October 31, 2007

No, that’s not a misprint.  For the first time since starting this little adventure, my weight has remained the same on weigh-in day.  Actually, Monday morning happens to be the worst day to weigh-in for me because I don’t always exercise on Sunday and often end up snacking and eating heavier on weekends.  In my last entry I had dropped a couple extra pounds but rebounded in the meantime.  But I’m not making a huge deal, yet.  I’ll just work a bit harder during the week.  I’m thinking I’ll see if I can get my stepcount up in the 5000-7000 range per workout.  That represents almost a full day’s regular walking beck when I wore a pedometer.  Getting it done in 30-40 minutes is the trick.


Moving on…


Christian Husband recently wrote about hating group projects, which is a loathing I share.  But there is a type of schoolwork that I hate even more.  That would be The Project project.  You know the ones.  They often involve constructing miniature nuclear reactors, scale models of windmills or some other silly craft work.  I remember in 7th grade social studies, we had to make some sort of tool.  Someone made a wooden waterwheel.  Someone else made the windmill.  Others made assorted crafts that required lathes, table saws, arc welders, soldering irons and oscilloscopes.  I cut a tree branch, bent it and tied the ends with a string.  Found a straight stick, sharpened it and voila! Bow and arrow. 


In 8th grade, we had a similar project that involved making something from the 1800’s.  I made a model of a still with tin foil, oatmeal containers and straws.  It wasn’t very neat or flashy compared to everyone else’s, but it was definitely made by me.


I hated these crafty projects, because my parents were mostly busy making a living on the farm and these things always seemed to take place during harvest or planting season.  So it was up to me to do the things on my own which meant I was most definitely not be using the arc welder or the power saw.


Thanks to parenthood, I get to relive this insanity.  My oldest, Thomas, who happens to be in the second grade, was assigned a project involving doing a report on something in the solar system.  This involves having a visual aid.  He was assigned “Earth” so at least it wasn’t too exotic but also not terribly interesting. 


Today, Arwyn tried to help him construct a model of Earth using homemade play-doh.  But she discovered halfway into the prroject that we didn’t have enough salt.  She still made a go of it, so we’ll see if it gets painted or not.  Next, she went out and bought poster board, getting home late.  


After doing some work on the posterboard, They went off to do something else.  Then my youngest found a marker and drew artistic squiggles on the poster.  AAARGHH!


Did I mention that this thing is due tomorrow?




I HATE these things.  Regular homework is bad enough.  This project junk is for the birds, because parents end up having to lay out the money for supplies and do a great deal of the work.  It’s like the group work only you’re doing it for a course you’ve already taken and and someone else gets the grade.  It becomes less about the kids and more about the parents.  No wonder more parents are choosing homeschooling.  At least then you get to choose the project.



A Commotion in the Bedroom

October 25, 2007

Actually, if there is one, I have no idea.  I just put that out there to be teasy and witty.  It’s not that there shouldn’t be a commotion in the bedroom right now.  There should.  but there’s not.  At least not with me in it.

I’m listening to some xtian trance music that I ordered a couple of weeks ago and it came in today, of all days!  And it is pretty cool.  Arwyn likes Christian music just because of the words and not necessarily the music itself.  But this is still too rich and fast for her blood, and she said as much after listening to a bit of it.  I’m the opposite, where I like most genres of music but just because it is Christian rock or contemporary doesn’t make it good.  In fact, a lot of it is pretty hideous.  Most of this is stuff that I like and will eventually get it tricked out with some steps for the dance pad.  It takes several hours of some maximum CPU power to get just a few songs rendered and I’ve got about 7 CDs here.  Tonight I began converting them into mp3’s to get them ready.

This morning I was somewhere in the 196.8 range but tonight I suspended the workout activities in order to eat some cake with the boys.  They were all excited and could hardly wait.  Arwyn could NOT wait as there was a big, giant strip of cake missing on one side.  She’d have gotten away with it if she hadn’t frosted the thing first.  Oh well.

Now that I’ve got some new music, I’m anxious to get back on the mat again and work it out.  I’ll have to really work hard and punish the body a bit for my indulgence but I figured, “What the heck? Why not indulge a bit just once?”  After all, other people do it it, some more often than others.

Too bad I have to work in the morning, otherwise I’d have had a beer or two or three with my cake and my new music.

