Old Diary

The Battle of the Bulge

I’m winning.  At least I think I’m winning.  It’s a lifelong battle and for a couple years I stopped fighting, but steady-on wins the battle.  or is it the batter…. No… battle.pot belly

That recent heart-problem “thing” from last fall put determination back into the battle with my waistline.  I have been losing.  Not as fast as I have on other occasions — but it’s been a slow, steady reduction and at the moment I’m 27 lbs down from my high.

I have a long way to go, but I’m optimistic. All I have to do is keep after it, and keep active.

I don’t know about anyone else — and I know weight loss people tell you to weigh yourself only once a week — but I have to get on the scale every single day.  If I don’t I neither hold my weight nor lose weight.

Fact of the matter is:  I enjoy eating. I love eating.

All my life I have avoided sandwiches. I didn’t grow up with them — aside from necessary sandwiches in my lunch bag at school — there were NO school lunch programs that I remember — they may have been there but I never ate at them.  My dad didn’t like sandwiches so mom never made meals at home involving sandwiches.  Not even for picnics or roadtrips were there sandwiches. There was  always HOT protein and COLD salads for roadtrips: a lot of fried chicken and fried breaded pork chops with good old tangy german style potato salad. The males in our family, famished as we must have been, always had hot food at our fingertips.steam-food

The lesson behind all that hot food was if it’s served hot it should be eaten hot.  And growing up I learned to dislike LUKEWARM or tepid food.  I’ve always been the guy who might have had time to converse while eating, but who had a priority whilst at the table:  eating my food while it was HOT.

I’m usually close to the first person done with a meal — and I enjoy my food intensely — and I enjoy it while it’s still hot.  No doubt I eat faster than I should.  I remember reading all the good things that happen when you chew your food.  **** — and I’ve been noticing recently that the more I slow down the less food actually satisfies me. My brain has a chance to realize that the stomach is no longer asking for food — and it’s able to send those signals before I’ve wolfed down more food than I needed in the first place.

The doctor was encouraging Clean Eating with the 6 meals per day routine — but we haven’t been able to get the hang of that.  Most of the time we’re lucky to get in two meals — one mid morning and one mid afternoon.

overweight beach

it’s a good reminder of what I don’t want to look like any more.

RV cooking continues to be different from cooking in any of our old houses.  Granted, the replacement of our NeverCold refrigerator (Norcold when I’m not being sarcastic)  with a household refrigerator has made a little difference in how we cook but not a lot.  We continue doing the 20 minute meal — almost exclusively from raw, un-processed ingredients (other than frozen vegetables).  I can’t remember the last time I fried anything — I do a lot of sautéing but we stay away from deep fat.  The biggest impediment to normalizing our meals is the fact that we keep moving around and finding the kind of raw ingredients I’m looking for changes from place to place.  I never realized how ingrained shopping had become in Milwaukee.  It only makes sense — but unless you think about it the impact of being in different places doesn’t jump up and say, “Here look at me.”

We have almost completely given up on buffets.  The only real hold out to that is the occasional Chinese buffet — I need my Hot & Sour Soup fixes!!!!!  Well, there are also the times when Mel & her fiancé are around — Drew needs to eat and sometimes a buffet is just an easy solution for a growing young man! 🙂

We are both feeling better as a result of our efforts.  We are definitely getting more exercise than we had been.  Even though the park here is far from flat & level the roads are paved and we walk them quite a bit  — which is helping both the weight loss and the cardio conditioning.

I think we’ve kept out restaurant visits down to less than one per week — that may be a record, or near record for us.  We never did a lot of restaurant eating but two or three meals a week weren’t all that uncommon if we were in a touring-the-area mode.  It’s easier to grab a bite in a local establishment if we snooping around an area and that also gives us a better feel for the local social atmosphere.

Mostly we had been doing the high protein/low carb diet but I am a guy who craves my carbs so every few days we throw in a little this or a little that just to keep from developing a craving that might result in a binge of something — like bread or pasta.  That said, poor Peggy is struggling to get along without as many pasta fixes.  Whereas I’m the guy who needs bread — she’s the gal who needs here pasta.

