PLMITCH's SparkPeople Blog PLMITCH's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community One week and counting... If all goes according to plan, my wife and I will be jetting our way to Jamaica one week from now. Short vacation, but a joyous trip -- my son and soon to be new daughter-in-law will be getting married at Sandals Whitehouse on October 30! We had originally planned to stay longer and transfer to our favorite Sandals property -- Grand Riviera over at Ocho Rios -- but decided to shift that trip to next March so that we can celebrate the 15th anniversary of our first date, and if the winter for... Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:37:26 EST Yet another "new" thing... So a few weeks ago I learned about SSD's from a wonderfully smart guy at the Apple Genius Bar. I thought that was pretty cool. But earlier this week my wife told me that the toilet set in our bedroom bathroom was broken, which meant I needed to make a trip to Lowe's for a replacement. <BR> <BR> As you can imagine, there is no shortage of toilet seat replacements, but much to my surprise, there is one made by Church that has "WhisperClose" plain English, it does not slam! <... Fri, 3 Oct 2014 20:59:10 EST Normally I don't cheer for October to come but... Lots of fun stuff going on this October: <BR> <BR> - Greyhounds Reach the Beach <BR> - Brunch at our favorite winery <BR> - My wife's birthday (which usually turns into a week long celebration!) <BR> - A 5K race <BR> - And a trip to Jamaica to see my son and my soon to be daughter-in-law get married. Destination weddings are the best! <BR> <BR> September was a good month, but October should be a GREAT one! <BR> <BR> <em>224</em> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:47:04 EST Nice to have my Mac back again! We were in Arizona last week and into early this week when my MacBook Pro decided to go "toes up". It had done the same thing in W Virginia just a few weeks prior but made a miraculous recovery, plus one previous hiccup a few months prior. Everything was pointing towards the hard drive, and so last Monday my wife and I drove to the Apple Store in Tucson to work with someone at the "Genius Bar". I was quite fortunate to get a top notch tech, Brandon, who confirmed my hard drive failure gues... Sat, 20 Sep 2014 14:32:43 EST My new way of remembering... On the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it's odd just how searing that event still is to me. It's almost hard to imagine 13 years has gone by that quickly, and yet just how fresh it seems. <BR> <BR> A year ago, I found out my blood bank was doing a 9/11 blood drive (they may have been doing it in previous years, but I just found out about it) so I took time off from work to go donate (I normally donate on Saturdays). <BR> <BR> As always, being able to donate blood feels good, but ... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:41:04 EST Golf Had a really enjoyable round of golf on Friday. No, I did not have a great score -- 108 -- but it was just getting outside with friends, having lots of laughs, and taking in a late summer day outside. It was my first time this season, which is a shame, but will get out at least one more time in mid September. <BR> <BR> Just nice to get away from the office and be with friends. Next year, I need to make a point to schedule more golf games... Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:10:15 EST Arthritis Visited with a sports Dr. yesterday to get a prognosis on my right knee, which a month ago was really hurting me. It actually was (and is) much better, but since I had set the appointment up and had x-rays taken on the knee last Friday, I figured it was worthwhile to keep the appointment. <BR> <BR> Good news: No structural issues. Bad news: it is arthritis. Not shocked. After playing ice hockey for many years in my elementary, Jr high, high school, and college years, plus years after... Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:16:46 EST Another example of great customer service (Fitbit) So easy to get caught up in the negative side of customer service, so I really try to make a point to let people know about great customer service. And since this is healthy living related, good time to blog about it -- Fitbit. <BR> <BR> The background story: Last Monday after my AM run through Timonium, MD, I noticed my Fitbit Flex was not doing anything -- no lights, etc. Logged onto the Fitbit website, it had recorded my steps of my run, but was unable to connect to it at that point. ... Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:16:56 EST New Heating and A/C System OK, so not as much fun as say a new PC or some other "toy" I'd like, but I am pretty excited that we are getting our new heating and A/C system installed. The heater was original with the house -- 23 years old -- so it was past due, and my wife and I have spent more than a few nights in the winter time huddled under our quilts. If this new system is as good as my HVAC company is telling me, those kind of nights will go away this winter AND we'll use our propane much more efficiently. <BR> ... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:34:12 EST Low key Saturday I have been battling a head cold for nearly a week now, and while I thought it was getting better yesterday, today I feel not so good. Saturday is my normal long run day, but with the sneezes, coughs, runny nose, etc., I may push my run to tomorrow with the hope that I am feeling better than I do right now. <BR> <BR> Summer colds! The pits!! <BR> <BR> <em>39</em> Sat, 2 Aug 2014 11:36:05 EST Runnin' in the rain (sung to the tune "Singin' in the Rain")! Went out for a run last Saturday. According to my Galloway recovery program for a 10K race, I was to run 3-5 miles. So since I needed to go to the library to drop off a book, decided to start / end my run there, as there is a nice quiet neighborhood to run in. <BR> <BR> It was cloudy when I arrived at the library, and by the time I dropped off the book, the clouds had gotten lower and it started to spit a little rain. No worries -- I've run in a light rain before... <BR> <BR> Well, the... Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:32:52 EST Great Wyoming (DE) Buffalo Stampede 10K Recap OK, to the important stuff: Ran a very respectable 1:02:06 today in my 2nd ever 10K race. <BR> <BR> My plan today was be in the 10 minute mile range for the first 4 miles then start to pick up the pace and come in under 1 hour. Actually executed the plan pretty well, though my last 2 miles were 9:31 and 9:43, so need to do some work on those finishing miles. First 4 miles I ran in 40:20, so just a smidge off my target. <BR> <BR> Plan to slow the pace up for the next few weeks. My righ... Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:01:20 EST A blog about nothing? One of my quirks on SP is that I always like to finish the day with my points at either a 5 or a 0 (i.e..65, 70, 75, 80). Don't know why...guess that is why it is quirk! So for today, the only way I can reach that goal is to write a blog to collect my 3 like "Seinfeld", this is a blog about nothing! <BR> <BR> Ah but there is always something to blog about! <BR> <BR> - Tonight my wife and I will be taking her parents / my in-laws out for dinner to celebrate their 60th weddi... Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:21:34 EST Random Observations - Today was an interval speed training run day -- 16 quarter mile runs at a faster pace than I normally run, with a much needed 2 minute walk between each. Happy to report I completed this task, and my runs where right where I wanted them to be - in the 2:15 range! <BR> <BR> - With it being VERY humid and 77F, I took along a small cooler with an ice pack, a bottle of water, and protective glasses (clear) in case the bugs were bad (it was cloudy, so sunglasses were not in order). Parked the... Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:43:56 EST New Running Shoes Monday evening I picked up a new pair of running shoes from a real running store! My 3rd pair of Brooks, and this time they were fitted properly! Also purchased what I am told is a top of the line orthotic insert -- Superfeet -- to go inside. <BR> <BR> New shoes got a real acid test outside today -- 4 mile run with the heat index over 100F! Wasn't a particularly fast run (in fact pretty darn slow!), but felt like I was running on pillows! <BR> <BR> Next test: 5K race on Saturday! C... Thu, 3 Jul 2014 22:30:20 EST My running evolution... I recently commented about a friend's post on FB where she stated "Running sucks!". To put this post into perspective, she is preparing to run in her first 5K, but I am suspicious she is not following any sort of program to get there, like C25K, etc. I could not resist the opportunity to chide her just a bit (she is the same age as my son -- early 30's -- so I think of her like a 3rd daughter!), and pointed out that the running does not suck, just how she was approaching it. She backed off... Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:17:40 EST Adventurous run on Saturday Last Saturday I easily had my most adventurous run EVER! <BR> <BR> My training schedule stated I needed to do a 6 mile long run, which I was more than cool with, so one of the things I am trying to do is not run the same courses, but rely on my Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS watch and explore new areas in my neck of the woods here on the Delmarva. <BR> <BR> So...since I had to go to the grocery store, I decided I'd use the high school across the street as my start and end point. Lots of sidew... Mon, 16 Jun 2014 11:27:24 EST Busy weekend ahead! Lots going on this weekend, so had to get started on the normal weekend chores ahead of schedule (cleaning, groceries, etc). Right out of the box tomorrow (Saturday) morning, we are taking my in-laws up to catch a bus in Wilmington, DE for their cruise to Bermuda (leaving the house at 07:30), so that means a Saturday alarm, early walking and feeding of the dogs, and NO smoked salmon for breakfast (our normal Saturday breakfast constitutional!), but we decided we'll hit one our favorite diner... Fri, 13 Jun 2014 10:28:05 EST Always glad to be back home We had a great time in New Orleans! The food, the drink, the sights, the people! Ready to go back another time! <BR> <BR> But always good to get back home! Puppies were so glad see us, and us them! Looking forward to being in my bed tonight! And a vacation day on Friday, so no alarm! <BR> <BR> Life is good! Thu, 5 Jun 2014 21:50:55 EST Goodbye old friend (lawn mower) Got some sad news today. My self propelled mower has officially bit the dust! According to the shop, the engine is totally seized up and nothing is going to bring it back to life! <BR> <BR> <em>39</em> <BR> <BR> On a slightly more serious note, this is the 2nd self propelled I have sent to an early grave since we moved back to DE. The problem is that I really enjoy using the self propelled mower vs my tractor, but this is 1.33 acres and I honestly think these self propelled are gear... Fri, 30 May 2014 22:46:29 EST Close Encounter Very stormy afternoon here on the Delmarva. Tornado warning broadcast at 4:30PM local time, we and the puppies quickly moved to the basement. All clear at 5:00PM, but major damage just 4 miles due west from an apparent tornado. We'll know for sure when the NWS surveys the damage tomorrow. Thu, 22 May 2014 22:03:45 EST Did the roles change? In early April, my dad (age 82) moved from his house to a retirement community nearby, and he resides as an independent resident. He has been living alone since the end of 2011 when my mom passed away, and while he has been functional, it was becoming apparent that he was lonely and was not enjoying cooking meals for himself. <BR> <BR> So, for the most part, the transition to living in his new home has gone well. He is socializing, enjoying having someone else fix meals for him, and his ... Mon, 19 May 2014 21:53:05 EST First 10K Race A Success! Made the big step up to 10K racing today. Ran in the Kennett Run race in Kennett Square, PA (25th anniversary) -- perfect racing conditions -- mid 50's, sunny, no wind! <BR> <BR> Very happy with my results: 1:00.21! A 9:41 / mile pace, had plenty of energy for a nice kick at the end. I have been training at a 2:00 min run / 0:30 walk ratio, but with many more hills today, most of the time I was running a 3 minute run / 30 second ratio, and extended runs where I was going downhill. <B... Sat, 17 May 2014 13:54:48 EST Racing / Mac Updates - Saturday, April 19 Ronald McDonald "Run for the House 5K" race: <BR> <BR> This is the 2nd race I've used my Garmin Forerunner 220 in, and interestingly enough, it showed the race course was 3.16 miles! So, my course time was 28:21, close, but not a PR. Garmin had the 5K distance at 27:53, which is a PR AND my first time under the 28 minute mark! First two miles just a shade under 9 minutes, 3rd mile was 9:14, which has the only hill on the entire course (probably explains the slight ... Mon, 21 Apr 2014 15:23:56 EST Technology Disorientation (would be a good title for a Big Bang Theory Episode!) Yesterday late afternoon my MacBook Pro really started to run slow, so like all good technical folks I started running some diagnostics only to find it going the Mac OSX version of BSOD (Blue screen of death) -- for a Mac, it is "GSOD" (grey screen of death!). A quick call to Apple confirmed my worst suspicions -- hard drive issue! <BR> <BR> And there started the disorientation -- clearly felt out of sync the rest of the night - and it is not like I don't have another device to use -- I h... Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:01:40 EST Big Day For My Dad A very big day for my dad -- he is moving from the place he has called home for the last 30 years to a nearby senior living community! He has been living alone for the past 2+ years (my mom passed away on 12/31/2011) and while he has managed OK, he clearly was beginning to tire of the "aloneness". <BR> <BR> He is in great physical health for 83, but clearly the lack of social interaction (outside of a weekly trip to the grocery store, church on Saturday, and his one dinner out on Saturday... Wed, 9 Apr 2014 14:21:01 EST Feels like a Monday... Good news: Nice 3 day weekend and was able to recover from my trip to Arizona. Bad news: Tuesday is here, and I am NOT in the mood to work! Good news: It's a 4 day work week, so if I can just get through today, tomorrow will be here and the weekend will be that much closer! Tue, 8 Apr 2014 10:14:06 EST Heading home... As much as I have enjoyed the warm 80+ degree temps, low humidity, and great southwestern cuisine, I am ready to get home to be with DW and the puppies! I did get my "fix" of southwestern food today -- a Mexican omelet for breakfast (which had some of the best chorizo I've tasted in a long time), and then for lunch a specialty of this next of the woods -- carna seca! How it is prepared here: The beef is laid in strips on the rooftop but covered so that birds can't get to it, and it is lite... Tue, 1 Apr 2014 16:55:04 EST Very good trip to Arizona After this winter on the Delmarva peninsula, any reason to go to Arizona would make it a good trip, but as it turned out, this one was even better than expected. A little background... <BR> <BR> My dad has been living alone for over 2 years now. My mom passed away on 12/31/11, and I really thought when we came out for the memorial service in March 2012 he was giving some serious thought to moving into a senior living community (we toured it with him at that time). Time progressed, questio... Sat, 29 Mar 2014 23:33:21 EST "My Little Pony" Bully Debate <link><BR>y-told-ditch-pony-bag-article-1.1726433 </link> <BR> <BR> Is this a tough issue or what? When I first heard the story on "Good Morning America", my immediate reaction was to take the side of the 9 year old boy being bullied, not only by the bullies but also by the school. But as I have reflected on this story, I'm not so sure. <BR> <BR> Let me state this for the record: I do not condone bullying! Period. Where I am having 2nd thoughts i... Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:10:54 EST Result: 20,818 days I turn 57 years old tomorrow, and while that may be an unremarkable age, what caught my eye is turning 57 and having been born in 1957. Symmetry... <BR> <BR> So I took it one step further and used an app to calculate the # of days I've been on planet earth, hence the blog title! <BR> <BR> One thing I will be doing tomorrow that will be a first is running in a 5K race on my birthday! 3rd one of the year, and as always, hoping for a PB! Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:39:19 EST Nice run today Saturdays are typically my long run days (no work conflicts, etc), and so I had set two goals for today's run: 1) Run at least 5 miles; and 2) If my legs still had life in them, go for a total of 6 miles. Of particular concern is my right knee, which is not feeling 100% at the moment. I'm sure if I saw a Dr, they would tell me to take it easy for a spell, but I'm not quite ready to do that just yet. <BR> <BR> So I purposely ran at a slow pace -- first two miles at 6.0 mph, then then ne... Sat, 1 Mar 2014 16:57:03 EST A year already? A year ago today my wife and I each had significant events to celebrate: <BR> <BR> - She was hired by a local not-for-profit company, and I am pleased to report it has