Dictionary Challenge Week 17: Eat. Breathe. Dictionary.

When you say you’re going to do something, you have to do it. And if you don’t, there are consequences and you have to pay the price. When I started this challenge I was too busy to dedicate the time it required and foolishly thought I could easily make it up later.

A familiar story right?

Well. I’ve been living in later for the past few weeks and I am going to be honest here…

It’s been brutal. The dictionary has taken over my life.

I am not joking. I am not being facetious. I am not exaggerating. If I’m not reading it, I’m thinking about it. Every. Spare. Moment. Mostly I’m plagued by questions of am I wasting my life away with my nose in the dictionary? Will I ever make this come-back? Can I break the ten minute page and still retain things? Should I have brought the dictionary to ball to read between bats? Does anyone care or get why I am doing this? How many more hours until I’m no long behind? Am I, quite possibly, the biggest geek of them all?

I can actually say thank god for my job because it gives me 8 hours of guilt-free reprieve from reading the behemoth and from thinking about it. It’s gotten to the point that if someone doesn’t talk succinctly I start to feel anxious because they’re wasting time that I could be spending with my *precious* dictionary.

This is not something I feel good about.

But this is the price I have to pay. I was the one who fell behind. For good reasons, but it’s still on me to deal with the consequences. I just want to say sorry to all the people out there that are suffering along with me. I promise it won’t be this way forever. I hope.

This is a familiar point in every challenge I’ve ever done. It’s the point where the initial enthusiasm has worn off and I can’t rely on excitement alone to carry me through, doubt starts to creep or come crashing in, and I question the validity of what I am doing. Most people might think that at this point, it’s time to cash in those chips and walk away. I’m not one of those people that can do that. I know I won’t always succeed as I’ve learned from my last challenge and the one before that. But I won’t ever quit trying. I know to most people that reading the dictionary is odd, it’s not the same as trying to get into shape. But if it were about that, when things get tough, you don’t just walk out of the gym never to return. You buckle down and deal with it.

On June 7th I hit my lowest point: behind by 242 pages. Since then I have been reading this thing every morning before work… over every noon hour break… after work… in the evenings… on the weekends… in the car… on the couch… at the table… in my home office… in the park… in bed… on the porch… on park benches… everywhere… all the time.

I have only made a 54 page comeback in that time.

This past week I read 61 pages. Almost double my weekly quota. And it took everything I had. My eyes are red, my head actually hurts, and… I now know that deep-six originally meant bury at sea.

Which is what I sometimes feel like doing with the dictionary.

But, you know, I’m an obstinate thing and I’ve dedicated myself to the dictionary. Dedicate, if you don’t know, means devote (oneself) to a noble task or purpose. So maybe that was a catachresis (an incorrect use of words) because I don’t know how noble reading the dictionary really is. Enough of this, though. Because all that reading means I have a lot of awesome things I feel I need to talk about. First up… the action of throwing (especially a person) out of a window has a word and that word is defenestration. Especially a person! I have no idea when I will ever get to use this knowledge, but I hope when the day comes… I’m ready.

Now, decadence. It brings up images of gourmet food right? Sweet chocolates of marginal size and exorbitant prices? Well. It is the moral or cultural deterioration especially after a peak or culmination of achievement. I will throw you a little bit of a bone: the third sense of the word decadent is (of food) very rich or sweet [with the implication that eating it is an act of self-indulgence] So the question you have to ask yourself is… is self-indulgence a bad thing?

Now one that I liked was devastating, meaning crushingly effective. That sounds pretty killer… So effective it destroyed, annihilated, crushed!

But don’t think the awesome stops there. My favourite word of the week is one you’ll all know (kind of like pretty much all of the ones I’ve already mentioned) and that word is delicious. The word itself could even be considered delicious as the second sense means entertaining; very enjoyable given that I clearly have been entertained by the first sense of it. The first sense being highly delightful and enjoyable to the taste or sense of smell. Come on. You totally have to picture your personified taste buds having a discussion about a “delightful” pastry like they’re a bunch of old British ladies at high tea. You didn’t picture that? Well, I’m glad I put that image in your head.

