Friday, April 15, 2016

Taking steps and making them count

Could be because it’s spring. Could be because friends are doing it. For whatever reason, I have started tracking the number of steps I take in a day. I don’t actually count them because, as you might expect, there’s an app for that.

According to my daily tally, I average 10,779 steps and 4.83 miles. I usually do more than that, but after I hit the 10K mark I stop counting. No sense being obsessed with step count or tethered to my phone.

Back in the day, I wouldn’t have needed an app to entice me to walk miles a day. I had a dog. We had to walk. Regularly. Walks were necessary to answer canine calls of nature and provide daily exercise.

Now I have cats. Indoor cats. We like to binge-watch Netflix together. Regularly. That’s why an app that keeps me walking is just the thing. It’s the perfect complement to my regular exercise regime, which includes a few days of running, two more of strength training, and a morning of yoga. On paper, that should be enough for any normal person, but I find my workouts getting slower and staler over time. 

What I like about adding the 10K steps is there’s no pressure to pick up the pace, beat a certain time, or focus on getting faster. You do the steps. They add up. You hit your goal. Done!

Since starting up on April 1, I’ve made the rounds of local streets, chatted with neighbors, watched landscapers at work, discovered houses for sale, and seen new cars on the block.

This walking thing could definitely become a daily habit. Then again, it’s spring. It's hard to stay indoors when flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and trees are greening nicely.

Check back with me later in the year. As I've been reading in “Game of Thrones,” winter is coming. Maybe by then the HBO series will be available on Netflix. Then my walking will be to the couch, with my cats, to binge-watch together. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

My smartphone choice? Chicken

How’s the alligator? Tastes like chicken.
How’s the pigeon? Tastes like chicken.
How about kangaroo…or bullfrog…or snapping turtle?
Chicken. Chicken. Chicken.

Apparently, chicken is the gold standard in dinner entrees. It is the universal meal that appeals to virtually all meat-eaters. Chicken is a perennial favorite, a reliable choice, and a known quantity that rarely fails to deliver the expected experience. 
So when I finally, and sadly, decided to ditch my BlackBerry for an app-smart smartphone, I chose chicken, er, I mean, the gold standard. In the smartphone world, the iPhone is chicken. It, too, is a perennial favorite, a reliable choice, and a known quantity that rarely fails to deliver the expected experience.

I have resisted the iPhone until now because I was wedded to the physical keyboard experience of my BlackBerry. I am a big email user, and BlackBerry delivered. Also, I just wasn’t into apps.

But in today’s app-happy world, I was finding myself left behind. I couldn’t send pictures of checks for mobile deposits. I couldn’t easily contact my service provider about Internet outages. I couldn't Uber or Passport or Map My Run. Not to mention missing out on the millions of other apps offering convenient ways to connect with business, travel, or entertainment venues.

So I got over my physical keyboard attachment, just as in previous years I got over my IBM Selectric and other stone-age typing aids. And I dipped my toe into the worldwide shopping mart of smartphones, trying to gauge the merits of Apple vs. Android.

After comparing features and options of all the top-rated models, I was no clearer about choice than when I started. I suffered from paralysis by analysis. So I took the easy route. I chose chicken: the iPhone.

And you know what? I am perfectly satisfied. Some might say I missed out on the filet mignon or Kobe beef of smartphones; and some might say iPhones deserve those descriptors, too.

All I wanted was a solid, easy choice I wouldn’t regret. And that’s exactly what I got: my iPhone chicken. Anything more? Just desserts.