DOUGDC's SparkPeople Blog DOUGDC's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Great Performance Last Night We're talking musical performance here. Last night joined a friend at a regular, free performance of chamber music in a most unexpected setting. A bar and grill in the traditionally Latino Mission District of San Francisco. <BR> <BR> I've been to a number of chamber music concerts in the past, but they've never seemed exciting. But being in an auditorium watching tuxedoed performers at a distance and being in a bar five feet away from three or four informally dressed performers are enitirel... Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:35:14 EST Can It Work? Well, it has to work. That is, time management has to work. But I need to find a way to get there. <BR> <BR> Yesterday I blocked out the day in advance. It was only a couple hours before external events showed up and four hours disappeared into accompanying my wife on an unscheduled shopping trip. We stopped at Lowes and Lucky (supermarket). Picked out things that actually required both of us to talk and jointly approve, and made progress on the unending house remodel/redecorate project. So... Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:23:02 EST Time Obsession I'm feeling oppressed by time. Not enough. <BR> <BR> A teacher once said, "You always have time for what you feel is most important." By which he meant that, by definition, what you are spending time on is what you think is most important, regardless of other folks' thoughts. So if I'm watching a DVD instead of paying household bills, that's a choice, and evidence of what I think is more important. <BR> <BR> So today I set up a schedule. Hour long chunks. Broad topics. But I hope to use it ... Sun, 15 Jan 2017 13:23:02 EST Gone Before It Started No thought to greeting today with gratitude or otherwise. What's happened? My wife and I had planned a yard sale to get rid of accumulated stuff we no longer needed nor had storage for. The event will occupy the entire day until 4 PM. Then a bit of a rest and then dinner and maybe a movie. <BR> <BR> We didn't advertise the yard sale enough. Casual traffic bought some stuff, but few came by. Nevertheless, we reduced the amount to store some. And that is good. <BR> <BR> I feel this frustratio... Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:28:51 EST Greeting the Day with Gratitude Today I'm grateful that I wasn't driving that truck. That truck was a large tractor trailer truck that I often see delivering vegetables to local restaurants. It had evidently been driving along the curb when its trailer hit the limbs of a large tree, tearing one large limb off and fracturing others. No one evidently hurt. I scanned the truck for dents. The truck didn't look at all damaged.The driver was calmer than I would have been, and seemed sorry for the event. I helped him in an unsucce... Fri, 13 Jan 2017 12:06:52 EST How Did I Have Time to Work Time for today is already spoken for, and that was at 8:30 AM. <BR> <BR> It's like this. Today my wife and I will attend a lecture on sculptor Rodin at one of the museums where we're members. It will be in the morning - basically taking my usual time for getting things done. Home for lunch. Then, in the mid-afternoon, I'm going to join some guys at one of their homes for an hour or two. This event is a blanket invitation extended at the men's club at a local senior center. I'm going because... Thu, 12 Jan 2017 12:33:57 EST Winnowing the Possibilities Greeting the day with gratitude. Searching for hope. <BR> <BR> The day will do well enough. Although the sky is cloudy and looks a bit forbidding, there's a pause in the rain. More this evening, but dry now. Compared to the umbrella/wind struggles of yesterday, going out today will be easy. <BR> <BR> This opens surprising opportunities I feel grateful for. 1) Walk about 3/4 mile, one way, no big hills, to the drug store for needed supply. Visit library on way home. 2) Same store and libra... Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:46:11 EST Rainy Meditation The skies are grey and flat. Rain falls gently. Though the weather services refer to this as a storm, one badly needed for the drought diminished reservoirs of the state water system, the weather itself is mild. Temperatures reaching toward 60. Little wind. Steady rain, but not a downpour. <BR> <BR> Looking into the quiet while walking for the morning newspaper, it is easy to greet the day with gratitude, and to see hope for an end to the chaos of house remodeling and a chance to enjoy the ... Tue, 10 Jan 2017 13:04:34 EST Journaling on line I enjoy writing. The act of writing. Using a fountain pen - I have several - to write with liquid ink on paper. But really it's only fun, and my handwriting is not the best, so writing doesn't actually bring me a lot. <BR> <BR> I do hang with my computer daily, more or less, so I'm going to experiment for a while with writing here. It will change the tone of the content and it may be less well organized and therefor harder to read. I'll risk that. <BR> <BR> I begin... <BR> <BR> Greeting ... Mon, 9 Jan 2017 13:16:02 EST Motivation Being retired makes motivation an internal thing. This is new. As an employed person with responsibilities, taking care of my job well was a ready-made if complex and frustrating goal and external source of motivation. Like it was nice to get a paycheck. Also, with limited time available after work, getting stuff done around the house made it important to focus on what was most important and getting that done. <BR> <BR> Without job related expectations, and without a job limiting my time to... Thu, 22 Dec 2016 20:31:14 EST Maintenance - on the road What will I weigh when I get home? I'm excited and hopeful. <BR> <BR> I've been vacationing for the past 10 days with my wife, touring ancient ruins in NE Arizona and NW New Mexico. Got a new take on N American history, particularly the Native American and Spanish perspectives. Haven't seen much of the computer (a good thing), and have seen no scales at all. That's unusual for me since I generally weight in daily. During the three weeks before the trip began I had stabilized my weight at be... Tue, 20 May 2014 09:28:40 EST On the Cusp - Again Life seems to have moments -- moments when I realize that I have choices with what to do with my time, what might be the best use, considering my goals which, themselves, might deserve some reconsideration, and whether I'm actually doing what I think is best. <BR> <BR> Travel stimulates these moments. I've just arrived in San Francisco with a few months between today and another attempt to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail in a single year. This is something I can do. And it's someth... Tue, 7 Jan 2014 23:32:47 EST Walked on my heels today Tried walking on my heels today, for the first time in a couple months, and my right foot was very nearly as strong as the left. A huge change from some last July when I was simply unable to hold the toes of my right foot up off the ground. I was thrilled. A great outcome of many weeks of physical therapy and lots of continued walking. <BR> <BR> I'm focusing now on getting physically ready for an Appalachian Trail through hike attempt next spring. 2200 miles of backpacking spread over 5-6 m... Mon, 4 Nov 2013 13:13:25 EST Retiring in good shape... Retiring in good shape. <BR> <BR> Seems to make sense, doesn't it? Retiring in good shape. But what does that mean? Being able to bench my body weight? Able to run a 10 K in under an hour? Or simply be able to get through a day of ordinary activity without unreasonable fatigue, pain or injury? For me, being in good shape means being able to do a couple things I've gotten a lot of pleasure out of: bicycle touring and backpacking. I like being out and on my own, and using my own resources to g... Fri, 9 Aug 2013 22:11:27 EST Goal met. New challenges ahead Last October, about 8 months ago, I set a goal to lose from 170, a high I'd reached by not paying a lot of attention to what I ate, down to 155, what I recall as my high school weight. About 15 pounds in 8 months. Spark showed me that my weight loss was a saw toothed decline, more or less along the intended line, There was a spike from 159 to 163 while my wife and I were visiting in England and I was eating those wonderful English breakfasts every day! Another spike, from 156 to 163 occurred ... Sun, 30 Jun 2013 12:26:22 EST Walking Deliberately Decided, today, to do a little walking and take a cue from Colin Fletcher, a very practcal but sometimes almost mystic man who has hiked lots of miles and written a lot of books. I'm reading one now: <BR> <link><BR>letcher/dp/0679725547/ref=sr_1_6?s=boo<BR>ks&ie=UTF8&qid=1372560522&sr=1-6 </link> <BR> and am a devotee of the backpacking guide he wrote with Chip Rawlins: <BR> <link><BR>olin-Fletcher/dp/0375703233 </l... Sat, 29 Jun 2013 23:15:45 EST Decompression Today agreed with my surgeon that an elective procedure would be better delayed until after this pinched nerve problem causing leg pain has been resolved. This is actually a good move as it gives me time to reconsider doing the surgery at all, and also lets me try to find a strategy to do a through hike of the Appalachian Trail next spring. <BR> <BR> Physical therapy (for this pinched nerve problem) was positive today. The imagination of the therapists in finding new and wonderful exercises ... Mon, 24 Jun 2013 22:21:28 EST Am I too old for this? I think I can through hike the Appalachian Trail. I've done long distance self supported bicycle touring. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Barring an injury that puts me off the trail, I can do long distance hiking. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> But can my body? A surgically repaired shoulder, and a back that has suddenly begun to cause leg pain requiring physical therapy make me wonder whethe... Sat, 22 Jun 2013 16:56:36 EST Change in Exercise - Change in Weight This period of decreased exercise because of leg pain (pinched nerve or whatever - docs think the pain will disappear with anti-inflammatory meds and minimal exercise), and with hanging around the house with nearly nothing to do, and snacking more, I've added about 5 pounds over a week. <BR> <BR> I'm sure this will disappear when I'm up and about on my normal schedule. Just one more side effect of snacking out of boredom and not doing much. <BR> <BR> Sure want to help this problem heal qui... Sun, 16 Jun 2013 12:08:07 EST Multiple Systems Failure -- the future? Major systems are failing. What's next? <BR> <BR> A couple of years ago I suddenly had a diagnosis of prostate cancer which resulted in a successful surgical removal (no sign of recurrence to date) and two long term side effects of surgery which are life changing, but I'm coping with them pretty well. <BR> <BR> A year ago I lost footing on a rocky portion in the early miles of an intended through hike of the Appalachian Trail and saved myself from falling by vigorous use of my right arm. In... Thu, 13 Jun 2013 15:41:51 EST Medicine NOT an exact science No, medicine is not an exact science. Doc #1 thinks piriformis syndrome. Refers to Doc #2 who thinks disk at L5. Who knows? Both may be right. But the conservative treatment is the same: don't do (much of) what hurts; nothing high-impact for a while; anti-inflammatory drugs; maybe muscle relaxants (since I get spasms in the glutes, they're probably a good idea); and pain meds when needed. General agreement that this will be better, or gone, in a week or two. <BR> <BR> I can't wait. <BR> <BR... Tue, 11 Jun 2013 19:54:05 EST Piriformis Syndrome A physician I greatly respect looked at my leg pain problem and offered the opinion that my sciatica was caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve as it runs under or through the piriformis muscle. He's referred me to a physiatrist whom I'll see tomorrow. Piriformis Syndrome is typically not a surgical issue, as can be the case when the sciatic nerve is being squeezed by a disk or arthritis problem. Cause is uncertain, but poor form in running or walking, particularly downhill, is a possible ... Mon, 10 Jun 2013 22:00:58 EST Sciatica!? What's this? I'm not old enough to have sciatica. And I'm way too active. <BR> <BR> But, sadly, I've been suddenly grounded with pain in my right butt and leg. Cause not yet known, taking pain pills and muscle relaxers, and avoiding moving around much. I can't put a finger on why it started. <BR> <BR> Man, what a wake up call. This kind of think can be disabling, and I'm suddenly very sympathetic with people living with severe, chronic, unrelenting pain. <BR> <BR> I'm hounding the doctors... Sun, 9 Jun 2013 22:53:02 EST Communications on the Road Mind reading is an important skill that cyclists need to anticipate the actions of auto drivers. Most of us seem not to have that gift. And I expect the same clairvoyant understanding of a cyclist's intentions would be appreciated by motorists. <BR> <BR> Today while on a two lane road, a car that had been behind me for a few blocks passed me on the left by a comfortable margin, then pulled in front of me. So far, so good. Then the car slowed down. Slower and slower. No signals from the tail... Sun, 2 Jun 2013 16:55:40 EST Too much to do today -- did it Running down the list of chores today there was too much. Kept at it. Accomplished it all. Most important on the list was getting the bike out on a trail and riding for a bit. Good