Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm back...

[This is a looooong post! Feel free to skip bits]

So, as I said in my last post I've been really busy recently. I got back to the US on Monday evening and started lab work on Tuesday. My (super awesome!) best friend, who is also my roommate this summer, moved all my things into my room, but I still had to arrange/unpack everything when I got back.

The plane flight back to the US was kinda stressful - it was delayed by over an hour because of technical difficulty (not exactly a relaxing thing to hear if you already hate flying!) and pretty much every seat on it was taken, which also ups the stress of flying!

I started lab work on Tuesday, so didn't have a huge amount of time to relax. It was all going fine until my parents decided they didn't like me working on the project I was working on (and I agreed with them). I know that sounds totally ridiculous and like my parents are being way too interfering with my life, but the reason they stepped in is that my project had me working with lead oxide, which is pretty nasty stuff. Lead is a heavy metal which means that once it gets into your body it stays there and you can't (really) get it out. Excess heavy metals in the body have been linked to things like cancer and dementia, so it's sort of serious. Lead oxide is also worse for you than plain old lead, because lead oxide is a fine powder which "poofs" whenever you touch it or move it. [I was wearing a mask whenever I was using it, but of course none of that stuff is 100% effective]. I'm also especially worried because I like in an old English house, which means that the water in my house probably goes through lead pipes. As lead doesn't leave the body, it's entirely possible that I already have a higher lead concentration in my body than someone my age should have.
I talked to my supervisor about it and to say the least he wasn't overly pleased. To be honest I don't really blame him: he thinks its safe and the rest of the people in my lab all handle the stuff occasionally. I'm also the only undergraduate who has changed projects at all, and now I'm going to be changing my project twice. (He's also grading my thesis and is meant to be writing me a letter of recommendation for law school, so I don't really want to make him dislike me...).
Anyway, that whole thing was a bit tough to deal with - I felt caught between him and my parents. I am probably more health conscious than most people in my lab as well, so a lot of other people in my lab thought I was being ridiculous and paranoid. Regardless, the situation is hopefully somewhat resolved now. I'm going to be getting a new project on Monday and I'm just going to have to try really hard to impress my supervisor!

My living arrangement for this summer is a three bedroom triple, which means that each of us has our own bedroom. I'm living with my best friend (fingers crossed that that doesn't mess up our friendship, I'm sure it won't) and another girl (Diza), who we're sort of friends with (we needed a third person to fill the triple). Anyway, this other girl is driving me nuts, and I've only lived with her for three days. She's incredibly needy and is an over protected only child. She will literally stand outside my locked bedroom door and talk at me. She insists on doing things like coming into my room and turning on my laptop so that I can hear a song she wants me to hear. She followed me into the bathroom yesterday so she could finish telling me about some inane thing. I don't want to be mean, and I do feel a little sympathetic (I think she's pretty lonely), but seriously! I need some personal space.
The other issue is that she doesn't get me. She's fairly different to me and has no sense of independence. She insists on coming to the gym with me (the gym is kinda my alone space) and she will talk and talk at me when I'm lifting proper weights (so I need to focus). She also refuses to push herself at all - she was lifting 5 lb weights, complaining that they were too light, but refusing to lift more in case she hurts herself. She also complains and complains and complains about how much she's hurting from the gym, which drives me nuts!
She's also working in a lab (not my lab, thank god! Lab is the only time she's not there chattering at me.) and everyone in her lab was sent an online quiz that was meant to determine how empathetic you are and how good you are with other people, reading other people's emotions even when they're hidden etc. She scored 16 or so, if you score below 20 that's a possible sign of autism (because you're that unaware about what other people are thinking/feeling). I scored 72ish (I'm a fairly empathetic person, even if it doesn't seem if from this rant), so clearly it's possible to do "well" on this thing.
Anyway, sorry for the rant, she's just driving me absolutely insane. I know it's not her fault, but she has zilch conception of public space and alone time.

The Boy
I miss him. A lot. It probably doesn't help my mood!

My food has been okay, but not great. I need to go back to recording my food more. I have been doing okay at the whole high fiber options thing, but I still think I could push it further. Basically, my meals are good and generally very healthy but I eat too much crap and sugar between meals (marshmallows and chocolate), which is really bad (and I just measured my blood sugar - 144 - also really bad).
Tomorrow I am not going to eat chocolate, marshmallows or other candy.
In other food news its really tough to go shopping at school. There are no supermarkets near by. I'm going to try a grocery delivery service, and I've scheduled the delivery for Sunday, so fingers crossed for that!
With regards to exercise, I've been doing okay, but it's a real pain to have to go with this other girl all the time. I find it harder to exercise with her yapping in my ear. I did go swimming (alone) yesterday though, which felt fantastic. I haven't been swimming in ages (despite the fact that I'm meant to go to increase my oxygen transport ability - more on that at some other time).
My heart rate monitor also arrived! I've only used it once so far, but I got a really good workout with it. A few months ago I went to an exercise physiologist who did various tests on me and was able to determine my own max heart rate etc (and that my limitation is the rate at which I can transport oxygen/carbon dioxide from my lungs to my blood). Anyway, what he suggested (for me, this isn't universal) is to get my heart rate to 190+ for two minutes and then come down to 160ish for 2-3 minutes. I tried it on the rotex on Wednesday and it was really good!
I've also decided that I'm going to try to...swim twice a week, do gym-based cardio two or three times a week and lift weights twice a week (and have one rest day!).

Mental Health/Personal Development
I've gotten bad about doing my breathing every night, so I need to get back to doing that. HeartMath, the company I purchased it from, runs various webinars, so I've signed up for one of those on "Better Communication". I'm hoping it'll be interesting.

I'm doing okay with the resolutions. I've been fairly good at wearing sunscreen which is of course a good thing. I've gotten worse about doing my "old" things like taking vitamins and psyllium, so I need to get back to doing those kinds of things.

Tour Guiding
I have my first tour tomorrow! I'm not an official tour guide yet (the tour tomorrow is a practice tour to see if I'm up to scratch!). I'm a bit nervous about it, but fingers crossed! I'm going to spend part of tonight thinking about what I need/want to say! 

Ahh! This was a realllly long post! Sorry about that. Just had a lot I needed to write about!


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