happy new year

Here's wishing you and your loved ones a year of peace, joy, and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Try not to die this year. Do something meaningful with your life. Kiss someone you love at least once. Have great sex. Stay healthy. Run with (safety) scissors. Read a book. Remove the mattress or pillow label. Begin the beguine. Do a random act of kindness. Touch a miner inappropriately. Eat healthy. 

Do any one of these things this year, for me.

ending it

Today I pulled the plug on something that turned out to be bad for me. Dissappointments are never fun. It didn't start out that way, it never really does though. I came to realize what was wrong before it was too late and got out. I gave it more than a fair chance, but in the end it was clear that I would never back what I gave despite all its promise. At any rate I've found a way to take back what I gave, and keep in touch with those who helped make this bumpy ride easier to endure. Truth be told I knew that I felt this way about it for a long time, and not sure why I hung on as long as I did. I even purposely ended my participation months ago. I guess I just need to see if I was justified before I did this. A huge, dead weight has been lifted of me and I couldn't feel any better if I tried.

So in closing. I do hope that every malice is visited upon you ten fold, and that you crumble slowly under the weight of your own absurd idiocy. You sincerely deserve it Facebook.

What?!? I never said I was a saint!


xmas leftovers

So I totally dropped the ball and forgot (again) to take a picture of the awesome feast I prepared. In order to make it up to anyone who really wanted to see it I'm instead posting picutres from the last couple of days. Before the roommate left to spend Xmas with his family we managed to get our dogs to wear stuff and sit still for this picture.

Behold the power of beef!

Sunday morning we managed to knock out a nice four mile hike while carrying on a phone conversation with my friend Monica, whom I hiked with last year on xmas day (on christmas day in the morning).

Something beagle, this way walks

Something beagle, this way swims?

Something beagle, oh you've gotta get it by now.

On Xmas eve I managed to celebrate and devour that delicious dinner I prepared with my family via Skype. After dinner we all went into the living room and opened gifts.

Sissy knows how much I love to watch my father eat.

He played with it all night!

Nailed it!

On Xmas day we hiked our other favorite local trail. I know it looks the same, but it's different. Trust me. Or don't. We don't care. We know it was a different trail. That's out story and we're sticking to it!

Still not caring what you think!

No butt's about it!


xmas preparations and what not

Things have been going well despite how hectic this time of year can get. I managed to get my xmas shopping done this last week since I only had the niece and nephew to buy for. I got my niece 3 pairs of boot socks which according to my sister will most likely be her favorite gifts this xmas. I'm really happy about this one because I've been completely clueless about what to get her since she hit her teens. Sissy told me what she wanted, but not where to look. So I used my mad internet skills and found them @ Etsy.com. According to the pics I emailed her (sissy) they were "cuter" than anything they could find localy. Nailed it! For my nephew it was a radio flyer "my first" scooter where I'm positive he'll drive everyone crazy from riding it all over the house. He's easy to shop for and I don't foresee this getting any more difficult as he gets older. I didn't get anything for my remaining family members since I'll be squaring up with them in person in a few weeks.

This week I get to work from home which makes the beagle very happy. One of the nicer perks of the company I work for. Unfortunately it's my turn to be on call which means I'm sort of on a digital leash. I guess I really can't complain since this happens once every 8 weeks for me. I don't wanna jinx it so I won't say anything about what I hope won't happen while I'm on it. If you're inclined to do so, any and all good vibes sent this way will be apprciated.

It's been over two weeks since my disasterous lipid screening (mea culpa). I don't know what my numbers are now but if my blood pressure is any indication of progress, I'm on the right track. It was 140/100 at time of screening and is now averaging 117/77 with a resting heart rate of around 74. For now I'm keeping to the diet/exercise/supplements but will relax the regimine down to maintenance levels by the end of next month. This is also when I've scheduled my lipid retest. 

For Xmas dinner tonight I'm kind of repeating the meal I made for Thanksgiving. I'm leaving out the ham this time due to the diet. In case I didn't mention it. I'm making roasted turkey, corn bread stuffing, mashed potatos, corn on the cob, and blanched broccoli for dinner tonight. I'll do my best to remember to snap a picture before eating it this time.

While I'm on the subject. Last year on xmas day I went out on a hike with a friend and the beagle in tow. It worked out that way since it was the only free time we both had available. We got a chance to enjoy nature and work off some of the holiday fat. This struck me as being a good excuse to start a holiday tradition, so from here on out I'm hiking on Xmas day. Join me in doing the same tomorrow if the weather permits where you're at.

