I was unable to truly impress Stephen with the wonder and joy of the Business Center until today, however. After we'd completed some standard-for-us morning stuff, like breakfast and yoga and internetting, he asked me, ever so casually, whether I had anywhere in particular I wanted to walk today. My response was no, just that I did want to get a walk in. As he had nowhere in particular to head, either, he agreed to give the long 10k round-trip a shot.

I showed him the immersion blender right away. At that point, he had an idea of what he'd be seeing. We walked through most of the store, not actually shopping, but making mental shopping lists. As we were leaving, he stopped to get the buck-fiddy hot dog and soda combo, and the nonfat yogurt fruit parfait. I did not eat, because I'm currently doing #Keto4Real, which is to say, I'm paying closer attention to what I eat and when, and frankly, having fasted yesterday because I wasn't hungry all day, it was very easy to rely on my breakfast this morning for the fuel to get me home, rather than just eating because it was "meal time" and there was food available. I'm honestly loving the intermittent fasting part of Keto. I only eat when I'm hungry, and I eat until I'm nearly full. It's great. Stephen, however, possibly due to the lack of a #WalkingSamplingLunch, and possibly due to not having had anything but coffee for breakfast, and possibly due to the energy expended getting there, ate the hot dog so quickly that I jokingly said, "I thought you ordered a hot dog" - to which he replied "nope, just sugarwater and sugarcream".

That was enough fuel to get him home; we actually walked quicker home than we had out. And I think we both felt satisfied or proud, maybe? that the walk to the Costco Business Center is worthwhile, especially if we just plan ahead of time to buy one small thing that we can't get elsewhere. If I ever have need for a jackhammer-sized immersion blender, I promise you that I won't walk to pick it up!

Do YOU have a favorite store that you love walking to? Do you have to limit your shopping when you're on foot, or do you take bags or a cart with you so you can stock up?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Unexpected benefits of volunteering

So I've mentioned I volunteer for the SAG Foundation. I've also mentioned that I've been actively taking classes at the SAG Conservatory. Recently, I signed up for a class at the Conservatory to orientate (?) new volunteers there, and ended up getting added to the roster of volunteers as soon as that class session ended.

Just before March began, the schedule of all classes that needed volunteers was emailed out, and because I responded immediately, I was booked for 4 classes, two on the same day but with a long break between them, and then the other two later in the month. Then on the 1st of March, I got added to another class (which is actually tonight).

I was booked for work on set last week, on the day that I was scheduled to volunteer twice. So I had to "call out" and get a replacement. I know they replaced me for the evening class (I honestly knew beforehand that they would, because that instructor is my favorite, and that's probably a consensus amongst students there). I hope they found a replacement for the morning class. I was bummed that I had to miss both of those, because I'm nervous about my first time. I have to set up the camera and record all the sessions and then play those back and give people copies on their cards or drives, and although I took copious notes in the training sessions, technical stuff is not necessarily in my immediate wheelhouse, and I haven't had a chance to "practice". So wish me luck that I don't completely #FuckItAllUp tonight!

*** Also, #ICYMI (because I neglected to actually STATE it), #AnyDayOnSetIsAGoodDay and I'm #Blessed to have missed my volunteerism for work. #SetLife #WorkBegetsWork #WorkIsAGoodThing

Ennyhoo, let's get to the really good stuff - the title of this post!

At our very first orientation class (there were two, actually), we were shown upon arrival where all the goodies were kept. Snacks. Beverages. Folders and tins of mints and plastic luggage tags and notebooks with nice pens and phone chargers. SWAG (Stuff We All Get). Good, cool, free stuff, just for saying "yeah, you can have my time". I ended up with a few of those phone chargers. They're great when you're on a set that has limited electrical outlets. They work for both my phone and my tablet. It's awesome. #Grateful #GreatFull

Near the end of last week, an email went out to ALL of the volunteers looking for participants in an AFI student film "loop group". I have taken a few looping classes at the Don LaFontaine VoiceOver Lab at the SAG Foundation, so I (of course) immediately signed up to participate.

*Looping is the recording of voices for a film or show, done after principal photography, to either replace onscreen dialogue or fill in dialogue that wasn't shot on-the-day. It can be the background conversations of random people on the street or in the restaurant, or it can be PA announcements in a train station or hospital, or it can even be grunts, moans, and breathing. It can be a lot of things. It's all recorded at full volume, and then edited in very quietly. It adds to the scene we see, without overtaking it.*

At any rate, the six of us who replied most quickly were picked, and we showed up to a home studio in the middle of nowhere to record all of ^that^ kind of stuff for about an hour/hour and a half. The home studio was amazing. It made me a bit jealous (#TotesJelly), because it was so well constructed, and it exists in someone's house. Because it's a student film, none of us will be paid for our work. But we will all receive credit, and I'm going to find out whether that "day" "on set" counts towards my health eligibility. Because I think it might!

... And I wouldn't even have known about that opportunity (to practice looping, to network with other loopers, to network with up-and-coming filmmakers), had I not signed up to volunteer.

Now I just have to survive tonight.

What about you? Do you currently volunteer for anyone? What unexpected blessings have you received from it? Let's chat!

Friday, March 1, 2019

A back-pedal catch-up

I hate winter. I think y'all may already know that. I grew up in Miami, at a time when the Great Outdoors was just as good at watching your kids as the boob tube was. Maybe better. I dunno. Mommy didn't let us watch television, as a general rule (we had to ask to watch a specific show and could turn the set on as that show was starting), but boy howdy were we allowed to go outside and play. So, in Miami, it's always hot. ALWAYS. If you're a kid, you get used to that. If you get thirsty, you drink from the hose. You learn pretty early that on the hottest of days, you have to let the water run a little so you don't drink HOT water from the hose. But seriously, there's no such thing as winter in Miami.

