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Bad Memory–High intelligence?

This was fascinating.  The whole theory behind this theory was that the brain acted as a repository for information in a way like you’d expect a library to work.  They postulated that there was a finite amount of information that could be stored, and that in order to make good decisions, irrelevant material had to be expunged.  (I’m getting all my Toastmasters Words of the Day used up today, so keep your thesauruses and dictionaries close.)  They’re wrong.

Your brain never forgets anything.

Wait…what?  I forgot where my keys were.  I forgot Jamie’s name.  I forgot my appointment.  Those are ESSENTIAL things to remember.  All of those things were in my brain the day before I needed them.  Did I replace those ESSENTIAL bits of information with something more important?  I don’t think so.  I read no scientific papers.  I didn’t discover a new subject of study.  I learned no new skills.  I did have some interesting conversations, and worked to solve a couple of problems.  Were those things more important or more relevant that the location of my keys, my friend’s name, or the appointment I’d set?  No.

Inefficient memory has nothing to do with the quality of the information stored in your brain.  It has nothing to do with the relevance of the information.  It has to do with access.  The neurons that direct your inquiry to the correct location where the information is stored work in a circuitous path.  The more you use the path, the wider and more direct it becomes.  I did find my keys, and remembered Jamie’s name, but I had to reschedule the appointment.

I have a rather large vocabulary which means that I have a humongous number of words in my brain, but I don’t use the $20 words much because it doesn’t enhance the understanding by my conversation mates.  The larger the vocabulary, the more precise and descriptive you can make your communication.  But it does no good if everyone with whom you speak has to look up every other word.  This means that though I have those words in my brain, I don’t have to access them often.

I have a plethora of scientific information regarding the natural world:  biology, geology, physics, botany, meteorology, and chemistry are some of the subjects I find fascinating.  I have an innate understanding of mathematics and logic and I can picture and rotate graphs in my head.  I am fascinated by history and how each event relates to the culture and affects the timelines that intersect it.  I keep all these things in my head and accessible.  There is nothing I choose to forget.  In fact, there are things that my mind recalls that I really do not understand why I keep in there.  It’s like going through your keepsakes and finding old grade cards.  Why would you keep those?  I have lots of stuff in my attic that I may or may not need, and so there is a ladder that goes to my attic, but it’s not used very often.

ANYWAY, the stuff you forget today is not gone from your brain forever.  It never leaves.  The pathway to the information is just a road with lots of pot holes.  Eventually you can rebuild that pathway and discover this ‘lost’ information.  The truly intelligent beings are the ones who can create pathways linking different information to a situation.  Why don’t planes have flapping wings?  Because the design is based more on a kite or a hawk. (OK a kite is a type of hawk, but I’m talking the kind of kite with a string that you can buy at Walmart.  Did you know a kite was a hawk?  That fact is running around in my head and I caught it, subdued it to my will and put it in the blog to ever be captive to this page.  Now I’m getting silly.) Leonardo Da Vinci was one of those people who had lots of information in his head from observation and study.  Einstein and Stephen Hawking related ideas in their heads that no one else would have put together.  Geniuses do that all the time.  They make use of the pathways to discover new relationships between the memories, the facts and the ideas to form new theories and new ideas.  Other geniuses make use of the pathways to remember what is on their grocery lists.  That means that they don’t throw away useless information, they just don’t use that pathway very often.  Should they need to draw a conclusion that requires that information, they can access it and integrate it into their thought processes.

So if you take that test on Facebook that says “You are a Genius because you can’t remember crap,” take that with a grain of NaCl.

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Yawn…

I hate training that is mandatory.  I especially hate mandatory training that only deals with cursory, shallow, general information.  Reiterating self evident information is not training.  Our presenter does not have an electric personality.  He reads the slides, he speaks extremely slowly and wanders all over the speaking area without purpose.  He moves just quick enough to indicate he’s not dead, but not fast enough to discourage jr. high kids from seeing him as a moving target.

