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Just exactly what is Maintenance???

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

OK, I freely admit, these days I've been a blog slacker. No real good's not like I lack things going on....I'm mostly on a pretty stable glide path working, eating, exercising, life, yadda-yadda-yadda.

I've read a lot of blogs & commentary lately on people in maintenance. Hmmmmm......maintenance.....exactly what is THAT?

I've been a pretty steady 178 - 182 lbs now for 4-6 months. I'm wearing 34 inch jeans....but need a belt to hold them up so I don't look like this

I work out because I enjoy it and feel better when I do. I don't view exercise as a tool to counteract the food I eat....this is a pretty huge mental shift. I recently re-wickered my food plan to significantly reduce my carb intake and feel tons better for it.....I feel in control of my appetite for the first time in......DECADES!

So what the hell is maintenance?!?!?

I don't know, mostly because I don't think I've thought my way through it yet.....most of the stuff I've read from folks in or approaching maintenance have said it's pretty much an extension of what they've been doing to get down to their goal weight anyway......I don't think I'll plant a flag, stake my claim, and say, "Today I declare that I am in MAINTENANCE"

In any case, life goes on and thanks to SP, I can handle all the many minefields out there much better today than I could before I joined. This week I've got a dinner event on Thursday night, a going away luncheon on Friday, SWMBO and I are hosting a backyard party for about 30 folks on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday.....

....I fly to Hawaii for a week!

I got a call from the corporate leadership a few days ago and was told I HAD to attend this meeting in Honolulu.

Oh alright, if I really HAVE TO!

Maybe I'll have an epiphany about maintenance as I sit on my breezy lanai, sipping my morning Joe and gazing out upon Diamond Head

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOWFATFOODIE 10/13/2012 3:56PM

    Enjoy Hawaii... I don't think I'll ever choose to say I'm in Maintenance either. I don't work well in "leave things as is"-- I'm on or I'm off. If I'm not progressing, then I am regressing.
Right now its body fat percentages. We'll see when I make that goal what is next-- probably being able to do pullups, handstand pushups or something equally "impossible" for me now.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 10/11/2012 2:56PM

    Good for you - you are living your life and maintaining better than most of us! Have fun in Hawaii!

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SAFARIBABE 10/10/2012 7:23PM

    Maintenance....maintenance is actually owning a pair of pants that fit right!! All of them even!! (Hint Hint!!) Now why can't my boss ever order me to meetings in Hawaii. Well I guess you get ordered to enough places like Deluth (nothing against Deluth, I'm sure it's lovely). LOL Shame all those fruity drinks with umbrellas are high carb!! emoticon

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LISAINMS 10/10/2012 2:51PM

    Maintaining AND a forced trip to Hawaii? Well...don't suffer too much!

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MILLIE5522 10/10/2012 1:23PM

    Green green green and I'm not talking about veggies either! emoticon

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BEATLETOT 10/10/2012 12:21PM

    Hey, and that pic of the boys with the shorts also show maintenance! Glad to see you blogging!

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ELAYNE39 10/10/2012 9:51AM

    You poor thing. Hope you are not suffering too much in Hawaii.

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BILL60 10/10/2012 8:40AM

    Surely you need someone to carry your suitcases.

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    Ooooh darn, Hawaii! If you must...

Enjoy your time!

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ACCEPTHECHLNGE 10/9/2012 10:49PM

    Life is tough, isn't it? As long as you have a gym in the hotel, you will be ok and 'maintain', unless you are drinking too many Mai Tais. Enjoy!!!

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Istanbul - I need a vacation from my vacation!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ahhh, it's nice to be back home! Here I sit on my favorite chaise lounge, looking out our windows onto the stormy seas as I get caught back up on logging food and blogging adventures.

I got in last night after a surprisingly uneventful flight with stops in Paris and Atlanta (yes Fangfacekitty, I had a nice experience with Air France....good food, lots of decent movies to watch, and friendly flight attendants)

But man I need a vacation from my vacation!

I arrived in Istanbul on Saturday 22 Sept. Checked in to the Renaissance Istanbul (owned by Marriot) which apparently opened up only a few weeks ago. My room had a great view of the bridge over the Bosporus and to my incredible delight, the gym was equipped with the latest Lifecycle bikes, treadmills, & ellipticals.