exceeded her expectations. The words she uses to describe it: "I feel valued!" <BR> <BR> - After years and years of battling weight issues, I achieved a milestone I could only dream about a few years ago -- hitting my "normal" weight goal (as defined by BMI). <BR> <BR> It has been a good year for both of since then. Her... Fri, 21 Feb 2014 15:21:45 EST Running for enjoyment If you had asked me 3 years ago if I'd be titling a blog called "Running for enjoyment", i'd have called you crazy (or worse!). Back then, I could not even imagine running at all, let alone for enjoyment! But that is the beauty of time - things change. I discovered running, how fun it can be, and in fact how therapeutic it can be. Today I was thinking about my initial runs, and if I could just get to 3 miles in 40 minutes! Now I'm disappointed if I can't do 4 miles in 40 minutes! And to... Thu, 6 Feb 2014 22:38:16 EST That was a LONG 31 days! I don't know about you all, but that sure did seem like a LONG January to me! Work, cold weather, snow, short daytime, you name it! It'll be nice to flip the calendar tomorrow and a short 28 day month! And that much closer to spring! <BR> <BR> <em>126</em> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 09:55:49 EST Back to the deep freeze... OK, so not as bad as in the midwest, nor nor as scary as what the south is dealing with (snow with no equipment to clean it off in many places), but doesn't mean I have to be happy with these teens for temps or wind chill close to zero! At least it appears this is a short lived event, with temps back in the 40's over the weekend. <BR> <BR> <em>444</em> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 08:48:08 EST One issue resolved, onto the next... So, everything is OK on the job front. There was never an issue of "do I have a job?" more along the lines of "is this the kind of work I want to be doing?" (at least some parts of my job), but my manager and I had a very nice chat, came up with a game plan, and so I feel much better about it. <BR> <BR> But, as the saying goes, "horror vacui" ("Nature abhors a vacuum."). Last evening, I talked with my brother, who is in Arizona with my SIL visiting family. They went over to see my dad ... Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:26:58 EST It's great to have friends... Had a very nice conversation with an old work friend whom I've stayed in touch with over the years even though we have not worked together directly for nearly 10 years. Kinda good in that if we are looking for advice from the other, it is not weighted by current knowledge of a given situation. <BR> <BR> Anyway, I have had some job quality issues on my mind, so we spent the better part of 30 minutes today discussing the best way to move forward, and I felt 100% better AND have a game plan on... Tue, 14 Jan 2014 15:24:57 EST As good as 12/31 is going to get.... Since my mom passed away two years ago on this date, 12/31 has become somewhat of a melancholy day for me. Don't get me wrong -- I know my mom is in a MUCH better place, but being human I can't help but miss her. She did so much for me -- all of which I appreciate that much more. <BR> <BR> So I was really happy last month when I saw a 5K race that was going to be on 12/31/2013! Nice to have a different focus today! <BR> <BR> And the training over the past month paid off -- a PB of 28:1... Tue, 31 Dec 2013 15:54:25 EST SLOWLY getting back to "normal"... Amazing to think we've been home one week from what was one of the best vacations ever! 10 days and 9 nights at Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Great food, great drinks, the staff was simply amazing, our butlers outstanding. The highlight (and there were many) was our "Renewal of Vows" ceremony on December 9. What was so cool about it was that Sandals treats it just like a wedding, so both my wife and I got pretty emotional (in a positive way). <BR> <BR> <BR> The weather... Sat, 21 Dec 2013 19:06:26 EST November wrap up Well that was a busy 30 days! Work, or course, a 5K race, Thanksgiving, dinners with my kids, and various other usual activities. It just FLEW by! And the next few days will be VERY hectic as we get ready to head to Jamaica! But the good news is we are pretty well packed and know what the suitcases weigh, which as we all know is important as the airlines LOVE to stick it to us if we are