Wednesday, July 28, 2010
When I left this morning it was pretty bright because of the nearly full moon, and the sky was starting to get light on the eastern horizon. The sky was clear over us, but as I walked along I noticed a huge cloud in the east, and later noticed that there was a solid bank of clouds to the north. Yesterday it thundered and the sky was black for quite a while, but it didn't rain, and it was dry again today, which was OK with me. It wasn't very hot, only 80 outside, but it felt like stepping into a cold shower when I came back for the dogs. I looked at the thermostat, and it was 79 inside, but dry. When I got home with the dogs I hung my shirt in the garage to dry and brought yesterday's in. The weather isn't really bad here if you wear light, loose clothing, stay in the shade, and don't work hard. If you wear shorts and short sleeved shirts and stay near the water and away from pavement, it's very pleasant. You do need to feel sorry for roofers in the summer though. I think they can stay up there and not use the bathroom all day while drinking water because they sweat it out faster than they can drink it in. The BW always tells people how horrible it is here in the summer, but it depends on what you do.
Strangely enough, I dropped six pounds overnight, which put me at yesterday's weight, and another two after walking, which I regained after breakfast and three cups of decaf, so I guess I wasn't hurt by the meals out yesterday. Of course, I don't know what happened to my arteries, which is what I'm really worried about. Today I finished at 1598 calories, so maybe I'll gain tomorrow. It's just random on a day to day basis.
I have a friend, Bill, who showed up when I wanted to get rid of my Airdyne - I think I mentioned him before, but who can remember. Anyhow, he started at almost exactly the same weight as my peak, and is fighting off many problems, including kidney failure, so he is walking a tighter rope than I did because my kidney was just out of specification - his kidneys are just a whisker away from dialysis. The good news is that they have stopped getting worse and he has defied many of the kidney doctor's predictions so far. He is doing so well, in fact, that he was put on the list for a donor kidney where before they didn't think he would last long enough to get one.
The reason we're talking about Bill is that he wanted to do everything I had done, and he joined my TOPS group. No other would do. He is doing very well, but he gets really despondent when he doesn't show a loss for the week. When I ask about it, it turns out that he was showing a loss for the week, but on the weight-in day he went out with friends to an all-you-can-eat restaurant and went wild. It was ribs one time, and pizza another. I and several others have told him that it's not a straight line. He is desperate to get it all off immediately, and getting a little at a time isn't enough to make him happy.
I finally dug out the charts I had posted on the refrigerator that showed my drop from 282 down to 200, with daily measurements. I copied them and mailed them to him. I was disappointed when I saw him last Tuesday because he hadn't received them, and promised to scan them into the computer and mail him the .jpg files, which he could open, if they didn't show up on Friday. He called Friday, and thanked me. He also thanked me profusely because when he looked at the daily changes they were often more than he (or I) was showing for the week. Everyone saying it didn't convince him, but maybe seeing it did. I'll find out in a few weeks.
In the meantime, he is down 26 pounds in four months, even though he gained 1 1/2 pounds last week, and at least two of his doctors say he is now in the best shape they have ever seen him. He is getting better, and none of the doctors suggested losing weight and exercise or a change in his awful diet. He has a really hard time exercising because his knees are too unstable to walk.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I am at 1898 calories for the day, with a Spark estimate of 1900 for me if I'm sedentary. That doesn't sound too bad, but I'm past 6000 mg of sodium, way over on fat calories (of the wrong kind) and way under on carbohydrates. The protein and cholesterol are OK, but everything else is low. It's so messed up because I had a half order of biscuit and sausage gravy for breakfast and a chili 3 ways at Steak and Shake for lunch. I blew it for breakfast because I decided to just have what Jack was having, and at lunch because that was what I always used to have. We had lunch out because the BW had her teeth cleaned and a fluoride treatment, which meant she couldn't eat anything hot or hard, she was told. To satisfy that they suggested she have a milkshake for lunch, and so we went to lunch. I didn't find out how many calories (which were only 411) or how much sodium the chili 3 ways had until I was at home, looking it up in the desk reference. That's a good example of the danger of not knowing what you are going to eat and writing it down before the damage is done.