They even had a squat rack with free weights, a TRX room, a pilates room, and some concept 2 rowers! I was in heaven! I got in a good workout to shake off the transatlantic flight, then went to visit the rest of the family who was in the thick of wedding planning.

Sunday was great....the wedding went off without a hitch. They picked a beautiful spot in a little boutique hotel (Hotel Les Ottomans - ) right on the water.
Yours truly danced a good part of the night away with my sister (mother of the groom) and any bridesmaid within reach, then promptly logged about 120 aerobic minutes into my spark tracker later that night.

Monday was supposed to be a recovery day, but after I complained that all of my clothes had suddenly become all baggy this year, my sister insisted on taking me shopping to some of her favorite spots. We may not actually be brother and sister....somehow she has the genes that actually enjoy shopping.....mine are recessive.

She hauled my ass over to a bunch of Euro-boutique men's shops and no matter how difficult or picky I was, just kept hauling sports coats off the racks and telling me all about them ("See this stitching on the lapel, that's done by hand!") After 4 hours of this madness (and the realization that she wasn't going to stop until I picked out something), I settled on a sporty looking dark number with subtle azure stripes that I'd be comfortable wearing on casual nights out.

Tuesday my 35 year old nephew (her other kid) took the day off and we did the grand Istanbul walking tour. We started at one end of the Golden Horn, winding our way through twisting alleys, until we hit the waterside, crossed the bridge across the Golden Horn, wound our way through more streets until we hit the maze of the spice bazaars

Once our noses couldn't take it any more we hit the grand bazaar where I picked up a few trinkets for my front office folks

We found our way out after a few wrong turns, stopped for some tea, then picked up the pace to hit Haga Sophia before a big crowd of German tourists got ahead of us.

Being a history buff, I took every opportunity to school my nephew at every historical monument from the importance of the famed triple walls of Byzantium, to the 1000-year old sword carved initials into the railings of Haga Sophia by Vikings hired to guard the Emperor, to how the first use of cannons in a siege took down those same walls in 1453. Amazingly, he listened and enjoyed my lecturing!

Then we decided to rest, and so took a ferry ride to the Asian side where we walked another 5 miles through twisty streets and seaside vendors as we gazed back upon Europe!

According to my Bodymedia Fit, we walked 35,000 steps that day, which roughly equates to about 17 miles. And if that wasn't enough, we had reservations for dinner that night to take my sister out for her big 60th birthday! We did it up nicely. Nephew found a cute little spot in a high rise where they converted the balcony into a dining area with a view of the Bosphorus.

Anyway, the rest of the week was just as hectic. Wednesday I took my mom for a ferry ride out to the Princess Islands for lunch and a horse & buggy ride, Thursday nephew and I did another walking tour, though this one only logged 18,000 steps, and Friday I took myself out for another adventure where I could just relax alone.

In the meantime, I got in 3 good days of ST at the hotel, stayed relatively carb free (except for some very excellent chocolate cake on sister's birthday and a serving of baclava to die for at the wedding), and felt quite fetching as the good-looking, wide-shouldered, flat-bellied, 52-year old who can still dance up a storm when the music is right!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 10/8/2012 8:38AM

    What a beautiful city and a fun blog! It sounds like you had a fantastic time!
I wasn't looking forward to having to travel to Istanbul for work at some point in 2013, and now I am! Thank you!

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ALLYTHEATHLETE 10/6/2012 10:24PM

    Sounds amazing!

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MARZIPAN22 10/5/2012 11:56AM

    We were in Istanbul this past Spring and my husband really loved it (he was an art history major way back.) Your photos were wonderful and I was so happy to know that you had a lovely, busy time. It's terrific that you kept up with your fitness goals (and then some, I'll bet !!)

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BERGBA7 10/3/2012 3:55PM

    Wow! I love city trips and this one was great! Walking for sightseeing is one of my favorite workouts! Great you enjoyed it and had some good time with your family!
emoticon emoticon

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HAKAPES 10/2/2012 5:35PM

    Wonderful journey...
I love the title of the blog! :-)

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GREENGENES 10/2/2012 12:45PM

    35,000 steps!?!?!? Awesome "vacation". What a great adventure.

