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Ballooning, Biking, Backrubs.....and the toughest decision I've had to make at Sparkpeople!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Well Spark friends, our first full day in Santa Fe was a blast!

We're a little tired, but we're making an early night of it so we can do some no-kidding sight-seeing tomorrow.

We started off by getting up at 4:00 AM so we could do our early morning hot-air balloon ride. It was a first class blast!

Johnny the balloon guy picked us up at at our hotel at 5:15. He was a character!

We drove about 45 minutes outside of Santa Fe, past the Indian lands to a big open stretch of federal land chock full of cliffs, arroyos etc. We watched the crew assemble the balloon and the rigging, inflate the fabric with fans, then turn on the flame throwers to get it lifted up.

I thought we were going to just cruise up to 1000 ft and float. No way! Johnny was an excellent pilot....7000 hrs of balloon time. We rose and fell into the canyons, swept treetop level over the mesas, floated down to chase a!

Of course I couldn't resist, so I asked him to give me some quick lessons, then took control of the burners and glided our gondola over the ravines for about 15 minutes.....I felt like Red Buttons from "5 Weeks in a Balloon"

(BTW, I photoshopped me and SWMBO into the far left)

We got back to the hotel around 10:00, and by then the family was cackling for breakfast, so I took them to the Southside Plaza Cafe, one of the recommended spots for a good breakfast....and it was. I've never had huevos rancheros like that before!

We got back to the hotel around 1130 and then I had a tough choice to make. SWMBO and I had massage appointments at 2:00PM. I was pretty tired, and eating lots of salsa makes me want to take a siesta. But man if I slept now, I knew I wouldn't work out after the spa. So I donned riding gear and took Red Olmo out for a 45 min spin.

That was the right thing to do, because 10 minutes into it, I perked right back up. Came back, showered, shaved, grabbed SWMBO and drove out to the Encantado resort ( ). That was just what the doctor ordered! I got the deep tissue sports massage which was perfect. I pretty much smelled like a eucalyptus tree sprouting cypress leaves by the time I was done, but my neck, shoulders, and back felt like I had just reset a breaker in my spine. SWMBO was just as happy, her eyes sparkled with relaxation and relief after our traveling adventures.

We came back to the hotel, picked up number 2 son and went over to Whole Foods to pick up some cooked veggies and salsa free food for dinner back at the room. We all agreed that we're in danger of overdosing on chiles, so we have to balance it out.

Now I have a confession to make Spark friends; it is too damn hard for me to track food on this trip.

When I travel on my own, I can make due pretty well. But just these last 2 days with family in tow and odd little spots & snacks has made my brain hurt. So I'm taking a va-ca from logging this week.

That was a tough decision. I have a 202 day streak going....haven't missed logging anything I've eaten since I joined Sparkpeople on 9 Jan this year.

But I'm here to have fun, and while it's not impossible to do, I feel a little more relaxed not worrying about it. I'm using my good eating skills to eat well and not overeat. I'm still torn that I might be using food as a reward (I did grab a key lime bar from Whole Foods to help wash down the broccoli, red pepper, and roasted garlic medley and Orzo with arugula & plum tomatoes), but I'm also resolved to live with whatever Mr Scale has to say when we get back home and live with my decision.

Anyway, that's all for now....goodnight Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PTESORO 9/18/2011 11:46PM

    Thanks for the link to this blog. Sounds like your trip was great!

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FANGFACEKITTY 8/2/2011 10:16PM

    Enjoy your vacation, it is well earned! And don't sweat the not tracking, the broken streak will give you a new goal to shoot for, to surpass your previous 202 days.

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JUNEBUG1944 8/1/2011 4:17PM

    Hmmm, just love the photoshopped photo of you and SWAMBO...yeah, right! Sounds like you are having a great time. Logging that food takes time, and you never know what you are eating at some restaurants so that can be downright impossible! Keep having loads of fun! You're exercising so how bad can it be? When I was in NH a couple of years ago, I had fried clams or lobster dinner (even, dare I say, fried lobster one night!) and I did't gain an ounce...I swam laps every morning for an hour before we headed out! Enjoy!