I’ll give a more detailed account later, perhaps.



October 21, 2007

Oh, wait…that’s 198.4!


The progress continues, despite some unruliness in my diet.  As the holidays begin gearing up, it’s going to get harder to travel the straight and narrow.  But I’m thinking that as I build muscle tone and as muscle becomes a larger percentage of my body mass, maybe I have a little more leeway.  I hope so!


Arwyn had a gift card for Applebee’s that she’s had since last Christmas and it was burning a hole in her pocket so we all went out to eat Sat. night.  She pointed out the section of the menu for Weight Watchers, for which I was somewhat grateful.  This was about as much acknowledgment of my weight loss effort as I can expect from her. 


My co-workers who have been going on and on about my improved shape all want to know what Arwyn thinks about it.  I’d like to say she loves it and can’t keep her hands off me but that simply isn’t the case.  I say she knows about it and approves and that’s about it.  I like the compliments from the ladies at work.  It keeps me motivated.  But looking good is not sufficient to light the fires of an unmotivated spouse.  I’ve seen the HNT’s of Oblivion, C-Marie, Tajalude and most guys would give both nuts to be with women that look that good.  So looks don’t do it, even to get guys going who are supposed to be all visual. 


Last week I went ahead and bought a pair of black jeans and they did look good!  Size 36, which this body has not seen in at least a decade and maybe longer.   It was nice to be wearing something that actually fit instead of being sort of loosely draped and cinched up.  It’s also what I wore to the restaurant Sat. night. 


Just to extend the post on my Unsolicited Advice blog (the much-neglect blogspot one) I imagine getting the female members of my imaginary invisible audience all hot and bothered!


Silly me doesn’t have any good before/after HNT type shots as I was entirely too embarrassed by my “before” body.  So with no comparison, I’m just another bloke on the street.  To put it another way, I’m not built as good as Tom Allen but might get comparable if I suck it way in and puff my chest way out!  And I have some serious work to do before I get in a similar league as Figleaf.


But perhaps that might be my next lark. I might take a series of pics and occasionally post them in the name of selfish and indulgent vanity.  And then again it could end up backfiring terribly. 


No other gossipy news for now, but there is some drama coming soon.  I’ll either be venting or celebrating.  Past experience tells me it will be the former but hope springs eternal. 


BTW, you Yankees need to quit hogging all the water and send some down here to Georgia! 





October 16, 2007

I had to do a double-take on where I was last week, and sure enough I have lost 4 pounds, even after a weekend of not holding back much on the eating and only moderate exercise.

Just to get this out of the way, I did put my ring back on.  Xi’s post on retaining the dented finger look after 7 months was the deciding factor, since this was never meant to be a long term thing.  Whether or not it was passive aggressive bullshit remains to be seen.  I never threatened anything or put conditions out there, I was mostly curious in a bullshit sort of way.  And lately I got more curious as to the fit, since I’ve lost a good 30 pounds since taking the thing off.  And sure enough, it doesn’t seem to really dig in as much.  It’s not slipping off or anything, but it’s loose enough.

While in the local Wal-Mart, I decided to try on some jeans, which I haven’t done in ages.   I’ve been buying Khkis with the “comfort fit” meaning some elastic stretch was included and kept me in the 40″ range even though I was probably closer to a 42.  The 38″ jeans still felt pretty loose and the 36″ jeans felt pretty good but one can’t be too sure with the way jeans shrink.  I put them back on the shelf, as I’m not sure where I’m going to end up with this.  I’m thinking I might like to get down around 185, and maybe 34″ in the waist or so and then beef it up a bit with more muscle.  But I’m not sure how I might go about that with my current exercise routine, which I like…most of the time.

It’s a lot like sex for women who might not necessarily be HL.  I feel reluctance towards doing it, but once I get on the mat, I generally have a pretty good time and enjoy myself and feel a lot better afterwards.  I can always think of other things I should be doing or could be doing sometimes while stepping, but generally end up going for the full hour as I find new songs that I’m keen to master.

On the food side of it,  I’m into fish at the moment.  High protein, low fat and it’s different than poultry.  The talapia comes in these individual serving-sized packets that I can nuke in 6 minutes or so with a small sliced potato and lemon pepper, while Arwyn and the boys eat corn dogs, pizza or whatever other sort of junk they fancy.