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HEALTHIERKEN 10/2/2012 11:46AM

    ". . . good-looking, wide-shouldered, flat-bellied, 52-year old . . . "
Ain't it great to be able to think of yourself in this way???!!!!!
Congratulations on your health and fitness accomplishments. : )

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SAFARIBABE 10/1/2012 7:49PM

    WOOT!!! I knew you'd come thru with some photos for the state-side stranded of us!! Glad you had a great trip. As for those shopping assured you and your sister are truly related. It's a woman thing -- well most women. Just look at SWMBO if you don't believe me. LOL Remember when y'all went sofa shopping? Glad you're home. Hope you can have a few days before jetting off again.

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MILLIE5522 10/1/2012 4:31PM

    I love dancing! Its the best way to burn those calories.
Great pics. I must go there one day.........

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REBECCATKD 10/1/2012 12:26PM

    Gorgeous pics! Sounds like a wonderful -- and busy! -- vacation.

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BILL60 10/1/2012 10:03AM

    Super adventure!!

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JTROBERTSON 10/1/2012 9:44AM

    Looks like a beautiful place. emoticon

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LIVELAUFLUV 10/1/2012 5:26AM

    Glad you had a great time! I hear you on needing a vacation from your vacation though. After our Alaskan cruise, I needed a week to recover and get back into the groove of reality!

Great job with your steps, and activity level while you were on vacation! Keep up the good work.

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    Sounds like you had a most fabulous time!

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WOUBBIE 9/30/2012 11:32PM

    Yumm! It sound like a delicious time in the best possible way!

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PROT358 9/30/2012 9:42PM

    Wow, that sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing pictures and your experiences. That is the one place I have to go before I die. So beautiful and so much history. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself and stayed on track!

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    That sounds fantastic and exhausting all at the same time! Whew! Sounds like a great vacation!

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SHERYL_B 9/30/2012 7:32PM

    Glad you had such a good time. It sounds amazing!

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Well I admit, I have neglected my blogging of late. September has been an unusually busy month. I've been on the road from Las Vegas to Norfolk to New Mexico these past few weeks, all the while still trying to do my day job in Florida. Luckily I've got a brand new VP that is real good about keeping up with the workload while I'm on the road.

But now I have to take some real time off and get my ass over to Istanbul for a wedding this week, so I am likely to be even more off the net next week

All is not lost though. I cashed in some hotel points and am basically staying for free at a Marriot right near the Bosporus that promises wi-fi, a pretty decent gym, and even a modernized Turkish steam bath on the premises!

It's been a mad cap ride these last few weeks though. I finally got back in to the office this past week (I sent my VP on the road to take on some of these meetings instead of me), and got caught up on everything from our budget, to making decisions on some senior manager hirings that absolutely had to get done before I depart. I finally made it home around 9:00 PM last night, but I think I can rest easy this next week that things will run well while I'm away (I always tell my guys, "No one is irreplaceable"......I guess that applies to me as well!)

That basically meant that I had to greatly curtail my gym time this past week. I hit the weight room pretty hard Mon & Wed, but that was about it. However, if I must say so myself, I was fairly magnificent setting some personal bests on squats (225 lbs), deadlifts (240 lbs), overhead presses (110 lbs), and bench presses (210 lbs). Pullups continue to be the bane of my existence. I am stuck at 3 and mildly frustrated that I can't heft these 180 lbs of me over the bar more than that....oh well, just another mark to set on that wall!

I plan on doing a whole bunch of walking around Istanbul though. My biggest challenge might be sticking to low carbs for the next week. All of my classic weaknesses will be on display there.


Fresh baked bread


So I'll focus on those things non-carb like,




And lots and lots of salads

Have a great day Spark blog comes from the Bosporus!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    OMG! I hate you! Just stopped by to thank you for the comment you left on my recent blog, (Hoss is so into carbs, there is simply no use talking to him about my new program), and although I just finished off a hard boiled egg on toast with light mayo and a thin slice of tomato, I am ready now, having looked at these wondrous pictures of FOOD, to eat my keyboard. Not one item pictured here would I pass up .... Every piece of those breads on display would be eaten with a Robin Hood lust for bread and ale. Oh dear, I am nearly off the deep end with these pictures ...
Having said that, however, I implore you to post MORE pictures, especially of food. Seriously, I think they may have brought forth fat devouring digestive juices to my system and already I am feeling thinner just from the looking - Or perhaps it is but water loss from all of the drooling....