to get out. Looking to do more riding tomorrow. Doc appt set for early next week to address walking issues. Things are moving. <BR> <em>41</em> Wed, 29 May 2013 22:50:09 EST Body not living up to expectations This body of mine is not living up to expectations. And I'm not willing to lower expectations yet! There's a whole urological situation I won't bore people with, and the shoulder blowout while hiking a year ago. These have become more or less manageable and a return to full activity seems possible. But now something weird is happening with a little numbness, and maybe subtle weakness in my right foot, together with some back pain that has gone away. Scheduling a medical visit -- I want to fin... Wed, 29 May 2013 09:56:18 EST Maintenance Just some musings... as I headed down to breakfast this AM it dawned on me that my weight has been bouncing in a fairly narrow range just below 160 pounds for weeks. My goal is 155. I have the feeling that my intake is right at maintenance for this weight near 160. It's become my eating habit. No sense of dieting involved, though I do have to avoid mindless snacking. When I make the effort to carefully detail my intake and exercise I nearly always have a reported daily deficit of close to 500... Tue, 28 May 2013 09:54:33 EST Memorial Day Along with hundreds of others on a delightful Memorial Day in DC, my wife and I made our way to the C&O Canal National Historic Park where we did a little trail walking. The canal tow road is inherently flat, so we enjoyed a mile's pleasant stroll before being enticed off the tow path onto a trail along the bank of the Potomac River. <img src=""> <BR> This led us back to the visitor's center through a wooded area regularly flooded by the... Mon, 27 May 2013 20:53:14 EST Trail Days Recently returned from a three day (two night) camp out at Trail Days, the annual blow out celebration for Appalachian Trail hikers in Damascus, VA, right on the Appalachian Trail. Went down with some folks in a Meetup group in the DC area. <BR> <BR> Great fun. Met nice folks who could become solid friends with time. <BR> <BR> Great fun but also some tragedy. The annual hikers parade, made up of people currently through hiking on the AT, and people who completed a through hike in previous ... Tue, 21 May 2013 22:58:21 EST Ride of Silence On 15 May at 7PM local, starting on the US East Coast and progressing westward around the world, was a ride of bicyclists launching from spots everywhere and riding in silence for about an hour in memory of cyclists who have been killed or injured on public roadways. This has been going on annually for 10 years. <link> </link> <BR> <BR> The group I joined in DC numbered about 50 riders. We were escorted by two police cruisers that ran interference for us, ... Thu, 16 May 2013 08:08:16 EST Back from Vacation - Great trip <img src="">Spent two weeks with my wife in England enjoying things we both like a lot! She's the history buff in the family, and she wanted to walk along Hadrian's Wall. We spend five days walking about 40 miles along the center section, where it's prettiest, and where the wall is best preserved. Then six days of being tourists and visiting either Roman period or Medieval castles, forts, and towers, and the museums associated with each.... Wed, 15 May 2013 09:07:42 EST Another Close Shave Had a great dinner out with the DW. Dreaded an impromptu weigh in this AM. <BR> <BR> Almost our anniversary - but that waits about a week when we'll be traveling (report from the road, maybe). But last night was a very lovely evening at a place we've been to before, good food, good service, reasonable cost. But the calories. <BR> <BR> Summing things up today on the Spark food tracker I'm guessing a 1750 calorie dinner and a 2255 calorie day. Pretty much a blow out -- but delicious. Still,... Thu, 25 Apr 2013 12:00:58 EST Prayers to Boston It is devastating to find a sporting activity associated with robust health, maximal personal effort and sacrifice, and serving as an encouragement for healthy life styles to so many people turned into an event of incomparable sorrow, grief and harm. My prayers to the people and their families who were killed and injured and to the many, many more who had their sense of safety and security shattered. <BR> <BR> I am patiently waiting to learn more about the motives behind this disaster. <BR... Tue, 16 Apr 2013 09:15:12 EST Survived Travel Been traveling. And really did not want to see how much weight I'd gained over the past 