I hope by the time we get to Milwaukee in September I’ll be another 10 or 20 pounds lighter.  All we can do is try our little bit each and every day.  While still enjoying life — after all, what’s the sense of getting to retirement if you aren’t enjoying it?

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here to chat in the morning.

Family, Old Diary

And the Good News Is…

noahs arkThe way things are going we may start looking for Noah and his Big Boat.  We have more rain — some of it forecast to be severe — in the forecast for today and tomorrow.  Fulton — just down the river — is expecting flooding later today.  So, with soggy skies we aren’t going very far or doing very much.  We’ve been reading, writing, and attending to small indoor chores.

But the Good News is that I have returned to my last summer’s weight loss mark — I’m back down to 30 lbs beneath my high weight mark sometimes just short of retirement.  During the winter I’d slipped a little and in the last three weeks I’ve managed to get back to my pre-Cudahy weight!  Feelin’ good; lookin’ better; gettin’ as much exercise as feels good and the weather permits (Ain’t no way I’m goin’ out to walk a couple miles in a rain slicker!)

x7322I finally finished that Peter Mayle book that has been dogging me.   Usually his stuff flies by as if inhaled but this one was different.  I’ve never been keen on collections of essays, and that’s what this one was.  But the premise — tastes acquired because of wealth — caught my attention and in the end it turned out to be an interesting and amusing read.  No way high on my recommendations list, but It’s Ok.

I have only 20 pages remaining in my re-read of The Seventh Commandment by Lawrence Sanders.  That was the one I started last fall and never finished after we returned to Cudahy.  I pretty much started from the beginning being unable to remember much of anything from last October. It’s not his best work, not his best leading character, but I like Sanders’ style, his books are long enough to make them worth while reading — I hate short stories.  With the rain in the forecast I hope to finish that today.


On the Small Space Living front, I’m pondering how better to deal with my power supply issue.  The one drawback to having committed to a short RV is finding ways to cope with how do you live with the storage issues you’ve created.  I am happy with how much we’ve downsized; I’m happy with being able to stow what we have on board — but some things have yet to tell us where they want to live within Journey.  I have been playing around with locations for my backup disks and my server — they are easy — they’re only 8″ x 8″ x 2″ — but this uninterruptible power supply is a bit bigger — 9″ x 15″ x 10″  and it wants to live near the server.  I might end up making a little storage / stowage box for the lot of them and let the server live on top of the UPS — or something — still thinking about that.  Yesterday I had pencil and paper out trying to figure a way to have Home Depot cut all the major cuts I needed for the parts out of a single handi-panel — 24″ x 24″.  That didn’t look like it was going to work.  So, I’m still contemplating.  Of course it’s possible I’ll figure out how to do it and then 2 days after I build it I’ll find just what I want at Bed, Bath, and Beyond in La Crosse or something…. Isn’t that always the way it goes?

babyTurtleI should have baked bread yesterday.  But I was too lazy to go down to the basement (meaning go outside in the rain) to get out my two jars of flour.  I’m terrible; I know.  It’s not like I’ll melt in the rain!

We saw our smallest turtle yet on the road yesterday.  Most of the painted turtles we’ve seen have been 5″ – 9″ in diameter.  Yesterday we saw one that was scarcely as large as a quarter.  One of the students thought he might be a year old hatchling — seeing as it’s too early in the season for them to be hatching yet. But he was a teeny thing.

geeseThere are a flock of geese here raising their young and I’m developing a better sense for the expression “silly goose”!  Peg has spent a good while just watching the babies and moms and dads and uncles and aunts meandering around the campground.  We’re accustomed to being hissed at by now.  And we do our best not to intentionally irritate them. That said — it’s still a strange life they lead!  And we’re also appreciating how LONG the hatching season must be — some of this seasons chicks are quite large already with feathers and some are still quite small and dressed in only their baby fluff.  When you live in the city and see maybe ONE robin’s nest and only those chicks it’s not so easy to get the sense of Spring as a season for babies — and not just a singular TIME for babies.  I know that sounds stupid but I never lived on a farm, and never spent much time around baby critters.  The idea that there’s enough time for them to mature for their winter flight South if they are born 2 or 3 months after the earliest broods just never crossed my mind.