He isn’t tailoring his message to his audience.  He and his presentation have no impact on the people he’s training. What is the point he’s trying to make?  He is trying to teach experienced people how and why to run an event.  They already know this stuff, and have done successful events multiple times.  Yet they are making this training mandatory.  I would venture to say he’s never actually run an upper level event–one that involves multiple districts and multiple activities.  Am I dumping on this guy because I don’t like him?  My goodness no! He’s a lovely man—kind, caring, and with a genuine wish to help his fellows.  He’s not an experienced trainer.

I was watching “This is Us” last night, and there was this scene where the rather large character is at a weight watching type of meeting.  It looked like a 12-step program.  The leader was going on about how much the program had done for her and how she now wanted to help others achieve the success she’d had.  This leader was enormous.  One might postulate that she had not, as yet, achieved the success she was purporting to pass on to her participants.  I go to lots of seminars.  There are times when I think to myself, “Why am I here?  This guy doesn’t know as much about the subject as I do!  Why did I pay for a ticket?”  There was one that spoke about talking to oneself.  I thought that after listening for 30 min he might have made a point that I could actually write down in my notes.  My paper was blank.  My first thought, “Amateur…”  There was another talking about leadership and my first thoughts, “Amateur, and he’s supposed to be a trained speaker?”  There was another expert talking about teaching and training.  He didn’t get 5 minutes into his spiel when I wanted to stop him and ask him how long he’d taught in the public school system.  What he was saying would have gotten him booed out of the classroom.  He would have had nothing but low-level rioting every day.  Why are unqualified people allowed to stand up and posture in front of real experts?  Why are they hired?  I read their books, and they’re shallow and the  conclusions they make do not follow any type of logic.  Their experiences are glossed over or unmentioned.  “Gentlemen, if you want to keep the interest of your junior high science class, wear a different tie–one with cartoon characters on it.”  Junior High?  Hands in laps?  In a science class?  Really?  Where did you find out this nugget?  Now I had one science teacher that lit his tie on fire and it didn’t burn.  (Combination of isopropyl alcohol and water.) That got my attention, but I was in high school then.

If you are going to train me, you need to know more than I do or know how to ask the questions that allow me to discover the answer.  I was in a seminar where we broke into groups and had to teach each other how to juggle.  No one in my group knew how to juggle.  The purpose of the exercise was in coaching people.  The coach in our group didn’t have to KNOW how to juggle, he just had to ask the right questions.  And believe it or not, when the coach asked the questions and the juggler responded and thought things through, suddenly non-jugglers became jugglers!  But that’s not what happened in this mandatory training.  This well-meaning but ineffective speaker was talking to us as if we had never run an event before.  He didn’t assess his audience before he started his presentation.  There wasn’t a person in the room that didn’t have at least 5 years doing events under their belts.

When one of the participants (who happened to be the leader of the group this guy was addressing) started making things interesting by asking questions from the floor, the speaker tried to rein the conversation in so he could finish his ineffective slideshow.  If you find yourself in a situation where you know there is a wealth of information in the audience that you don’t currently have, learn to approach it like a coach instead of a teacher/trainer.  Ask insightful questions and allow the audience to participate.  You can bet your audience members will be taking notes like crazy.

I guess I’m getting too old to maintain my patience level.  I don’t suffer fools.  I have sudden urges to start heckling from the floor.  I have to fight for self control to keep from launching projectiles from my seat in the back of the room.  I try to avoid mandatory training when I see who’s running it and I don’t recognize any talent or special knowledge they can offer.

Get help.  Don’t get in front of an audience if you’re not having more success than they are.

Fail…so what?

I had COFFEE.  *sobs*  I had LOTS of COFFEE.  *wails*  I had 2 cups at breakfast and 2 cups at lunch, and no appreciable water all day.  So my water experiment is a bust.

No, no it’s not.  It’s One day.  My lips are no longer “sticky” and though I’m having to pee like every 5 minutes, I don’t feel as sluggish as I had.  Drinking that much water is a hard habit for me to acquire.  I still am struggling with it near the end of the month.  Is anyone else having a problem with this experiment?