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BRADOS 7/31/2011 10:11PM

    Enjoy this vacation - well deserved!!!

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REBECCATKD 7/31/2011 8:34PM

    Hey, don't worry about not tracking. You've built up good decision-making habits for 202 days, and you can hold your own. When the vacation's over, the tracker will still be here. Enjoy your time with family!

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Biking in Santa Fe!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Well we finally made it to Santa Fe, at the tail end of one of my more hectic weeks.

I had planned to take Friday off, but my jaunt into the office to "knock out a little paperwork" turned into an 8:00-5:00 labor of love. Then I hit the gym to work out legs, back & biceps, so by the time I made it back home & had dinner, packing started at 8:00 PM.

But it worked out just fine. SWMBO had only a few minor crises trying to make sure that she forgot no lotion or curler, conditioner or sandals, scarf or hat. Even I struggled with this one. I've been watching the weather here fluctuate between lows of 50 up to the 90s, with rain & thunderstorms predicted for most of the week. So we both overpacked.

Still, I somehow managed to forget the camera (saved by the iPhone!), a hat, and sunblock....the last 2 I can get here if I need them.

Luckily the planes ran on time and we made it in to Albuquerque 20 minutes early. I took the family to ":El Bruno’s Restaurante Y Cantina" ( ) where SWMBO almost wept with joy for what she said was "the best damn enchillada & red chile sauce I've ever had!" Then I ordered up the "Guacamole special" where the waiter makes it up special at your table with 2 over-sized avacodos, drenching them in lime and spices....kind of like a New Mexican Benihana. She was ear to ear smiles, especially when we brought back tons of leftover for dinner tonight.

My family vacation planning credentials are sealed!

Then we drove to Santa Fe, checked in to our hotel, then went shopping for supplies and water (we're already feeling dehydrated....I've got to keep an eye on these 2 and make sure they drink up 8 oz every 2 or so hours).

Once we got settled in and unpacked, I went out to get my bike!

The guys had it ready to go at the shop, did a quick fitting, and loaded me up with gear (helmet, pump, spare tubes, tools, etc), stuffed it into the back of the funky Dodge Nitro I rented and brought that baby home!

So while SWMBO got rested up from traveling and took a nap, I took my Red Steel SanRemo Olmo out for a tour.

Wahoo freedom! Olmo and I were quite a pair....and fast!

I don't know if it's the Florida humidity, the Florida wind, or maybe my carbon framed Trek at home is not all it can be, or maybe I was just ready to let loose after a week of non-stop travel, but I was clocking some pretty serious speed action.

I did some circular loops around the area by our hotel so I wouldn't get lost, then ventured out towards the Santa Fe plaza, but turned back when I saw them in the midst of some huge Spanish Market Festival. After my road rash last weekend, the last thing I wanted to do was scrape myself up on day 1 of a vacation because some imbecile jaywalks into the street in a "festive mood"

Anyway, life is good. I'm going to give my self some calorie leniency this week, but not much. The bike will help make sure I don't veg out here too bad

Tomorrow morning, we go hot air ballooning, then some massage action at a local spa in the afternoon. Somewhere in between a bike ride, and lots of Red & Green chile sauce!

Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

W5VEOTX 7/31/2011 7:31AM

    Boy do I miss Albuquerque and Santa Fe! Lived there 8 years. Glad you enjoyed the area.

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    What a great description of Day 1 of your vacation. All your pre-planning paid off. Definitely gotta make sure ya'll stay hydrated! I still haven't decided whether I'm going to try renting a bike in Huntsville. Got any tips on that? I'll be envying your your hot air balloon ride tomorrow! Enjoy!!!

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BRADOS 7/30/2011 10:54PM

    Air balloons, massages, red & green chiles - that all sounds incredibly awesome - you have no idea how jealous I am - enjoy the rest of your weekend

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Sunday Brunch, Sunday Bike Ride, and Sunday in the Office!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Well, my relaxing Sunday just got quickly filled up with activities.