Merry Christmas everyone!


lost meaning

With xmas on the horizon it got me to thinking how much the meaning of it has changed for me, and it wasn't that kind of child to adult kind of change either. The change was so subtle and unnoticeable that it took me years to realize it had happened at all. Best as I can figure it took place around my late twenties early thirties, and it wasn't limited to xmas either. A lot of things that I used to enjoy doing simply lost their meaning with me. Holidays and or social celebrations of any kind of lost their appeal to me. I've never been diagnosed as depressed or suffering from any type of mental disorder so it's not that. I also don't bug out after 10 minutes of being in crowds. Before I give anyone the wrong idea, I do still enjoy being with family and close friends regardless of occasion. I adjust and act accordingly to any given situation. You know, like a real grown up.

I'm not sure if something is wrong with me or not, but I really don't care. Either way I'm looking forward to xmas week despite the lost meaning. I get to work from home which allows me to spend some quality time walking the creek with the beagle.


open, to falling from grace

About a year plus ago I learned that Rod (Asian Gypseh) and I lived in the same town. Since then we make it a point to get together for lunch at our favorite Brazillian (a lot of money I'm told) steak house. Since moving I was finally able to get him to try a BBQ place I've been raving about for a better part of the year. The place has a neat little history that you can read about on the website, and you really owe it to yourself to try it if you're in town. You won't regret it!

The last time I was here was almost two years ago now that I'm thinking about it. I know this slight fall from grace is a 180 from my efforts to improve my health, but it was WORTH IT!!! It was today and today only because I know I won't be eating like this again for a long time to come. I can live with the guilt. I might even shed a tear, really.

I did find a way to strike a balance to today's meat fest. After finishing we picked up the beagle and hauled off to one of my local hikes. We knocked out a respectable four mile hike in under two hours. I was halfway expecting to choke on the hike due to the meat coma that always comes from the kind of meal we just ate. It never came and we kept a good pace going the whole time. 

Rod's good people and it's nice to be able to shoot the shit with someone who gets the mobile lifestyle. Combine that with him being something of a foodie and you've got the makings of a great time. Well, even though we never got past eating anywhere but that steak house we used to go to. Good times!


mea culpa

After a year and a half of putting this off I had finally gotten around to getting my lipids retested (here's what happened the last time).The morning I was about to schedule my appointment a company wide email went out that free biometric screenings would be held the following week. Fortuitous! I scheduled for the following week, received my confirmation, and changed absolutely nothing in my routine.

The good stuff
Oatmeal for breakfast - 60 grams (roughly two packets of the instant)
Anything for lunch - I don't eat heavy when working during the week, or weekends when I cook.
Fruit smoothies or a salad for dinner - These are usually all fruit or veggies respectively.

The bad stuff
Exercise - Before the move I wasn't getting any. After, I started hiking once a weekend.
Drinking - I'm partial to great scotch, whiskey, or bourbons. I downgraded to microbrew beers or red wines after my move.

I own and use a blood pressure test kit and monitor it regularly, and since the move there was a drop.  Probably due to all the physical activity from the move and then the two weekends of hikes that I managed to get it. Unfortunately I became ill and didn't get a hike in for the remainig three weekends. I managed to get two hikes in on the weekend before my test, but the numbers were only slightly better than the last drop. I came in at 144/97 with a resting heart rate of 98.

The results
Weight - I lost 10 pounds from my last weighing before the move
Blood pressure - Systolic 124 (Normal) - Diastolic 97 (High) - no resting heart rate info
Glucose - 99 (Normal)
Cholesterol - 324 (Down from 517 June 2011)
Triglycerides - 7650  (Up from 3570 June 2011)

Uh yeah, I wasn't expecting the last one to go up quite that high either. I had a very long talk with the doctor about how the Trig's got that way. Turns out beer and wine have a tendancy to increase them more so than the harder liquor. This isn't an excuse for me to switch back, just good to know. Booze is out, not for good but for a good long while. The doctor was ready to start me on a statin presciption which I stopped cold. I know too many people who have suffered from the side effects and I will not take them. I negotiated for some alternative changes to my life and the doctor agreed. Most of them weren't changes but a reclamation of former habits. However there was no getting out of having to take pills for this so I am now taking 2000k of fish oil along with 1800k of red yeast rice extract pills a day. I've amended my lunch from anything to anything healthy. The biggest change, and one that I had put off for too long was exercising daily. I agreed to do at least 30 minutes a day of moderate to advanced cardio. However it's not enough so I'm averaging an hour of cardio per day during the work week. I hike for about 2 hours each day on the weekends so that's covered. I'll be going back in February to retest my numbers.