Last week, I had a sudden pain in my thigh of the leg that was broken.  It was way down below the break and it felt like I was cramping.  Every step hurt.  It has diminished since then, but of course, I couldn’t go to the gym or do any walking while it hurt.  I may get some walking in a little later today.  I also haven’t weighed myself (because my standard is at the gym.  Lucky for me…)  I would guess I haven’t lost any appreciable weight though.

My friend L is on the keto diet.  She’s lost about 25 pounds!  She did that in 90 days?  I’ve been essentially at 1200 calories a day and mostly protein and fat for 2 years now.  Still same weight.  SHM.  It’s frustrating.

My progress has been in my attitude about how I look and how I feel.

You know…

  • Denial  (I’m not fat, I’m fluffy!)
  • Anger (Why do calories attack me in my sleep!  They leap onto me and hold on for dear life.)
  • Bargaining  (OK, if I have 5 good days of exercise and good nutrition, can I have pizza and beer on Saturday?)
  • Depression  (No one else has this problem, the laws of biochemistry and physics do not seem to apply to me.)
  • Acceptance  (No problem, yes, I am a 2XL.  I AM twice the woman you married.)

If you read through my blogs on Measurable progress, you can see me vacillate between the last two repeatedly.  I don’t want to accept that what I look and feel like right now is the way I’m going to remain.  But I cannot continue to beat myself up either…

Happy September 1! Ready? Set? GO!

For all you people that read this blog, this is the beginning of “Water You Up To?” September.  The rules are simple:

  1. Drink water
  2. not flavored water
  3. not Gatorade or other power drinks
  4. not tea
  5. not coffee
  6. not fruit juice
  7. not water flavored with hops and barley (beer)
  8. no, the ice in your cocktail doesn’t count
  9. not pop/soda

Write down in your September Journal how you feel today.  Get a picture of yourself perhaps.  Write down your exercise and your meals as well.  If you have a fitbit, check it! (Oh, yeah.  That’s why you bought the danged thing!)  I’m curious how your results turn out.  2 questions that come to mind:  1st of all, are you more aware of what you’re eating when you have to journal it?  So will that affect your results?  And secondly, are you more aware of your exercise when you journal it and will THAT have an effect on your results?

Sept 30, let me know how you did.  The more people we have in this experiment, the better the information we get.

Here’s my starting:

  • Weight 212.7
  • lips:  sticky (partial dehydration)
  • exercise regimen for base–Physical Therapy exercises to strengthen broken hip (from last year)

Little by Little

Woohoo!  I am without crutches or cane for the most part!

My Physical Therapists, the inestimable Gina V and Noah, have been heating my operation site, and rubbing and needling, and general torture for about a month.  At one point, I felt I had an extra joint in my injured leg about 1/2 way from my hip to my knee.  It felt REALLY weird!  The lower quads bunched up to a rock just above my knee, and the upper quads didn’t seem connected to the lower.  Now it feels more like 1 muscle again.

I couldn’t walk much because my injured leg wouldn’t (and I mean absolutely refused to) hold my weight to allow my right leg to move.  I am gradually getting my gait back.  I still limp, but it’s much less pronounced.

This IS measurable progress!

I screwed up

I am in Physical Therapy for my injured hip.  I have certain exercises I need to do to combat the adhesion that is keeping me from walking like a human person.  Right now, it feels like I have a big lump of muscle just above my knee, and a void above that and another muscle that goes to my hip in front.  So it feels like my quad is actually an oct.  The lump above my knee is parallel to the floor, and shouldn’t be there.  My therapist asked me what I’d done.

Wellllllll, I just did the exercises you assigned me for my recovery…

But if doing one series is good, doing 3 would be better right?  I actually got a face/palm for that.  He says, “We do one series here because you’re supposed to do one series.”  What do these exercises entail?