After childhood, we lived in North Carolina. Where winter happens. And since it's East Coast, you still get high humidity, which means hot weather feels hotter, and cold weather feels colder. Did I mention that I hate winter? I think I did. In case you missed it, I hate winter. #ICYMI #IHateWinter

Now I live in "sunny" California. This is the view outside our front door, today, March 1st, at 3:30-ish p.m.:
It's not sunny today. It's cold (-ish). It's overcast. It's gloomy. It's #IHateWinter.

My POINT being (yeah, I know, get to the point already! Sheesh!) that when the weather begins cooling in the Fall, my body reacts like that of any warm-blooded mammal: I gain weight. I put on extra body fat, as if I'm going to hibernate. Part of my hatred of winter is a hatred of having to wear extra layers of clothing. Having to find clothing that still fits well, over the new layer of fat. Not being as active, because hibernation is a real thing.

So the real point is (I know, I know, this has all been a big tease. Shut up.) - at some point in late January, I decide to start walking more. I'll replace the battery in my nonFitbit thingy. I'll see if it'll talk to the app in my phone (it won't, but I still hold out hope). I start walking more.

In February, I made a concerted effort to add 1000 steps per day to my previous day's step count. It was hard, at first, because going from sedentary to a lot of steps in a week or so is hard, ya know? So I walked to the Y, figuring maybe I'd use the treadmill. I did. But the treadmill I tried out was non-traditional. It had a slope to it. It was self-propelled, rather than electric. I ended up walking only about 1000 steps on it. I'd find the sweet spot of where to walk, and it would somehow speed up. I'd lose my balance, grab the handlebars and step outta the sweet spot, and it would slow down (a lot). I gave up.

Also, I think I injured myself because it was so difficult.

A couple days after that trip to the Y, I was on set and developed a limp. My right Achilles tendon hurt, but only while walking. So I tried to walk as little as possible. But our holding space was uphill from the street level. The set was a different uphill from the street level. Craft Services was downhill from street level. The portajohns were a little hike down the street. Catering was a long hike down the street. I couldn't NOT walk.

It was a good day on set, overall, considering. But not what I was expecting. And then basecamp and crew parking were on an ungraded dirt lot. By the end of my day, I was in serious pain. Got home and found every remedy I could, and over the course of the rest of that week, I had applied them all. Heat. Ice. Elevation. Ace wraps. Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt foot soaks. Ibuprofen, of course. Topical analgesics. I bought a compression sleeve, Dr. Scholl's insoles, and a sturdy(-ish) OTC ankle brace. I tried a lot of things in conjunction with each other. The only thing that seemed to help with any regularity was the compression sleeve. I had a couple of days where I would try to walk, but my normal 3-3.5mph speed was drastically slowed to 2 mph. This is misery.

So I started walking by jogging on just the balls of my feet. I looked and felt silly, and also uncomfortable. No way I'm going to "jog" a couple of miles at 2mph! So I shifted. Left foot, step normally. Right foot pointed, land on toes first and gradually adjust the step to incorporate more of the foot. In fewer than 100 steps, I was back up to speed! Hallelujah!

But I didn't want to reinjure myself, so I popped in at a local Foot Doc. Made an appointment for a free consultation. Continued carefully taking longer and longer walks. At the consultation, I was advised to

  1. get rid of the insoles and brace. They were doing no good, and possibly harm
  2. keep wearing the compression sleeve, but for no more than 12 hours at a stretch. It's helping
  3. do specific stretches before getting out of bed and then throughout the day. (I gave up on these after about a day, because they're not easy, especially if you have to pee immediately upon waking and then the cats want belly rubs)
  4. ICE potentially throughout the day, but especially at bedtime (and then Don't Get Back Up). (This was hard at first because the ice pack leaked that first night. It's been easier with a re-freezeable gel pack in its own soft sleeve). No More HEAT!
  5. buy New Balance walking shoes, or at least something with a) removable insoles AND b) firm, unwavering, untwistable heel/ankle support. I love my cheap Filas that I got at Costco (#WalkingSamplingLunch, baby!), but they're completely wrong for a power walker, which I apparently am
  6. get orthotic insoles. He gave me a link to get GOOD ones off the rack, as it were, or suggested I come in to get fitted for bespoke. I now have an appointment for the bespoke
Basically, what he told me is yes, I may have injured myself on that weird treadmill. Also, I have very high arches. And scoliosis. And a longer right leg than left. And good posture for someone with scoliosis, high arches, one longer leg, and tendonitis. So I need to not exacerbate my condition. Walking is good for me. Powerwalking is fine. But not if I keep using the tools I had tried. So I'm gonna get custom orthotics, and probably some new sneakers. Sheesh.

And OH, I just remembered... in the month of February, I DID hit 20,000 steps one day. But I also stepped in a crack in the sidewalk instead of on it, and took a header. I'm grateful I didn't get a concussion or bite my tongue or break my teeth or jaw when my chin hit the sidewalk. It sure did hurt, though.
The evening of the day it happened. A slight scrape under my lip, but this lovely contusion just past the bone of the jaw

Today. There's still a little knot of flesh right at the front, but the bruise seems to have moved down to my neck?

... so that's just some of the catching up I wanted to give ya. Specifically in relation to "how many steps I took this month", wanting to work my way back into my beach-ready body, hurting my ankle, and hurting my chin, and all the ways those things relate to each other.