November 30th, 2012

Gratitude Marathon, November 2012

~Friday~  On Facebook, for the month of November, I participated in the "Gratitude Marathon," which consisted of professing some form of gratitude, once a day, for each day of the entire month of November.

I've captured them here for those of you who aren't on Facebook (or aren't my friend there), and for my own record.

Nov 1: Today I'm grateful for my intellect, which I value so much. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 2: Today I'm grateful for the people near and dear to me in my life, and that there is a healthy number of them from many walks of life. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 3: Today I'm grateful for all of the actors, directors, producers, board of directors and everyone else that has been involved with the countless hours of exceedingly fine and thought-provoking entertainment I've enjoyed in my life from Manbites Dog Theater over the years. #GratitudeMarathon — at Manbites Dog Theater.

Nov 4: Today I'm grateful for almost always being able to fall asleep within 5 minutes, for regularly being able to remember my dreams, and for usually being able to purposefully wake myself up amidst a nightmare. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 5: Today I’m grateful for knowing how to use both Windows and Mac computers -- and what seems like a similar thing to me, knowing my way around both downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 6: Today I'm grateful for having the privilege to vote in this country, and I've exercised that privilege in every presidential election since I've been eligible to do it. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 7: Today I'm grateful to be living as my authentic self. There was a significant part of my life during which I thought I might spend my entire time here not being the person I really was. What a prison sentence that would have been. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I'm free at last. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 8: Today I'm grateful for doing work I love and working with people who are engaging, smart, and fun. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 9: Today I'm thankful for the men of Movember -- both for their hirsuteness and for their generous character. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov. 10: Today, on the birthday of the United States Marine Corps, I'm grateful for growing up as a "military brat" -- during which time I learned: 1) to meet new people more easily than I might otherwise have, 2) to become friends with people who didn't look like me, and 3) the true value a friendship can be by having to say goodbye to it more often than not. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov. 11: Today, I'm grateful for my Dad's 30-year service to our country, which included 3 one-year deployments during the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart, and for everyone who has served in our armed services in any capacity over the years. THANK YOU. I'm also grateful -- albeit very conflicted about being so -- that when I was of age, registering for the draft was not required. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 12: I'm thankful for this date, because it's the day my sister came into this world. She's as much like me as she is different. She's smart in ways that I'm not, and funny in ways that I love. She's stronger than she realizes -- I should know, I've seen her in action. She's perfect even when she's focused on the things she wants to change about herself. And, yes, she's one of my favorite people in the whole world. I'm grateful to have spent our time here along side each other. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 13: Today I'm grateful for my command of, appreciation for, and playfulness with, the written word. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 14: Today I'm grateful for hearing from an IBM employee in Germany to thank me for, and to tell me that he's using, a diversity poster -- about the cost to a company of an employee being in the closet -- that I created many years ago. Cool. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 15: Today I'm grateful for owning a home to shelter me from the cold and warm my heart within. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 16: Today, I'm grateful for unsolicited, daily affirmations that remind me of the incredible people who surround me in my life. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 17: Today I'm grateful for the Master's in Tech Comm students at NC State and their advisor, Sarah Egan Warren, for their initiative, enthusiasm, and follow-through in putting on today's awesome SpeedCon 2012 free conference, and for the people of intellectual curiosity and interest in all things communication for their attendance and engagement today. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 18: Today I'm grateful for the members of my Mostly Social Book Club, with whom I'm currently meeting, and with whom I've been meeting for 20 years. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 19: Today I'm grateful for a colleague who took the time to thank me for suggesting Love Wins Ministries as one of our organization's holiday giving recipients again this year and for leading the project. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 20: Today, I'm grateful for being a non-smoker. With my addictive personality, I'm quite sure I'd be a two-pack-a-day-start-at-8-in-the-morning kind of smoker if I was one. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 21: Today, I'm grateful for my friend Rebecca--whose departure to Africa is imminent, and where many people over the next month or so are going to be in the wonder of her presence, and then regret to see her go when that time comes. I'm also grateful for her affirmation here this morning on one of my recent updates: "You are one fabulous man, John Martin, and I love ALL the ways you are 'committed' ... in health, self expression and uplifting others and this world with your 'great-full' heart! Love your good parents for bringing you here! I'd like more time to play with you before this ride is done." #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 22: Today, I'm grateful family, family friends, and friends who have become family. And for my sister for her long hours yesterday and today making all the food JUST SO, her husband for his work in getting the house ready for 8 guests, and to both of them for opening up their home to nourish all of us today. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 23: Today, I'm professing a retroactive gratefulness. I'm grateful for the many, many years I lived without chronic pain, but was not grateful for it while it was so. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 24: As a follow-up to yesterday's gratitude entry, today I'm grateful for a full 30 minutes on the treadmill with no pain in my left knee. I'm not sure that's ever happened since my surgery in March. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov 25: On Sunday, I was grateful to the owner of The Borough for comping one of my drinks "just because" (of the inordinate amount of money I've spent in her establishment). I was also grateful for the (good) pain in my arms confirming that the upper body work I did on Saturday was fruitful. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov. 26: This morning, as I enjoy my egg and cheese on a bolo levedo for breakfast, I'm grateful for my Portuguese heritage and its foods. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov. 27: Today I'm thankful for working at a university where I can use a "tuition waiver" once per semester to take a university course for free. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov. 28: Today I'm thankful for the little things, as someday, they may become the big things. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov. 29: Today, I'm not only thankful that it's the penultimate day of November, but I'm also thankful that I know the word penultimate and I've had a chance to use it in a sentence. Twice. #GratitudeMarathon

Nov. 30: Today, I'm grateful that the month of November only has 30 days. #GratitudeMarathon #Complete

Walking Challenge 2012: The penultimate month of the year and challenge...

