Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Well cold as Omaha is, I do understand the attraction....it's the steaks!
It was a long, long day, non-stop action that started with me rolling out of bed at 5:00 AM to a bolt of lightening and a thunderclap right outside the hotel. WHAM-BOOM! I could hear the crackling air sizzle. So, wide awake, I suited up and drove over to a nearby gym, AND THE GROUND WAS COVERED WITH HAIL! It was wet, it was cold, it was dark, and it was slippery....where was the upside to working out this early again? But I stopped puling once I got in there and 5 minutes into the ride I felt OK.
The conference had standard fare; doughnuts, bagels, cream cheese, muffins, danishes, madness. I walked right by (although I did cast a covetous eye at a cheese danish) and loaded up with cantelopes, pineapple, and strawberries, same at the break. Loads of coffee got me through the days' discussions and slides. Lunch was deli meats and sandwiches and during the afternoon breaks I looked away from the cheese tray, avoided the basket filled with chocolates, ignored the fresh baked cookies ("must be strong") and grabbed a chilled vanilla Yoplait out of the ice chest. So by dinner I was sitting at about 700 calories (had an apple in the room before we went out).
But then our bus pulled up to the 801 Chophouse!
We had a private room, and young, blonde Vanessa showed us samples of tonight's aged meats wrapped in saran wrap for our viewing pleasure; Bone-In Delmonico Ribeye, Lollipop Veal Chop, Double Bone Iowa Pork Chop, Double Cut Domestic Lamb Chops....chop, chop, chop!
So I whipped out the iPhone, added up the calories for a 14 oz Ribeye and Sauteed Brussel Sprouts, decided I didn't need no stinkin' starches and had one hell of a great dinner. If I hadn't had the few slices of fresh, warm sourdough before dinner (fresh, warm bread straight out of the oven, can anyone out there honestly tell me they can resist it?), I'd have stayed within range, but 150-200 calories over was worth every tasty bite.
It just now means that thunderclap or not, tomorrow I'll need to get myself out of the room same Bat-time to get in a workout before the conference session kicks in.
I'll expect to hear the same from all of you!
Good night Spark friends!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Brrrr! Omaha is one cold town in April! I don't think I've ever been here when it's warm. We landed today and it was barely 40 degrees. Why the hell does Warren Buffet live here (must be the steaks!)
Anyway, it was a somewhat uneventful day...standard TSA groping, although the flights ran on time today (WOW!). I did get seated next to fat-guy-that-reeked-of-cigarettes (it was bad, I was afraid my Scottevest would develop tobacco stains...he must have puffed down a pack before boarding). Luckily SWMBO made me some travel sandwiches, so I had some low cal snacks all day.
Oh and for all my travel fans out there, my erstwhile traveling pal (aka "ooey, gooey, cheese guy") is now on a diet! His wife put him on some weirdo 500 calorie a day diet.....I know, I know I shook my head too and said "Really?!? 500 calories?!? You think you can sustain this the rest of your life?" Anyway, it's between he and his SWMBO on how that works out. Needless to say, I no longer have to witness his lunchtime debauchery in Atlanta's many fast food traps.
When we arrived here, we did a quick change, then hit the icebreaker for the group we're meeting with. That wasn't too bad. A few slices of nice Roast Beef, some Smoked Salmon, and I snuck in 2 Crab Rangoons that looked severely neglected when the wait staff brought them by. It was about a 350 calorie dinner.
But then we walked out into 30 degree weather with a howling wind (it really howled I tell you!)....I've been spoiled in Florida this past year....April should be warm with rain showers, May flowers and all that.
So I'll be here for 3 days, tons of meetings all day, then dinners every night, so I'll have to get my gym time in wicked early....therefore, I'm off to bed.
Good night Spark friends!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I am newly inspired! With all the goings on this weekend, I found some time to look up an image that had been nagging me for some time. Here it is:
The man in the photo is John Turner, a California psychiatrist at age 67.
Don't know if it will move you the same way it moved me, so your mileage may vary. I'm getting those arms, it's the chest & waist to work on the rest of this year (and next, and next, ad infinitum). It reminds me that this is a lifelong transformation....and my goal is to strive for consistency, which is how John looks that way at 67.
Today started off slow enough, but picked up speed soon as SWMBO geared up for her scholarship awarding ceremony this afternoon. Luckily it went quicker and smoother than I expected. We left the house at 2:00PM and the whole thing was over by 4:30. Of course there was cake & refreshments, brownies and other madness. I walked out of there with my integrity intact, just scarfed up one chocolate covered pretzel stick (sweet AND savory!)
I was pretty amazed at the awardees though. These kids all had amazing GPAs (how do you get a 4.67 GPA anyway? 4.67! Really?!?), they were on all sorts of student committees, sports teams, and did community service! Christ sake they sounded busier than I am now, forget about high school.
After we did the cleanup (the real reason I was there apparently), I told SWMBO I was heading to the gym before going home. Thank God for my emergency gym bag in the trunk...it has destroyed many an excuse and allowed me to go to the gym on days when I would have blown it off because going home to change "would have been too hard" Wahhhh....