SWMBO pulled a muscle in her neck yesterday (I sometimes call her "Grace" for the uncanny way she has of stumbling or doing odd things that result in injury. This one apparently occurred from an awkward twist while hefting her purse onto her shoulder!) so she declared that church was off this morning and that we should go to Sunday Brunch at a local bistro.

Hmmm, Brunch....Buffet....Belgian Waffles....Baked Salmon...Crab legs....butter....what could possibly go wrong there?!?!

So here I sit, getting caught up on Sparkpeople, figuring what I need to do to time this right. If I pace myself with a few strategically eaten bananas, I can arrive there un-famished, yet able to take on a few extra 100 calories (note to self, start with the salmon & walk away from the waffles)

She wants to get there early (it starts at 1030) which works out good for me, because I need to get in a bike ride today and also need to spend about 4-5 hours in the office this afternoon to knock out some stuff before I go to DC on Tuesday.

Yesterday was my first tumble and header on the bike. Lots of good lessons learned for me on that as I replay the sequence of events that led to me unceremoniously smacking into the curb, still clipped into the pedals, and landing on all those knobby points (shoulders, elbow, knee) bringing home a wickedly shiny and red road rash that made the family gasp (I thought it looked wickedly cool, but SWMBO said it was gross)

I just bought the clips a few weeks ago and love them, but man 'o man, it's like watching a slow motion disaster replay every time I think back on what I could have done better to have avoided the spill (see curb, think "put foot down to stabilize", foot immobilized on the pedals, think "PULL UP, PULL UP", foot immobilized on the pedals, see wheel smack into curb, see sidewalk getting larger, think "This could be really, really bad", feel shoulder smack sidewalk, feel forearm scraping along same, think "Did anybody see this? If so, get up and make like you meant to do that")

Anyway, it's nothing a little peroxide and neosporin can't fix. SWMBO says she better put some gauze on it before I go into work tomorrow so I don't rub it and start bleeding against my shirt (I love her). During today's ride, I'm going to spend a good chunk of time getting into and out of the clips; I really don't like it when my brain gives body parts a direct command and to have them be immobilized like that.

Family knows I'll be in the office this afternoon, hence I didn't flinch about the brunch deal. This is going to be a fairly busy week before we head out to Santa Fe on vacation next Saturday, so I've got to knock out a bunch of stuff today. I've got a big dinner to go to Monday night, then up to DC Tuesday through Thursday night (note to self, do some rain dancing to help cool it off up there). I'm taking Friday off so I can actually get ready for vacation, especially since I get back home around midnight Thursday.

That's all for now Spark friends...have a great Sunday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBECCATKD 7/25/2011 11:01PM

    Yikes! I've always lived in fear of a "clip-crash" on my rides and could never bring myself to try them. I'm relieved that you're mostly okay!

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BRADOS 7/25/2011 8:51AM

    glad to hear the crash wasn't more serious - have a great time traveling this week

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FANGFACEKITTY 7/24/2011 7:47PM

    OUCH! Practice, practice, practice with them...and/or avoid anything resembling a curb in the future!

I broke my ankle just walking in my front door, I can easily imagine what pedal clips would do to me and it wouldn't be half as pretty as your tumble.

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    I've read (tho not in any great depth) that those clips are good and important to really efficient riding and such. But I suspect I'd have multiple tumbles like the one you describe before I got the hang of bicycle-clip-escape-artistry. Good luck with the clip training today.

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Blogging, Weight Loss, and Moonwalking with Einstein

Monday, July 18, 2011

It really is too easy to slack off from blogging. Like anything else good for us, it's only as good as our dedication to making it a part of our lives.

"Well what else have you been up to" you might ask?

Don't ask.

Just the standard life stuff, family, work, healthy living, trying to eat right (most of the time), exercise (most of the time), and all the while trying to live a purposeful and interesting life.