10 days. Amazinglly, my weight this AM was still under 160 pounds (barely). I did not expect to return home without 3-5 pounds to shed considering that I'd been eating on my own most of the time, and enjoying some great celebratory nights out for the last few evenings. Still have 5 pounds to go to goal, but it's looking more possible now. <BR> And the major reason for the travel was to celebrate the 1... Fri, 12 Apr 2013 22:45:58 EST And Kept -- during a challenging week Third Sunday in a row with the scales under 160! Even better, last week I was traveling and still under 160 on the Sunday weigh in. Did a lot of walking, but no workouts. Paid attention to what I was eating in restaurants, but fully enjoyed the meals with family and friends. Result -- weight about steady for the week, and still under the 160 mark. Two strategies that help me: 1) picking low carb choices and 2) realizing that it's hard to avoid huge portions when eating out, so leaving some fo... Sun, 24 Mar 2013 09:35:34 EST And Found -- and I want to keep it Today the scales told me I was again under 160 pounds -- by a bit over a pound! First time I saw a weight under 160 was two weeks ago. I wanted to hold that victory, but lost it a week ago. Now I'm back under 160 and I'm particularly glad because last week I joined a bunch of folks at a micro-brewery where we talked about upcoming hiking trips. And, of course, I enjoyed some marvelous Scotch Ale (good stuff!) and some wings and some nacho's. I fully expected to bust 160 yet again, so the mess... Sun, 17 Mar 2013 10:07:17 EST Lost it -- but it won't be for long. My great pleasure at finding my weight under 160 pounds was not carried through for a week. During the past week I saw my weight vary from 158.8 to 161.2, and ended the week at 161.0. I'd have been happier it ended at 159.0, but that will have to be a week in the future. <BR> <BR> So I lost the weight under 160 designation, but not the motivation. These last few pounds are going to be harder to fight off, but I'll get there. <BR> <BR> Meanwhile, out with some folks for a nice walk in beauti... Sun, 10 Mar 2013 22:59:06 EST Don't want to lose this Finally, some motivation. Today, for the first time since the holidays, the scale told me I was under 160 pounds. Yeah, by only two-tenths of a pound. But it read 159 something instead of 160 something. That's a bit more than 10 pounds under the holiday max. Yay! Staying under 160 is something I definitely want. A lot of motivation in this little bit of success. <BR> <BR> Recently I've been more successful at avoiding snacks in the evening, and I've been a little more regular about getting ... Sun, 3 Mar 2013 09:06:58 EST Insurers and Employers Watching Our Purchasing Habits Our insurance companies and our employers can buy data on what we purchase with our credit cards. The Wall Street Journal reported, "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina recently began buying spending data on more than 3 million people in its employer group plans. If someone, say, purchases plus-size clothing, the health plan could flag him for potential obesity—and then call or send mailings offering weight-loss solutions." [See more at: <link><B... Wed, 27 Feb 2013 11:04:53 EST Guilty Pleasure No, not that one! And not that other pleasure either! This is a different guilty pleasure. Maybe I shouldn't talk about it. But maybe you'd enjoy it as well. <BR> <BR> I had a meeting today at an office about 15 miles from the house. In this area it takes about 25 minutes to drive there with no traffic. But when is there no traffic? It takes almost twice that long with the usual rush hour crush. Longer if there's an accident. <BR> <BR> I could drive to this meeting, but I choose mass trans... Mon, 25 Feb 2013 23:32:12 EST The Trail Beckons Beautiful day today. Not to be wasted. Temp almost up to 50, wind mild, no rain. Like Spring, no? Great day for hiking. Here in suburban DC area, if you don't want tor drive, that means local streets and sidewalks, but with a five mile loop planned, I got a mile or so in the woods, some on an unimproved trail. Met a few others coming and going, but for the part in the woods I was alone. <BR> <BR> And there I heard the trail calling. The feeling of really loving being there, just walking alon... Sun, 24 Feb 2013 17:03:19 EST Energy Drinks Becky Hand's article on energy drinks <link><BR>_real_dangers_of_energy_drinks </link> struck me as very helpful. The concept that this is a generational thing (as ubiquitous