So I hit the bike for a ferocious 30 minutes (what's up with the fitness tracker anyway? I did 10 miles in 30 minutes, but I could just as easily have done 5 miles and would have logged the same points....hmmmmm). Did some crunches and lower back presses, then finished up with some squats.
During my bike ride, for whatever reason, the image of that poster floated to my memory. I had seen it years ago (many years ago) and was determined to find it when I got home. About 45 minutes on google and there it was. The image was still compelling and moved me, so I ordered a poster. Not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it (SWMBO gave it the hairy eyeball), but I'll find something.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Off to Omaha, NE tomorrow....Good night Spark friends!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Whew, what a night, what a day!
Many moons ago, SWMBO and I were at a fundraising auction, and we put up for auction a seaside dinner for 6 at our place. It sold for $500! Well tonight was the night the winners came to collect.
We've done these in the past. She gets together with a few of her gal pals and takes care of the menu and the cooking. The husbands don starched white shirts, black pants, & aprons, and are the wait staff. I of course am the Maitre'D, and tonight adopted the persona of the snooty Frenchman, "Jacques Lumbere"
She has been at it all week, and after consulting with the dinner guests, settled on a menu of; appetizers of spinach & artichoke dip with crostini, hummus & savories, and peel & eat shrimp; a cucumber and melon salad with watercress, herbs, & feta, then a combination of Carolina low-country shrimp boil and lasagna (hey, it's what the people wanted!). Desert was Key Lime Pie.
So the ladies manned the kitchen and the men manned the dining area. Unfortunately, the winds picked up this afternoon, so we called an audible at the last minute and moved everything inside. That was quite the scramble.
Upon arrival, we met the guests at their cars, escorted them in, introduced them to their wait staff and the chefs, took them out to the patio for drinks and appetizers, and the show began! We had a blast! The 3 husbands sat the ladies, served drinks, cleared plates, did everything worthy of a 25% tip. We had pre-coordinated various dramas (I'd yell at one of the waiters for being too slow refilling a glass, slap him with my towel, call him a stupid, filthy swine, and apologize to our guests for the indignity of having a half-full glass. I was a cross between Jacques Pepin and Gordon Ramsay)
Once they were settled in, we'd rotate in and out of the dining room, sneaking in to the kitchen to eat ourselves (Did I mention that it all smelled wonderful!). While everyone else plated their lasagna, I took an appetizer plate and had a small corner piece, just enough for a few bites. I had a bunch of the shrimp which wasn't bad calorie-wise, but I did indulge in SWMBO's spinach artichoke dip.....everyone did. Oh yeah, and I never say no to Key Lime Pie....never!
After serving the guests their coffee and pie, we parted the curtain and mixed the downstairs folks with the manor folk and had a lot of great laughs. I, of course, was counseled by SWMBO and the kitchen ladies of getting a little too "into the role." "Moi? Surely you cannot blame me for attending to our guests?" Apparently, I clapped my hands much too loudly demanding the dinner service start and my comment that, "I swear I'll shut this kitchen down if you don't get that shrimp on the plate now" did not go over well. But all in good fun.....at least I didn't use the F word tonight....I don't think I did anyway.
One thing I didn't mention though was how great I felt (and looked I might add) in my shirt! In the laundry pickup, we somehow mixed up my white shirt with #2 sons. I grabbed his 15 1/2 shirt by accident, and it fit! I was about to swap it out, then said, "Hell no, this looks great!".....yet another non-scale victory. Throughout the night, for whatever reason, I felt slim & trim as I leaned over to pour the wine or slap the errant waiter.
So I ended the day 200 calories over.....will have to make it over to the gym early tomorrow, because we have another luncheon/dinner doofer to go to Sunday, although this one won't entail any role play.
Bonsoir mes amis Sparques!
Friday, April 15, 2011
Man 'o man I am wicked sore today!
After Wednesday's leg workout, I reached some uber-deep stage 5 sleep that made me feel like Rip van Winkle. My quads were singing and burning all day Thursday and Friday.
Today, I re-started the weight-lifting program I had stopped post-surgery, working mostly the same muscle groups, but now with free weights vice machines.
There really is a difference between machines and free weights....it's not a one's better than the other difference, it's just that they work in very different ways and ranges of motion. And as with any kind of exercise change, once you start hitting previously dormant muscles, they sing and burn.
But I've gotta' tell you, I like what I see in the mirror!
It could have been the light, it could have been the exercise, it could have been the shirt, or it could just be that muscle and veins are showing off their nice lines and shadows because there's so much less fat around!
I was very happy as I did shrugs and presses to see that I had some great definition in these arms that I hadn't noticed before (the machines don't have mirrors in front of them like the free weights do), yet another reminder that progress can be measured in many ways other than what the scale reads.
I've said this before, but it's becoming more and more ingrained in my brain that the numbers on the scale are arbitrary measures....in the end I really don't think I care as much for what the scale reads as for the feeling of being more "compact" with less "jiggle", better able to fit in to smaller clothes, and feeling strong, sure, and centered in this body.
That just takes a lot of consistency, a fair amount of patience ("they don't pay me to be patient" is one of my favorites lines to use at work), some disciplined living, and, what I'm finding succeeds this time, a sense of shared community as we all get to our goals through this website.
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