October's Challenge Entry | All Challenge Entries | December's Challenge Entry

And so we come to the end of the penultimate month of the year, and I am happy to report that it's been another month of meeting my commitment toward walking every day of 2012 for at least 30 minutes.


I see that my walks at the beginning of the month, on average, were longer than those toward the end of the month. I would try to blame it all on that L-tryptophan, but this Turkey Causes Sleepiness debunks that theory.

Here are the walking numbers for every day in November (click to enlarge):

[Click to enlarge] Chart showing November daily walks

Background photo: Close to Veteran's Day, I was walking on campus and came across this scene in front of the Witherspoon Student Center. Thanks to all NC State University faculty, staff, and students who have served our country in any capacity over the years.


Let the holiday bulge begin. This is not good, but I have no doubt it would have been much worse if I wasn't counting (the many) calories that I was eating, and doing strength-building and toning workouts in addition to my daily walks.

I'm going to do my best not to blow up much more over the December holidays, but I do plan to "get right back on it" in January. Along with the gazillion others who will "hit the gym" when the new year commences.

Full disclaimer: Several of these days, in terms of the "Cals Eaten" numbers, were estimated, as I got behind in my tracking at one point in the month. Overall, though, it's a fairly good snapshot of my noshing.

Dailyburn November calendar showing calories eaten and calories burned

The calories burned include those from both my daily walks, and for other exercise I do at the gym, 5-7 days a week, including: 3 stretching exercises, 300 ab crunches (with weights added to the bench), and then either an upper body or a lower body workout.


I've gained weight. Ask me how.

Here are the official November weigh-in numbers (click to enlarge):

Chart showing weigh-ins of 197, 198, 199, and 201 for November


Here are some reflections about this month's experience:

  • I'm not going to lie; I am very much looking forward to this year ending—not so much to quit all the tracking I do, because I pretty much do that anyway, but to not having to make it all presentable here each month, which is time-consuming.

  • Doing something every day, for an entire year, is quite a commitment.

  • With that said, having a goal like that—at least for me—is the best way to make something "non-negotiable," which is really what it takes—again for me—to make exercising, for instance, a matter of when I'm going to do it today as opposed to a matter of if I'm going to do it today.


&diety help me get through December without too much damage to my progress this year.

October's Challenge Entry | All Challenge Entries | December's Challenge Entry

Seventy Scenes of Halloween, a play at Manbites Dog Theater

~Friday~  As I watched Manbites Dog Theater's current show—Seventy Scenes of Halloween, which is being remounted 25 years after its first run as the theater's first show in 1987—I was thinking, "This is the kind of theater that Manbites has built its reputation on."

I tried to imagine just "coming across" this theater company and this play, in the empty shoe store in downtown Durham's Five Points area, which became the theater back then. It would be the kind of experience that you "fall into" and then think, "My goodness. Something amazing is going on here." And then want to tell everyone you know about your "find."

The 1987 Staging of 70 Scenes
A big bowl of candy corn

You can read a little more about the history of the theater, and the two fine gentleman Jeff and Ed—who are partners in life as well in Manbites Dog Theater—in this recent article in the Indy Weekly: Manbites Dog celebrates 25 years with a return to where it started.

Though I am certainly old enough to have had, I did not see that first Manbites show, but I enjoyed it immensely in its current reincarnation running at the theater that's now in a building they own on Foster Street (at the intersection of Geer, next to the old Durham Athletic Park). They've come a long way, baby.

I laughed and laughed and laughed during this show, which does indeed go through 70 (very short, obviously) scenes—which incidentally can be, according to the playwright, played in any sequence the director chooses—most of which I found quite funny, but some of which were just odd or disturbing.

If you're looking for a "date night" to impress, then this is your answer. It runs through Saturday, December 15, and the very next day is Manbites Dog Theater's 25th Birthday Party Open House, to which you're invited! Come toast this theater for its 25 years of providing premium theater in our community.

For more information about the show, or to reserve or purchase a seat, visit the virtual box office, or call the theater at (919) 682-3343.

And you don't have to see the show in order to attend the birthday party, which will feature some great live entertainment, free food, and free drinks. Get more details at Manbites Dog Theater's 25th Birthday Party Open House.

Full disclosure: The fact that I'm on the board of directors of Manbites Dog Theater in no way influenced how much I liked this play. It's plays like this that are the reason I'm on the board of directors.