Arwyn has not said a lot about my weight loss, but she has noticed.  The people at work have really noticed, although I haven’t had any co-workers try and come on to me.  They are all pretty impressed but at a safe distance.

And I do like my slimmer self.  I kind of turn myself on looking at a much flatter stomach.  In fact, I can barely keep my hands off myself!  Hey, I put a considerable amount of work into this makeover, and know where I’ve come from.  I would definitely do me.  And I do.  Maybe it’s better than I don’t have folks coming on to me, else I would become totally insufferable!



October 11, 2007

I was watching Animal Planet with the boys and we were watching a program about moose.  One thing that became pretty clear is that for a bull moose, life evolves around the rutting season which is about right now.  Their massive antlers, their energy stores and behaviors all revolve around getting a chance at that mature female.  The more massive that rack, the more impressive they are to a female.  It’s not a lot different with humans, only instead of antlers we seem to be prized for our massive wallets.  A nice butt never hurt anything, tho, or so I’ve been told. 


The title is not so much about my weight, since I continue to lose pretty steadily.  Perhaps this will be the week I finally get under 200 pounds.  The title came to me while doing my daily Stepmania play.  There are 4 basic levels: beginner, light, standard and heavy and occasionally a 5th level sometimes called insanity.  Levels are also measured in “feet” which basically indicates the number of steps on a scale of 1-10.  1 and 2 foot levels make up a beginner level although they can also be considered “light.”  Increasing foot and level increase the speed and style of play.  I have a number of songs that I made into steps myself where “heavy” is 4-7 feet.  It involves a lot more quick steps than a light or standard level with the same number of feet.  My homemade steps are generally easier than regular Stepmania songs but they still stretch me out.  Today I was mostly on heavy mode, just lucky to survive with a grade of “D’, but it’s still progress.  When I started, “light” seemed almost impossible!  So all this nerdy talk translates into a much more strenuous workout going from 60-80 steps per minute to 100-160 steps per minute.  So when 220 steps per song used to get me thoroughly winded, I’m now stretching upward to over 300.  And getting a real cardio workout!


Okay, moving on for those still reading…


I have cited many reasons for losing weight, mostly health related with financial and competitive incentives thrown in.  But let’s be perfectly honest, here.    There’s also an element of vanity present.  I not only want to feel better, I want to look better.  I’d like to look good for the mature females during the rutting season.  For most of my marriage, I have felt totally unattractive.  I’ve relied on brain power for attraction and not spent any time on my body.  After all, more brains usually mean more income potential or so logic would indicate.


Okay, I’m doing it for me, yeah.  This is fortunate since while Arwyn has noticed my weight reduction (and corresponding snoring reduction) she hasn’t exactly been wallowing in my rut, if you get my drift.  She still sleeps with her head at the other end of the bed wrapped in her own blanket on top of the bed covers.  She will sometimes tolerate some hugs and kisses, these are not happening very often.  It’s a war I have grown weary of fighting  


A couple days after my anniversary I did take off my wedding ring in a dual experiment.  First, I wondered how long it would be before she noticed.  To her credit she noticed inside of a week.  When she asked why I had taken it off, I said it was cutting into my finger, which is partially true.  It wasn’t painful or anything, but that deep band-shaped dent…I was wondering how long it would stay there.  So that was experiment #2: how long does it take for the tell-tale indentation of a wedding band to wear off?  So far it is still there after over 2 months and it is still there although there is no longer any tan line.  I could wear a class ring or something to camouflage it if that was my intent but it isn’t at the present time.  I have the wedding band on my keychain so it is still with me wear ever I go.  I’m not sure how much longer to run this experiment, because if it takes longer than a year…well that’s longer than I’m keen to drag on this particular study.  Maybe a reader out there can give me some real data to render it academic.  I wore it over 10 years so I wonder if there is some sort of formula for answering the question.   


We’re otherwise getting along okay.  I decided to match Arwyn’s contribution towards her debt and we sat down last month and went over the statements together.  This is going to have to be a monthly thing until those debts are paid off.  She’s okay with it so far so at least we seem to be on the same page.  If she wants to get something extra at the store while grocery shopping like a music CD, I don’t make a fuss at all.  I’m trying to let her know it’s okay to indulge a bit as long as it doesn’t put us into some sort of hole.  Outside of that setback, finances are fine. 

