Monday, July 28, 2014

Cannons or Lizards?

I've come back to my "Under the Scalp" blog after so long because I'm stumped. As many folks know, I'm quite a big fan of Major League Lacrosse. I've been to the last two All-Star games, taking my wife to Charlotte last year, and my father-in-law to Boston this year. I've been a Cannons season ticket holder, and traveled to Boston for the championships at Harvard Stadium two years ago. Yep, that's been me in two different Cannons hats, three different t-shirts, and two pair of Cannons shorts, all over the place.

Here's the problem: I've got this adorable new baby daughter. At 10 weeks old, I'm not quite as able to jump in the car and drive the three plus hours to Boston to catch a game anymore. She's actually sat down to watch a Lacrosse game with me recently, and seemed to pay attention! (Sadly it was that debacle of a loss to the Launch). Whether or not that means she'll be a fan is irrelevant. What's important is that I do love watching it (especially live), and heading to watch the Cannons isn't something I'll be able to do a lot for a number of years.

Enter the Lizards. Yes, the New York Lizards - some mocking that often comes from folks because I don't tend to root for NY Sports teams. The fact is that my wife's family lives on Long Island (home of Hostra, where the Lizards play), so I spend a decent amount of time down there. My father-in-law really likes Lacrosse, and the MLL as well (thanks to our trips), so I'd even have someone to go to games with me locally. Jumping over to a Lizards game becomes a quick thing after dinner (or work for a Thursday game), instead of a road trip to Boston.

Now, Ned Crotty - of Duke - plays for the Lizards. I could see my way to being a big Crotty fan. For those who don't know me, I'm a very, very big Duke fan. Yes, Lacrosse as well as Basketball (and Football, despite the losing history). Currently, my favorite player is #41 in your programs but #1 in your hearts (maybe #2 behind Rabil), Mr. Mike Stone of the Boston Cannons! In fact, I just got his shirt - and went through great pains to make that happen - at the All Star game. Sure, he rebuffed my request to sign a hat or shirt the last couple of years, but hey, the guy's busy, right? And, yeah, I'm a big Kevin Buchanan fan... and who doesn't love Paul Rabil... and is there any better face off specialist than Eck?!? And yet... as I said... I find myself torn. Do I trade the Red and Blue for the Green and Black? How would I look in a Lizards hat? Will the teams themselves weigh in on my dilemma?!?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Being back

Tonight I had my initial follow-up with the surgeon. I have some clearance, although not all. It's still walking, not running, and not rehab activities just yet. I'm supposed to still keep on healing. What I did do tonight, however, was return to playing live music. Only five songs, and one of them I purposely cut short. Dropped one verse... I always wondered if any of the other band members paid attention to that part, or just watched me for the changes. Got my answer.

Either way, I feel pretty good. A little sore, because I'm doing something that I haven't in a while, but good. The pain that I used to have following playing... it's gone. That means it worked. You can't understand how ecstatic I am right now!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Getting back to normal

We've got an ache under the scalp... probably planning on some Advil in a bit... unless I go back to bed. I hear this "sleeping" this is popular, and helps both with healing and weight loss. Might need that soon. Didn't walk yesterday because the body was aching and exhausted (work function until 9:30, working on an idea for work until midnight, back up at 5:30am to work on the idea, worked a 10 hour day... and I was actually confused as to why I was tired when 8pm rolled around). Kept it low-key on the food front for the most part, but my new big thing on the road to recover is figuring out just how much I can do to get back to normal.

Now, this is the holiday of Sukkot, and while I'll be in Synagogue this weekend, I won't try anything foolish - like lifting a Torah or anything of that nature. There are some things that have been done for me (mainly by mom or my brother) that I'd like to try out myself again... that I've been worried about them coming over to "check on me" and yelling at me for trying. With my parents out of town for the weekend and my brother full of plans, I finally get to say, "I'm 31, it's my house, I am allowed to take out my own blasted garbage!" Yes, seriously... taking out the garbage. It's less than 10lbs, so I'll be doing that today, along with some vacuuming (again - light enough) and attempting to clean my bath tub. The sink and toilet have been easy enough, but anyone who has ever cleaned a tub knows that there is a lot more vigorous scrubbing to be done, while in a bent position. Today, we find out if I've recovered enough for something like that.