Then there is also the dawn chorus (the singing of many birds at the break of day) and cube farm (an office where the workspace is divided into cubes) and crocodile tears, meaning not giant tears, but insincere grief. And lastly, there is cowpunk which is a cow that farmers make look punk-like by piercing their ears with jewelry and putting spiked collars around their necks.Punk Cow

Didn’t fool you for a bit on that last one did I? Cowpunk is actually country/western music mixed with punk rock. I know. You’re thinking a genre mashup like that isn’t possible. But I’m not pulling your leg this time.

That’s all for this week, folks. I really do appreciate all of you who have been here sticking it out with me. So, thanks.

(And yes. I verbed dictionary in the post title. I also just verbed verb.)

Week Seventeen Stats

Starting Word: cowpoke               Ending Word: develop

Total Pages 412/1815                     Ahead/Behind: – 188

Mind Over Mushroom Challenge, Day 3: The Battle Rages

Success! I did not poison myself, nor did I get sick from Day Two. Okay, that’s some low bar setting, I know. But with a challenge starting out so horribly, it kind of forces the bar to be low. Today I’m having burgers with mushrooms. Just your typical, everyday kind of burger, but I’m adding mushrooms to the toppings line-up.

Actually, I got a little help today and my dining companion cooked the mushrooms for me and topped up my burger with them. So take a look at this picture and tell me if you think that is a lot of mushrooms. Eating A Burger Piled Sky-High With Mushrooms

For me, that is a lot of mushrooms. As soon as I saw that pile of fungus on my burger I had an instant drop-to-zero appetite and a wave of foreboding crashed all around me while I struggled to breathe. They look so gross. All rubbery and brownish and odd-shaped and slimy. I’m going to be putting that glistening fungi in my mouth. I’m going to chew it. I’m going to have to chew it for a long time because there are so many and they’re so grotesquely chewy and then I’m… I’m going to have to swallow it into my stomach. And they’re disgusting and gross, and terrible and… and… oh god my stomach is seizing up. I think I’m going to…


I shut up my inner dialogue by placing the top half of my burger over the mushrooms. I can still see them hanging off the sides there are so many, but I give my head a little shake and start to focus.

Every journey starts with a single chew…

So I slowly pressed my teeth together and took a bite-sized chunk of the burger. Chew once. Chew twice. Chew thrice. Four. Five. Six. God, this is painfully slow. (My dining companion is a quarter way through their burger)

At last, the first bite goes down. You know what? That wasn’t so bad. I can do this.

I take another bite. Same process. Then another. And another. Holy crap! I am doing this!

Now, some mushrooms have fallen out of the burger and onto my plate. I’m halfway through the burger. I resolutely think to myself leave no mushroom behind and scoop them up and stuff them back into the burger. This proves to be my undoing. A mere bite or two later, I hit the jackpot of mushrooms and it’s not what I would call a great winning. I’m on mushroom overload. There’s too many in my mouth. They’re rubbery and everywhere. I can’t escape. I pull out the heavy artillery for the battle and manage to chew and swallow them all down, but I’m done.

The other half of my burger sits on the plate, untouched. My appetite unmercifully vanquished, I can’t even finish the fries that played sidekick. It’s over. I try waiting to see if I can recover, but I just can’t bare another mushroom. Not today.

Today’s Fungus Feast:
Burgers with Mushrooms – white mushrooms, buns, avocado, red onion, veggie burgers, chipotle, garlic, cheddar, chips (yeah, potato chips. Just try it – you’ll understand.)

Chin-up Challenge Workout 12: A Begrudging Truth

Welp. I take back what I said about Workout 11. Not all of it, just one teensy, tiny, little bit – which just so happens to be the only measure of progress I had that day.

Today I did not do any assisted pull ups that were actually what they were supposed to look and feel like. No four count descent for this gal right here. I’m back to the I-just-leapt-from-an-airplane-without-a-parachute plummet. At least the floor isn’t 30, 000 feet below… not that I let go of the bar or anything.

Now, it’s time for honesty here. I jumped the gun and I jumped the gun hard in the most overzealous manner. Every time I pump the iron, (Yup, just said pumping the iron. Sounds cheesy out loud; looks just as bad written out.) with each repetition it’s like there are whispers in my ear as the weight passes by:

“Never going to happen.”






“Put me down.”

(This last one is not so much whispered but shrieked like a cat screech when you’re just picking them up to show them some love and though they’re purring like a motorboat at high noon they’re also screaming bloody murder just because they’re cats and that’s what cats do.)