So today the dentist got us for $326.70 and a boost to my blood pressure. The worst part is I know I'll be two or three pounds heavier tomorrow. It's no wonder we don't eat out much any more.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Two years ago, last Thanksgiving, we were visiting our youngest daughter in Mishawaka. While there I discovered a neat book - The Cartoon History of the Universe. I don't remember whether it was Volumes I, II, or III, but I started reading it. It was sort of beat up (four grandkids there) but still entertaining. I think they got it at a garage sale for 25 cents, or did something else like that.
I was so intrigued that I searched on Amazon.com and found all three volumes available, and bought the set. It took me a while, but I eventually got around to reading all three volumes - twice. They are very dense books, and the temptation is to read them like a novel, so that you are left with some strong impressions, but few names and less than perfect recollection of how the events in different parts of the world related in time.
The beauty of it is that the three volumes cover everything in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the near east, not in very great detail, but in enough to tell the story, up to the time of Columbus. And the bibliography for each volume is extensive.
After I had been through them a couple of times, I wondered if Larry Gonick had extended the history, and when I searched I found that he had - starting with Columbus. It takes two smaller books called The Cartoon History of the Modern World, and the series brings you up to Desert Storm. The newer books are just as depressing as the original three. There are lessons that should be absorbed in every one of the books.
Just before Christmas in 2009 our son and his wife visited, and he wanted to borrow the Cartoon History of the Universe. I told him that I wanted to read it once more, and that was the time when I wondered if there were more volumes now. After I read each one I mailed it to him, and told him to keep it or pass it on when he was done. The BW is always complaining about too many books, especially in my room, but in the living room too.
Then all was well until my dermatologist started talking to me. Most doctors I see are focused on the job, but he talks while he works. He was opinionated, and we argued over the Jews, so I told him about the Cartoon History. He knew Case, and had also had a "Western Civilization" course, but that was about the extent of his exposure. He wondered if he could get it at the library, and I guessed that it might be a request, but I had never seen it there.
After thinking about it, I bought another three volumes, and took the first volume in a week later when I went to get my stitches out. The Jews originate with Abraham leaving Babylon in the first volume, and there is plenty of fighting to crush his argument that the Jews were always a peaceful people. In fact, the killing and wars spread fairly constantly throughout all five volumes, and my argument that you do need to be able to defend yourself should be clear to him. Teddy Roosevelt had the right idea. I do recall one 300 year peaceful spell in China, but other than that, it's pretty much conflict all the way through.
The various religions are fairly well covered too.
Now I'm going to read the set again as soon as I get the first volume back, the pass on the last two volumes to Louie. I gave the doctor a month to give the book back, and then I'll buy one more copy if he doesn't.
I don't know why I told this story, other than I'm tired of talking about the weather, walking, and dogs.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I cut the grass this morning. It had rained 0.9 inches last evening, and the grass needed to be cut, so I did it. According to my pedometer I walked two and a half miles, and according to Spark People I burned 600 calories. I don't know if I can believe that.
Then I make the broth with a five pound chicken and a bunch of vegetables and spices. While it was simmering I worked on the Safe driving course - took apart two Florida Supplements, marked out the pages I wouldn't use, and inserted them into the manual that I use to stay on track. Because they're printed on both sides and sequential pages didn't always go in the same place in the manual, I had to cut up two books. Fortunately I had about 10 supplements too many.
When I volunteered to teach this thing I thought it wouldn't be too hard, but what I didn't realize at the time was that always before I used material that I had prepared, about subjects that I knew, and presented it in the way that I chose. I even taught a several month class on Spread Spectrum Techniques to about 40 engineers in my Division when I was a Division Manager, and it didn't bother me. I planned on a three or four week set of one hour pitches, but it turned into several months.