Last week was road warrior hell week, this week, just an overnight to Montgomery, AL, next week to DC for 3 days, then we take our long awaited family vacation to Santa Fe, NM for a week (plan is for a hot air balloon ride, some day hikes, a flamenco show, spa day for SWMBO, and a petroglyph tour in a refurbished Swiss Army truck.....what could possibly go wrong?)

I'm looking forward to the vacation, but just way too much to do between now and 30 July when we depart.

In the meantime, I've been in the mid-to-high 180 lbs for quite a while. I still see the body shape-shifting a lot (pants keep dropping when I take the belt off at the TSA lines and people keep commenting, "Hey you're really losing some weight!" "No, I think I'm losing fat and adding muscle. My weights about the same" I try to nicely correct them....maybe I should just say thanks and move one)

"So what have you been doing for fun" you might ask?

Funny you should ask.

I downloaded and read a copy of "Moonwalking with Einstein" for the kindle my last trip and read it on my way to San Antonio and Las Vegas. A very nice book about the fairly geeky world of memory competitions and the odd ducks that inhabit that world and the time-honored techniques they use to memorize pi to 2000 digits, or 8 decks of playing cards, or the names and birthdays of everybody at a party.

It's that last one that got me. I'll almost never forget a face. but I suck with names.

So I geeked out pretty badly on my return flight home and this weekend tried out some of these techniques. I memorized Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky on the plane, then a list of 20 items I had to discuss with my boss on Monday and recited every point I had to make to him without missing a beat or referring to a single note. And it was fun doing it!

So the last thing I need is another hobby, but this turned out to be pretty fun. I can see myself memorizing nutrition labels and calories on restaurant menus, spewing them out like Rainman at a casino, working a John Donne poem into casual conversation, and maybe even being able to get through a dinner party without having to ask SWMBO what the names of our hosts are.

Hell I might even be able to remember my Sparkpeople password without looking at my cheat sheet!

Good night Spark friends!


Temptation....and peer pressure!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Well I can resist anything but temptation....and peer pressure.

So there are actually more people I know at this conference than I expected, some folks I haven't seen in quite a long time....and when we get together, as hard as we are at it during the day, we revert back to some juvenile state when we're all together.

So instead of coming back to my room, working out, and eating in like I planned, we piled in our cars and went to a nice Mexican joint in downtown San Antonio.

Smartly, I volunteered to be the designated driver, and watched them drink up beers and margaritas all night, but I kept right up there gulping down big 24 oz glasses of water as we snacked on tortilla chips and some wickedly spicy salsa.

I also opted for a nice big bowl of tortilla soup for dinner which was perfect....a nice clear chicken broth, with jalapenos, avocado, chunks of chicken breast, cilantro, and some tomatoes (no cheese). My slightly inebriated peers tried to steal it away from me, especially when their sauce and cheese-laden enchiladas, burritos, and chile rellenos arrived. "Back off you monkeys, the soup is mine and so are the car keys....let me know how you feel when you're done eating that slop ¡Buen provecho!"

So all told, I stayed within my calorie limits today...minus my workout. I'll see about getting one in early tomorrow AM....apparently, we're going to be working till pretty late tomorrow night, so I might not get time in the afternoon.

That's all for tonight....buenas noches Spark amigos!

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FANGFACEKITTY 7/14/2011 1:59PM

    Muy bueno!

And good job on resisting the peer pressure too, lol! Man, that soup looks good, I love chicken tortilla. And wickedly spicy salsa. I'm making some tonight actually, but the habaneros are out of stock and not yet in season in the garden so I'll have to make do with extra jalapeno & chili peppers.

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HEALTHIERKEN 7/13/2011 10:30AM

    Good work, GETSTRONGRRR, you're a real role model for us guys trying to be smart with eating and fitness!

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TX.PATRICIA 7/13/2011 8:37AM

    Mexican food is my one BIG pitfall, you did great with your choices!!

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CYBRVELD 7/12/2011 11:21PM

    That looks nummy! Way to go on being DD! It made it easier not to pack away empty calories!

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