Well, there you have it for today.

Tomorrow — Wednesday — is moving day.  Not sure if I’ll write in the morning, or after we make the move — a lot depends on what the skies look like when I wake up.  Talk to you then.

Old Diary

Location Specific Discipline

Self DisciplineHave you ever noticed that self-discipline is sometimes related to where you are?  I was thinking about this as I chowed down on an oversized lunch after going to the clinic for bloodwork.

All summer long Peg and I were not only actively dieting, but dieting with good results.  Since we came back to Cudahy our discipline regarding food has taken a nosedive but other disciplines have risen to the fore.  What’s that all about?

I don’t know about anyone else but I have had a lifelong love-hate relationship with discipline. No matter the time of life I have always had strong self-discipline in some areas of my life at the same time I have had virtually none in other areas.  I’ve been heavy for much of my life — which is to say I have a big gut but the rest of me — so says my wife — is pretty well proportioned. I guess that means I haven’t had a lot of will-power when it comes to what I eat.  At the same time I have huge concentration powers and sometimes I think the world could end outside my window and I’d never even know because I was focussed on whatever task lay in front of me.

Among Peg’s first impressions of her future husband (that’s me) was the fact that because I had a production deadline immediately before the conference at which we first met I had worked straight through the night before leaving so that I would be able to participate in the conference.  I dont mind physical stress, or putting myself out physically.  I figure I can always catch up on my sleep in a day or two.  Whether other people my age have noticed that nowadays missing a good night’s sleep is a bit more of an issue than it used to be.  I talk longer to recoup now.  Not a lot, but I just don’t have as much reserve as I used to.


Working hard, working through limits, working around weaknesses and working over obstacles are just part of life.  The idea that you’re done working just because the clock say 5:00 p.m. or because the job description says you do (or don’t do) some task is completely foreign to me. So, why is it then, that in other parts of your life the same person can ignore challenges and not call on self-discipline?  I don’t know, but I realize I do it regularly.

When I was growing up I “learned” discipline as if it was something that comes to you from outside.  I never considered discipline as being something that arose from within.  And in particular the concept that discipline is all about trust — that is something that astounded me when I first heard it. It’s something I’m still thinking about….There’s no issue about discipline’s relationship to self-control, and to instructing obedience. Discipline certainly is a journey — specially those who engage in things like martial arts training and sports and professions requiring great physical ability.  But, the relationship between discipline and trust — I’m still thinking on that one.

Family, Old Diary

Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions?

The “Girls” are off at the cinema for a day of mom-daughter bonding.  Their original goal was viewing Les Miserables. When I realized it’s been over a year since the two of them have had alone-time I suggested they stay for a meal someplace nice and just use the time for catching up on whatever it is that women catch up on.  So, for the first time in a year I’ll be alone for 4+ hours.  And I miss Peggy already.

All our married life I have been wanting to spend more time with her — and after a year and a quarter in retirement I’m still loving it.  We continue to learn new things about each other, most of them wonderful, a couple maybe not so much, but all is great.

The year is fast drawing to a close, I guess.  For this guy who has only a tentative grasp on time I’m always surprised by how much time has past.

I’m not considering New Year’s resolutions, I never do.  For one thing I never remember them, and I am always making little tweaks to who I am so New Year’s  resolutions in particular seem to have little meaning to me.

Besides, Calvin had it right:

My one goal — if goal it is — is to find more productive ways of spending this in-between time in Cudahy.  The best comparison I can give is that this is like living out of your suitcase in a hotel room for months on end.  We are physically comfortable but mentally it’s draining.