This course (it's really a seminar) is different, because even though I thought that 12 years on the road made me pretty knowledgeable about driving safety and vehicle maintenance, someone else put the class together, and they expect you to cover the material their way, to start exactly on time and end exactly on time, and do a lot of paperwork exactly the way they want it. That was a pretty big adjustment for me.
The bigger adjustment is that, for one reason or another, they keep changing what they want done, and how to do it. After I figured out how to get the latest plan done, I started at about 10:00 and finished at 5:30. I was just about ready to decide to resign, but I'll try a class next month and see how it goes. I've been doing this for four or five years, and I never stayed in one job more than about four years when I was getting paid, so maybe it's just habit and boredom that irritate me.
I dumped nine tenths of an inch out of the rain gauge this morning. The sun was shining and it looked like a great day, but later the clouds showed up, and at about six thirty it started raining in earnest. By 7:00 we had another inch in the rain gauge and it had stopped, but later it started again. I'm glad the drought is over, but we don't need a tropical storm this year - we're getting plenty of regular rain.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I think I have a solution to the Florida State/AARP problem. I have several extra Florida supplements, so I can tear apart two books and insert the pages in page protectors, cross out the pages I don't want to use with a china marker, and insert the Florida Pages in place of the national pages where I need them. I have to cross out some of the pages some places because two pages are printed on a single sheet of paper and in some places I only want to insert one page.
Then I'll have to make the students use both national and Florida books, and switch back and forth as we go along. I'm not sure if I can get all the material covered in the same time, but if I leave out most of the stories I use to make points I think it will work. I'll figure something out - I still have two weeks before the next class.
The sun is shining and it's a beautiful day. I'm not sure how good the weatherman is - we're supposed to have a sixty per cent chance of rain today, up from fifty per cent yesterday. When I got up this morning the sky was just starting to get light and was completely overcast. The temperature was 78, which is supposed to be the low, but right now it's 94 and we haven't hit the warmest part of the day. The predicted high was 92. The overcast was still there when I came back from walking the dogs, but it cleared and now there are large cumulus clouds scattered around in a perfect blue sky. We'll see what happens. The grass is perfectly happy with this weather - I don't know if I can wait until tomorrow to cut it, but I do know I don't want to start at this time of day. Maybe dig a few sand burrs later.
We have patches of Johnson grass showing up where it was all bermuda grass before, and I'm starting to think that I might wind up doing the same thing with it as I am with the sand burrs - dig out the mature plants. I'll see how the St. Augustine does, but it's starting to look pretty good in the back yard and the tree lawns. Getting a uniform yard is a challenge, and it's like everything else - you can't give up, and if you don't things do get better, but at a slower pace than you would like. We had a whole lot of bare sand when we moved in, and now the entire yard, front and back, is completely covered with some sort of ground cover. Some of it is weedelia, which I planted, some is bermuda grass that I scattered seed to get, some of it is native weeds which were here originally, some is native torpedo grass, and a whole lot is St. Augustine grass that I planted when I realized how hard it is to get Bermuda grass started. The St. Augustine climbs the fences, covers the concrete, and generally acts like a noxious weed. I completely understand why it's so common down here.
The BW didn't want to have lunch at the Red Lobster, but said she would pick a place for dinner - maybe an early one. Then she decided she didn't want to eat out at all, so we have to agree on what's for supper again. I have a frozen chicken, and I think I'll pull it out to thaw and make chicken soup tomorrow. She wanted to roast the chicken and make soup on the bones, but you don't get really good chicken soup that way, so I offered to buy her a separate chicken, or one that's already roasted.
That's it for now. I had more to say when we were moving to new places, and had more little problems to solve. Around here you don't have to worry about holding tanks, dumping, filling propane bottles, hitches, etc. There never are 15 foot breakers down at the marina like we saw on the Pacific shore - it's ideal for the old folks to hang out. Just so the hurricanes stay away.
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