I re-read that last line thrice... re-wrote it twice, then decided to change it back to the original. It actually makes a solid point, and one that my brother tried to hammer home to me. After his hernia surgery, he explained, there were a lot of little and simple things that just took him a while to be able to do again. Simple, mundane things... and as he points out, it wasn't nearly as big of a deal as my procedure. The hardest part about all of this hasn't been "how far/fast can I walk" or getting used to driving, or how long can I sit for. I expected those, and prepared myself for it. The real distressing points have come in the form of "I can't iron my shirts" or "can't finish sanding and painting the trim" or even "sorry guys, I can't go out and play guitar yet because I can't stand that long with an instrument around my neck." Picking up my cousins, I knew, would be something I'd need to do without for a couple of months. Picking up my amp wasn't something that I had accounted for. Don't get me wrong: best thing I ever did was get this taken care of, but for a guy who is used to doing a lot of things for other people, having to let things be done for me is tough to swallow.

This time next year, however, I will be in such a great mood. Able to do things again, and no pain? Awesome. (No, not "like a hot dog") Planning to even run a 5K next spring. Surgeon said he had the same procedure, was able to run the NYC Marathon. I see no reason that I can't go 3.1 ones at a jog 7 months from now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Remembered Ouch

Under the scalp this morning as I wipe the sleep from my eyes is that there are two things I learned from rehabbing my knee years ago: rehabbing an injury hurts, and there will be set backs. The first one makes sense, because you are using muscles that you haven't used in a while, or muscles that have to be rebuilt. Building muscle means pushing past your current threshold (muscle is actually built by breaking muscles). Anyone who has actually worked out, and built muscle, can explain that there is a certain ache that you come home with from the gym, if you did it right; rehab takes it a step further. I also know that there will be a setback (it always happens, you know it's going to happen, and it happening still devastates you). One nice item under the scalp, however - today isn't the setback, so I'm going to drag my lumpy bottom outside for another walk.

Last night saw an interesting turn (and pushing too far) on the treadmill, as I maintained a 2.7mph pace for about 15 minutes, cranked to 2.8 for 5, and 2.9 for another 5. Pushed it too far, of course, and 2.9 was too ambitious for so early in the game, but I managed to go 25 minutes and 1.15 miles before twinging reminded me that it was time to shut it down. Still, I am encouraged at the new plateau that I have reached. The doctors explained that walking is all that I can do right now as far as rehab goes. October 8th is my follow-up, and today begins week 4 since the procedure. My goal is to already have built some strength by the time any organized physical therapy begins. That has also included some chair exercises. Exercise point for anyone working at a desk and interested in tightening those abs. While you're sitting and working, suck in your belly button towards your spine for a ten count. Do that eight to ten times in a row... and be surprised at the ache. You are actually working those abs. Try doing it a few times during the day, every day, and you will actually strengthen them. It will take diet and cardio to scrape off the fat so that people can see those abs, but one thing at a time.

Food from Wednesday: breakfast: forgot, lunch: tuna sandwich on multi-grain bread with a handful of pretzels and a banana for dessert, dinner: pasta with a perch and onion sauce (two tablespoons of smart balance margarine, t-spoon of rice flour makes a rue; cup of chicken stock, chop up the onions and fish to cook in; put the pasta in afterward to finish cooking, and soak up some of the sauce. Use gluten free pasta and it becomes a fully gluten free dish).