But. Those personified weights are kinda right. I didn’t really have a good reason for choosing 10 as the number of chin-ups I would do. What started it all was that I read somewhere that most people can’t do pull-ups or chin-ups. It never said how many is the line between able and not able, so of course now it is just mayhem: Is it ten? That’s such a nice, round number. The perfect 10. Oh, but wait – it is 12? An even dozen? What about a baker’s dozen? Maybe it’s only 5, but that’s an odd number so it must be 4. Right? It can’t be one, because there was an “s” on the end, implying more than one….

So. Two?

That darned internet has stuck again, pumping out useless, uncorroborated nuggets of information that may or may not have whatever degree of fact to 99406a26ee17f9c358deab0c8a757cbdc6b60199554bce28fe389b41e5a6324fthem. And I have to admit it: I fell for it. Hook, line and sinker.

None of this really matters, just that in my long drawn out, roundabout way I’m saying that while my challenge is to do 10, personally I just want to be able to do 1 (and I maybe, sort of, begrudgingly am admitting that I maybe shouldn’t have chosen ten as the magic number. Emphasis on the maybe… both of them. When I stumble on a a challenge I get excited to jump right in without doing due diligence. Lesson learned. )

Even as I write that out, it really lacks the pizzazz, you know. One chin up. Basically three months to prepare. Sound ridiculous. Like, come on, of course that’s possible. Right? And ten sounds way better… a real challenge!

Ohh boy, look at me – falling into that trap again. And yet, here I am, no closer to ten than I am to one and I only have about a month and a half left.

Today’s Workout

  1. Stick ups
  2. Scapular retractions
  3. Assisted weighted pull ups (5 lb extra)
  4. Inverted row
  5. Dumbbell row
  6. Push ups
  7. Planks
  8. Chest press
  9. Dumbbell shoulder press
  10. Dumbbell squats
  11. Stability ball curls
  12. Sit-ups

Frozen Day 4: Indebtedness to the Time Bank

Temperature: -18.2 degrees Celsius

Feels Like: -26 degrees Celsius

Wind: SSW 12 km/hr

I’ll own up to it right up front. I’m behind even further. This is definitely becoming much more of a full-time office worker’s plight than anything else. I will use tonight as an example:

At 5 pm I get off work.

At 5:15 pm I arrive at home.

From 5:15 to 5:45 pm I am lunatic-cleaning the apartment.

At 5:48 pm people stop by to discuss a project we are working on (hence the lunatic cleaning.)

At 6:15 pm they leave and my dinner companion arrives home from work.

From 6:15 to 6:45 pm we discuss our day and the project as well as try to form a plan for tonight’s dinner, errands and the challenge.

From 6:45 to 7:05 pm I wait while my dinner/errand companion takes forever to put on boots and a jacket.

Finally, at 7:10 pm we bust open those doors and step into the crisp night air.

From 7:10 to 7:28 pm we meander our way to the grocery store for our errand. I take a long route trying to add on time, but in the end it’s extremely short.

7:28 to 7:36 pm we are inside the grocery store buying supplies to last us another day.

7:36 to 7:53 pm we walk back to the apartment.

7:53 to 8:00 pm we prepare for dinner.

8:00 to 8:30 pm we dine.

Now, at 8:30 pm most of my tasks are done for the day; however, I still need to shower. The darkness outside also doesn’t really help, especially knowing I would be on my own. So, you see, it only takes a couple of errands or tasks and my entire evening is taken up without getting much outdoor time. Some of my past challenges, though hard, were easier in the sense that I didn’t necessarily have to create time. For the food challenges, I was already going to be eating. I have also been refraining from counting the time I spend outside walking to and from work. It’s about 8 minutes each way and I make the trek 4 times a day for about 32 minutes per day. However, it feels like nickel and dime timing so I don’t count them. That may change though as 32 minutes is not insignificant.

I do have to say that by falling behind and getting into somewhat of a predicament that is going to be hard to get out of, I’m excited. I really do love a challenge. And this one just got harder.

Time: 7:10 pm – 7:28 pm and 7:36 pm – 7:53 pm

Today’s Minutes: 35

Total Challenge Minutes: 369/3720

Ahead/Behind: -111 minutes (nearly 2 hours)