What a great trip - Do share more!

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SAFARIBABE 9/22/2012 11:16PM

    Sounds like a wonderful trip!! I'm positively jealous as I've always wanted to go to Istanbul. I hope you have a safe journey and a marvelous time! A little baklava is good for the soul!! Who knows, maybe it will inspire you into the 4th pullup! Have a blast and wish the happy couple all the joy in the world on their marriage from your Spark friends!!

P.S. Don't forget pics in your next blog!

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/22/2012 3:34PM

    Have a wonderful trip, even if you have part of it on Air France. Stay away from the baklava, it is evil.

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ALLYTHEATHLETE 9/22/2012 11:01AM

    So awesome! I used to live at Incirlik Air Base. I could have lived on ekmek and tangerines and been perfectly happy! Do they have a gold market in Istanbul like they do in Adana?

Have fun!

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PROT358 9/21/2012 10:12PM

    So happy for you, and a wee bit jealous :) I'd love to see pictures if you find the time! Maybe Istanbul No Bull - Part Trois? Hope you have a lovely time!

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BERGBA7 9/21/2012 12:49PM

    Safe travels and have a great time in Istanbul! I did three times one chin up today. Continue working on those pull ups!
emoticon emoticon

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HEALTHIERKEN 9/21/2012 11:17AM

    We loved Istanbul! Crazy time in the Market. Every merchant who tried to sell us something demonstrated that his goods--leather, amber, silver, were the "real thing" by trying to set them afire with a pocket lighter. Never did figure out what that was supposed to prove : )

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WOUBBIE 9/21/2012 10:24AM

    Meat on a stick For The Win!!!

Enjoy your trip and be safe!

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CLAIREINPARIS 9/21/2012 10:09AM

    Have a fabulous time! I look forward to reading what you think of Istanbul as I'll have to go for work at some point, probably during 2013.

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JONESINATOR 9/21/2012 10:02AM

    Wow you're killing it in the weight room! I've got to up my game...

Do you do bent over back rows with a barbell? That and lat pull downs help a lot with overall back/arm strengthening that directly carries over to pull ups.

And have an amazing time in Istanbul (so jealous) BUT you still have to try some baklawa, at least a little bit!

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GDEDES147 9/21/2012 9:59AM

    i admire you. i have the hardest time when i travel. it's as if my brain goes into "why the heck not"... somehow it doesn't count. you are incredible, and i wish you all the best

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These feet are made for walking!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

So I think I'm neglecting one of the tried and true methods of staying very healthy, slim, and fit.....walking.....lots of walking.

I actually love to walk, and in the past have racked up considerable miles walking all across this planet. When I lived in Manhattan, I used to walk from Greenwich Village... my apartment on the Upper West Side a couple of days a week.

When I lived in Frankfurt, GE, instead of driving or taking the train, I'd take hour long walks through forested trails out where I lived by the airport to downtown to go hang out.

When I went to school in Boston, I'd walk 9-10 miles down the Minuteman Bikeway, a Rails-to-Trails project, taking me by Redcoat re-enactors on Lexington Green.... wierdos at the Alewife subway station at the end of the trail

There's something about city-life that makes it real conducive to walking. I certainly enjoy it and remember that it has always done me good.

These days, however, my workouts are shorter albeit more intense....I feel cheated if I don't get my heart rate up over 85-90% of max. (my max is 186.....I have found out through exhaustingly hard runs)

But this weekend, I tried a little experiment....I walked to the gym, worked out, and walked back! I did this twice....and my heart rate was a comfortable 110-120....smack in the 60-65% range

I did a leisurely 2 mile walk in about 30 minutes (I did sweat like a is still very hot & muggy here in the Florida panhandle), then hit the elliptical for 20 minutes of some fairly high HIIT, did me plank intervals....then walked the leisurely 2 miles back home.