even a pound over the 50 pound limit! AirTran charges $75 for an overweight bag, and that is who we are... Sat, 30 Nov 2013 18:06:24 EST A very busy next 34 days ... Isn't it funny how weird thoughts hit...I was doing some work planning when it hit me how busy it will be between now and 01/01/2014. Of course the usual holiday "stuff": family get-togethers, shopping, decorating, etc. Then add in a much needed "real" vacation right in the middle of those 34 days (I define "real" as going someplace special and RELAXING -- which we are doing - think Jamaica and 9 days of pampering!), plus the year end work rush, and there you go -- 34 days! <BR> <BR> No... Wed, 27 Nov 2013 15:29:33 EST Proud of our Tomas! If you look at my SparkPage, you'll probably notice pictures and references to greyhounds. My wife and I have rescued racing greyhounds since 2004, and 5 of them have changed our lives in ways we can't even begin to describe. We currently have a pack of 3 (#'s 3, 4, and 5), which we find is a nice # to have. <BR> <BR> One of the unique attributes of greyhounds is that their blood is a universal blood type - it can be given to other dogs who need blood, so our two youngest ones -- Tomas a... Mon, 25 Nov 2013 15:38:54 EST Very good 5K race today I've been running for two years now, and a few things I've figured out: <BR> <BR> - I prefer warm weather over cold for running <BR> - I don't like wind when I am running! <BR> - I am amazed just how warm I do get when I am running, even on a cold day! <BR> <BR> So today's race, the 40th annual Turkey Trot in Newark, Delaware, had both chilly temps, wind, and a new wrinkle for me -- a hilly course! It was in the 40's at race time, but cloudy and windy, so it felt much colder! <BR> <BR... Sat, 23 Nov 2013 16:10:02 EST Good visit to the Dr Had my 4 month checkup with my Dr this morning. Good news - all my of my key vitals are in good shape and level, weight is in range, so I am now on a 6 month schedule! <BR> <BR> The only down side to today's visit is that i was due for my tetanus shot! Nurse did a nice job of administering it, but I know my left arm is going to be sore tomorrow! Oh well, short term pain... Wed, 20 Nov 2013 10:47:27 EST Fun and relaxing Sunday in store Everything is shaping up to be a fun and relaxing Sunday (today): <BR> <BR> - Out for breakfast to our favorite diner <BR> - Wine tasting at a new winery that just opened up a few weeks ago <BR> - A GREAT football game this evening between the Broncos and the Chiefs. <BR> <BR> GO BRONCOS!! Sun, 17 Nov 2013 08:33:14 EST 7 mile run on Sunday. Longest. Run. EVER! Earlier last week, I saw on my Galloway Easy 5K app a 7 mile run coming up, the longest training run on the app, so given that I had never run that distance before, I planned to do it on Sunday when I had the time to enjoy it and not have to rush back to work. <BR> <BR> I had the app set for a 4/1 run/walk ratio on my previous training runs, but since this was a new distance for me, I set it back to a 3/1 ratio. On top of that, it was a VERY windy day on Sunday (gusts over 30mph!), so hea... Mon, 11 Nov 2013 08:58:59 EST CRAZY BUSY! What a busy week!! Good news is the week is flying! Bad news is that it seems like I'm getting a lot of nothing done! Oh well! As long as I get through to tomorrow at 5PM, I'll have a relatively quiet weekend to get caught up! <BR> <BR> C'mon Friday!! <BR> <BR> <em>211</em> Thu, 7 Nov 2013 11:34:01 EST Proud of my children! While Friday was a crazy day for me with a few more twists and turns than I had planned for, it was a very exciting day in that my youngest daughter, who is working on her Masters degree in Public Administration, got a chance to shine in a very public way in a newspaper article that describes the program she is working on, which is to help increase the number of high school students who apply for college here in Delaware: <BR> <BR><BR>dll/article?AI... Sat, 2 Nov 2013 10:43:59 EST Busy Sunday ahead... Long list of to-do's today: <BR> <BR> - Breakfast and shopping <BR> - Mowing and cleaning up the garden (at least the tomato vines -- pepper plants may stay for a little longer) <BR> - Broncos at 4PM <BR> - Red Sox at 8PM <BR> - And in unattended mode, upgrade my Mac to OSX Mavericks! <BR> <BR> Thank goodness tomorrow is a work day and I can recover! <BR> <BR> <em>211</em> Sun, 27 Oct 2013 09:06:32 EST