  1.  A hamstring stretch with a cable.  I am supposed to pull on my foot with outstretched leg to stretch the hamstring on the back of my leg–3 times for 30 seconds.
  2.  A band stretched around my knees that I’m supposed to open my knees and hold for 30 seconds 3 times
  3. An ankle weight that I lift with a straight leg while lying on my back and other leg bent, 15 times
  4. An ankle weight that I lift while lying on my side, 15 times.
  5. An ankle weight that I extend my leg while sitting on the edge of the table, 15 times
  6. A band stretched across my heel where I do leg curls, 15 times
  7. Hip sled set at a low weight 15 times
  8. Side step that I do about 10 feet out and 10 feet back
  9. March where I lift my knees between steps 10 feet out and back
  10. Balance with my feet toe to heel for 30 seconds good foot forward and then 30 seconds good foot behind
  11. Single leg balance 20 seconds.

Sounds reasonable.  So I did 3 sets of these at the gym on Sunday.  Monday, I was so sore I could hardly move, and the cold wind caused my leg muscles to seize up.  I over did it and now I have to wait 2 weeks before I can start correcting my gait.  Wahhhhhhhhh!  And his remedy for that muscle was deep massage and it really hurts!  But it doesn’t feel bunched up now.  Doh!!!!

New Approach

I have now been going to Physical Therapy twice a week for 2 weeks.  The feeling of having an extra joint in my injured leg is gone.  Why?  Because they’re merciless on the massage!  My hubby and I have a joke:  “What is the difference between a Trainer and a Torturer?  You pay the Trainer!”  We paid about $650/month for our trainer.  She made us feel guilty if we didn’t go to the gym, and always challenged us and pushed us.  She was very good!  Hubby lost weight and is down to about 330 lbs.  I didn’t because the laws of physics and biochemistry do not apply to me.  (see all my other entries on losing weight…)  Nevertheless, seeing the Physical Therapist costs me $50/visit.  So the difference between a Trainer and a Therapist is about $200 less, and 2x the pain.

In essence, the therapist goes to the injury and looks for tightness and lumps of scar tissue and rubs it really hard to break up the scar tissue.  I have very deep bruising from this.  My leg is now painful to the touch.  Then Monday, I experienced dry needling.  She sticks this needle into my muscles just above my knee (where I felt that  phantom joint) and goes until it starts a twitching in my muscle.  She was using only needles, no other devices or machines.  I say that because it felt like it was electric!  At first, it just felt like pressure, then, when it hit the problem area, it felt like a shock.  She’d remove the needle after a few seconds and put in another one at a different spot–8 in total.  When she was done, it felt like I’d had an hour session with my trainer and we only worked the quads on my left leg!  It was tight and felt sore like after an intense workout, not sore like I’d gotten stuck with needles.  Why would anyone submit to this?  Well, because I’m limping less!  The therapist also gives me really easy exercises to do, with 1 exception.

The nastiest exercise I have now is marching.  Take a step, lift the knee, take a step, lift the knee.  No problem lifting my left knee (injured leg), but I can’t get my right foot off the floor!  I will keep trying though.  I am making some measurable progress!

Back on the horse

The horse doesn’t like me though.

In trying to recover strength in the leg with the broken hip, I have to do stationary bike work.  I was doing interval training:  4 min on level 3 (omg, that’s like a little kid bike!) and then 1 min at lvl 8.  Lvl 8 used to be my starting point!  I did 30 min of this. I then decided to try grand battement exercises as my flexibility has been compromised.  I discovered that when the moving leg was the injured one, I had full range of movement.  When the standing leg was the injured one, I couldn’t get my other leg to move!  If, however, I used my crutch to help support me, the uninjured leg did right what it was supposed to and moved pretty well.  Isn’t that weird?

ANYWAY, so now I’m sore.  Partly due to being on a stationary bike for 1/2 hour after not done anything over the holiday, I am actually saddle sore!  My butt hurts!  Get the horse tie in now?  I guess I need to get back to the gym again today or suffer the consequences.  Oh my.  I guess I need to do the weight training with a little cardio today.