and acceptable as a cup coffee is for boomers like me) was important, mostly because, as Becky points out, it's hard for me to be sure that the two things (a cup of coffee or a can of Jolt) are really the same in terms of drug dose and safety. Is this stuff good for you? Is it unimp... Fri, 15 Feb 2013 08:06:50 EST Ghost of Christmas Past Ebeneezer here: the sounds of clanking metal are coming from the bathroom scale. New record: 171.9 pounds. I can't recall ever weighing that much. Christmas Past was a great holiday though, with visits to family (and some memorable meals including a spectacular Christmas buffet), visits to friends (got one friend who is a chef; visiting is like entering the pages of Bon Appetite for a few days!), and doing some sightseeing and hiking (and enjoying a wonderful seafood chioppino). Somewhere in ... Fri, 4 Jan 2013 10:46:06 EST Still stuck! This plateau seems endless. Here it is 10 days after my last entry and my weight this AM ... 167 pounds. Actually 167.2, but who's paying attention... <BR> <BR> Anyway, again I can be happy at not having climbed even higher. My wife has joined me in the final weeks of completing the kitchen remodel, entertaining for Thanksgiving, and getting the work down here finished up. We've eaten out a few times (a consequence of the kitchen being torn up, and a little fatigue of eating out of the micro... Tue, 13 Nov 2012 22:09:36 EST I guess I should be happy My weight has been stuck at about 167 for the past 10 days. My goal is 155. I've been up and down as much as would be explained by daily changes in body composition. I've been fairly good about logging what I eat, and fairly careful to avoid concentrated carbohydrates. No real progress over the past 10 days. <BR> <BR> But, no backsliding, either. <BR> <BR> This has been a challenging week. First, I'm eating like a bachelor. My wife joins me here in FL next week. Second, I've been out with f... Sat, 3 Nov 2012 12:42:33 EST 21 MPH Now this little experience was great on two fronts. <BR> <BR> 1. My PT who is managing my shoulder rehab finally says OK to ride bike if I'm not humping trails and not lifting it onto racks. So I was out for the first time on a flat Florida road with little traffic. First time out. I'm loving it. <BR> <BR> Riding for me is almost meditation. Nothing but the sound of my (knobby) tires on the road, moving steadily, legs pumping, wheels spinning. Almost Zen. Love the feeling of moving along,... Thu, 25 Oct 2012 00:34:57 EST Three Month Milestone Now I can begin some strength training. I am SO pleased. <BR> <BR> What's happening? Three months ago I had surgery to repair a rotator cuff muscle in my right shoulder that was completely torn six months ago in an injury while hiking. Three months of PT had restored range of motion but not strength. The hope for surgery was to restore my shoulder so that I could continue with hiking and biking into the future. <BR> <BR> The pain in my shoulder after surgery was huge and much worse than e... Tue, 16 Oct 2012 00:39:20 EST Bourne Again <img src=""> <BR> <link> </link> <BR> Coming up with a reboot to the successful Bourne trilogy must have been daunting. The review I read was not great. But I kind of wanted to get away from the place for a bit, so went to see the Bourne Legacy. <BR> <BR> Better than the review. <BR> <BR> The first half hour confused me -- lots of places, lots of people, not very meaningful. But finally a good guy ... Thu, 11 Oct 2012 01:25:11 EST Million Dollar View... <img src=""> <BR> Some days are great days. This is the view from the cafeteria at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center. They say that when the staff wants to recruit a new employee, they take him or her here for lunch on a nice day. Today, looking at the approach from the Pacific to the Golden Gate Bridge (hidden behind the trees) you can see where the view got its nickname. <BR> <BR> A great day, too, in that I had ... Wed, 10 Oct 2012 00:14:59 EST Gotta love this state <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I hear that some places are getting $5.00. It's our own fault.CA state emissions rules require specially blended gasoline that only CA refineries produce. You can't get this blend from TX or MS. 3 CA refineries are partly or fully down and special CA gas is in short supply. The high prices keep the pumps open (for those drivers willing to pay) and keep profits high (despite smaller numbers of drivers willing to pay... Tue, 9 Oct 2012 01:42:58 EST