BTW, I weighed in this morning…







October 8, 2007

The number in the title does no justice to the twisted journey it took to get there.  I’m chomping at the bit to get below 200 and so have been breaking certain rules.  One of them is weighing myself more than once per week.

At one point,  was down to 201.8.  Hey, hey!  I was feeling pretty good at that point!

But then we went on an overnight road trip.  Which means no exercise and eating out.  I tried being good.  Really.  But a couple of fast food sandwiches and fries later (I thought the Diet Cokes would offset–no dice) I got home and step on the old scale and it reads 207.2!


I spent the day mowing the lawn AND stepping for at least an hour. And eating salad.

Fiber is my best friend.

There’s one other resolution that has been going, going gone, and that has been the whole smoking thing.  I’ve not been doing so well the past month, gradually getting back into it all over again.  So I’ll have to get out of it all over again.  I feel like I’m trying to fight a war on too many fronts at the moment.  I’m sticking to the weight/exercise thing because, well, there’s some cash on the line.  There is with smoking too, but that isn’t quite as direct.  It’s a slow, gradual thing so I’ll have to think about some way of keeping score with that and get motivated again.

But there’s just something about a good smoke after an intense workout, you know?


I guess that’s just me.   Or maybe if they had smoking areas at the gym they’d get a lot more members.



October 1, 2007

I have a post or two that I’ve started but none have been finished or developed enough to get published.  But at least I have the whole weekly weight thing I’m committed to, right?


I am at a tough spot as far as weight loss.  I suppose I should be thankful that I’m not gaining.  I finally got that 2 pound bag of chocolate chips out of the house…by eating them!  I have a serious weakness for chocolate of the semi-sweet variety and discovered these little fat mines while looking in the pantry for something else.  The butterscotch chips are not nearly as tempting but they are there.


I’ve spoken about the exercise ad nauseam but haven’t said much about my diet apart from cutting down to 1500 calories per day.  So watching Food Network for a few hours got me thinking about it. 


People will claim that eating healthy costs more than eating junk.  Pound-for-pound, that might actually be true, but portion size is one of the single biggest causes of obesity.  We like to super size all of our meals and I’ve been hideous about that in my previous life of gluttony.  I could pack in huge amounts of food, so I relied on cheap carbs to fill me up.  However, halving my calorie intake makes eating sensibly more economical and pays dividends, healthwise. 


Eating out is a serious challenge to anyone wanting to lose weight.  While I’m as happy eating at home as anywhere, my wife and kids love eating out.  So last week, we did give it a shot and went to the local Subway.  Not exactly high end, but it represented something I thought I could work into the plan.  And Subway is nice enough to plaster their nutritional information on their menu, the wrapping, their counter and even their napkins.  At around 350 calories for a 6″ sub, they aren’t too out of line as long as you don’t get the Doritos.  Instead of cheese and mayo, go for hot peppers and mustard.  And skip the drink.


I have just a few dietary staples that have been carrying me through the past 6 weeks or so.



1 16 oz smoothie w/ plain nonfat yogurt, skim milk, srawberrries, banana and peaches OR 1 bowl of Cheerios with skim milk, strawberries or blackberries.


Lunch: 3 Tacquitos made with: corn tortillas, refried beans, ground turkey, tomatoes, garlic, onion, hot sauce and some sweet corn.  I figure these are about 120 calories each and I make 60 or so at a time and freeze them then reheat at 1 minute each.


Dinner: 1 hamburger made with:

Ground turkey, egg, worceshire sauce, minced garlic and oatmeal dressed out with tomato, onion and mustard on wheat bread.


Snacks consist of either an apple or grapes.


I can do this routine pretty much everyday, day after day.  Occasionally I’ll have a chicken breast instead of the hamburger and will do a salad of cucumbers, broccoli, tomato and onion with a fat free low cal dressing.


But as you can see, this is light on carbs and higher in protein and fiber than my old pasta/bread/potato based diet.


BTW, I did get my answer to Square1‘s Question: What do you know about Islam? on my other blog, Unsolicited Advice.   It might be sort of disturbing, which wasn’t my initial intent but it sort of evolved into something else in its own.  Oh well.