It was a blast!

I've also seen (through all the data that my nifty Bodymedia Fit Core Armband tells me), that at work I sit around.....way to much. Yeah, I go in and out of my office, down the halls to the finance guys or my technical guys, but those distances aren't measured in miles.

So I'm going to see what I can do to up these numbers and add just a little more walking around to my daily know, the "other" kind of exercise.....the kind that doesn't strain, the kind that keeps us active, and the kind that has a cumulative effect by just keeping us moving.

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LABRATIAM 9/16/2012 3:41PM

    emoticon Nicely done.

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CLAIREINPARIS 9/12/2012 4:53PM

    YAY for walking!!! I don't live in the city and unfortunately need my car during the week. Good for you for walking to the gym! Great idea!
And I would love to read your ideas on how to move more during your work hours... I sit on my chair most of the day! :(

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SALONKITTY 9/11/2012 4:46AM

    I've also been consciously trying to do more walking. I try to walk 45-60 mins per day in addition to whatever my workout is that day. I walk to and from the gym, like you do. I also walk to grocery shop now!

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SHERYL_B 9/7/2012 8:46PM

    I love walking too!

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HEALTHIERKEN 9/7/2012 12:13AM

    Yep. I *really* like walking. And it's *really* good for the glutes : )

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/6/2012 7:41PM

    I used to live in Philadelphia and I walked or biked EVERYWHERE! Now I live in Los Angeles and I miss all the walking I used to do. It's really hard to find the time to get the 10,000 + steps per day when you don't do much outside of your workouts. Way to get it done!

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BERGBA7 9/5/2012 2:46PM

    Walk the walk! Yes... I love to walk too - good Idea to add it back to your life.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 9/5/2012 1:02PM

    Cheers to walking more! I'm all about walking and meditating lately.

And thanks for the encouraging note on my DH's page!!

.*) ✫ .*)
(. . .`.✫
.*) ✫ .*)✫ Spread the Spark
(. . (..`.✫

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    Wow, did this ever hit home and at just the right time. Having been absent from the gym now for several months and having not walked in what seems like ages, I have been trying to get myself 'jump-started', mentally and physically, so to speak, back into the groove of exercise. And the only thing that I could think of that would be easy and ever so helpful was WALKING. It is the one exercise (although I don't think of it in that term) that I truly LOVE. So, today I start walking again. Yep ... gonna do it .... Gonna love it .... and gonna go forward from there. Thanks!
Oh, and BRAVO to you for seeing what needed added into your own routine and implementing it into your schedule.
Great job!

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BILL60 9/5/2012 8:15AM

    I've tried and tried, but walking is not for me. Guess it's just too slow. I'll stick to the cycling. But you hang in there and log those walking miles.

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SAFARIBABE 9/5/2012 6:05AM

    Welcome to the Wonderful World of Walking. Not owning a car and refusing to pay the outrageous cab fares and even mass transit fares, this is my primary means of getting from Point A to Point B. Supermarket, movies, shopping, work....all a la pied! It's great! And you can get your heart rate up a bit higher by putting a little more pep in your step. And you do see so many interesting things along the way that you'd never notice if you whizzed my in a car!

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    Last year I tracked my miles to see how far along the Appalachian Trail I would have walked (not far enough as it turned out). That remains a goal for one of these years, if I can convince an employer to keep my job open for the 5-6 months I'd be gone walking.

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BBECKER1955 9/5/2012 5:14AM

    I love sneaking in a walk at lunch time when time allows. It's relaxes my body and helps clear my mind.

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I love nature's fury

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Well one of the great things about living on the beach on the beach!

SWMBO, #2 son, and I get to see some pretty amazing things every day right in our own back yard. Someday's it's a great sunset;

Someday's it's a barge loaded up on it's way west;

Someday's it's Fred the heron who likes hanging out between us and the neighbors;

Most days SWMBO and I think pelicans are the coolest things that fly;

But there's a dark side to paradise.....the dreaded Hurricane!