Normally I’d spend the day in my studio, but without lighting equipment for photography, and without tools for other projects everything I might normally do is out of the question.  Should I buy things?  Only to put them in storage in 1 month or 6 months?  It’s a real perplexity. Sometimes talking about it helps me sort out the plusses and minuses but I am really of two minds.  As I mentioned some weeks ago, I looked into volunteering but organizations want a time commitment that I can’t provide, and even if I could find some group who could use me any training on their part wouldn’t be a fair investment if we got the house sold. Consdequently, I hate asking them to do so. A cold weather outdoorsman would have all sorts of fun this time of year, but that’s not me.

Which is why we’re heading out for the Everglades at the end of the week.  I’m sure we’ll return with images that I can post-process for a month or two. Which is really the way it works.  In the past I have taken photo trips lasting 3-4 weeks and that has given me post-processing projects lasting a couple months.  It’s not all about snapping the shutter.

The weather forecast is good for the end of the week, so we’re looking at a first day ending in Chattanooga TN, a second day ending in Port Richey FL, and from there no real plan other than doing what seems right in the moment.  We’ll spend a few days in the Glades area, but how long will depend on what we find and how creative we feel.  We’ll also probably do some looking around at RV facilities for future reference.  I don’t know any more about RV’ing in other states than Florida, but for some reason I’m not all that keen on it.

We’ve got legal paperwork to take care of before we leave.  I am looking for FedEX on Wednesday.  Another long phone call should get me through all the “sign at the X’s”.  Then we can leave guiltless. 🙂 🙂

Family, Old Diary

Pizza For Dinner After Sherlock

No time for a full 5-hour dough last night, but that didn’t hold us back from a Pizza Adventure. Onion, Black Ollive, and Swiss Cheese….. Yum Oh!

Speaking of food.  I think I’m going to publicly shame myself into losing weight.

At the moment I am 10lbs below my peak weight (ugh) and I’m back to getting on the scale every day.  So, out of fear that I’ll have to be accountable and post my daily progress I’m going to start doing just that.  I’ll try to remember to post the results of the day, and the net (loss) or gain.  I’d like to be 12 lbs lighter before I see the Dr. in 6 weeks. Not sure that is going to happen, but I’ll gonna work on it.

Weight today: -0.25lb.
Total loss: 11lbs

One of our goals for retirement, and some incentive in the whole RV’ing idea was to get healthier:  both losing weight and getting what I have into better shape.  Given my abhorrence of COLD that is also going to require some milder winters — but one step at a time I guess.

We went to see the New Sherlock Holmes movie yesterday.  Another Matinee. I love being retired!

Peg and I had different reactions to it.  She thought it was the best Sherlock she’s seen.  Particularly in that it was not a “dark” movie — meaning the actual photography not the story.  I thought there were too many special effects; particularly the glimpses into the minds of both Holmes and Moriarty — when the character anticipates the playing out of physical combat.  That means that we get to see the fight scenes twice: once in slo-mo anticipation (while the viewer is told what to look for) and a second time in real time when the viewer gets to see if the actors did what they thought was going to happen.  To me it’s just a hokey trick, but hey — maybe that’s what people need nowadays — to be told what to look for?  Dunno.

The story was a little confusing, but not as bad as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  I admit that I’m getting a bit tired of seeing men in 3 day beards,  just don’t get the appeal — either shave or grow a beard for Pete’s sake.  We both thought the movie was worth having seen — though not something we’ll be in a hurry to re-visit.

Now we have to decide whether to see We Bought a Zoo or wait for it comes out on TV. I suspect it will make the transition to the little screen in short order.  Frankly, that’s more of our sort of movie than the last two have been.

Which brings me to my weird site of the day (not that I have been accumulating weird sites…).  Have you checked out, Runpee.com. Only in this age is there a website to tell you when during the theater run of a movie has a safe time to go pee — without missing anything of great importance to the plot.  Go Figure. I never thought that would be something worthy of a website.

As I write I’m waiting for the second raise of today’s batch of white/whole wheat/oatmeal bread. Yum Oh.