According to my new resolution, my lines are, “OH GOODY!  I get to go to the gym and see what I can do today!  I can hardly wait!”  If I say it enough…

 

‘Tis the Season

Bread!  Rolls!  Stuffing!  Potatoes!  Candy! Really Big Plates!  Parties!

My Exclamation point key is wearing out. Now let’s throw in snow and ice so you can’t leave the house.  Is this a good thing?  Yes and no.  Yes because now you can’t eat out and over-eat because, gosh dernit, YOU PAID for all that food.  (Ya, I know…eat half and put the other half in a box trick.)  And no because you can’t watch Christmas movies without eggnog and cheese balls and crackers and popcorn.

What is a person to do?

Aha!  Remove the stimulus!  Don’t watch the Christmas movies, watch the Musketeers series or Merlin or NCIS or CSI NY in a binge!  Don’t go to the parties!  Uh oh…side effects!  What kind of side effects could those possibly have?  Forgot to go shopping for gifts.  Forgot that some people actually celebrate Christmas and THAT’S why they’re not here for their lessons…so you won’t get paid this week.  Oh and you volunteered to sing on Christmas Eve with the church choir, and because all your activities have been cancelled, you have NO idea what day today is.  Crud.  Is it 10:45 already?  Now I’m hungry.  I know.  I’ll fix a healthy breakfast and do dishes for 2 1/2 hours.  Problem solved!  Or not.  Have a Merry Happy and a Christmas New Year.

Moving forward

I saw the trauma orthopedic doctor on Tuesday.  She was pleased with my progress.  Progress?  I’m making progress?  It surely doesn’t feel like it.  So she asked me what I was doing for PT.  Well… I was supposed to set it up with a therapist so I would be going 2-3 times a week.  I couldn’t figure out the insurance so I didn’t go.  I did go to the gym once a week to work on the exercises I had been given.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t feel like I am making any progress.  I am not responsible for my healing and it is slowing me down.  If I am not seeing the PT guy, I should be getting into the gym at least 2-3 times a week.  I should be doing exercises at home.  I am doing anything but.  Then I went to my friends blog…Moving Mountains. She had this great quote from Jack Sparrow.

Problem solving is what I like to think is my specialty.  But I am not solving my own.  I have to decide to be my own therapist (mental and physical) and take responsibility for how I feel and how I heal.  This is a hard thing to face.

Do you ever find yourself unable to solve your problems but others’ seem obvious and easy to solve?  Why is that?  Removing yourself from the situation and seeing it from a differing perspective is easy when it is someone else’s predicament.  When I was looking at myself, I was amazed that I made the circumstances so convoluted and confusing.  What a silly thing to do!  Everyone will do that though.  Just like my “progress” the situations people find themselves that seem overwhelming are due to incremental changes in physical, mental and spiritual aspects.  They are often so small that one doesn’t even realize these changes are occurring.

One of my favorite movies is “Rat Race.”  In this movie, the plot is set early that each person has been chosen to go after a $2,000,000 prize and the 1st one to reach it gets to keep it.  O. K. But each person has a radically different journey!  Some go to the airport, and the flights are cancelled.  Why?  Because another one of the competitors decides to pull down the radar tower.  You see this jeep being pulled up the tower with the two miscreants in full panic.  Then later in the movie, you see a couple of them suspended from a hot air balloon, holding on desperately to a cow whose hoof has been entangled in a rope attached to the basket, and fighting over the key 100 feet in the air.  How did they get to that situation?!  Incremental steps.

My progress is so small that I can’t see it, but my doctor, who sees me once a month, notices a difference right away.  So healing and destroying can be done incrementally.  This is the reason the gyms are crowded in January and empty in March.  This is the reason that the young kid thinks smoking is cool and then cannot understand why he has problems breathing.  Look at the bill boards–all of them promising a new start, a new plan and a chance to get life on track for success for January.   There should be bill boards that pop up in February saying, “Keep Going!  You may not see a difference yet, but you’re developing a new outlook on life and refining habits that will grandly change your life. ”  You won’t see any…

I know what I have to do now.  I need to schedule my recovery time in the gym and be faithful to it.