Putting in the MP3 player (non-Apple brand), putting on shorts and a fleece, and putting in about 20 minutes of strolling before work.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 2

First thing under the scalp this morning: "Man I'm exhausted, but I'm still fat." Let's add in that this back isn't going to strengthen itself, and certainly isn't going to get better if I just roll over and go back to waiting for my alarm. So it was time to drag the body up and out of bed... slog around finding all of the necessary items to get outside, including bagging up some of the recyclable plastic bottles. Doc says no more than 10lbs for lifting at the moment, but two bags of plastics come out to probably 3 or 4lbs. Decided to try combining a walk up the hill in the development (about .3 miles) with carrying up the recyclables. These things never show right away, so if I'm in agony around 4:00, we'll know this was a dumb idea. Got out by 7:25, walked up, walked back, and spent the rest of the time walking the good old circle. The pace is still horribly slow - especially up that hill - but I did it, and that's a step in the right direction, both in the battle to recover and the battle of the bulge. It'll be a longer day today (my last appointment first starts at 5:00) but the walking time enabled me to fine tune an idea to drive some revenue at work, so there's your side benefit. Under the scalp I got, "hey, why don't we go out and find some inexpensive sponsors for our email newsletters?" If we score enough to just cover operating costs of the email system, it's a positive step because we aren't losing anything, even if it isn't a huge gain.

Breakfast thoughts - going to do a banana and some grapes, and a bunch of water. Time for a quick shower, pulling on the snazzy clothes for work, and out the door early again!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back Under the Scalp

For the last handful of months, the only thing under my scalp was pain... in my back... in a very severe manner. Now, however, I am about to mark three weeks since surgical repair of said back, and now I'm on to the rehabilitation portion of the show. The interesting aspect is that I managed to gain a whole lot of weight while the last month before my procedure and the first two weeks of recovery passed. So now, the main thoughts under my scalp - shed weight (I'm almost scraping 220lbs) and regain strength in my back faster than the experts consider possible.

Why am I sharing this? Perhaps a sense of public shaming will be helpful. So, let's chat about the eating and the exercise. While still a week away from clearance to begin hard-core workouts, I walked 1.5 miles today on the treadmill. I kept the pace at a very slow 2.5 - 2.6mph out of sheer necessity (3mph never felt "wicked fast" before), so it took some time. I fully understand that this is day one, but I also realize that it's something of a pathetic start.

So let's set some goals... whereas you, the world wide web, can mock me if I do not meet said goals to get back into shape. For the end of this week, let's set a goal to clear 1.5 at an average of 2.8mph pace, with a goal for 3.0mph by next Wednesday. Let's also set a goal to weigh in at no more than 218 by next Thursday (giving me a week to shed 1lb). Planned dinner for Wednesday: baked filet of perch with creamed corn on the side. I might even post the recipe.

Monday, June 15, 2009


It's Monday, the start of a new week, and in the summer weather, that always manages to bring frustration to those of us who have to get up and go to work (and don't get to count to the end of the school year). Let's do something a little fun this morning, in that case. Let's talk about Dangermouse!

If you've never seen the cartoon (I recently picked up the entire series at then let me explain for a moment. You have a white mouse, with an eye patch, who is a secret agent, fighting crime with his side kick Penfold (who I believe is supposed to be a hamster). The entire series is set in Britain, and DM even lives on Baker Street (for the Sherlock fans out there). His nemesis is an evil wheezing toad (yep) named Greenback who is supported by a crow henchman named Mafiosa. True quality!

The show is somewhat corny, mocking James Bond, and doing it all with British sense of humor, which doesn't always appeal to Americans, I admit. My brother and I used to watch it religiously on USA Network, occasionally preceded by Bananaman. You always knew that DM would find his way out of trouble, and Pinfold would always do something incredibly silly to get himself INTO trouble... which Dangermouse eventually pulled him out of. And while I'm not doing the show much justice here, I'll rely on our good friends at YouTube to help me show you the fun:

See, wasn't that great? The animation isn't top notch, but it was the 80s. The voices aren't tough to follow, and the foolishness of the show is just plain fun. The sheer fact of Pinfold, for instance, chained up to a ball that is almost as large as he is, to keep him in prison. And the flying car - isn't the flying car just the coolest? Oh come on, you know it is.

Look, do yourself a favor. Go on YouTube and watch a few episodes. Consider even supporting the economy by purchasing a season or two on DVD. If you have kids, nieces and nephews, or just know some small fries, consider passing this on. Dangermouse is perfect for any kids, and they deserve to see it!