Now we have lived in many parts of this great planet. I've experienced 8.0 earthquakes (Chile), an F5 tornado (Oklahoma City), multiple blizzards ('78 and the '93 Storm of the Century), and even came too damn close to being fried in the middle of winter in a storm called "Thundersnow"

Through it all, we try to enjoy ourselves. SWMBO and I enjoy going out in the middle of a storm and yelling at the top of our lungs (no one can hear us above the roar of the wind and the waves....we call it our "wilding time"), or we drive a few miles away from the tornado and watch the funnel cloud swoop and sweep. One time we rented a cabin out on Cape Cod when a Nor'easter was coming, just so we could watch the storm blow in over the water.

But there's nothing like having your own house so close to the danger zone to make you rethink the whole damn thing!

Our current house (I am told) is built to withstand a Cat 2 hurricane. But along with that great view comes the downside....we're only good for about 11 feet of storm surge.....after that, start putting your furniture on cinder blocks!

Isaac was predicted to deliver 9 feet....a little too close for my comfort.

Luckily, the whole community rallied. I had a meeting with all the folks in our company and we released everyone home Tues & Wed to prep their houses & families for Isaac's promise to deliver 10-12 inches of rain and 6 to 9 feet of surge.

SWMBO is our family emergency manager. She always has us stocked up on batteries, flashlights, water, propane tanks.....even bicycle helmets for us to wear in case the roof caves in.....God love her! We packed up all her plants and yard furniture, placed some sandbags along the doors and garage, and boarded the windows.

Then we waited it out. I telecommuted both days and kept a wary eye on the rising tide

In the end, we had wind gusts up to 50 kts, lots of whitecaps, some rain, and very little surge. #2 son got 2 days off of school, SWMBO & I got in our wilding time, and the cat stayed hidden under the bed the entire time.

The worse part about the whole storm.....the damn gym closed down for both days in a row!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/8/2012 4:11PM

    What magnificent pictures!

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SHERYL_B 9/2/2012 12:38PM

    Glad you weathered the storm well!

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GARDENQE2 8/31/2012 11:42AM

    Wonderful pictures! Especially the lightning...Spectacular!
onally, here in New Mexico, we get colored lightning...yellow, purple, orange, blue.
One night the whole sky was lit up bright a traffic light...for over a second!
Storms over the ocean are fascinating!
Keep up the good work.

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MILLIE5522 8/31/2012 11:33AM

    emoticon I've never experienced anything like this ever. So it was exciting to read about your life. Thank you for sharing!

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CLAIREINPARIS 8/31/2012 11:13AM

    Beautiful pictures! The 'wilding time' made me laugh... I would have done like the cat I am sure!!!

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BILL60 8/31/2012 8:26AM

    Life just doesn't get much better.

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BERGBA7 8/31/2012 3:52AM

    Great pictures! My boyfriend and I were down in Siesta Key in July and I said to him that this is a place I would consider moving to... if they weren't the hurricanes. Glad to read that you did not suffer any serious damage! So, I guess you did quite a few pull-ups and chin-ups since you stayed home for 2 days without gym and had to pass your bar to go to the kitchen! HA! That's THE place to put a bar!

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KICK-SS 8/31/2012 1:36AM

    Loved all the pictures, but the one of the lightning in the sky fascinated me. i've never seen a round pattern in/on lightning before! Around here it's just vertical or horizontal, no "fancy stuff" like you had.


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PAMATX 8/30/2012 11:07PM

    Love the photos! Pelicans are my favorite! And I totally dig storms. Glad you got to enjoy it and stay high and dry.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHEEKY1000 8/30/2012 9:30PM

    Hey, if the worst that happened was the gym being are one lucky fella. lol Glad you didn't get the brunt of the hurricane.

I love the "wilding time." That's fantastic. My bff and I used to go out during monsoons back when they were tremendous and fierce (in the 90's) and just run and shout--and squeal when the thunder cracked so loudly it vibrated throughout our bodies.

Has the gym reopened? emoticon

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SAFARIBABE 8/30/2012 9:20PM

    The cat's got the right attitude! LOL If the gym's closed...time to look for Plan B. Point your bike into the wind and pedal against it. Bicep curl with the propane tanks -- but not in the lightning. Pushups with SWMBO on your back. There now you're all set of the next time the gym closes. LOL Glad you're all safe and sound! Hopefully this is the only close call you have this season!!

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