I just checked and my blood pressure is now coming in at 125/79 with a resting heart rate of 77.

What a difference a week makes!


bang zoom!

I know what some of you are thinking, and can tell you that it's not a piece of artwork. What you are looking at is what's left of my laptop screen. The laptop is almost three years old and as such the battery doesn't hold it's charge like it used to. This means I need to bring the power supply along otherwise everything goes dark in about 16 minutes. On my way back to my bedroom the other evening the power supply cord snagged on the couch and disco'd from the laptop. I kept going and set the laptop down on it's stand and went back for it. I casually tossed it onto the bed and headed back to the kitchen to get the rest of my glass of tea. What you see above is what I came back to.

It's not a total loss since the laptop still works and am using my old PC monitor with it. This is good and all but I kind of lost all mobility. So the dilemma now is whether to repair it or get a new one. I wanted to hold off until mid 2013 before getting a new one, but learned a few things recently. Everyone out there is pushing Win 8 and if I intend to get a Win 7 system I'd best get it now. The cost to repair it myself and get a new battery totals in at $100. The new laptop comes in at $330. I'm not really sure if I should repair, get the new one, or just do both now. What do you think?


it's all about her

My little one put on quite a bit of weight over the the last two and a half years. She gained more this last year in fact. The unbearably hot summers of Texas combined with it's ravenous insect population made it inhospitable for me to spend any more time than is absolutely neccessary outdoors. We managed to get some exercise during the winters, but it wasn't enough after all was said and done. A lot of changes have taken place since our recent move and reentering the roommate dynamic. One of the first changes was an increase in our activity level since we both needed to drop the unwanted pounds gained. I've always been on the lanky side so most people tend to have a hard time telling if I've gained or lost, but the beagle was definitely starting to show it. Her waist was non existant as was evident when standing or laying down. I was failing my beagle after swearing I would never let her turn into one of those old fat beagles you see so often at dog parks. Here's a picture of her, and her belly, from last June after a teeth cleaning and having a molar removed (hence the bandage and shaved portion of her leg).

Butterball Beagle

My roommate spares no expense in quality when it comes to his dog. The brand (Acana) he feeds it is one of the best I've ever heard or read about. Bridgette wasn't doing so well with her brand (Royal Canin) any longer so it was time for a switch anyways. I'll spare describing how it was affecting her since it wasn't a pretty sight. I went from feeding her one cup a day to splitting it into two feedings of a half cup. This is how the roommate feeds his dog. When in Rome as they say. She never ate all her food in one sitting before so this wasn't a new stretch for her. The new food definitely agrees with her due to the higher quality of ingredients and production philosophy of the manufacturer. She's slimmed down a lot, sheds much less hair, and is much more active and alert than before. A plus since she's officially a senior citizen.

I haz a waistline!
Her weight loss is starting to level off and she's looking a whole lot better. I weighed her a few weeks before we moved out and she came in at a whopping 31.5 pounds. In mid October she weighed 29.6 pounds, and 28.4 pounds in mid November. This friday she weighed 27.3 pounds. At this rate she'll be back at her optimum of around 25 pounds in another month or so.

So many trees, so little pee.

Exercise is always part of it and we've been getting plenty of it since moving here. It helps that we live in a conservation area with lots of nearby trails. Outside of the three weeks where I was sick, we've been averaging at least six mile hikes on the weekends. Oh and I've dropped about ten pounds myself, but that's not important right now since this is all about Bridgette.

Two hours and not a single squirrel, this place sucks!

I figure that the two of us should be back to normal health and weight before we em-bark on our next adventure.


so when do you leave, for reals.

When I wrote "so when do you leave" I got so caught up in the history that I left out explaining what I have planned. Point of fact I don't have a hard departure date, yet. It's not a matter of laziness or fear or any number of excuses one might come up with so much as I prefer to plan things a little loosely. As of this moment I'm almost at the halfway point of paying off my final bill and becoming debt free. Once that's completed I'll review my circumstances at that time and then set the date. With regards to planning there's always any number of things that can help or hinder them. Planing loosely allows me to take advantage of changes as they happen. Even delays have proven to be blessings as you read in my original post. Don't let anything that seems like a setback discourage you. Slow and steady wins the race.